David Foster Wallace on Writing, Self-Improvement, and How We Become Who We Are

“Good writing isn’t a science. It’s an art, and the horizon is infinite. You can always get better.” In late 1999, David Foster Wallace — poignant contemplator of death and redemption, tragic prophet of the meaning of life, champion of intelligent entertainment, admonisher against blind ambition, advocate of true leadership — called the office of...

Interview: Dave Gouveia on Great Logo Design

When it comes to great logo design, HOW Logo Design Competition & Awards judge Dave Gouveia knows what’s up. That’s because he’s worked in the design industry for over 19 years and has a variety of successful logo designs under his belt. In 2000 he founded the design studio 3 Dogz Creative Inc. with two co-workers, and he currently freelances...

Jeanette Winterson on Time, Language, Reading, and How Art Creates a Sanctified Space for the Human Spirit

“Art can make a difference because it pulls people up short. It says, don’t accept things for their face value; you don’t have to go along with any of this; you can think for yourself.” In September of 1994, beloved British writer Jeanette Winterson joined Canadian broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel on the air for a spectacular...

Doug Hucker: Great Logo Design

Back in 2012, Baltimore-based graphic designer and illustrator Doug Hucker was recognized in the HOW Logo Design Competition & Awards for helping to set the bar when it comes to cool logo designs, despite his thinking that he didn’t have a chance at winning. Judge Sunny Bonnell, co-founder and creative director at Motto, had this to say...

Interview: Mograph Artist Peter Quinn Creator of Shit Showreels Say

There’s an art to the showreels. It’s really difficult to craft something that represents a brand, manages to tell a story and tries to build a connection with the person watching it. It’s easy to fall into using a number of trendy techniques and incorporating it into our work. Motion Graphics Artist and Art Director,...

Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting

“The cutting of the gem has to be finished before you can see whether it shines.” Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist Leonard Cohen (b. September 21, 1934) is among the most exhilarating creative spirits of the past century. Recipient of the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and countless other accolades, and an ordained Rinzai Buddhist...

The Art of Looking: How to Live with Presence, Break the Tyranny of Productivity, and Learn to See Our Everyday Wonderland

“When you look closely at anything familiar, it transmogrifies into something unfamiliar.” For my book club collaboration with The Dish, Andrew Sullivan’s online oasis of intelligence and idealism, I had the pleasure of sitting down with cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz to discuss her immeasurably wonderful On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes (public library) —...

How Wendy Lee Oldfield Stays Creative

Graphic designer/creative problem solver Wendy Lee Oldfield knows how to stay creative when the less creative parts of life get you down. Considering that she coauthored Caffeine for the Creative Mind and Caffeine for the Creative Team, and that she recently participated in a creative activities experiment based on Jim Krause’s D30: Exercises for Designers, it...

Legendary Songwriter Carole King on Inspiration vs. Perspiration and How to Overcome Creative Block

“Once the inspiration comes, that directs where the perspiration goes.” To call Carole King one of the most successful female songwriters of all time, while correct, would be a disservice to the fact that she is one of the most successful, innovative, creatively courageous any songwriters of all time — something her four Grammy Awards...

Net Neutrality à la Bach: Susan Sontag on Being in the Middle versus Being at the Center

Why true neutrality is not an abstinence from taking sides of but an act of compassion. “The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval,” J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in reflecting on how language shapes our capacity for fantasy. And because language is intricately entwined with everything from our cognitive function to...

Picasso on Intuition, How Creativity Works, and Where Ideas Come From

“To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing.” “Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work,” painter Chuck Close memorably scoffed. “Show up, show up, show up,” novelist Isabelle Allende echoed in her advice to aspiring writers, “and after a while the muse...

Malcolm Gladwell on Criticism, Tolerance, and Changing Your Mind

“That’s your responsibility as a person, as a human being — to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.” At a recent event from the New York Public Library’s wonderful LIVE from the NYPL series, interviewer extraordinaire...

Joyce Carol Oates on What Hemingway’s Early Stories Can Teach Us About Writing and the Defining Quality of Great Art

On the elusive gift of blending austerity of craft with elasticity of allure. Besides being one of the most influential, beloved, and prolific authors of our time, Joyce Carol Oates is also a person of extraordinary capacity for beholding beauty. In a recent conversation at The New York Public Library’s excellent Books at Noon series,...

Talking WordPress Business With Troy Dean of WP Elevation

Last week you may have noticed: no new blog posts! The Bourn Family headed out to Lake Tahoe for a week of hiking, biking, kayaking, rafting, reading, and relaxing in gorgeous Lake Tahoe. But now that we’re back, I wanted to share something awesome with you. Recently I was Interviewed by Troy Dean, an Australian...

Shepard Fairey on Capitalism, Freedom, Selling Out, and What Makes Great Art

“I believe in capitalism with some checks to chill out the evil greedy element. Capitalism is a way for hard work to yield rewards.” In 1989, street artist, graphic designer, and activist Shepard Fairey created his famous Obey Giant sticker campaign, which spread like wildfire to amass a massive following and take on the characteristics...

Roasting Robbie Conal: Eerie, Irascible Poster “Poseur”

Robbie Conal, infamous street graphics rabble-rouser, was recently broadsided on his home turf by a sneak-attack art exhibition. It was meant to honor—and ridicule—him. And so it did, quite cleverly and often quite hilariously. The show was titled “Poster Roast.” It was curated by a couple of his students and held at the art gallery...

The Poetics of the Psyche: Adam Phillips on Why Psychoanalysis Is Like Literature and How Art Soothes the Soul

“Everybody is dealing with how much of their own aliveness they can bear and how much they need to anesthetize themselves.” “A writer is someone who pays attention to the world — a writer is a professional observer,” Susan Sontag once said. The object of the writer’s observation isn’t just the outer world but also...

Dani Shapiro on Vulnerability, the Creative Impulse, the Writing Life, and How to Live with Presence

“The job — as well as the plight, and the unexpected joy — of the artist is to embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it. To be birthed by it.” Dani Shapiro is the author of the magnificent memoirs Devotion, Slow Motion: A Memoir of a Life Rescued by Tragedy and, most recently,...

Seth Godin on Vulnerability, Creative Courage, and How to Dance with the Fear: A Children’s Book for Grownups

“If you just pick one human you can change for the better, with work that might not work — that’s what art is.” At the 2014 HOW conference, Debbie Millman, host of the excellent interview show Design Matters and a remarkable mind, sat down with the prolific Seth Godin to discuss courage, anxiety, change, creative...