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?

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Thursday Edition

WBEZ's Alison Cuddy recently met up with Jim at the library
to talk about Field-Tested Books

Coudal Partners

Art and Commerce

Florentine Floor

Jim wasn't looking for a new logo when he and his wife set off on a walking tour of Florence. We had been discussing an update to the Coudal Partners identity for some time and had generated pages of words and sketches. Nothing jumped out at us and so we turned the burner down and let the project simmer.

We wanted a mark with a touch of mystery, one that suggested an intersection of faith and commerce. Something that had a strong, simple geometry but also made an overtly historical reference.

There's a lot of talent in the studio and it mostly comes to the surface through the application of craft. In that sense, we're not far removed from the guild system of the middle-ages. Knowing the basics of typography, writing, composition, etc., is the path to freedom. Restraint is critical, but it only comes with confidence, with faith.

On a hill above the city of Florence sits the Romanesque church, San Miniato al Monte. Its white marble floor is dotted with this bold black circle, enclosing an elegant cross. Its energy focuses inwards, then outwards, a metaphor appropriate for the work we do. Once removed from its religious context and rendered as a clean mathematical shape, the mark has a secondary feeling that recalls American heavy industry. The US Steel "diamonds" come to mind, industrial gears and other marks from that generation's powerful geometric design.

Hans van Dijk wrote to tell us that while he was visiting the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte in Florence, the sunlight coming through the windows told him which photo (above) to shoot.

Whats All This Then?

One Thing Leads to Another

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

Also, JC chatted with Matt from 37signals about how and why we transitioned from client work to products and also a longish piece in more detail, from their excellent Bootstrapped series.

Over the Air All Over The Place

Hot Air Rises

"My Friend Chris," Jim's SXSW Keynote. What We Talk About When We Talk About Maintaining Dignity in Online Advertising, a pre SXSW interview by Wendy Mitchell. JC guests on Dan Benjamin's excellent podcast, The Pipeline and chats with Kegan and Liz from Design Glut. Some scenes from an interview with JC for the film Life in Perpetual Beta. A Business POV interview with Jim conducted during Seed 3. Jim's 2008 SXSW presentation, A General Theory of Creative Relativity. In 2007, Jim and Brendan Dawes presented Making Your Short Attention Span Pay Big Dividends. Edward Lifson invited Jim over to the WBEZ studios for Sunday's Chicago Public Radio arts show Hello Beautiful! You can listen to it, or download it, here.

Also, here's Jim with type projected all over his face, giving a rambling presentation for the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada and here's the text and audio of the Opening Keynote at the 2006 SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, from Jim and Jason Fried of 37signals.

Coudal.com at Ten 22 of 22

Ten Years After

October marks the tenth anniversary of this site. We've had a lot of fun, learned a lot of things and most importantly, made a lot of friends during that time. With the help of a bunch of generous and talented photographers, each weekday during the month we have featured somebody who we've met, in one way or another, through publishing this site. The list is not comprehensive by any means (and we're wishing October had an extra week or two this year) but we're sure we're better for knowing these folks, and we think you might be too.

JC's Presentation At SXSW

In Theory

We recently issued a challenge to our more mathematically or scientifically inclined readers. While it's quite possible that the theory Jim presented at SXSW Interactive is flawed we asked them to ignore that and to watch A General Theory of Creative Relativity or listen to the podcast and then propose a scientific formula that properly expresses it. The winner is David Yeiser. Check out his cool spreadsheet.

Recent Press

Digital is Analog, JC at Webstock in Wellington, New Zealand. JC on The Interview Show. An interview with JC in Design Glut. PC Mag just named us as one of their Top 99 Undiscovered Websites. JC took part in a Communication Arts Magazine roundtable on design and technology and was interviewed by Samantha Stainburn for Crain's Chicago Business recently. Another interview is Under the Iron and another roundtable happened as a part of 37signals' Fireside Chat series. JC wrote a piece for A List Apart. Time Magazine named our Museum of Online Museums (MoOM) one of their 50 Coolest Websites for 2005. There was a big CP profile in UK magazine, Computer Arts. Bob Mehr got into The Show for The Chicago Reader. Wired wrote about our Dear Cell-Phone User Cards. Plus, Time Out Magazine and The Christian Science Monitor both reviewed our Field-Tested Books project.

Twenty Marks

Here's a small sampling of logomarks we have created for a variety of clients. Use the plus signs below to navigate.

this studio

At any given time we're working on a limited number of projects, but we do a lot of different things. Television, print, identity, interactive, brand development and a lot of outside stuff to keep things interesting.

400 North May Street
Chicago Illinois
USA 60642
312 243 1107

the crew

Jim Coudal -jc
Bryan Bedell -bb
Michele Seiler -ms
Steve Delahoyde -sd
Joe Dawson -dw
Matthew Jorgensen -mcj

Editors Emeritus
Kevin Guilfoile -kg
Susan Everett -se

Guest Editors

this site

The idea is to showcase the agency's abilities, provide a forum for creativity and experimentation in writing, design and commerce and to test new technologies and tools.

The site requires modern browsers, with all the usual plug-ins. We use Safari and Firefox.

Software: PS, Freehand, Illustrator, Flash, Transmit, BBEdit, Cleaner, Final Cut Pro, Quicktime, Campaign Monitor, Premiere, Basecamp.

Made on Mac, best on Mac.

CMS: Movable Type and custom PHP.

Hosting: Tilted.

Primary typography: Times (!), Gill Sans, Verdana.

Patron Saint: John of God.

Support: Rosecrans Baldwin & Andrew Womack. Brian Taylor. Andrew Abb. Jeffrey Zeldman. Eric Helin & Andrew Neujahr. Michael Schmidt & Toke Nygaard, Jason Fried, Matt Linderman, Ryan Singer and David Heinemeier Hansson. Jason Kottke.

Find a Job

More @ We Work Remotely.

A Thing We Made:
Field Notes

Field Notes Brand memo Books and more. "I'm not writing it down to remember it later. I'm writing it down to remember it now." A CP/DDC joint.

Some Other Things We Made:

We hated the options available for custom packaging DVDs and CDs so we created a brand that gives creative professionals and hobbyists the tools to make great stuff. Here's a bit from the latest Jewelboxing weblog entry:

"Clients are always stunned at the result, almost to the point of being speechless, shocked that their faces are so artfully placed on a professional DVD cover. I couldn't be happier with Jewelboxing and I think I can say the same thing for my clients as well." Read the entire post.

Pinsetter: Spell with buttons.

The Deck Network. Interested in getting your product or service in front of millions of savvy, curious remarkably good-looking people? Give a shout.