Back to Basics

About a week ago, Apple released a physical book – “Designed by Apple in California” – to the public for the cool price of $300. The book is dedicated to Steve Jobs and explores 20 years of Apple design.

Apple’s newest innovation – the book.

What I find fascinating about this book is that Apple – one of the tech giants that really set forth the digital and mobile revolution – decided to publish this manifesto in the form of a heavy book instead of an app or a video.

Though photo printing and coffee books have been around for quite some time now, there’s been a revitalization of print. In fact, it could even be considered a glorification of print.

Artifact Uprising is an example of a company that’s capitalizing on this print renaissance. With their services, you can get your Instagram photos printed individually on matte-finish paper or create a softcover photo book for your coffee table. Photo books from my childhood always seemed a little tacky and cheesy – they were also only one of few ways we could keep and share photos. Now that there are so many platforms on which to share photos – the majority of them being free – we have plenty of choice in the digital space. But there’s something to be said for a beautiful photo book filled with your own curated photos that will live on even when there’s no wifi or outlet.

Like Apple’s new book, seasonal magazines that are en vogue such as Cereal, Kinfolk and Drift are definitely pricier than the average magazine, but they’ve become akin to status symbols. Complete with stunning photos and plenty of delicious white space, these magazines are more art than content at times. If you were worried that print would vanish soon, make no mistake – the sexiness of print is here to stay.

Magazines – the ultimate… accessory?

And on the flipside of that – though we have Evernote, OneNote, Wunderlist and so on and so forth, we simply remember information better if we write it down. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of glamorized analog is RIFLE PAPER Co., a charming stationary brand that sells calendars, notebooks, planners and much more. Sure, I could buy a 50 cent notebook from Staples… but getting to open a cloth-bound, copper-foiled planner every day for the next year sends chills of excitement down my spine.

Then there’s the resurgence of physical “pens” and “pencils” for digital products. FiftyThree sells $30 “pencils,” and Microsoft and Apple have been duking it out in terms of who has the better “pen”.

The prettiest planners you ever did see.


Amazon had initially made books more consumable, and still do. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is hard to say. These days, buying a book is as easy as two clicks of a mouse – nothing particularly rejuvenating. In fact, the discovery of the Japanese word tsundoku – the act of stockpiling books never consumed – was a hit among popular media recently. It’s just another testament to how much we take buying books for granted.

Before Amazon, you probably went to Barnes and Nobles and embarked on a mini-scavenger hunt looking for books and stumbling upon others along the way. But the book shopping experience is long from forgotten. There’s been a resurgence of independent bookstores, bringing back dusty bookshelves and bargain book finds.

Amidst all of this rambling, I think what I’m trying to say is that there will still be a place for books, stationary, pencils and erasers in many of our wired hearts. Yes, there are many who are full-blown digital and are completely plugged in with smartwatches, Kindles, iPhones and all. But when the portable battery runs out of juice, will you then lunge for a book? When your computer is malfunctioning during a lecture, will you go through your backpack, searching for your paper and pencil?

Whether you’re drooling over the recent issue of Drift or caught up in an unexpectedly good dollar novel, keep it up. Continue to support print in any form. Maybe even check out a couple of books from your local library if you want to take it a step further – bonus points for using the Dewey Decimal System.


Other resources I’ve found a couple of days after I posted this…

People are falling in love with a simple productivity system that just uses pen and paper 

Nothing can kill our love of books, not even e-readers


What To Get a Designer For the Holidays

Though shopping for a loved one, relative or friend may already seem difficult enough, what if that girlfriend or best friend were a designer? The present not only has to be of use to them, but it also has to look good before they open it. But what if you’re not the most graceful wrapper or the most conscientious gift-giver? Did you use Comic Sans on that last holiday card you made? Don’t panic. Here’s the ultimate guide for how to shop for a designer:

Bamboo Stylus, $29.95

Compatible with tablets and mobile devices, the Bamboo Stylus offers a pen-writing experience that all designers will enjoy. Easy to use, light and most of all, sleek, the Bamboo Stylus makes pen-to-electronic device writing cleaner and more elegant than ever before. Small yet powerful, the Bamboo Stylus can be easily wrapped in newspaper or tucked into a small bag with some tissue paper.

Stendig 2013 Wall Calendar, $29.95

“When in doubt for the holidays, buy a calendar,” or so I thought the saying goes. But there’s definitely some truth to this statement. Even though many people now use smartphones to keep track of their day-to-day schedules, calendars can still be used as decorative pieces if not for their original purpose. Regardless, the Stendig Wall Calendar serves these dual purposes exceedingly well. It makes for easy wrapping too.

Pantone Accessories, $9.95 – $80

For the simple yet devoted designer, try a product from Pantone. Offering accessories like journals and mugs, Pantone is committed to bringing out the beauty in the colors of their products, a mantra that all designers can appreciate. Since Pantone products come simply and beautifully packaged, all you have to do is stick a bow on the box it comes in and you’re done.

Field Notes “The Kit,” $26.95

If you know a designer that is quick to jot down ideas from the top of his or her head, “The Kit” from the makers of Field Notes might be the perfect gift. With six classic field notes memo books, field notes ball point pens, field notes pencils and a field notes 18-month calendar, the designer in your life will never miss an opportunity to do some brainstorming.

Minimalist Tees, $35 – $110

Perhaps your designer friend/relative/beau is in need of some clothing this holiday? Minimalist Tees can help. Offering quirky yet simple shirts, these t-shirts also work as the perfect gift for anyone with a sense of humor or a love of Helvetica.

Magazine Subscriptions, $34.99 – $307.05

Magazines that you would gift to a designer are not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill tabloid magazines. Rather, these magazines are carefully compiled works of art that are meant to last. Kinfolk, Apartamento, Uppercase  and Extra Curricular are just some of these creative publications. Can’t wait for the magazine to arrive? Kinfolk, for instance, can be found at any local Anthropologie, along with other great magazines.

Have any other gift ideas to share? Let me know in the comments!