The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 8, 2017
by Dan
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Books Will Always Matter

“Even though we think of reading as something that we do alone in our rooms by ourselves, we talk about books, and we take the ideas that we learn from books and the stories that we have heard about books, … Continue reading

February 10, 2017
by Dan
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BOLES

Based on the short story “Her Lover” by Maksim Gorky, BOLES is short animated film by Špela Čadež about a writer with writer’s block and the woman who lives next door:

March 22, 2016
by Dan
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Brooklyn’s Most Cluttered Bookstore

The New Yorker visits the Community Bookstore in Brooklyn as owner John Scioli begins to clean out his “cavern of books” in preparation of the store’s closing in May:

January 8, 2016
by Dan
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George Saunders: On Story

Storytelling, at least from my experience of it… I think it’s a stand-in for day to day life. So, when you come to a story with this attitude we’ve been talking about, which is kind of hopeful, generous, not to … Continue reading

October 8, 2015
by Dan
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Designing Books with David Pearson

Filmed at D&AD Judging 2015 earlier this year, David Pearson talks about designing books, and picks out some of 2015’s best examples of the art: David designed the cover of this year’s D&AD annual, and he recently talked to It’s Nice That about … Continue reading

September 23, 2015
by Dan
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At the Bookbinders

The London Review Bookshop visit Shepherds bookbinders in London to watch them put together a special limited edition of Tom McCarthy’s Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel Satin Island (yours for only £185):

July 13, 2015
by Dan
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Geoff McFetridge: Table Talk

The set up of this interview with artist Geoff McFetridge is a little too cool for school, but the artist himself is disarmingly nerdy:  

April 10, 2015
by Dan
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Inside Marion Deuchars Studio

D&AD visits Marion Deuchars in her studio to talk about her work and creating hand-lettered signs for Judging Week 2015:

January 14, 2015
by Dan
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Aaron Draplin on Logo Design

I doubt most of you don’t need advice on how to design a logo (or maybe you do? Who knows?), but Aaron Draplin enthusing about design is always fun. In this video for Lynda.com, Draplin talks about his design process for logos, and even manages … Continue reading

January 13, 2015
by Dan
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Portrait of a Letterpress Printer

Portrait of a Letterpress Printer is a short documentary about William Amer, a letterpress printer and instructor based in Rockley NSW, Australia. I have serious shed envy…

November 5, 2014
by Dan
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A Little Film About… Jean Jullien

Another cover featured in this month’s round-up was Jean Jullien‘s illustrated design for Dear Reader by Paul Fournel, published by Pushkin Press. In this short film by Handsome Frank, Jullien talks about his work, drawing with a brush, his relationship with technology, … Continue reading

October 20, 2014
by Dan
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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:

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