// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Paul Tilley. Creative Genius. Age 40.

Okay, so here's an eye opener. Paul Tilley was a Chicago rock star creative. I don't know him personally, but know of him. His work at DDB on Anheuser-Busch's recent Super Bowl ads beat the competition handily by all AdMeter specs. He has died at the age of 40.

So aside from praying that his family feels the peace that surpasses all understanding, this is also a time to convict myself, you, and anyone who will listen that the Type-A power that most solid creatives use to be successful must also be kept in check. Stress and a certain acceptable angst are both part of the process, but we must all take a long look at our priorities. Death being one end, time with the ones you love, doing the things that really matter in life, the other.

From the sound of the comments at the DDB memorial site, Paul was The Man. Not just another solid performer, but someone who encouraged. Inspired. And at times made people laugh. I wish I had met him. But
in many ways I feel I have. People who give of themselves, share with others and work harder than everyone else. I LOVE being a creative. A business professional. But while later in life than some, I'm working on becoming a dad, which I'm grateful to God I realize is way more important than a career.

I feel concerned that this post will in some way sound disparaging of Paul, and I say this: it isn't meant to. Instead, I post about this to thank Paul for the reminder to all of us who work too hard, take things too seriously, or both.
May Paul rest in peace, and may his family draw strength from, and draw close to the God of the Universe in this difficult time.

( via Creativity-Online )

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Scavenger Hunt Deal of the Year: Thwarted.

Unfortunate circumstance over the weekend. The Craigslist post read:

Date: 2008-02-22, 11:29AM CST

Very useful, over sized two piece filing cabinet (upper and lower stacking pieces). Heavy duty. Perfect for blueprints, posters, artwork, collections. Top unit is 46 1/2" wide; 35 1/2" deep and 16" high with five drawers.
Bottom unit is 46 1/2" wide; 35 1/2" deep and 21" high with three drawers. Van, pick up truck or SUV needed for pick up in Wheaton.

$30 OBO.
Okay, so my "Or Best Offer" was "I will pay you more than you're asking." I sent this email to her twice. These flat files go from anywhere from $550-$1,200 every day of the week. Her email response...
Sorry. I already sold.
Ugh! So close...

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Nate Williams (n8w): How To Be An Illustrator

Mid-November 2007 I pointed out illustrator extraordinaire Nate Williams. Since then I noticed something even more special about Nate. It's this generous post. Apparently out of gratitude for the mentors he had early in his career, he decided to return the favor. In his post for all to see, he shares a significant part of what he knows about being a professional illustrator. A unique look into one of today's best talents. I found it very helpful and am sure you will too. Thanks Nate for contributing to the greater good. Big move from a big talent with an apparent big heart.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

The History of Visual Communication

History of Visual Communication. Get your art history on.

( via H. Michael Karshis at That'sRight )

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BarryBlog AnswerTip: Double Click Any Word

BarryBlog is now AnswerTip enabled. I installed code, so double-click any word and you'll be given the word's definition, instant explanations, facts including biographies, tech terms, geography, pop culture, and more. All inline, without the need to exit BarryBlog. Using the database from Answers.com, you can view some 4 million topics.

Also, if adding to the discussion using the comment feature at the bottom of any of my posts, you now have an optional check a box, which when checked will send you any follow up/additional comments made after your own.


( Thanks uglydoggy for the tip. I share your love for animals. )

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Covering Photography: Book Cover and Photos

Covering Photography is a web-based archive by Karl Baden of Boston College and is a resource for the study of the relationship between the history of photography and book cover design, searchable by photographer, author, publisher, publication date and designer. Read more about the project.

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Zero7: Music to design to...UPDATED

I've been enjoying the sound of Zero 7 of late. I love the voice of Sia Kate Isobelle Furler. You may have heard her voice if you're a fan of HBO's Six Feet Under (I am not). the Argentinian Swede Jose Gonzalez can also blast. Now you can enjoy Zero 7 too using this stand alone player I've created....for me (and yes, you). Then go to iTunes and buy their stuff.

Good music to have on in the background. Let me know if you come across any objectionable content in their lyrics. Though I am listening for the overall experience and don't often catch that nonsense, I wouldn't want to make a brotha' stumble, ifyaknowhatImsayin'. Enjoy.

UPDATE: I have fixed the code on this particular post. I was currently playing different songs than just Zero 7. This one should work. E N J O Y .

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thank God. Ben Workman is Desperate.

No need to paraphrase this powerful experience. Read for yourself the thoughts from young Ben Workman.

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Etsy: Preparing for What's Really Valuable

Behind the scenes over the last several months, I've been researching, and recently finalizing various merchant side web services in order to begin liquidating much of our antiques, collectibles and what I like to call "unexpectables"— in advance of our adoption which is 12-24 months out. My wife and I share the same taste for mid-century modern decorative arts, furniture and furnishings. We're both rather frugal, so all we own is the result of being at the right garage sale or tag sale at the right time. Several times over the years in fact. I've posted about a couple of these finds before both here, here, here and here. Suffice it to say we've found some gems over the years.

A couple weeks ago it really hit home how some of our stuff has got to go, as we sat in a parenting and adoption seminar. Much of what's in our home are items that are either fragile and/or impractical, and likely dangerous to little ones. So after we returned from the seminar, we met a guy at our home who I'd arranged to show up in a truck, and he took a lion's share of my Heywood Wakefield blond wood 50's furniture back to Michigan where he shares in a collectible business. These items consisted of a vanity, side table, and a dinette set–complete with the famed Butterfly table. The Heywood pieces where the first collectibles I ever bought as a single guy right out of college, so a great deal of legacy and history exchanged hands in that transaction.

So as I ponder what's next for my wife and I, and one or two children who we may bring home from El Salvador in the near future, it makes me smile to know we're transitioning from a life of valuable stuff, to a life of true value.
Not to say enjoying what you have is inherantly wrong, but when this stuff becomes a burden, or draws attention away from things of greater importance, it's time to let go.

All that said, I do hope I'll never lose a passion for going to garage sales, and flea markets and antique malls. I've spent hours and hours in my parent's antique booths, going with them to garage sales, and enjoying every minute. I rank these memories among my most cherished. So it was a natural when my wife and I began spending time together doing the same. Time I wouldn't give up for anything. Except a baby. Or two!

Keep an eye out for our Etsy announcement and a few eBay sales soon. Our Etsy store is called "cur8tor." It's empty now, but won't be shortly. If you go there, you can look through my favorite items and sellers to get an idea what the cur8tor vintage store will be like. If you've never been to Etsy, you should check it out. All proceeds of our Etsy and eBay sales will go to our adoption fund. The costs associated with an adoption are mind boggling. But worth it.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Last Week on BarryBlog: What Did You Miss?

BarryBlog: People Notice. What Do They See?
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WinePress Publishers: The No-Gossip Policy.
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Design Thinking: Herman Miller. Ralph Caplan.
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Time Life Chairs: Coming To A Store Near You
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Andrew Moore (A.M.): Get-Yer-Grammer-On!
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Mid Century Modern Fashion: Time Life Chair

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

BarryBlog: People Notice. What Do They See?

When I began BarryBlog at the end of 2006, I never considered who, how many, or from where readers might come. Just like that first post about boxing, this blog remains a tool for me to record items of passion and personal interest, with the idea these items may also interest others. Nothing too complicated, and something I maintain without high expectation or reward.

An unexpected and surprising by product of the blog consists of new friendships and connections, new insights, and the occasional spike in interest by way of increased visits. Occasionally I am surprised too by an encouraging comment, which is always special and something I'm always grateful for. Especially as you consider how busy people are now a days, and how valuable time is.

But one thing which still blows me away is how far people come to visit my blog. And as I consider this, I begin to thinking seriously about the opportunity this represents. How do people view my blog? What is the takeaway? As a believer, I want to be a light. Are my words and actions glorifying to God? Do my interests and talents and what I share reflect one who lives to serve the Most Holy God? Am I too interested in things? In stuff? Do I reflect through my writing and sharing the things that are important to me deep inside? Does my outside add up? Or does the blog highlight some of my failures as a believer? As a person? Am I missing opportunities? Might what I've discussed or the perceptions people have fall short of where they should? Or could?

Well suffice it to say, these things are all important and weigh heavily on my mind. And in reality, this is not just related to my writing and sharing on BarryBlog. But my everyday interactions, and actions as a whole. They all matter to me. And to God. So as I share with you the list of all of the countries where people have come from to read BarryBlog, pray for me. My successes and failures are by no means critical to the overall work of the Kingdom, but I want like nothing else to be a light. Perhaps my transparency might be one way. Through what I do right. And what I do wrong.

So take a look at this list. A list of the different places where what I've written and shared has been read. BarryBlog readers have come from:

Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palestinian Territory, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam.
My prayer as I ponder this list is that I'm given wisdom, and draw close to Christ as I continue to share the talents, interests and insights He lays on my heart. And with God's grace, in ways that glorify Him. Because as you can see from the list above, people do notice.

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WinePress Publishers: The No-Gossip Policy.

Let's face it, BarryBlog is a bit all over the map. The last few months or so (Dec07 - Jan08 - Feb08), my posts have concentrated on design, and most recently on issues relating to mid-century modern furniture and decorative arts.

Then this one. A post about gossip. And faith.

As most of my readers know, I see things through the lens of faith. I realize not all 19,840 visitors who have come to BarryBlog to date have shared my view on faith, but somehow we all manage to find areas of interest that we do share in common. For me, the subject of gossip is something which effects everyone regardless of one's world view. Simply put, gossip hurts everyone. It may seem harmless, but if you really think about, it's an easy trap to fall into. While it offers instant gratification by releasing frustration, it's never the right thing to do. Over time, gossiping about others can begin to harden your heart
and proves hurtful in so many ways. On the subject of gossip, the Bible is quite clear...

"If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless." (James 1:26, NLT)
So I came across this company, WinePress Publishing. They've had enough, and have taken a stand against gossiping by instituting a No-Gossip Policy. A policy that on the surface seems a bit silly, but something I find both unique and refreshing, as well as courageous. Read the policy for yourself. I believe if you're really honest, you may begin to make the connection that gossip is hurtful, and you might consider steps to nip it in the bud. Like WinePress Publishers has done.

Thanks WinePress Publishers for the accountability, encouragement, and overall stand you've taken. I admit that I sometimes fall into the gossip trap without even knowing it. Your stand against gossip is an awesome reminder, and a refreshing twist on business.

WinePress Publishing offers a free placemat
(which you can preview here), which they will send you if you just call (800).326.4674. I admit this seems a bit juvenile, but after you think about gossip for a while, and think about how hurtful it is, you can begin to see the validity in this effort.

( via CookPartners Blog )

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Thursday, February 14, 2008


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Design Thinking: Herman Miller. Ralph Caplan.

I'll be posting about this in greater detail soon, but for now, I'm realizing that based on the reality of life as I currently know it, the word "soon" could more reasonably end up meaning "never," so take a sneak peek at these incredible in-house, very limited edition publications. They are from Herman Miller Incorporated, and were produced in conjunction with the great design thinker Ralph Caplan, and designed by the legendary John Massey of Container Corporation of America fame. I so admire John's legacy of work and thinking. I inherited these from a former Creative Director I served with while still in Michigan. As I stated in the comments section of an AIGA post recently...I received these in 1988 and still treasure all four of these publications. They were in-house produced articles on four subject matters. ATTENTION. CONNECTION. TENSION. And OMISSION. All four read "some incomplete thoughts with room for improvement, by Ralph Caplan." They played an important role in the fabric of my overall design thinking at a critical time in my design career, one which now spans some 20 years. I will be photographing the interiors, which of course is the important part, when I can. For now, enjoy the eye candy.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Time Life Chairs: Coming To A Store Near You

Tangible proof I finally coordinated getting these bad boys from the warehouse to my house. Seven in total. A sneak peek into a recent entry into my string of mid-century modern furniture, collectible and decorative arts good fortune. Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you the Herman Miller Aluminum Group Executive Management Mid-Back Work Chair, or Time Life Chair "BarryBlog Edition." Buy one for yourself at a store near you...coming soon.

Learn more about these chairs at my previous post. Or check out MidCenturyModernist for more. Email for inquires for purchase if you can't wait for them to go live. All proceeds to help fund our adoption in El Salvador.

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Andrew Moore (A.M.): Get-Yer-Grammer-On!

Like my wife, Andrew Moore (aka A.M.) is an elementary school teacher. I found out about A.M. through the Facebook application called iLike. He is a genius. He decided to cover the Justin Timberlake song Sexy Back to tell students a little about grammer. He calls it Grammerback. It's free, so listen to it below, then download it here.

powered by ODEO

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Mid Century Modern Fashion: Time Life Chair

Grab some goods if you're a Eames nut like me. I threw together a t-shirt design which you can customize to your heart's content. Or send some postage in style. To be frank, these items are crap. But I wanted to experiment with Zazzle, set up a store, work the back end, and see how the process goes. Yes I received my brown long-sleeve T and yes it rocks the house. Hanes Beefy-T to be exact. So now I'm familar with how to do this when we may need this for work, to create a couple one off designs for my wife and I, or when we want to make some extra cash. Whatever. Let me know if you want a shirt. I'll go in to the back end and lower the %. I really marked it up. But hey, all proceeds (zero and counting) go to my wife and my El Salvador adoption fund.

create & buy custom products at Zazzle

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Policing the "Built Ford Tough" Brand.

Everyone knows that the Ford Motor Company builds their trucks "Ford Tough." Consequently, when consider buying a Ford heavy-duty truck, one must seriously consider whether one is able to fulfill the oath. For afterall, your purchase commits you to a new set of rules...rules which preclude you from owning and wearing a pink shirt; from getting a manicure; from ordering fancy coffee drinks; from using roller luggage; from owning a puny dog; from consuming meat substitutes; from using a fanny pack; and a variety of un-manly pursuits.

In an extreme show of force, and in order to police their "Ford Tough" Brand, BTF officers are dispatched to enforce infractions that breach this sacred and manly oath.

Below are actual BTW videos of oath infractions being enforced to the end of the law. God bless these officers for the honorable and risky work they do on behalf of brand.

( via CJ at 1800GOTJUNK )

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Jubilee Furniture: Help Spread The Word

Quiet, sleepy, Carol Stream Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) is home to an amazing vintage, mid-century modern, retro and gently used furniture market so secret, that, well, I finally decided to put my greed aside to help them get the word out. For months now on Saturday's only,
Jubilee Furniture Company has opened it's doors at 9 am – the exact time I show up. For months I've had practically unfettered access to all this incredible and ever changing furniture and collectibles. A smorgasbord of vintage and retro items that sell for at or below garage sale prices. I kid you not, I've found Vitra, Steelcase, Herman Miller, Weiland, Knoll, Kimball, d_SCAN, Haworth, AllSteel and a ton of older American and Danish lines there. I blogged about my Steelcase Warren Snodgrass 474419W Encore Series guest chairs that are in the Museum of Modern art a few weeks ago. Each Saturday a new selection awaits at Jubilee.

You see, during the week, Jubilee accepts furniture donations, as the whole concept is to assist individuals and families in need throughout the suburbs through this ministry called Community Outreach. All proceeds from the Jubilee Furniture mart go to this worthwhile cause.

So why do I ask you to help me get the word out when I could continue my cherry picking under the radar, so-to-speak?
Well, each week I've noticed they've not had adequate resources and people to get the word out as they would like. Consequently, the place does an "okay" business, while the vintage gems go largely unnoticed (except for by me of course). Since the market is a ministry, I feel a call to help them. Especially as you consider they are a bunch of spirited, friendly, energetic and hardworking folk, and I know that they would oh-so-appreciate your help in spreading the word.
I spent 45 minutes there recently and took all the photos you see at the beginning of this post with my Canon Rebel 300D.
The yellow, low flourescent lighting at Jubilee is practically non-existent, but this dark, dusty, huge warehouse is what I find so charming. It's not polished; it's not pretty—a distinctive that may in fact be it's charm. While it provides really affordable furniture to a community in need, it's also a diamond in the rough for collectors and dealers.

Let me know what you think about my photos, and if you have any questions just ask. I've volunteered there a couple Saturdays in the past and am tight with the two full time staff members, Dave and Susan. They're located on the corner of North Avenue (64) and Schmale in Carol Stream. Jubilee can be reached at 1-(630)-337-1467. Susan just told me that they are now opening on Fridays, too, from 3pm - 8pm. And always Saturday 9am – 4pm.

I appreciate your help spreading the word. Tell them BarryBlog sent ya'.

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Tobias: Mendelsund design:related Interview

Blogger and book designer Chris at Outerwearforbooks and Tobias Design has interviewed Knopf's book designer Peter Mendelsund once before, but this time he digs a bit further into this massive talent in an interview exclusively for design:related. It appears Chris will be contributing more like this in the future.

I personally appreciate Chris managing to get this interview. It's one thing to look at someone's work, as much can be learned by studying the work itself. And for people like me who have never worked at a big name company or worked with quote "famous" designers, learning by what I see in other's work has always been insightful. But hearing from them is way different, and as you'll see from Chris's line of questioning, he is uniquely qualified to ask questions in this fashion.

A great interview of a great designer by a great designer.

( via outerwearforbooks )

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Première de Couverture: Book Cover Blog

Thomas, an potential stunt double for Moby, is behind the blog Première de couverture. I never noticed him before, as it appears he's new to the book blog thing, and after reading this article in Publisher's Weekly, he got the bug and started one, after having been posting from here in the past. Thomas comes at book cover design from a slightly different angle, having been a bookseller for some time. His insights are interesting to me for this reason. You might enjoy his blog.

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