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]

Friday 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

Field Notes Summer

National Treasure

Since the early days of Field Notes we have been searching for just the right way create an edition celebrating America's National Parks. When we saw the work of the artists of The Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series, we knew exactly what to do. We are proud to present The "National Parks" Series this and invite you to check out three 3-Packs and 52 million acres of American treasure. We're donating five percent of retail and wholesale purchases to the National Parks Service, to help preserve and expand on our nation's best idea.

Props Face Time

Classic Display Faces That Deserve Love

Herb Lubalin and Tony DiSpigna's 1974 release for ITC, Serif Gothic doesn't get the kind of attention that sparked a recent (and overdone) Avant Garde revival but it speaks for itself when set tight, in all-caps for a short declarative headline, especially one that needs a sort of non whiz-bangy science-fiction feel. Suggested pairing: Univers 65 Bold.

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.

Love’s Labor Lost

One from the Heart

Check this film for a one-day Field Notes special Valentine's Day promotion. The offer is over, but the sentiment endures.

Faces Deserving of Props

Tight, in All-Caps with Almost No Line Spacing

Chauncey H. Griffith's Bodoni Poster Black was developed for Mergenthaler in 1929 and features strong verticals and shallow descenders. It's regularly employed for era-specific "Appearing Nightly at the Copacabana" lobby-card-ish announcements and by and large it's serviceable, if not particularly interesting. But, just in case you find yourself in need of a two skinny chicks whispering near the coke mirror, late 70's, Los Angeles sort of vibe, set it tight in all-caps with almost no line spacing. Suggested pairing: Univers Light Extra Condensed.

Decipher This

The Whole
Mysterious Story

The 41st design in our series of Field Notes Quarterly Editions has a sleek, mysterious look, fitting for an edition all about secret codes and ciphers. It features a three-part history of cryptography, and the 3-Packs themselves are puzzles, very difficult puzzles, to be solved. This is the Clandestine Edition.

FNHQ In Good Company


Our studio on North Racine Avenue in Chicago was selected as one of the "Coolest Offices" in the city. Thanks to Crain's for that. And thanks also to Sarah Crowley for taking the photos, our contractor and furniture-maker, Peter Moorman, and to Phillip Schmidt for his advice and architectural expertise. Come by and see it yourself. Bring money.

A Cautionary Tale

Heed This Well, Young, Costumed Beggars

Our annual warning to trick-or-treaters, in the style of Hilaire Belloc.

Ten Years of Field Notes

Origin Stories

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.

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.

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.

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

The Guardian digital design style guide. Fabulous. jc-today

Wonderful documentary covering the 1973 Giro d'Italia: The Stars and The Water Carriers bb-yesterday

Sotheby's Sneaker Auction has sold out with the exception of one lot, the 1972 Nike Moon Shoe. The Nike "Moon Shoe" is one of the most significant artifacts in the history of the multi-billion dollar athletic brand. One of only a handful of pairs known to exist, this Moon Shoe is a handmade running shoe designed by Nike co-founder and legendary Oregon University track coach Bill Bowerman. Bidding starts at $80,000.00. ms-07.17

Gorgeous, St. Stephen's Yard. ms-07.17

"So, when she came in to meet Terry, she looked at him and said, 'I liked your script.' He hired her on the spot! Just like that! Immediately!" Names and Days of Heaven. jc-07.17

The Space Station Crosses a Spotless Sun. ms-07.16

Trailer for the film Rosie ms-07.16

CBS currently has the full stream of the Apollo 11 launch up on YouTube. mcj-07.16

New Wilco single from their upcoming 11th studio album, "Love Is Everywhere (Beware)." jc-07.16

"It was the wee hours of Monday morning some months back when my computer died while I was designing a brochure that had to be finished later that day. Without a computer what could I do? Dependency is a horrible thing. But rather than self-indulgently wallow in misfortune, I walked over to a flat file where I stored dozens of old press type sheets." -Steven Heller. jc-07.12

A letter from one of my heroes to another. jc-07.12

The Downtown Collective, Kelli Ercolano draws her fave NYC restaurants. Via Kottke. jc-07.12

Toxic Dump or Darwinism? ms-07.11

Here's why we've been so busy lately, Field Notes "National Parks" Series. jc-07.08

Annual post. Light fuse and get away. jc-07.03

I don't have time for his right now, but when I do I am diving in deep. The Public Domain Review While looking for something else I stumbled on this 12th Century Cosmography Manuscript. jc-07.01

"Sectional map of the state of Illinois: especially exhibiting the exact boundaries of counties as established by law and the general topography of the state as towns, streams, lakes, ponds, bluffs, rail-roads, state-& common-roads..." jc-06.27

Strawberry Moon over the Temple of Poseidon. ms-06.26

Lovely, the St. Stephen's Yard home. ms-06.26

Trailer for the documentary Jay Myself. ms-06.26

Your Best Friend Kelly Has Been an Ad For Our Tortilla Chips This Whole Time, by Karly Brooks. jc-06.24

Tomer Hanuka's posters for The Man Who Fell to Earth. Check more of his amazing work, including a whole set of Kubrick film posters. OMG Strangelove. jc-06.20

Trailer for the documentary Honeyland. ms-06.18

Apollo 11 in real-time. ms-06.17

What Really Happened to Malaysia's Missing Airplane?" ms-06.17

Finally, a film about the grossly underrated and nearly-forgotten Suzi Quatro! bb-06.17

Font Seed just released Hamilton Script, based on the restored Hamilton signage at the Wood Type and Printing Museum, who get half the sales, and you didn't even finish reading this paragraph, did you? You already went and bought it? Good. bb-06.13

Winners of the 2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest. dw-06.13

The Necessary Details, an insightful, entertaining review of Robert Caro's Working by Kevin Stevens. jc-06.12

Trailer for Good Boys. ms-06.12

Vintage Television Test Cards Gallery, via Kottke. jc-06.12

A Triangular Shadow of a Large Volcano. ms-06.11

The Widows of the Plaza Hotel. ms-06.11

"After 137 years of illegal construction, the city of Barcelona has granted the Basilica of the Sagrada Família legal permissions... with a projected completion date of 2026." dw-06.10

Chad Mazzola's Guide to Open-Source Typefaces. jc-06.10

The first example of a self-shaping wood construction process, Urbach Tower, in the Rems Valley of Germany. jc-06.10

I am not a watch guy, but if I was... jc-06.07

Lord of the Rings Magazine, 40 pages of funky paintings, drawings and features inspired by Chris Harnan and Charlotte Me. jc-06.07

1975 Ford Taunus Coupe. jc-06.07

Mr. Heller on Mr. Zip. jc-06.07

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.