The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

October 20, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Aaron Draplin and the Art of the Side Hustle

I could listen to designer Aaron Draplin get all excited about stuff for hours. In these short films by Jared Eberhardt for Vans, Draplin talks about design, ephemera, Field Notes, and more:

May 13, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Inside Steven Heller’s Cave

Since I was an infant, I have feared my father’s den. Based on its ancient relics and mass clutter, I have since referred to the location as “Steven Heller’s Cave.” Steven Heller’s son Nicolas (A.K.A. Ricky Shabazz) has made short … Continue reading

June 1, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Letter Cult’s epic selection of the best custom lettering of 2011 (don’t click on the link if you have things to do today — and this is only part one!). Pictured above ‘Drink Me Now, Forget Me Later…’ by Michael … Continue reading

September 7, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

Book designer and all-round good chap David Pearson on phillumeny at We Made This: It’s no coincidence that a book designer should be drawn to matchbox labels. Their shape is intrinsically book-like, their method of communication instantaneous and spare, and they … Continue reading

March 10, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

50 Watts

Will Schofield’s wonderful blog A Journal Round My Skull has been relaunched as 50 Watts using the Cargo platform: The new name has something to do with Charlie Watts, Beckett’s Watt, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, … Continue reading

March 23, 2010
by Dan
5 Comments

Midweek Miscellany

A new cover from John Gall, seen at Peter Mendelsund’s JACKET MECHANICAL. Am I the only one who wants to hear these two in conversation? Dear NPR, could you get on that please? Soft in the Middle — James Surowiecki … Continue reading

March 3, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

The “Consummate Amateur” — Graphic designer, collector and archivist JP Williams (who blogs at the wonderful amassblog) profiled at Sight Unseen. Overcoming Creative Block — 25 Artists, designers, and creators share their strategies at ISO50. I rather like Erik Spiekermann’s … Continue reading

February 22, 2010
by Dan
10 Comments

10+ Flickr Groups for Book Design and Inspiration

“10 Websites for Vintage Books, Covers and Inspiration” is one of the most popular posts on The Casual Optimist, and here, at long last, is the promised follow-up: “10 Flickr Groups for Book Design and Inspiration.” There are a lot … Continue reading

January 12, 2010
by Dan
2 Comments

The Silver Lining

The Silver Lining blog is so good right now it’s giving me a headache: Art, books, ephemera, photography… All the good stuff, all in one place… That is all. Carry on… (pictured: De Sainte in New York, book cover by … Continue reading

December 8, 2009
by Dan
17 Comments

10 Websites for Vintage Books, Covers and Inspiration

1. A Journey Round My Skull — “Unhealthy book fetishism from a reader, collector, and amateur historian of forgotten literature.” 2. The Art of Penguin Science Fiction — A comprehensive collection of Penguin sci-fi covers from 1935 onwards. 3. BibliOdyssey … Continue reading

November 10, 2009
by Dan
27 Comments

Q & A with David Pearson, Type As Image

Penguin Great Ideas Does British designer David Pearson really need an introduction? Even if you don’t recognise the name immediately — and perhaps it is less familiar on this side of the Atlantic — then you will almost certainly recognise … Continue reading

November 6, 2009
by Dan
2 Comments

Something for the Weekend, November 6th, 2009

Wild Woodbines — The Creative Review profiles illustrator Tony Meeuwissen who designed the brilliant cover — based on a pack of cigarettes — for Keith Waterhouse’s Billy Liar pictured above (NB: David the Designer has more on this wonderful cover … Continue reading

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