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the birth (and rebirth) of upsideup

By December 8, 2009history

When I was 12 years old I spent the summer working at my father’s office, filing, stuffing envelopes, talking to the women who worked there, trying to absorb some of the secrets of being a grownup person who went to work every day. My father’s company was in the process of changing its name and one afternoon on the way home, my father informed me we needed to stop off at the Art Director’s studio to approve something to do with the new logo and whatnot.

For one reason or another we ended up being there longer than expected, my father in the Art Director’s office hashing out some problem, me the sudden responsibility of the junior art director.

I can’t recall whether he asked me what I wanted to do, but here’s what I remember:

IBM Selectric

He set me up at an IBM Selectric typewriter with the changeable typeface balls. Showed me how to change the typefaces. Gave me a sheet of slick paper and let me play. Once I was “done” he showed me the waxer and how to run the slick paper through, coating the whole backside with a thin corduroy film of sticky hot wax. We then went to a drafting table where he showed me how to use a T-square and a triangle and an X-Acto knife.

I emerged that day in a blissed out haze, telling anyone who would listen that I wanted to be an art director when I grew up.

11 years later I graduated from art school.

And now, 16 years after that, I am here with a new venture. A design blog. One that will attempt to share with you all the things that whiz through and whirr around a designer’s brain, or, at least, this designer’s brain.

I have spent a lifetime gathering wooden letters, vintage postcards, pieces of rusty metal, obscure books. Patient friends (and husbands) have long been forced to look at decrepit old signs, scorn public displays of poorly spaced type, and listen to me gush over perfect examples of design that make me bite my lip with jealous adoration, and them yawn.


I have boxes and shelves and envelopes stuffed with things I like to look at but don’t get to as often as I’d like. And now, finally, I have a place to put them: on the internet, where they belong. And where you can enjoy them too.

I sure hope you do.


Starting today, you will (fingers crossed) find me here every day, at least once a day. But if you find you need more, you can also find me here, on Twitter.

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