Herman

Found this gem of a video today from Dutch studio Part of a Bigger Plan, who was commissioned by Herman Miller to create an introduction video for their WHY campaign. WHY is a new digital platform that tells audiences the story behind the company and why it has remained a force in the furniture industry for the last 108 years. Aptly so, Part of a Bigger Plan created a quirky animation that details the Herman Miller history in just 108 seconds.

I own several pieces from their office collections, and have always appreciated the fine detail put into the design and aesthetics of each one without sacrificing comfort and ease. In reading the motivations behind what they do, I am reminded why I am proud to support them and their cause.

"At Herman Miller, design is never just about a finished product. It is a narrative that extends from the conceptual thinking that informs a designer’s vision to the people it touches and the places it transforms."

Ira

Those of you who know me personally know what a sucker I am for typographic animation, and I've found another great piece to showcase on Sketch today, this time by director and filmmaker David Shiyang Liu. David took pieces of a talk by This American Life host Ira Glass and turned it into a whirlwind ride that, despite its speed, captured my attention for every word and transformed Ira's voice into something more tangible to connect to. Hearing someone speak and also seeing the text on screen combines two distinct actions so that your senses latch onto the message deeper than if you were doing just one of those things.

I want to focus on what Ira is saying too because his monologue of disappointment and disbelief describes what I see in the creative industry often. There is an underlying pressure to assert yourself and produce designs that speak to who you are as an artist, and when this doesn't happen right away, there is a disconnect. After awhile, it gets to the point where it almost doesn't matter anymore because none of it fulfills your personal standards anyway, and we end up doing things just because. The vicious cycle never seems to end.

But it's not like this forever. The key is to never give up, know your strengths, play to them, and let them grow.  Eventually, a breakthrough is reached and things fall into place. It has to, because effort is never a virtue that is ignored.

Ice

I was in Maine this past weekend for my birthday, and the start to our journey was not a pleasant one. It was pouring rain the morning we left for the 9 hour drive and it did not stop once throughout the entire trip; my boyfriend commented that it seemed as if we were literally chasing the storm. This was my first time visiting the state and I had envisioned beforehand what Maine would be like - idyllic and quiet, charming and peaceful. I was disappointed to see that at that moment, those four characteristics it most certainly was not.

But when I woke up the next morning, I immediately noticed a sense of calm coming from outside, and heard nothing but the little rustling noises of others in the inn getting ready for their day. Parting the window shades gave me the most glorious view of the harbor below and the mountains beyond, and a drive around the town took us to this bay in the photos you see above, where the lake was completely covered in ice and the sun reflected its beams to create a beautiful glimmer of light.

I stayed rooted to that spot for awhile, appreciating the stillness of the air around me. For someone who has spent her life surrounded by the fast paced sounds of the city, it was wonderful to bask in the moment of near isolation and breathtaking beauty. This small but significant experience only served to strengthen my conviction that nature is one of our world's greatest creative canvases, and it is this constant source of inspiration for which I give mindful thanks each and every day. 

Books

If you ever wondered what happens when the lights go out at your neighborhood bookstore, this incredible video by Type at their local storefront in Toronto explains just that. It really makes me feel like a kid again, filled with delicious anticipation at what tales and worlds these volumes hold. 

This video is two-fold; it also serves as a gentle reminder to keep small businesses open with your patronage. Barnes & Nobles may be more convenient, but the quirks and charm that captivate your heart belong to the places that bring magic like this to life.

The Power of Positive Thinking

From Pixar animator Aaron Hartline to aspiring animator Willie Downs

From animator Austin Madison to aspiring animator Willie Downs

Today, I wanted to share along some words of encouragement that I came across while doing research on film animation. I have long since admired the intelligence and expertise that animators bring to the table when creating stories for us viewers to enjoy, and Disney's Pixar Animation Studios represents the epitome of what a room full of talented, passionate people can achieve. Starting from ideas and drawings and working that process up to the point where it can be ordained into something tangible, the animators at Pixar know no bounds when it comes to striving for the best in all they endeavor.

Something else that these animators share is the limitless desire to help those who wish to follow in their footsteps. Willie Downs was one such person who had always dreamed of going to animation school and regretted his choice to not do so. He decided to start the Animator Letters Project after writing to Aaron Hartline and receiving advice about what he should do next. The inspiration this letter brought encouraged Willie to ask animators across various production companies to provide their insight into what it takes to make your dreams come true. I have posted Aaron's and Austin Madison's responses here.

The overall theme, which can be applied to the design industry as well, is that there will be more times than not that we will want to give up. It is easier to end the fighting and suffering and desist with a white flag held in the face of opposition. But for those who persist and keep pushing forward, the rewards reaped when your goal has been attained is what will make this arduous journey worthwhile. We should never forget why we started what we did. There is always a reason for everything.