The apprenticeship process is a time tested way to communicate a new skill to the next generation.  Watching a craftsman work their trade while describing their thought process allows the student to witness the evolution of the final product.  In my opinion, hearing the artist speak to the process and watching over their shoulder is a much more effective form of teaching than textbooks and unguided practice.

In that vein, Aaron Draplin has partnered with  to produce a well-crafted video showing from start to finish a quick branding exercise for a practice company named All Base Concrete Foundations.

Some of my key takeaways were:

  • Process
    • Start with paper – it allows more freedom than digital spaces
    • Always show your work in context – rarely will the finished product be viewed in total white space
    • The act of writing things down – even the names of colors – brings your imagination into gear
    • Design can elevate smaller companies, organizations, bands, even ideas – to challenge those that are bigger and more established.
  •  Illustrator
    • Have a giant workspace where you can copy and paste iterations back and forth to somewhat emulate the paper process
    • Be armed with a good symbol pallet stock
    • Continually check your work on and with light and dark values

I’m really thankful that Draplin and shared this insight into his creative process.  Draplin is known for Field Notes notebooks and his site is  Check out his stuff.

Do we live in the in-between time for exploration?  Over the last six hundred years, we have explored (from a european point of view) the world.  We can read the logs of Columbus, Lewis and Clark, and Magellan.  Then, we explored the possibilities that the Industrial Revolution offered humanity.  An exciting blip of exploration in the late 50’s through the 70’s brought us to space and the moon.  JFK provided the spark to our imagination that enticed our collective soul that spurred the populace to action.

Then, our exploration mindset went away.  One could argue we were exploring what the world of instant communication could bring us but you can’t plant a flag in a text message.  Lately, we have started to bring a bit more excitement to bear.  The Orion capsule just completed a test flight successfully as the first step in a long journey to Mars.

We landed a rocket on a comet (!)

And now, Elon Musk is trying to revolutionize space travel by re-using the rockets and landing one on a barge in the ocean – a feat he admits is only half likely to succeed.

Erich noted to me the other day that the person most likely to be first on Mars is probably in high school right now.  It’s quite exciting to me that those future explorers are watching movies like Gravity and Interstellar to get their imagination sparked.

Finally, I love the short film by Erik Wernquist titled “Wanderers”.  It is a powerful depiction of what I hope my grandchildren will be reading about when they read their newspapers.  And isn’t that an apt combination between space-exploration and newspapers to reflect on in closing?