What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Monday Edition

This is our studio site. Among lots of other things, we run Field Notes Brand,
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Coudal Partners

Ten Years of Field Notes

Origin Story

Thanks to Whet Moser and Chicago Magazine for this in-depth story on Field Notes 10th anniversary and how we got here.

An Adventure of a 2-Pack

Meet Haxley

During October, Chicago Illustrator and poster-maker Jay Ryan set himself a goal of creating one small ink illustration each day. These drawings revealed a story about a bear and his squirrel neighbors. We followed Jay's progress and found the drawings irresistible. We knew that they'd look great in a special Field Notes edition. We hope you agree.

A Six Tone Scale

True to the Blobbiness

We've long-admired the dynamism of a mural that is hangs on the north side of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, on Ashland Avenue. Once we renovated and moved into our new studio space, we decided to track down who was responsible, with the idea of doing something similar for our main work space. The artists, Gwendolyn Zabicki and Kent Smith, were up for the idea, and also for us filming them painting the 12' x 8', 3-panel artwork. Thanks a million to them.

New From Field Notes


We're proud of the short film (spot?) we made for a product partnership with the unstoppable Bellroy from Australia. Check out the new Everyday Inspiration, custom, compact leather cover.

Thanks to Big Delicious Planet for inviting us into their Canteen for the location, and to Spencer Tweedy for letting us use his song "Temple State" on the track. It's in heavy rotation at HQ currently.

One From Way Way Back

How Do You Spell Courage?

A lot has changed around here since 2005: waistlines, hairlines, fashions, a big new studio, and new businesses to fill it with. Here's a Throwback for Thursday, in beautiful standard definition. The production values might leave a little to be desired, and the "new Canadian restaurant" in the neighborhood may have closed, but the film itself actually holds up. Sort of. Presenting Copy Goes Here.

You Can Count On Change

That’s a Wrap

After a long, successful run, we're shutting down our advertising network, The Deck. Jim posted about the decision and the details at the Deck site. John Gruber was one of the network's very first affiliates. John published a way-too-generous piece about The Deck at Daring Fireball. Thanks for that, and to all the affiliates, advertisers and readers who supported the network over the years.

Last year we moved into a new studio in Chicago, and in the back, near where we do screen-printing and other messy stuff, there's a shelf for projects we made, operated and eventually, shut down. We'll make some room for The Deck there, right next to Jewelboxing, The Seed Conference and The Show. We haven't stashed away Layer Tennis just yet, but who knows? Anyhow, as always, we're scheming about the future. And, of course, we're making these notebooks.

2017 Tournament of Books

Literary Cage Match

Once again, our Field Notes Brand was the title sponsor of The Morning News Tournament of Books which is now complete! If you're not familiar with the ToB, Angela Chen has written this excellent Brief History of the Tournament to get you up to speed.

We need your help. We created a special Memo Book for the tourney and are raising funds for 826 National, an amazing seven-chapter network that provides under-resourced students, ages 6-18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. Dig deep people.

Choose to Go to the Moon

Over the Moon

It's not quite like faking the moon landing, but the film we made for the release of our Field Notes Quarterly Edition Lunacy, was made entirely using the same sort of practical, analog effects that you'd need to employ if you were going to stage that event, back in the day. So fun. So messy. BTW: The Lunacy Edition is now sold out.

Moco Fun at the new HQ

We Go Round in Circles

Steve bought a cool motion-control rig. We wanted to make some sort of recap the Field Notes Quarterly Editions from 2016. So we made this film. Added bonus, it provides a nice view of the new HQ.

JC at Creative Mornings

What Are You
Afraid Of?

Here's Jim's presentation from the inaugural edition of Chicago Creative Mornings. Thanks to Tina, Mig, Gravity Tank and everyone who showed up.

Because it's There

A Winter’s Tale

"One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen." —Rene Daumal. Why did we do it? Because it is there. Or was anyhow. Presenting Above the Sun, a true story.

Guest Editors

Helpful and
Mostly Polite

A list of all the brilliant people who have helped us by guest editing Fresh Signals can be found here.

Other recent features are listed on Page Two.

Fresh Signals

Probable relink - More Perfect. A podcast from the makers of Radiolab about how the Supreme Court got so Supreme. mcj-today

Cocteau Twins Fever hits Columbus, OH, 1985. bb-today

It's a good year for guitars, at least aesthetically: Yamaha's Revstar and Gibson's updated "Modern Flying V." bb-02.15

Cage interview with Aaron, and a terrific photographic portrait by Michael Poehlman. jc-02.15

"Geocolor is a multispectral product composed of True Color (using a simulated green component) during the daytime, and an Infrared product that uses bands 7 and 13 at night." Animation from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 16. jc-02.15

"Our goal is to continue our exploration of embroidery as a modern artform and to expand our creations to the larger art-scene with exhibitions." Lovely work from Charles and Erin at Lekadre. ms-02.14

Car Orbiting Earth. ms-02.14

"The following was filmed autonomously in one continuous shot." Skydio R1: Self-Flying Camera. jc-02.13

Windows of San Francisco. Fantastic interactive piece by Jon Murray, Matthew Pullen, Andrew Pullen & Pete Blaszkiewicz. jc-02.13

"The man felt like a speck in the frozen nothingness. Every direction he turned, he could see ice stretching to the edge of the Earth: white ice and blue ice, glacial-ice tongues and ice wedges. There were no living creatures in sight. Not a bear or even a bird. Nothing but him. Nothing but him." ms-02.13

"...covers designed by Spanish illustrator Manolo Prieto between 1940 and 1957 were done for the low-cost weekly publication Novelas y Cuentos. -Steven Heller. Highly recommended. jc-02.10

Related to the last, Flickr set of paperback cover illustrations by Renato Fratini. jc-02.08

Uncovered: Illustrating the Sixties and Seventies, at the Lever Gallery in London now. Looks fab. jc-02.08

New Breeders! A lovely cover of Mike Nesmith's "Joanne." bb-02.08

So you know, A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1788. jc-02.07

A beautiful mess at Field Notes. jc-02.07

Gorgeous video for Kendrick Lamar and SZA's All The Stars Full screen is best. ms-02.06

Moonrise Eclipse. ms-02.06

Moonset Eclipse. ms-02.06

Open Culture on NASA posting of over 400 historic experimental flight videos. Boss. jc-02.06

Marshall point out this good use for a fidget spinner. Great. jc-02.06

The Illustrated Catalogue of Period Ornaments Cast in Composition and Wood Fibre for Woodwork-Furniture features samples of wood carvings offered by the Decorators Supply Company of Chicago at the beginning of the 20th century. dw-02.05

Adrian's favorite Ingmar Bergman posters to herald the upcoming major centennial retrospective. Great choices. jc-02.02

Winners of the 2018 Black & White Photographer of the Year competition jc-02.01

Four architects turned pastry chefs. dw-02.01

"Don't mistake me for a business guy; I took a PhotoShop elective during my sophomore year and watched a documentary on the designer Milton Glaser at least twice before graduating. I'm really into graphic design, by the way. But, as previously stated, I'm not looking to be anything less than a Creative Director. ms-02.01

Set aside the rest of your morning to be consumed by digging through Pamela Bannos' research on all of the thousands of bodies likely still buried underneath Chicago: Hidden Truths: The Chicago City Cemetery and Lincoln Park. sd-02.01

The International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, is seen in silhouette as it transits the moon at roughly five miles per second. dw-01.31

Gremlins enamel pins. dw-01.31

Arnold Batliner was the most storied coin washer at the St. Francis. jc-01.31

"On this day in 1933 Ezra Pound met with Benito Mussolini. This was a brief, one-time talk, but it would bring out the worst in Pound's personality and lead to personal disaster; it would also inspire some of the best of modern poetry." jc-01.30

In its 64 year existence Pan Am produced hundreds of posters promoting aircraft, service & destinations. dw-01.29

Related to the last, I'm Worried My Doctor May Have Watched Episodes of ER Instead of Going to Medical School ms-01.29

So you know, the best ER episodes to watch if you've never seen it. I remember my best friend and I full-on ugly crying at Love's Labor Lost. ms-01.29

The Hopper-esque paintings of Keita Morimoto. Via Isn't. jc-01.29

Hi-res of Jupiter as seen by Juno at a scale of 5.6 miles/pixel. jc-01.27

Keith Phipps "spoke to director Amy Scott and producer Brian Morrow about what drove them to make a film about Hal Ashby and what they discovered along the way." HAL is debuting at Sundance. Can't wait to see it. jc-01.26

"...a seriously productive-ass piece of vocabulary." -Stan Carey. jc-01.26

David Graver goes inside Silver Oak Winery's new facility in Alexander Valley. jc-01.26

How building codes and taxes shape regional architecture. dw-01.25

Page Two contains the previous 40 Fresh Signals, recent features, a key to the icons and the categorical archives.

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