What's All This Then?

This site is edited by Coudal Partners, a design, advertising and interactive studio in Chicago, as an ongoing experiment in web publishing, design and commerce. [Next]

What's All This Then?

Thanks for visiting. If browsing around here while at work has had a negative effect on your productivity we're sorry but imagine what it's done to ours. [Hide]

Thursday Edition

This is our studio site. Among lots of other things, we run Field Notes Brand,
go there right now and spend lots of money. Thanks.

Coudal Partners

An Adventure of a 2-Pack

Meet Haxley

During October, Chicago Illustrator and poster-maker Jay Ryan set himself a goal of creating one small ink illustration each day. These drawings revealed a story about a bear and his squirrel neighbors. We followed Jay's progress and found the drawings irresistible. We knew that they'd look great in a special Field Notes edition. We hope you agree.

Ten Years of Field Notes

Origin Story

Ten years ago we started Field Notes. Here's some background. Aaron talking about where the original idea came from and the history of American agricultural design. Jim on the mechanics of moving from working for clients to inventing one. Whet Moser's recent piece for Chicago Magazine and how we got here.

Field Notes Coastal Edition

To Shining Sea

Several weeks ago we tweeted that we were starting a project that involved "...a ridiculous waste of money, resources, & energy in service of making an particularly unimportant and totally obvious observation." Mission accomplished.

The 14th Tournament of Books

A Literary
Cage Match

Once again, our Field Notes was the title sponsor of The Morning News Tournament of Books. If you're not familiar with the ToB, you'll want to read this Brief History of the Tournament of Books, by Angela Chen. "You can't kill the Rooster"

We've made a small batch of special manila-kraft Memo Books, with the ToB mascot on the cover and a checklist of the tournament books on the inside. Buy one of these for $3 and we'll add $3 of our own, and then donate $6 to 826 National, a seven-chapter network that provides under-resourced students, ages 6-18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. This year, we raised over $10,000 for 826. You guys rock.

A Six Tone Scale

True to the Blobbiness

We've long-admired the dynamism of a mural that is hangs on the north side of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, on Ashland Avenue. Once we renovated and moved into our new studio space, we decided to track down who was responsible, with the idea of doing something similar for our main work space. The artists, Gwendolyn Zabicki and Kent Smith, were up for the idea, and also for us filming them painting the 12' x 8', 3-panel artwork. Thanks a million to them.

New From Field Notes


We're proud of the short film (spot?) we made for a product partnership with the unstoppable Bellroy from Australia. Check out the new Everyday Inspiration, custom, compact leather cover.

Thanks to Big Delicious Planet for inviting us into their Canteen for the location, and to Spencer Tweedy for letting us use his song "Temple State" on the track. It's in heavy rotation at HQ currently.

One From Way Way Back

How Do You Spell Courage?

A lot has changed around here since 2005: waistlines, hairlines, fashions, a big new studio, and new businesses to fill it with. Here's a Throwback for Thursday, in beautiful standard definition. The production values might leave a little to be desired, and the "new Canadian restaurant" in the neighborhood may have closed, but the film itself actually holds up. Sort of. Presenting Copy Goes Here.

You Can Count On Change

That’s a Wrap

After a long, successful run, we're shutting down our advertising network, The Deck. Jim posted about the decision and the details at the Deck site. John Gruber was one of the network's very first affiliates. John published a way-too-generous piece about The Deck at Daring Fireball. Thanks for that, and to all the affiliates, advertisers and readers who supported the network over the years.

Last year we moved into a new studio in Chicago, and in the back, near where we do screen-printing and other messy stuff, there's a shelf for projects we made, operated and eventually, shut down. We'll make some room for The Deck there, right next to Jewelboxing, The Seed Conference and The Show. We haven't stashed away Layer Tennis just yet, but who knows? Anyhow, as always, we're scheming about the future. And, of course, we're making these notebooks.

Choose to Go to the Moon

Over the Moon

It's not quite like faking the moon landing, but the film we made for the release of our Field Notes Quarterly Edition Lunacy, was made entirely using the same sort of practical, analog effects that you'd need to employ if you were going to stage that event, back in the day. So fun. So messy. BTW: The Lunacy Edition is now sold out.

Moco Fun at the new HQ

We Go Round in Circles

Steve bought a cool motion-control rig. We wanted to make some sort of recap the Field Notes Quarterly Editions from 2016. So we made this film. Added bonus, it provides a nice view of the new HQ.

JC at Creative Mornings

What Are You
Afraid Of?

Here's Jim's presentation from the inaugural edition of Chicago Creative Mornings. Thanks to Tina, Mig, Gravity Tank and everyone who showed up.

Guest Editors

Helpful and
Mostly Polite

A list of all the brilliant people who have helped us by guest editing Fresh Signals can be found here.

Other recent features are listed on Page Two.

Fresh Signals

"This incident took place sometime between 1973 and 1975, either in Cleveland or Berlin." Genesis' Tour Manager Recalls His Role in One of Rock's Most Embarrassing Moments. bb-05.22

Behind the Design. "...the story about how a former Buddhist monk designed the soy sauce bottle seen in Japanese restaurants around the world." jc-05.22

Death Valley 8K. ms-05.22

"Shot in the alpine landscape that inspired Mary Shelley's classic novel, Chloe Dewe Mathews' photographic series In Search of Frankenstein juxtaposes snow-covered mountains with a network of eerie subterranean bunkers, built in the 1960s to shelter the entire population of Switzerland in the event of a nuclear disaster. ms-05.22

Andrew McIntosh's paintings of Highland castles with portals to secretive worlds at sunset. dw-05.22

Keys, buttons, and dials. dw-05.22

The AV Club's playlist of "classic rockers grappling with punk and new wave." bb-05.22

Miniature Calendar, by Tanaka Tatsuya. Bravo. jc-05.22

The awesome beauty of Jupiter captured by Juno, in 13 photos. ms-05.22

Alexandr Melentiev's entry for an "end of civilization" art contest, City on the Water, Post-Apocalypse. jc-05.22

Related to the last, see you in a few hours. jc-05.21

"In what has to be one of the most famous design briefs in electronics history, Bill Hewlett asked Osborne and Cochran to shrink the 9100. 'I want it to be a tenth of the volume, ten times as fast and cost a tenth as much.'" Another great post by Jim Hughes, The HP-35: Consumer Electronics, an Origin Story. jc-05.21

"Restoring dignity to the garden gnome." Pellegrino Cucciniello's Nino. jc-05.21

RIP Bill Gold. You know his work. jc-05.21

The History of the Solo Cup, From the South Side to Star Wars, great piece by Robert Loerzel jc-05.18

Perfect. jc-05.18

Hold My Beer: How I Became a Certified Cicerone (and How You Can, Too.) ms-05.18

So you know, make sure you're following the @fieldnotesbrand Instagram account. We're starting something new on Fridays at 11am sharp, Chicago time. It starts tomorrow (5/18) and you might win some free stuff, including out-of-print, rare editions. jc-05.17

Verbing and Nouning are Fine, by Stan Carey. Also, take this quiz on functional shift that Stan made for Macmillan Dictionary. jc-05.17

Filmap: film locations in Google Maps. bb-05.16

"In his 45 years on WFMT radio, Studs Terkel talked to the 20th century's most interesting people. Browse our growing archive of more than 1,200 programs." ms-05.16

The technique of intarsia — the fitting together of pieces of intricately cut wood to make often complex images — has produced some of the most awe-inspiring pieces of Renaissance craftsmanship. dw-05.16

Trailer for the next Spike Lee film, BlackkKlansman ms-05.16

A view of a tomorrow we never got, from 1976. jc-05.16

M. C. Escher (1898-1972). Prints and Drawings. The Boston Public Library collection is now digitized. jc-05.16

Microsoft Surface Hub 2. jc-05.15

DKNG created a mural for the Almanac Beer Co. brewery. Here's how. jc-05.15

Eric Kass visited the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati. Lucky for us, he brought his camera. Via Fabien Barral. jc-05.15

"Sure, the other guys at this school all seem pretty fake and phony to me, but I recognize that adolescence is a tough time and we're all trying to figure out who we are through trial and error." If Some of Literature's Most Complicated Male Characters Were Just Reasonable People Instead, by Astrid Johnson-Krause. jc-05.15

A few of the 63 photographs by Linda McCartney that were donated to the new V&A Photography Center. jc-05.15

Dan Nosowitz doesn't know how to waste time on the internet anymore. Same. jc-05.14

"Tight Science Not Touching Fiction..." Mathieu Triay's revival of Michael Chase's 1969 typeface, Marvin. Love it, and the way it's presented too. jc-05.14

Selections from 6000 maps digitized by NatGeo. jc-05.14

If you're in Chicago this weekend, and into really crazy films from before making films was easy, go see Jon Moritsugu's Mod F**k Explosion at the Music Box, projected in glorious 16mm! (PS: good interview here.) bb-05.11

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma's latest work is the Comico Art Museum. jc-05.11

Segmented Type Appreciation Corner is a great demo by our pal Marcin Wichary. If this is your sort of thing, there's plenty of other stuff to dive into at his site, Aresluna. jc-05.11

Related to the last, It's the fiftieth anniversary of Wyman's identity system for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. jc-05.11

Lance Wyman on the power of graphic design to transcend language barriers. jc-05.11

Phantom Thread camera tests, with audio commentary by Paul Thomas Anderson. I could watch this sort of thing all day. sd-05.09

Matthew Kramer's Instagram. jc-05.09

Page Two contains the previous 40 Fresh Signals, recent features, a key to the icons and the categorical archives.

Grab our blended RSS feed here.


French | German | Italian
Japanese | Spanish | Portuguese

Two Hundred Eighty

Coudal on Twitter

The MoOM Board

One of the most popular parts of our site is The Museum of online Museums (MoOM) which is updated quarterly. Please consider joining the MoOM Board of Directors. A subscription comes with a handsome coffee mug but none of the snootiness so often associated with the patronage of old-school cultural institutions.

Elias Jones
Maura Statman
Fergus Wessel
D'Ortenzio Family
Johnson Hur
Kelly Leonard
Brigitte Martin
Brian Mohney
Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran
Rick Johnson
Leah Blum
Philip Birmingham
Andrew Dale
Patch Superstore
Haris Bacic
Ian McRoberts
Grettir Asmundarson
Vladimir Gendelman
Tom Shakow
Dallas Shelby
Blueberry Ln.
Michael Russem
James Sampson
Rod McGuinness
Jason Lankow
Nöel Jackson
DJ Edgerton
Carolyn Wood
Mark Powell
Chris Ebmeyer
Christen Carter
Chris Allison
Keith Krieger
Kathleen Devlin
Roger McLeish
Fred Beshid
Katie Harrar
Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran
Daniel Annereau
Dan Rubin
Barbara Ann Kipfer
Sunniva Geuer
Gareth Walters
Claire Zulkey
Sean Palmer
Jane Quigley
Edward Lifson
Witold Riedel
Brian Cook
Anne Herron
Abby Urban
Erik Ratcliffe
Michael Jenkins
Katie Carney
Mark Greenberg
John Boardley
Jon Tan
Robin Sherwood
William Dampier
Don Stillman
John Pojman
Werner Haker
Amy Hostler
Whet Moser
Debbie Millman
Matt Russell
Bill Keaggy
Adam Kruvand
Randy Hunt
David Demaree
Erik Vorhes
Dan Mabrey
Nalani McClendon
Mary Catlan
Anonymous (8)

Supporting the MoOM requires a simple annual non-tax-free contribution of $75. In exchange for your generosity, you'll receive one sweet, tall coffee mug and a permanent listing and link as a member of the Board of Directors. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

We actually do
stuff beside
updating this site.

Find out what.