things I'm thinking about


Finished Books

BookLedges Books

At the Figure 1 office: Furniture has been built, desks are arranged, a wall has been painted, ledges have been installed. And books are arriving daily. It’s great to see it all coming together and to view the combined results of all the work that has been done. And to hold some of it in your hands.

Check out more of the Kim Dorland project here.


Stationery Arrives


At long last we have business cards! It was an exciting day . . . so much so that two little elves broke into the delivery while I was away from my desk . . . not that I could blame them. And to their credit, they did try to tape it back up.

And printed books are also arriving on what seems a daily basis. I’ll be sure to post those very soon (some can be seen on my work page already).


Polestar Before & After


The lovely folks at Polestar contacted me regarding an update for their Polestar Family Calendar. The calendar has a long tradition of featuring floral paintings, but they were looking for a more contemporary approach.  I wanted to retain something of the Family Calendar floral tradition as well as ensuring the revised approach allowed for variety and flexibility in years to come. Shown above is the before and after. I just love projects like this!



It has been a long time since I’ve drawn anything. There was a while there when I was doing it a lot in my work, but these days the need doesn’t arise very often. As I was archiving an old portfolio site—no longer active—I took a walk down my illustrated memory lane. Maybe I’ll have to invent a reason to draw something everyday . . . hmmm . . . I’m liking the sound of that . . .



Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

It’s an exciting prospect, the idea of setting up an office. The planning, the dreaming, the organizing . . . all things I thoroughly enjoy . . . it’s a sickness. So, I was very excited to get approval on a few purchases for the new Figure 1 space to begin filling out the new digs. Step one—a weekend trip to the furniture store, and ice cream for everyone.


It’s almost like they’ve done a bunch of research on this . . . I think you could fit a small apartment’s worth of furniture in one SUV. Not including kids, that is, which was a bit of an oversight on my part. And resulted in a second trip.



And when the instructions, well illustrations, tell you you need two people to build a bookshelf, they must have also considered carrying it up the stairs. Thank goodness for willing participants, er, partners.



Alright, we’re having fun, the lamps are done, we’re making good time, moving on to the bookcases!



Right about now I’m wondering what I got myself into and feeling a bit sheepish about my “willing” participant. By the time we get to the blue inserts, documenting the process is no longer on my radar.



But after a good night’s sleep and some smiling faces the blisters on my thumb are but a distant memory and I find myself looking forward to phase two! Who doesn’t love a painting party.


A Finished Book


Sometimes when you’re busy you find yourself moving on to the next project before ever quite getting to enjoy the glow of the previously completed project. Until it arrives at your door one day. I was pleasantly surprised to find this book inside the package. A cover design done for UBC Press.


Seattle | Gasworks


Gasworks is a cool urban park outside of Seattle. It’s a nice combination of seaside location, weird industrial remnants, pleasant walking trail and urban drug element. Maybe not the best place to let your kids dig around and jump on things, like we did, but how’s a tourist to know unless one tries.

I did take one of my favourite shots from the trip. The kids are usually searching for fish in any water we come across. I’m often struck by the beauty in the ugliness of our collective human remnants. People leave big crumbs.


Seattle | The Burke Museum


On a recent getaway to Seattle we checked out the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Definitely worth a visit, located on the grounds of the university—also worth a stroll. I could look at this stuff for hours. There’s something soothing about repetition for a designer. Pair that with old stuff, historical oddities, dead animals, cool labels (and a coffee)  and you pretty much sum up the perfect day for me.


West Coast Modern Home Tour

HouseTour1HouseTour2.2 HouseTour3.2

This past Saturday was the annual West Vancouver Museum West Coast Modern Home Tour. I love this event. It’s hard not to go home and despise your own living conditions, but it makes for a great day and gives you a glimpse of what it must feel like to be surrounded by beauty on all sides in a home (both site and structure). I think I could handle it pretty well. I think I might just become a calmer, more peaceful mother and self. I might start baking, or pick up on a raw food diet. I imagine taking up yoga in my living room while my silent children run about in bare feet padding on concrete surfaces, dressed in white linen.

But seriously, for me the striking difference in these homes is less about how they are furnished (I do like my own home in that way), it’s more about how the architecture and its interaction with the surroundings make you feel while inside. Of course, the amazing views don’t hurt, but it’s also the layout and materials, attention to detail and subtle but palpable design decisions that have been made with the structure to maximize an overall feeling of harmony. I love the feeling you get when you’re inside some of these homes.


Found Type


I feel like I missed out on a time when almost everything in your cupboard would look cool — and it wouldn’t have cost any more — it just was. I wonder if people thought this stuff was as ugly as I feel about my everyday stuff now . . . nah, I just can’t imagine future generations slobbering over stone wheat thins boxes, or cheerios, or plastic milk cartons. That will be reserved for all the specialty items we produce now, I guess.