Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

03 NOVEMBER, 2010

An Awesome Book of Thanks! Dallas Clayton Celebrates Gratitude


In 2008, LA-based artist and writer Dallas Clayton made us smile with An Awesome Book! — a lovely, awesome even, illustrated children’s book about dreaming big. This season, he’s back with An Awesome Book of Thanks! — a gem of a sequel about gratitude and the art of being thankful, both timeless and perfectly timed with Thanksgiving.

Written in a style that would make a Dr. Seuss lover swoon and illustrated with the kind of colorful whimsy that tickles your eternal inner kid awake, this is positively one of the most creative, most heart-warming children’s books we’ve ever come across.

You can read the full book online, but the screen doesn’t do Clayton’s vibrant, playful illustration justice — on the bound and printed page, it leaps to life with boundless charm and exuberance.

Clayton wrote the original book for his son, them made some copies and put it all on online just to share it with his friends. Before he knew it, the books were selling out, batch after batch, and he was doing readings in high schools, children’s hospitals, churches, playgrounds and other kid havens.

And just when you begin pondering whether it’s possible to get any more “awesome,” it does: For every copy of the book sold, Clayton’s Awesome Foundation gives one away to a child in need.

An Awesome Book of Thanks! hits bookstores on November 11, but you can already pre-order it on Amazon.

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02 NOVEMBER, 2010

The Holstee Manifesto: Making The Life You Want To Live


This morning, we celebrated a brilliant upcycling effort, but when it comes to upcycling and smart social responsibility, no one can out-smart, out-cool and out-inspire our friends at Holstee, who blend an ethos of sustainability with an honest and inspired approach to all of life.

We’re particularly enamored with The Holstee Manifesto – a poetic homage to the art of living your passion.

UPDATE: The Holstee Manifesto is now available in a wonderful 5×7 greeting card printed on handmade paper derived from 50% elephant poo and 50% recycled paper and a gorgeous letterpress print.

Show Holstee some love on Facebook, take a look at their original collection, and keep an eye on their fantastic ongoing Curated section.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

02 NOVEMBER, 2010

SAVED: Upcycling Through Design and Storytelling


What old tees have to do with indie music A-listers and shrinking carbon footprints.

We love upcycled tees and we love smart, creative efforts to make sustainability an actionable thing rather than a fluff-phrase. Last season, our friends at Do The Green Thing made waves with their Buy Nothing campaign and this fall, they’ve one-upped themselves with another brilliant effort.

Every year, more than a million tons of clothing are thrown away, even though most of it has over 70% of its useful life left, so Green Thing asked the world to donate their unwanted t-shirts and SAVED was born — a new initiative that saves old, unwanted, unloved t-shirts from the grip of time by giving them a design and story that make them loved again.

Each SAVED upcycled shirt features a lovely hand-stitched typographic patchwork-label and a heart-warming “Saved from neglect” tag.

For an added layer of coolness, SAVED has some of our favorite musicians on board, including Imogen Heap, Marina and the Diamonds, Chipmunk and Lissie, who have donated some of their own unloved tees. And this isn’t a mere de-facto celebrity endorsement — it means you could actually end up with an upcycled t-shirt that once belonged to one of today’s most talented indie artists.

You can buy a SAVED tee directly through Facebook and revel in the glory of knowing that 100% of your contribution goes to Green Thing Trust, the nonprofit dedicated to helping more people live more sustainable lives.

Green Thing is instituting a Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-like Golden Ticket system, so whether you end up with a star’s upcycled shirt is between you and your lucky star. And even though we were never ones to fall for the whole “everyone’s a winner” shenanigans, in this particular instance, everyone truly is.

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