The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

June 10, 2013
by Dan
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Kodak: Bankrupted By Its Own Innovations

In an interesting piece on the decline of Kodak, Kenny Suleimanagich describes how it was not simply a reluctance to innovate that caused problems at the company, it was that they brought their innovations to market too early: No matter what … Continue reading

April 18, 2012
by Dan
7 Comments

Q & A with Nigel Peake

I first saw the work of Nigel Peake in his book In The Wilds, published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011. Collecting Nigel’s beautiful and meditative drawings and watercolours of rural landscapes and buildings, the book reminded me of both of the work of Paul Klee … Continue reading

February 28, 2012
by Dan
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Minka

Minka is an award-winning documentary short based on John Roderick’s memoir about the traditional hand-built farmhouse he acquired 1967 while working for the Associated Press in Japan. Filmed just following Roderick’s death at 93, the film interviews architect Yoshihiro Takishita, Roderick’s adopted son who … Continue reading

May 6, 2011
by Dan
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In the Wilds | Nigel Peake

With the winter winds and driving rain, things naturally fall apart — twisted, gnarled, and eventually incapable of function. When something goes wrong, the solution is often improvised with whatever is available. This haphazard collage of old materials can make … Continue reading

November 29, 2010
by Dan
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Back from Vancouver

I was in Vancouver last week for the Raincoast Books Spring 2011 sales conference. It snowed (see above) and I heard about a lot of new titles I’m looking forward to seeing next year (I can’t wait to get my … Continue reading

May 29, 2009
by Dan
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Turning Towards Our Shelves

Ellen Lupton, author of Thinking With Type (interviewed by me here), interviews graphic designer David Barringer about his new collection of essays There’s Nothing Funny About Design over at Design Observer today. It’s a wide ranging interview — mostly about … Continue reading

April 1, 2009
by Dan
4 Comments

Q & A with Ellen Lupton

“Ellen Lupton makes this industry smarter. If graphic design has a sense of its own history, an understanding of the theory that drives it and a voice for its continuing discourse, it’s largely because Lupton wrote it, thought it or … Continue reading

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