An antidote to cynicism by way of typography, or what it’s all right to have everything you want.
In a world brimming with cynicism, it’s a rare and wonderful occasion to find an oasis of sincerity and optimism. That’s exactly what we found in the recently released Everything Is Going To Be OK — an absolutely lovely pocket-sized anthology of positive artwork from a diverse lineup of indie artists, designers and illustrators, including Brain Pickings favorites Marian Bantjes, Marc Johns and Mike Perry. What makes the book exceptional is that it manages to take existential truisms we’d ordinarily roll our eyes at, reframe them in a context of honesty and simplicity, and deliver them through such outstanding graphic design that the medium itself becomes part of the delight of the message.
This month, NASA announced that after 30 years of spaceflight and over 130 missions, its Space Shuttle Program fleet will be retiring to an earthly resting place. To commemorate the fleet’s remarkable legacy, NASA produced this fantastic short documentary, narrated by none other than William Shatner:
An idea born in unsettled times becomes a feat of engineering excellence. The most complex machine ever built to bring humans to and from space and eventually construct the next stop on the road to space exploration.”
The film comes mere days after public outrage over proposed NASA budget cuts, along with NASA’s own appeals, finally appeared to have moved Congress to approve a healthier funding grant of $18.5 billion. Meanwhile, ordinary NASA fans continue to churn out extraordinarytributes that attempt to bridge the frustrating gap between NASA’s deeply inspirational work and the toothless official communication about it.
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What Yoko Ono, William Gibson and Kings of Leon have in common.
The March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan are among the greatest natural disasters in modern history, affecting thousands of lives in unspeakably gruesome ways. While we’ve been skeptical of designers, writers and other creators flacking their work as a way to “help” Japan by donating a small portion of the proceeds while trying to sell large volumes of posters or t-shirts or novels — such schemes tend to feel like piggybacking on tragedy, disaster-washing, if you will — a new ebook by and for Japanese earthquake survivors tells a beautifully different story.
2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake, also known as the #quakebook project, was put together in a little over a week by a team of professional and citizen journalists who met on Twitter and set out to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in a thoughtful way that puts their strengths and talents to use. They collected essays, artwork and photographs from people all over the world — from ordinary people, from victims of the disaster, from journalists who covered it, from prominent writers like William Gibson, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein, who created original work for the book, and even from Yoko Ono, who captures the tragedy and turmoil of the moment in a poignant essay titled Awakening — and published them in an anthology the full proceeds from which benefit disaster relief efforts in Japan.
The idea for this book came out of desperation, desperation to do something for a country on its knees. As I write this, intense aftershocks still force me out onto the street with my daughter in my arms, even though we live far from the hardest-hit areas of the country, and far more comfortably than the thousands in refugee shelters.”
The book features 87 narratives, eyewitness accounts and essays covering — with raw and moving candor of lived experience — beauty, bravery, distance, escapism, God, morality, harmony, remembrance and everything in between.
Those of us who live in Japan are in a state of war. But not a war against a nation, or even nature. We are fighting defeat, worry and hopelessness. The question is: Are we strong enough to overcome? [F]or the many people around the world who care deeply about Japan, this book is a snapshot of a nation in crisis, told by the people affected, in their own voices.”
Besides the beautiful story of how the book came together and the profound bittersweetness of its goal, what makes the project unique is that 100% of the $9.99 you pay goes directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society. It’s the product of the sheer creative altruism of those involved, and of those choosing to support it — we urge you to join us amongst them.
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