The following excerpts were taken from the Spring 2017 Print Hollywood: San Francisco issue. Grab your copy from My Design Shop. Looking for more inspiration like this? Register for HOW Design Live 2018 and hear Wendy MacNaughton, Sarah Rich, Josh Higgins, Josh Silverman and more speak.
Posting. Gramming. Tweeting. Pinning. An entire vernacular has emerged around modern social media, and with it the instantaneous ability to share our lives and stories with the push of a button. This band of brothers has played an integral part in elevating that experience from the mundane to the meaningful. As multidisciplinarians, these artists, designers, entrepreneurs and avid optimists are turning the public at large into creative collaborators—transforming a platform of selfies, infinite #inspo and photos of food into a larger pastiche of the human experience. “Facebook’s (Mark Zuckerberg’s) mission is to make the world more open and connected because he believes each of us having a better understanding of each other makes the world a better place,” Josh Higgins says. “So many backgrounds are represented at Facebook. There’s diverse thinking, and having creative design thinking be a part of that mix … is integral.”
THE POWER COUPLE
“We met, as people do in the Bay Area when they’re about to fall in love, at a Jonathan Franzen reading,” writer Caroline Paul deadpans. “The creative world is really strong here.” Paul (East Wind, Rain; Fighting Fire) and prolific illustrator and graphic journalist Wendy MacNaughton (both New York Times bestsellers) are a San Francisco creative force. Having teamed up on the books Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation and GPS Technology and The Gutsy Girl, Paul lauds MacNaughton’s work ethic and MacNaughton dubs Paul her perpetual first editor and constant inspiration. In addition to her work with Paul, MacNaughton also co-founded the website Women Who Draw—a directory aimed at promoting art directors to hire women, women of color and queer women, which drew 1,200 submissions and crashed due to a surge of traffic on its first day.
Q: Tell us more about the term graphic journalist.
A: I use the term loosely because I’m neither a graphic designer nor am I a journalist. But if you were to make a Venn diagram of those things, the weird color in the middle, I would identify with that color. I tell stories with pictures and words—stories that are true, using pictures of real people.
Designers and writers can have a tense relationship—if they have one at all. Ignorance tends to rule the day, and at times neither side seems to comprehend the depth, value and nuance of what the other does. But every so often, writers and editors come along who truly understand both artforms—and how, when carefully balanced and executed, they become greater than the sum of their parts. Whether writing about design, or blending writing and design in brilliant and enlightening ways, these are the creatives who understand how to elevate both.