Archive for December, 2012

This Blog Has Not Been Abandoned.

This blog has not been abandoned.

It has not been abandoned on account of the unspoken party line that blogs are no longer en vogue. Nor has it been abandoned in favor of transferring my blatant self promotion over to Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter. I tweeted only slightly more than I blogged this year, which phonetically speaking, is disgusting. This blog has been more deferred than abandoned—the greatest reason for which being that most weekdays of 2012 have begun at 7:30 AM and concluded at 2:00 AM. And that with so many of those waking hours devoted to my own highly questionable means of reconciling relationships between pictures and type, that around 2:01 AM, and/or Saturday and/or Sunday, it just felt innately important for my own well being to be somewhere other than sitting at a desk, facing a screen, cataloguing all the ways in which compromise gives way to sometimes better, sometimes worse, always lesson-taking instances of graphic design.

So here’s an uncharacteristically large account of things that I’ve been working on (and actually completed) since April outside of the op/ed page:


Above: a cover I did for the Science section over the summer exploring how the new discoveries of an expanding universe are being uncovered just as funding for their subsequent research programs is shrinking (Larger version here).
Art direction by Peter Morance.


Various illustrations for the book review. The first one being about the questionable existence of free will. Read here and view a larger version here.

The second one is an accounting of how humanities programs at college have lost their way. The review countered that the book itself lost its way as well. Read here and view a larger version here.

AD for both: Nicholas Blechman


The two bin Ladens below ran as a pair for two of the high-profile tomes which came out this year about the hunting and killing of the infamous martyr thug. The first one focused on the Washington perspective, studying the raid safely on screen, while the other took stock from the first person perspective on the ground during the night it all went down. Read the first one here and the second one here.

AD: Rex Bonomelli


Three for the magazine: this one below speculating how the GOP will reconcile with itself in the wake of Mitt Romney’s failed bid for president. Here’s a bigger version.

AD: Amrita Marino

…And in the spirit of balance, a condemning account of how Obama’s lost his ability to weave an essential public narrative to better explain his policies and objectives. (In earnest, this is a tight crop. The full image as it ran can be seen here).

AD: Raul Aguila

This third one was a welcome curveball (full version here). It paired with the magazine’s profile on how therapists have taken to re-branding themselves as specialists in the down economy. The below photograph by Jens Mortensen began as hurried digital sketch from me, which Rem and Gail sagely decided would function better in a photographic context. So I had an opportunity (with a naturally microscopic window of time) to forego illustrating anything, really, and instead write, design, print, score and cut these business cards and advertisement—at which point they were handed off to Jens to photograph. This feature was included in the magazine at the very last minute, so the concept and execution came together over three days while very much in the thick of art directing op/ed on my end. Prior to this project, I would frequently wonder how the magazine was able to turn out such gorgeous photo illustrations week after week from other contributors. The answer I got was: it doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

ADs: Arem Duplessis & Gail Bichler
Photographs by Jens Mortensen


(Mom, I finally made it to) VANITY FAIR:

A quick one for Todd Purdum’s column in Vanity Fair about how most Americans can’t reconcile with the idea that the nation’s strength as a superpower is waning.

AD: Julie Weiss



Designing a cover for Nabokov’s Lolita while this (or even this) still walks the earth assures failure by a comfortable margin. Nevertheless, I tried one anyway for John Bertram’s and Yuri Leving’s Lolita Covers Project.


FROM LEFT FIELD (or just across the pond):

One for the time capsule. I had the honor of working with Coralie Bickford-Smith on one of her many Penguin paperback classics. That she gave me Butler’s The Way of All Flesh to attack was a a gift for two reasons. Firstly, that book has cruelty and honesty in its bones in equal measure and I loved it. Secondly, Butler’s words gave rise to the title of a Mountain Goats album, The Sunset Tree which, among its thirteen songs can safely lay claim to perhaps the greatest New Year’s Eve anthem of the modern day.

It’s rare that I’m approached to tackle fiction let alone an out-and-out classic like Butler’s monument, so I was grateful for the chance to jump out of my comfort zone and work within Coralie’s universe for a hot second.

AD & Series Design: Coralie Bickford Smith



Two covers for Norton, the first being a full-tilt crazed anthology of fictionalized fine print: complaint letters, disclaimers, warning labels, assembly instructions, blog entries, etc.

AD: Albert Tang

The second being David Randall’s book about sleep science which would gently encourage the reader to remain awake while reading it.

AD: Eleen Cheung


The paperback for Ben Mezrich’s Sex on the Moon: chronicling the myriad ways in which a smart guy could still be irretrievably stupid in attempting to steal moon rocks from NASA.

AD: John Gall


Two science titles for the new Current imprint at Penguin. The Half Life of Facts

…and the new forthcoming Douglas Rushkoff…

AD: Jaya Miceli

…and the new Jon Ronson anthology, making a few zig-zags from his previous book in which he profiles people and groups whose belief systems are either leading them dangerously astray or enabling them to create their own moral and existential certainties. As is Ronson’s talent, he’s able to showcase that the gray area between the two is a lot broader than one might anticipate.

AD: Helen Yentus

Thanks Jon (and Jon. And Helen).

and…back to work. Hoping to post a few more things before another seven months have elapsed.