What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Monday Edition

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Coudal Partners

Field Notes For Fall

Stamp and Die

Our Field Notes Quarterly Editions aren't necessarily tied thematically to the season in which they're released, but every few years we feel compelled to head back into the woods for Autumn. This year we present the "Autumn Trilogy" Edition.It seems perfectly simple, but the subtly debossed leaves and embossed logo are the result of a very complicated process.

America's Best Idea

National Treasure

Since the early days of Field Notes we have been searching for just the right way create an edition celebrating America's National Parks. When we saw the work of the artists of The Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series, we knew exactly what to do. We are proud to present The "National Parks" Series this and invite you to check out three 3-Packs and 52 million acres of American treasure. We're donating five percent of retail and wholesale purchases to the National Parks Service.

Love’s Labor Lost

One from the Heart

Check this film for a one-day Field Notes special Valentine's Day promotion. The offer is over, but the sentiment keeps going endures.

Props Face Time

Classic Display Faces That Deserve Love

Herb Lubalin and Tony DiSpigna's 1974 release for ITC, Serif Gothic doesn't get the kind of attention that sparked a recent (and overdone) Avant Garde revival but it speaks for itself when set tight, in all-caps for a short declarative headline, especially one that needs a sort of non whiz-bangy science-fiction feel. Suggested pairing: Univers 65 Bold.

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.

Faces Deserving of Props

Tight, in All-Caps with Almost No Line Spacing

Chauncey H. Griffith's Bodoni Poster Black was developed for Mergenthaler in 1929 and features strong verticals and shallow descenders. It's regularly employed for era-specific "Appearing Nightly at the Copacabana" lobby-card-ish announcements and by and large it's serviceable, if not particularly interesting. But, just in case you find yourself in need of a two skinny chicks whispering near the coke mirror, late 70's, Los Angeles sort of vibe, set it tight in all-caps with almost no line spacing. Suggested pairing: Univers Light Extra Condensed.

Decipher This

The Whole
Mysterious Story

The 41st design in our series of Field Notes Quarterly Editions has a sleek, mysterious look, fitting for an edition all about secret codes and ciphers. It features a three-part history of cryptography, and the 3-Packs themselves are puzzles, very difficult puzzles, to be solved. This is the Clandestine Edition.

FNHQ In Good Company


Our studio on North Racine Avenue in Chicago was selected as one of the "Coolest Offices" in the city. Thanks to Crain's for that. And thanks also to Sarah Crowley for taking the photos, our contractor and furniture-maker, Peter Moorman, and to Phillip Schmidt for his advice and architectural expertise. Come by and see it yourself. Bring money.

A Cautionary Tale

Heed This Well, Young, Costumed Beggars

Our annual warning to trick-or-treaters, in the style of Hilaire Belloc.

Ten Years of Field Notes

Origin Stories

Ten years ago we started Field Notes. Here's some background. Aaron talking about where the original idea came from and the history of American agricultural design. Jim on the mechanics of moving from working for clients to inventing one. Whet Moser's recent piece for Chicago Magazine 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.

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

"At this level of enlargement, we become engrossed by the details of the printing process itself." Anne Collier at Galerie Neu in Berlin. jc-10.18

Congratulations to NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir on their historic first all-female spacewalk. You can watch it live here. ms-10.18

Cha-ching. Arcade Game Typography, written by Toshi Omagari and designed by Leo Field. jc-10.18

Want. The Intrepid Camera Company makes large-format, 4x5 and 8x10 cameras. Via Chris Glass. jc-10.18

Trailer for the film Light From Light. ms-10.17

Th story of the Mojave phone booth. jc-10.17

Speaking of Caravaggio. ms-10.17

"A few metres from her small apartment in the Oratory of Saint Lawrence in Palermo, where her mother was a housekeeper, one of the most notorious art thefts in history was taking place, as a Caravaggio that had hung for more than three centuries above the altar was cut out of its frame." jc-10.17

This should keep Jim busy all morning: The Roman Empire's Roads In Transit Map Form. bb-10.14

Planet Earth at Blue Hour. ms-10.11

Chicago Design System. ms-10.11

Local note. What If Your Alderman Were Goth? The Chicago Genius Herald has the answer for some reason. Thanks Peteski. jc-10.11

So you know. "Traditionally, in comic book lettering, the 'I' with crossbars is reserved for the personal pronoun" and other super interesting Comic Lettering Tips. jc-10.10

"When I first applied for this position, did I know that my expected job duties would include dueling genocidal dark lords or battling Death Eaters in the Astronomy Tower? No. Did I do them anyway even after being denied a cost of living adjustment to my salary for ten years in a row while also dealing with insidiously small-but-steady cuts to my annual conference travel budget? Yes." ms-10.09

Great piece by Thomas de Monchaux on architectural photographer Ezra Stoller, who Turned Buildings Into Monuments. jc-10.09

"If I'm so average-American, how come that i've never heard of most of the musical groups that millions of other Americans apparently are listening to?" bb-10.08

FALL LAUNCH PARTY HAPPY HOUR IS THURSDAY from 4 to 7pm at Field Notes HQ in Chicago. Enjoy a cold one from our pals at Solemn Oath Brewery and snacks from Big Delicious Planet. Nerdy design, printing and typography conversation encouraged. Bring your pals, bring your Mom, and for God's sake, bring your credit card. jc-10.08

"Type is a beautiful group of letters, not a group of beautiful letters." Eyes on the Text, Mind on the Type. jc-10.08

Musician Donald Fagen shares a true story about George Plimpton, Buck Henry, and the last will and testament of Roy Cohn. jc-10.08

New trailer for the film 1917. ms-10.07

"On February 26, 2014, Christian Andreacchio was found dead in the upstairs bathroom of his apartment from a single gunshot wound to the head. After a mere 45-minute investigation, local police ruled his death a suicide, despite substantial evidence that points to Christian's death not only being a homicide, but premeditated murder. Host Dennis Cooper investigates and shares a compelling story about this suspicious death, the questions surrounding it, and a grieving family's ongoing fight for justice." Culpable Podcast ms-10.07

Trailer for The Gentlemen. ms-10.04

Scotland in Motion ms-10.02

Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the filming of director Sam Mendes' upcoming film, 1917 ms-10.01

Orion Rising over Brazil. ms-10.01

An Annual re-link. Fall is in the air, Pumpkin Spice everything is for sale, and It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherf*ckers . ms-10.01

A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather. On my way to Nebraska now...... ms-10.01

A new book for people (cough) with fifty rolls of film sitting around, dating back to the 90s: FLAVR: Film Lovers Analogue Visual Reference. bb-09.26

If you're into the whole "ancient grains" thing, you're gonna want to use ancient yeast to make your bread. bb-09.26

"... the single 'eye' in blazing red was played by one of Nikon's most extreme lenses, its 8mm f/8 fisheye. But how did they add the glow? Simple - they used the camera's very own red filter (R60) which screws on to the back of the lens. Then they simply shone a light through it." jc-09.24

How we make pencils. ms-09.24

Wim Crouwel. ms-09.22

So you know, 251 words you can spell with a calculator. Via Meanwhile. jc-09.20

Mr. Heller makes a list. jc-09.19

Robbie Robertson plays The Weight with Ringo Starr and dozens of other people for Playing For Change. Fab. jc-09.19

The Care and Feeding of the Uffington White Horse. jc-09.19

A Harvest Moon. ms-09.18

65 Block Parties, 5 Boroughs, 20 Photographers: See What They Found. ms-09.17

The designer's guide to Netflix. dw-09.16

"Photographer Vincent J. Musi chose almost two years ago to end his years of travel for National Geographic assignments to be home with his wife, Callie, and his then 16-year-old son, Hunter. He built " The Unleashed Studio" in the back of a pet food store and began making extraordinary portraits of our furry best friend in Charleston, S.C.." ms-09.16

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

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