May 02, 2017


Those are Chelsea’s feet up there. She’s doing all she can do to get the shot. And that picture? Obviously for show. Art directed. Staged. Because while I absolutely crave new notebooks, and Blackwing Pearl pencils are found on surfaces around my studio, when I sit down to write, I do it on the computer. However, notebooks serve as the ephemeral gateway drug, leading me to the really good stuff.

When I head out to see a movie, which is often, I sneak in a drink, maybe a snack, and for sure a notebook. If I forget the drink, fine. I’ll do without. But if I forget the notebook? I’m screwed. Without a doubt, when the previews end, the lights dim, the screen widens to 70mm, so does my mind. It’s like I’m this open portal. Maybe it’s the darkness, or the captive time I’ve surrendered too—but I remember things during movies, like no where else. My to-do list gets longer in a movie theater, and things I’ve forgotten show up, too. But that notebook, she holds all the idea that flows during the 120 minute projected reverie.

{I just looked up the word reverie, to make sure there wasn’t a more accurate word to describe my state of being when watching movies. And, thanks to the endless joy that is a thesaurus… Did you know, phantasy is a word? While fantasy is an illusion or a dream phantasy is a dream thought of when awake. Huh! Put a pin in that word, it’ll come up again, later.}

What I scrawl in the notebooks, as important and *brilliant* as the scribble may be, I rarely refer back to. Go figure! Pretty much any time I’ve gone back to a notebook I have NO idea why or where or when I wrote. That maaaay have to do with my script being highly unintelligible, even to me, BUT! my rogue style serves me nevertheless. Somehow the goods gets in there, even deeper. When I watch, I remember to do this and that. I solve problems in that mess of script I’m making. And those flashes of insight make their way to my work. Digitally.

Writing is about the placement of words—how they relate, flow, contrast—how they drive the reader through a story. It’s visual communication.

{SEGUE} For the past year, Viewers Like You has expanded in it’s nature and vibe. With some intention, and a healthy dose of serendipity, our graphic design studio and consultancy, has focused on writing as a means to visual communication.

While always an intimate affair, Viewers Like You had organically scaled back on seeking new clients. This provided an occasion to make creative reassessments. Space was created to share my brain trust in brand new ways—through writing in particular. Writing was always a tertiary part of client engagements—it came along for the ride—and now writing is my work’s life blood. Design, my trusted side car.

At some point, when precisely I don’t know, but the cumulative effect of hearing gratitude for my writing made an impression. There’s this question my former client Danielle LaPorte poses to her audience: “What do people thank you for most often?” So good. LaPorte suggests the gratitude you receive, is a reflection of your creative genius. Nice. And yes! I’ve paid attention to the moments appreciation came into my life and work. And even more nourishing is noticing how I feel when communicating through words. It’s feels like arriving. Then I’m home.

At its core, the process of writing and designing isn’t all that different. So this phantasy of shifting my practice isn’t that great of a leap. For clients, I’ve written difficult emails and flourishing sales pages. I’ve taken over social media and blogging too. I’ve edited websites before they go live, and once suggested a single word be changed and it made all the difference in the world. I’ve created meaningful content from one client-given sentence. I’ve also gone back and forth with folks who write really well, but need to get out of their head/industry/habits. Writing is about the placement of words—how they relate, flow, contrast—how they drive the reader through a story. It’s visual communication. Which is what I do as a graphic designer. Like I said, writing feels like home.

My practice is has expanded to privilege the role of words in relation to image. Same same, but different.

And can we talk notebooks again for a minute? How many do you have? And how many are blank, waiting for you to get the courage up to “spoil” their purity? Are you gun shy when you go to mark that first page? I am. Wanna talk notebooks, or how we can write together? Reach out. I’d love it.