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

A Field Notes Collab

Box Full of Letters

We paired each member of Wilco with an exceptional artist, handed them all the same limited palette of colors, and let them improvise. This "Wilco x Field Notes" Box Set is the result. The box contains six Memo Books reflecting the craft and talent of the artists and the passions and personalities of the musicians.

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

"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-today

0°C is a creative collaboration between artist Tharien Smith and photographer Bruce Boyd, featuring unique images of flowers, fynbos and found objects encapsulated in ice. dw-09.13

Tank Man. ms-09.13

Antonio Tempesta, after Niccolo Circignani and Giovanni Battista Lombardelli - Saint Anthony With Demons, 1598. Via Isn't. jc-09.11

RIP Robert Frank. jc-09.10

50 States of True Crime. mcj-09.09

Lazy Susan ms-09.06

RED ALERT ms-09.06

"Snails in Hawaii are disappearing faster than any animal on the planet. 'This is happening so fast, it's as if something really catastrophic is happening in the world right now," says scientist Dave Sischo, who is fighting to save Hawaii's snail populations. " ms-09.06

Is it Ella Fitzgerald or is it Memorex? bb-09.04

On the Hunt for Boston's Signtronix Signs. jc-09.04

"12. The one time you attempt sex, you get interrupted by someone in a unicorn onesie and swim goggles jumping up and down on your mattress while begging you to make a grilled cheese." Attending Burning Man or Parenting a Toddler? ms-09.03

If you're not listening, you should. The New York Times 1619 Podcast is fantastic. ms-09.03

Trailer for the documentary Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins. She is missed. ms-08.30

Summer cocktails. dw-08.30

Well, that settles that. jc-08.30

Final trailer for JOKER. I smell an Oscar.......... ms-08.29

"The 2019 Tahiti Pro, stop No. 7 of the World Surf League Men's Championship Tour, is under way this week in Tahiti. Brian Bielmann, a photographer with Agence France-Presse, is on the scene, capturing images of the surfers amid the beauty and chaos churned up by the famous waves of Teahupo'o reef." ms-08.28

Trailer for the film The Report. ms-08.28

Hubble's new portrait of Jupiter. jc-08.28

The Unexpectedly Tropical History of Brutalism. dw-08.27

"It's possible that you don't immediately recognize the name Robert McGinnis. But if you are even remotely interested in vintage crime, mystery, and thriller novels, you've certainly spotted his artwork." -J. Kingston Pierce. jc-08.27

Trailer for the film Motherless Brooklyn ms-08.23

Atlas at Dawn. ms-08.16

Trailer for the Bong Joon Ho film Parasite. ms-08.16

Trailer for Malick's A Hidden Life. jc-08.16

Now That the Secret Job Search Is Over, My First Act as President of Your University Is to Be Completely Honest About My Questionable Qualifications For This Important Position, by Andrew Berish. jc-08.15

Designer Jordan Vincent takes a look at overnight stays in National Parks. via kottke mcj-08.15

A One-Shot Music Video Filmed From the Perspective of a Toy Train. Thanks Colossal. jc-08.14

So you know. A design guide for the flags of the United States, by Lynn Fisher. Fab. jc-08.14

"INJUSTICE ALERT! The other jurors think the doc is innocent since the other kidney works fine. They say I haven't paid attention. Um, I've been paying the MOST attention!?! What do you guys think? Also, what are your favorite true crime podcasts? I may have some time to kill. #deadlock #juryfury." ms-08.13

"Football manager Bill Shankly famously said: 'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death... I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.' The same could be said of punctuation -- or indeed typography. And though I don't share that particular passion, typography fans may savour Watson's vivid descriptions." Stan Carey on Semicolon, by Cecelia Watson. jc-08.12

David Hudson on D. A. Pennebaker, Observation as Action. jc-08.12

The Best of Movie Poster of the Day: Part 21, great selections. jc-08.09

Rakotzbrucke Devil's Bridge in Gablenz, Germany. jc-08.09

The Long and Surprising History of Roller Derby. Great pictures. ms-08.07

Road Trip! bb-08.07

God Has Heard Your Thoughts and Prayers and He Thinks They Are Fucking Bullsh*t. ms-08.07

Trails of Wind, the architecture of airport runways. dw-08.06

Embroidery tattoos. dw-08.02

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

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