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

Cu Ag Au

Field Notes for Winter.

Field Notes For Fall

Stamp and Die

Our Field Notes Quarterly Editions aren't necessarily tied thematically to the season in which they're released, but every few years we feel compelled to head back into the woods for Autumn. This year we present the "Autumn Trilogy" Edition.It seems perfectly simple, but the subtly debossed leaves and embossed logo are the result of a very complicated process.

A Cautionary Tale

Heed This Well, Young, Costumed Beggars

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

America's Best Idea

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.

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 keeps going endures.

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.

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.

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.

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

Moon and Planets at Twilight. ms-today

Awesome resource of some of the best Record label logos over the years, collected by Reagan Ray. bb-today

Stormtroopers, and how they got that way. jc-yesterday

"I am a sinister surprise masquerading as an average parking lot. Little do you know that each of my parking spots is precisely three inches longer and two inches narrower than the average parking spot. The designers say it is to save money and be economically friendly, but I know the truth: my only goal is to f*ck you up." ms-12.02

It's Thanksgiving! You can't hide from Frozen II, but you can make sure that your nieces and nephews never mention it around you again. bb-11.27

I'm not a huge end-of-year list person but this one is a good one, the 78 Best Book Covers of 2019. ms-11.26

Christian rock band Prodigal hid Commodore 64 BASIC code in the runout groove of their 1984 LP. bb-11.26

It's your choice if you want to bring it up at your Thanksgiving table but in case someone else does, here is a ton of information to help you: How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic. ms-11.26

Milky Way over Uruguayan Lighthouse. ms-11.25

Trailer for the documentary Citizen K . ms-11.25

How to Survive Thanksgiving With Your Not-Quite-Leftist-Enough Family ms-11.25

Treasure hunters salvaged liquor from a 102-year-old WWI shipwreck. ms-11.15

D&D vs ITC: TSR & WotC Font FAQ bb-11.15

The world's largest Starbucks Roastery opens this week in our hometown, here is a sneak peek. ms-11.13

"Shock is the first of eight series that collectively form my body of work Good Grief—a visual articulation of my journey through grief following the loss of my mother." By Shira Gold. jc-11.13

"...a towering pillar of musicianship, wonder, and menace." Ryan Reed on the 50th Anniversary of In the Court of the Crimson King. jc-11.13

150 years of Nature, a century and a half of research and discovery. dw-11.08

Trailer for Mickey And The Bear. ms-11.06

"Sherrilynne, I'm sorry to hear that you feel "on edge." And "trapped." And "like the wallpaper of your psyche is peeling back in ribbons." That's heavy. It sounds like you could use some more self-care, darling. Like when I go to the basement in the middle of the night and stare at the furnace with no expression.That's my "me time." " ms-11.06

An Oral History Of Blade Runner's 2019 Los Angeles, Because The Future Has Arrived ms-11.06

"Any Lone Ranger costume is going to be handmade, material custom ordered and very expensive." So you know, here's some very thorough advice on dressing up like the Lone Ranger. sd-11.01

A Novel: An Article, by Elizabeth Brooke. jc-10.31

Kern in Hell for Halloween. Thanks Paz. jc-10.30

The Future of Conde Nast. ms-10.29

"Malika Favre is one of the world's most celebrated illustrators, known for her stunningly simple work, often utilising a handful of perfectly refined vector shapes to convey her subject matter. This revealing monograph tells the story of an authentic artist, one who's stunning output showcases a unique talent attuned to spotting and appreciating the beauty in the simplest things." dw-10.25

"If she hits the three margarita mark, we strongly recommend taking the over on the number of minutes Aunt Susan will spend discussing which cousins she thinks are secretly gay. If things get out of hand and enter blowout territory (4+ Watermelon Margaritas), the smart money is on getting the hell out of the Olive Garden before the 100% chance that you will be stuck driving Aunt Susan home after she reveals the names of 1-2 family members who didn't know that they were adopted. ms-10.24

I collect numbered White Albums and currently have 2,435 copies. Every album is posted. Let me know if you have a copy in any condition." Via Gray. jc-10.24

Final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. ms-10.22

"John Downs's first day of work might have been his last. It was 1962 and it was only his second day back in town after four years in the army. A former student at the Art Institute, he'd been hired as an editorial illustrator for the Chicago Daily News. What his work might entail didn't quite hit him until he sat down in the viewing area of the death chamber at Cook County Jail, at 26th and California." RIP John Down, great piece by Paul Turner. jc-10.21

"At this level of enlargement, we become engrossed by the details of the printing process itself." Anne Collier at Galerie Neu in Berlin. jc-10.18

Congratulations to NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir on their historic first all-female spacewalk. You can watch it live here. ms-10.18

Cha-ching. Arcade Game Typography, written by Toshi Omagari and designed by Leo Field. jc-10.18

Want. The Intrepid Camera Company makes large-format, 4x5 and 8x10 cameras. Via Chris Glass. jc-10.18

Trailer for the film Light From Light. ms-10.17

Th story of the Mojave phone booth. jc-10.17

Speaking of Caravaggio. ms-10.17

"A few metres from her small apartment in the Oratory of Saint Lawrence in Palermo, where her mother was a housekeeper, one of the most notorious art thefts in history was taking place, as a Caravaggio that had hung for more than three centuries above the altar was cut out of its frame." jc-10.17

This should keep Jim busy all morning: The Roman Empire's Roads In Transit Map Form. bb-10.14

Planet Earth at Blue Hour. ms-10.11

Chicago Design System. ms-10.11

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.