The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

March 31, 2017
by Dan
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Talking Coffee

I related to Twisted Doodles comics about talking coffee a little too much… 

June 17, 2015
by Dan
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Rise of the Robots

Writing at the MIT Technology Review, David Rotman looks at the impact of automation and digital technology on jobs with reference to a number of recent books related to the subject including Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin … Continue reading

June 5, 2015
by Dan
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All Characters Wait Here

Mr. Tom Gauld

November 14, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Look Closer — Adrian Tomine talks about moving to New York, and his new book of drawings with The New Yorker: I’m not one of those artists with an incredible imagination who can just make things up out of nothing, and I’m … Continue reading

July 6, 2012
by Dan
1 Comment

Something for the Weekend

Short and sweet today… “All they do is show you’ve been to college” — Ben Dolnick on his love of the semicolon, at the New York Times: And so, far from being pretentious, semicolons can be positively democratic. To use a … Continue reading

November 7, 2011
by Dan
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Address Change

If you’re in the habit of sending me catalogues or review copies, it is time to update your address books — please drop me a line  and I will send you the details. And, yes, sadly I am losing the … Continue reading

May 13, 2011
by Dan
4 Comments

Milton Glaser: Embrace the Failure

To promote their graduation exhibition in May, students from Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm asked prominent creative figures to discuss their ‘fear of failure.’ In this video veteran designer Milton Glaser offers his insights into creative failure (which apply … Continue reading

May 4, 2011
by Dan
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A Taxonomy of Office Chairs

A Taxonomy of Office Chairs by Jonathan Olivares and published by Phaidon is a visual overview of the evolution of the modern office chair and detailing the most innovative chairs designed and built from the 1840s to the present. In … Continue reading

March 23, 2011
by Dan
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Jason Fried on Rework

In a recent interview for CBC Radio show Spark, Jason Fried, the founder of 37signals, talked with Nora Young about his book Rework: CBC RADIO SPARK: JASON FRIED | REWORK Also doing the rounds is Fried’s article ‘How to Get … Continue reading

March 18, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Pushing Paper — Ben Kafka asks why is there no Norton Anthology of Paperwork?: My Norton Anthology of Paperwork would include some of the finest historical examples of boilerplate, alongside selections of letterhead, fill-in-the-blank forms, fine print, and the history … Continue reading

October 21, 2010
by Dan
6 Comments

From My Desk…

I’ve mention Kate Donnelly’s blog a couple of times here previously, but now you can take a look at my office space on From The Desks Of… should you be so inclined. Other (more interesting) recent contributors to From The … Continue reading

October 8, 2010
by Dan
1 Comment

Something for the Weekend

More Than Words — Yves Peters takes a typographical look at the winners of British Book Design and Production Awards 2010 for FontFeed. The winners all look wonderful, but, as Peters notes, it is a shame that only the publishers … Continue reading

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