What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Sunday Edition

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Coudal Partners

Decipher This

The Whole 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Here are your 2019 Tournament of Books brackets! jc-01.18

In 1989 Jean Giraud, or Moebius as he is universally known in the comix world, accepted an assignment from the Paris office of Young & Rubicam." jc-01.18

The Great Recession inspired minimalism in clothes, homes, and branding. ms-01.17

"Syrinx" is a solo exhibition of new artworks by Jesse Mockrin at the Night Gallery in LA. Masterful. Via Isn't. jc-01.17

"...a collaboration engineered to express the native flavors of three creameries in Connecticut, Vermont and Pennsylvania and create a new, totally original American cheese." jc-01.15

Partial Eclipse over Beijing. ms-01.15

Little Woods ms-01.15

"The visitor comes for dinner, goes out into the street and disappears in the dark. It's possible we will never know what it was looking for." The head of Harvard's Astronomy Department says what others are afraid to say about a peculiar object that entered the solar system. jc-01.14

"When was the last time I saw an agency advertising itself? I couldn't think of one." Dave Dye remembers "house ads." Great collection, excellent browse. jc-01.11

Lost & Found. ms-01.11

For my money, the best month of music at a single venue, ever. bb-01.11

"He wants you to look at your pepper like raindrops through a frosted window." Mortar Transparent. dw-01.10

Dinosaur Statues of Questionable Accuracy mcj-01.10

Prog rock alert. David Nixon and the Mellotron. jc-01.10

Here's a list of everything Steven Soderbergh read or watched in 2018, by date. sd-01.08

Channel 4's Big Fat Quiz Of The Year for 2018. bb-01.08

Museums on Twitter are the best. ms-01.07

Trailer for the film Cold War. ms-01.07

Old reggae album covers, on location in London. Via Things. jc-01.07

The Village in 48 Photos by Fred W. McDarrah, Sylvia Plachy, James Hamilton, Amy Arbus, Catherine McGann, and Robin Holland for the Village Voice. jc-01.04

So you know, how maths can give you the perfect roast potato. Trying this out this weekend. ms-01.04

Hatetris is even worse than you'd think. bb-01.03

From Alfonso Cuaron, ROMA. ms-01.03

"In a staring contest with VSMP you will always lose. It can be noticed, glanced-at, or even inspected, but not watched." Bryan Boyer's very slow movie player is brilliant. jc-01.02

Top 10 Title Sequences of 2018. jc-01.02

Fugazi, in infographics. bb-12.21

Historical Conjecture. Typographers Tobias Frere-Jones and Nina Stössinger on researching and creating their latest release, Empirica. jc-12.19

"I feel like Jonah in the belly of the whale." jc-12.19

Here it is: the shortlist, judges, commentators, and Zombie poll for the 2019 edition of the Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes. jc-12.18

Scarfolk Council Toys & Games. "Assault and battery not included." jc-12.18

Edward Keating: Main Street, The Lost Dream of Route 66. Via Isn't. jc-12.12

32 years ago today; the the last Smiths concert at Brixton Academy, London. bb-12.12

Word nerd alert. "A half-century ago, the new American Heritage Dictionary distinguished itself by assembling a 'usage panel' of expert language users. Now that the panel has been shuttered." David Skinner recounts the dictionary's evolution. jc-12.12

Mandy: The Art Of Film Grain. jc-12.12

Instant purchase. Dave Addey's book, Typeset In The Future is now available. jc-12.12

You know what really kicks your commute up a notch? Just try listening to this while driving. Works for me. ms-12.11

So you know, what Mars sounds like. jc-12.11

Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Crossing fingers this is good. ms-12.10

National 2 from the Klim Type Foundry is beautiful. The condensed, whoa. jc-12.07

Magic Hour paintings, by Chloe Wilson. Via TMN. jc-12.07

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

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