What's All This Then?

This site is edited by Coudal Partners, a design, advertising and interactive studio in Chicago, as an ongoing experiment in web publishing, design and commerce. [Next]

What's All This Then?

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Coudal Partners

Art and Commerce

Florentine Floor

Jim wasn't looking for a new logo when he and his wife set off on a walking tour of Florence. We had been discussing an update to the Coudal Partners identity for some time and had generated pages of words and sketches. Nothing jumped out at us and so we turned the burner down and let the project simmer.

We wanted a mark with a touch of mystery, one that suggested an intersection of faith and commerce. Something that had a strong, simple geometry but also made an overtly historical reference.

There's a lot of talent in the studio and it mostly comes to the surface through the application of craft. In that sense, we're not far removed from the guild system of the middle-ages. Knowing the basics of typography, writing, composition, etc., is the path to freedom. Restraint is critical, but it only comes with confidence, with faith.

On a hill above the city of Florence sits the Romanesque church, San Miniato al Monte. Its white marble floor is dotted with this bold black circle, enclosing an elegant cross. Its energy focuses inwards, then outwards, a metaphor appropriate for the work we do. Once removed from its religious context and rendered as a clean mathematical shape, the mark has a secondary feeling that recalls American heavy industry. The US Steel "diamonds" come to mind, industrial gears and other marks from that generation's powerful geometric design.

Hans van Dijk wrote to tell us that while he was visiting the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte in Florence, the sunlight coming through the windows told him which photo (above) to shoot.

Whats All This Then?

One Thing Leads to Another

Here's Jim's presentation from the inaugural edition of Chicago Creative Mornings. Thanks to Tina, Mig, Gravity Tank and everyone who showed up.

Also, JC chatted with Matt from 37signals about how and why we transitioned from client work to products and also a longish piece in more detail, from their excellent Bootstrapped series.

Over the Air All Over The Place

Hot Air Rises

"My Friend Chris," Jim's SXSW Keynote. What We Talk About When We Talk About Maintaining Dignity in Online Advertising, a pre SXSW interview by Wendy Mitchell. JC guests on Dan Benjamin's excellent podcast, The Pipeline and chats with Kegan and Liz from Design Glut. Some scenes from an interview with JC for the film Life in Perpetual Beta. A Business POV interview with Jim conducted during Seed 3. Jim's 2008 SXSW presentation, A General Theory of Creative Relativity. In 2007, Jim and Brendan Dawes presented Making Your Short Attention Span Pay Big Dividends. Edward Lifson invited Jim over to the WBEZ studios for Sunday's Chicago Public Radio arts show Hello Beautiful! You can listen to it, or download it, here.

Also, here's Jim with type projected all over his face, giving a rambling presentation for the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada and here's the text and audio of the Opening Keynote at the 2006 SXSW Interactive Conference in Au