My caffeine-fuelled morning of procrastination

Deuchars coverMy intention this morning was to surf the web briefly. A quick peek at the net, I promised myself, just until I finish my first coffee of the day. But it didn’t work out like that.

Unexpectedly, I found myself distracted by a succession of very interesting creativity-related links, which necessitated a number of refills from the percolator. Not that I’m complaining!

Since I found the links to be both interesting and useful, I thought I’d share them. They’re not strictly calligraphic in nature, but they are connected to the craft, in that they include a free graphic design book, a short video on creativity, and a podcast interview with a hand-lettering artist.

So here is a quick summation of the virtual gems I discovered this morning, (while drinking coffee and neglecting the work that should have claimed my attention).

Marion Deuchar's hand-lettered Annual Report design

Marion Deuchar’s hand-lettered Annual Report design

I started at Brain Pickings Weekly, a blog to which I subscribe. If you are a writer, a reader, or simply interested in creativity, you’ll love Brain Pickings, which describe itself as, “a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.” Through Brain Pickings, I have discovered many useful articles, books and links, including those described below.

From there, a link led me to an excellent FREE graphic design book, The Vignelli Canon, which you can download here in PDF format. A hard copy of the book presently costs £12.80 on Amazon. The book has earned 5 star reviews, so it’s worth grabbing a PDF copy while it’s available. Did I mention it’s FREE?

My next link led me to an excerpt from a lecture on creativity by Monty Python star, John Cleese, called “Five Factors To Make Your Life More Creative.” This thirteen minute Youtube video is both humorous and insightful, and more than a few of Cleese’s observations about procrastination struck a chord with me. In fact, this morning, this entire post of mine is borne of procrastination. I really need to knuckle down!
If you have more time, you can watch the entire thirty-six minute lecture here.

My final link led me to a Graphic Design podcast called Design Matters on iTunes. Find it here. I listened to the most recent broadcast, which features an interview with Marion Deuchars, a designer, illustrator, and lettering artist. Among the topics discussed are her views on the expressiveness of hand-lettering. Interestingly, in 2002 Deuchars designed an Annual Report for D&AD, in which she used no photography or typography. She wrote all 5946 words of text in pencil, and sketched all of the illustrations by hand. Due to such an original approach to the document’s design, it is one of the few Annual Reports that people actually want to read. You can see why in the page that I’ve featured at the top of this post, and those on the left. More of Deuchar’s illustrations and hand-lettering can be found at Marion Deuchars.com.

Uh oh, I’ve just realised that it’s now approaching midday. What began as a few minutes’ surfing at 9am has ended up stealing my entire morning. I’d better start my work now.

But first I’ll fire up the coffee machine… pour myself another strong cup of Java… maybe do a little more surfing while I drink it…

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