Don’t Go Back To School

Kio Stark

My studiomate Kio Stark just launched her latest ebook titled Don’t Go Back to School. Fact is, schools don’t have a monopoly on learning anymore as more people are declining traditional education and college degrees. Instead they’re getting the knowledge, training, and inspiration they need outside of the classroom.

In Don’t Go Back to School Kio draws on extensive research and over 100 interviews with independent learners, and with that offers the ultimate guide to learning without school. The book provides models and methods for taking a new kind of path through learning, and transforming that alternative education into an exciting career path.

Kio provides concrete strategies and resources for getting started as an independent learner. If you’re debating whether college, trade school, or independent learning will get you where you want to be, Don’t Go Back to School is essential reading.

Buy her ebook here.

Doing Something for No Return

“I started the Do Lectures, which I don’t get paid by, but it helps me meet lots of amazing people, which is brilliant. It is good to do something for no return sometimes. It has given back to me many, many times.”
– David Hieatt

Quote by David Hieatt, Do Lectures co-founder, taken from the book Mash-up!: How to Use Your Multiple Skills to Give You an Edge, Make Money and Be Happier

Big Questions


I truly love the concept behind this book: Big kids questions answered simply by truly great minds. A sample question would be: If you’re on a boat, with no food or water, what do you do? The answer is by Roz Savage, first woman to row three oceans. Or, Why is space so sparkly? Answered by Martin Rees, an astronomer.

Get it here: Big Questions from Little People: and Simple Answers from Great Minds


Lumio unfolds from a book into a multi-purpose portable lamp. I just gasped watching the Kickstarter campaign. A beauty!

(via the Post Family)

Maddie Book Tour

Theron and Maddie, the most famous internet dog, are hitting the road across all 50 states, to sign some books and tell stories. Make sure to catch them when they pass by your town.

(Did you know you can buy Maddie Prints?)


“Think Long. Write Short.”
– George Lois

From his book Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!).


“The joy of the creative process, minute by minute, hour after hour, day by day, is the sublime path to true happiness.”
– George Lois

From his book Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!).

The Icarus Deception

The Icarus Deception from Squarespace on Vimeo.

The commonly understood moral of the story of Icarus is to play it safe, to obey authority. Don’t fly too close to the sun. In his new book, The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin makes the case for forging your own path, pushing beyond what is expected, and connecting with other humans by making your art–whatever it may be. Amen.

This lovely and inspiring short was made possible by the amazing folks at Squarespace and created by the talented Jaeger Sloan crew.

Maddie on my Desk

Do you know about Maddie On Things, the dog from the internet? Well, she just visited Studiomates and took the opportunity to stand on my desk. My year has been made. I don’t think I have ever been this excited about a studio visit.

And if you are as big of a Maddie fan as I am, you might want to know that she has a book coming out. I just pre-ordered my copy. Congrats to Theron Humphrey, Maddie’s owner, for starting the Maddie phenomenon.

Talk about a cool dog and dog owner power house.

This Moose Belongs To Me

Whenever Oliver Jeffers publishes a new children’s book, I get giddy. This Moose Belongs to Me will certainly be found under our christmas tree. (The Incredible Book Eating Boy is one of our family favorites.)

Brooklyn Makers

Brooklyn Makers, by Princeton Architectural Press, celebrates the currently ongoing creative renaissance in Brooklyn. Photographer Jennifer Causey captures the spirit of this homegrown movement by documenting thirty of the borough’s celebrated craftsmen. The book includes bakers, ceramic artists, clothing designers, florists, distillers, and more.

My Ideal Bookshelf

I haven’t been this excited about a book in a while: My Ideal Bookshelf is all about the books that we choose to keep, as they can say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. In My Ideal Bookshelf, dozens of leading cultural figures share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world.

Some of my contributor highlights include Christoph Niemann, Stefan Sagmeister, Alec Soth, Gina Trapani, Maira Kalman, Malcolm Gladwell, Oliver Jeffers, Paola Antonelli and John Maeda. See the full list of contributors here

The book includes dozens of colorful and beautifully hand-rendered images of book spines by the lovely Jane Mount.

Preorder your copy!

Designers & Books Fair 2012

Hey designers, book lovers and design enthusiasts; Don’t miss this weekend’s Designers & Books Fair 2012.

The list of exhibitors and speakers is nothing short of breathtaking. Check out the full program and get your tickets before it’s too late. A few presentations that caught my eye:

– Book Design at Pentagram with Michael Bierut, Abbott Miller, Emily Oberman, Eddie Opara, Paula Scher and DJ Strout (info)

– Karim Rashid in Conversation with Debbie Millman (info)

– Steven Heller and Louise Fili: A Conversation with Debbie Millman (info)

Check the full calendar of this weekend’s Designers & Book Fair. Hat tip to Steve Kroeter for making this happen!

Bend, Not Break

“Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.”
— Ping Fu’s “Shanghai Papa”

A few months ago, Ping Fu told me her moving and inspiring life story on a flight from Colorado to NYC. I have never been as touched by a person’s life journey, ever. Ping is an extraordinary woman. She knows what it’s like to be a child soldier, a factory worker, and a political prisoner. To be beaten and raped for the crime of being born into a well-educated family. To be deported with barely enough money for a plane ticket to a bewildering new land. To start all over, without family or friends, as a maid, waitress, and student.

Ping Fu also knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, a CEO, and Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. To be a friend and mentor to some of the best-known names in tech­nology. To build some of the coolest new products in the world. To give speeches that inspire huge crowds. To meet and advise the president of the United States.

It sounds too unbelievable for fiction, but this is the true story of a life in two worlds. And I am thrilled that she is sharing it with the world, with her upcoming book Bend, Not Break. It is a tribute to one woman’s courage in the face of cruelty and a valuable lesson on the enduring power of resilience.


English Is Not Easy

English Is not Easy is a beautifully illustrated guide to the English language by Luci Gutiérrez. I unfortunately couldn’t find a place that sells it online. I would love to get my hands on a copy.

Tinybop Blog

My studiomate Raul recently started a new kids app company called Tinybop.

Raul is an authority like no other when it comes to kids stuff. He has a keen eye and outstanding taste. I am super-excited about the launch of his Tinybop blog on which he is reviewing kids related apps, books, music and sites.

Want to find something perfect for a specific age, refine the results with the age slider on the top right.

Tinybop, the blog. Follow it!


Alex Cornell published Breakthrough!, a book compiling strategies for combating creative block. Advice is offered by a who’s who of leading graphic designers, typographers, cartoonists, photographers, illustrators, musicians, writers, and other creative professionals.

One of the lines that stood out to me in the book, while flipping through the pages was by Ben Barry’s advice: “A deadline is always the best cure.” I agree to that. Or, take Mark Johns: “Pretend you’re an opossum!” Ha!

The RGB Colorspace Atlas

American artist Tauba Auerbach printed the RGB Colorspace Atlas as a record of the full RGB gradient in 3,632 stunning pages of pigmented awesomeness. YES!

(thank you @kirstin / via jeanniejeannie)

Insites – The Book

Pre-orders for Insites: The Book *just* opened! It is a beautiful, limited edition, 256-page book by Elliot Jay Stocks and Keir Whitacker.

Insites features no code snippets and no design tips; instead, 20 personal conversations with people I personally look up to in our web community.

Read about Jason Santa Maria, Cameron Moll, Ethan Marcotte, Alex Hunter, Brendan Dawes, Simon Collison, Dan Rubin, Andy McGloughlin, Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka, Josh Brewer, Ron Richards, Trent Walton, Ian Coyle, Mandy Brown, Sarah Parmenter, Jim Coudal, Jeffrey Zeldman, Tim Van Damme, and Jon Hicks (oh and yours truly).

I started reading some of the stories and I am being reminded that even the biggest successes have the smallest, most humble of beginnings. Get your copy of Insites!

FREITAG – Out Of The Bag

FREITAG recently published a new book called Out of the Bag. I got my hands on a copy and if you’re like me, fascinated by the FREITAG story, then you should get yourself a copy. The book looks at how this small, SWISS creative start-up became a large brand with such an incredibly strong identity. FREITAG’s history and processes are explained, commented upon, and presented in often surprising ways.

V71 F-Buch / V72 F-Book from FREITAG lab. ag on Vimeo.

And this is the newest bag I am currently drooling over. #youcanthavetoomanyFRETITAGbags

Andrew Zuckerman / Flower

For the past year, Andrew Zuckerman has been working on a new book, entirely dedicated to the beautiful world of Flowers. Created with the support of the New York Botanical Garden, the Smithsonian Institute, and The Fairchild Tropical Garden, the images in FLOWER encompass over 200 species of flora.

The book, will be available this November, but for now you can admire the photos in the project’s microsite.

I admire how Andrew considers the development of the microsite as an integral piece to the finished work. At, you can explore images and species not included in the book, the botanical information for all of the varieties on the site, and time lapse films of the life cycle of 7 species.

Congratulations Andrew, on yet another beautiful art piece.

The Story of Polaroid

This coming October, Princeton Architectural Press is publishing a new book titled Instant: The Story of Polaroid by Christopher Bonanos. It documents the story of visionary genius founder, Edwin Land, and how he grew Polaroid from a 1937 garage startup into a billion-dollar pop-culture phenomenon. Steve Jobs considered Land a personal hero and modeled Apple after Polaroid.

Time to ditch the job title?

Mash-up! features stories from people who have “mashed up” their careers and of organizations from a range of industries. Obviously the days of being defined by a single job title are vanishing. The future of business is project-based, rather than role-based, and the people who will thrive in this kind of economy are labeled by Fast Company as “Generation Flux” – adaptable, multi-talented people with “a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates – and even enjoys – recalibrating careers, business models and assumptions.”

Watch Ian Sanders, co-author of “Mash-up! talk about the book in this brief video. Just downloaded the Kindle edition, can’t wait to start reading it tonight.


Elegantissima is the first monograph on Louise Fili‘s work and covers the breadth of her nearly forty-year design career. Featuring case studies showing sketches, references, inspiration, and design process, it’s a must-have for graphic design students and professionals, as well as anyone interested in advertising, food, restaurants, Italy, and books.

It’s a beauty of a book!