January 30, 2017

Pages of Schaefer – Charlie

A Drive Into the Gap


Kevin Guilfoile

This book is my style. It’s a short, easy read that is well designed. It’s also about baseball connecting a father and son. So, right up my alley. The book is a great collection of stories that reference Kevin Guilfoile’s memories growing up in Pittsburg in the 1970’s. He jumps between his own memories and the stories his dad has shared with him over the years. His father was the public relations director for the Pittsburg Pirates and today suffers from Alzheimer’s, so this book was a way for him to document his stories and hold onto them. There are some fun baseball stories told from a unique perspective. He quotes Tennessee Williams saying, “Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.” These stories are memories that take on a whole new life to the people they’re passed on to and they can change with time. My dad and my father-in-law are also big baseball fans, so I gave them this book for Father’s Day.
This book is published by the sketchbook aficionados at Field Notes. They designed the book in the same style as their sketchbooks, which makes it nice to read and nice look at on my shelf.

Meet Mr. Product


Warren Dotz

This is a picture book (another one of my favorite kind of books) and it is all about the art of the advertising character from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Whether it was a donut shop, a bag of potato chips, breakfast cereal, or a gas station, companies created a face or a character for so many products. I love the illustration styles and the joyful personality that this approach brings out.
I got this book while I was in college. I’m a fan of cartoon characters and this fits within that interest. I enjoy drawing them, I enjoy seeing them and it’s neat to have this in my collection. I was actually able to use this for some direct inspiration when we were working with Nolan Ryan Beef to help bring Howdy the Hotdog to life. It sits on the shelf in my office and surprisingly inspires a wide range of projects directly and indirectly.

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street


Dr. Seuss

This story reminds me of our business. We are hired to see the world a little differently and then tell others about what we see. I had this book growing up and my parents would read it to me before bed. I love the story and the great imagination the little boy has. Obviously, Dr. Seuss is known for that. Today, I enjoy reading it to my boys.
The energy and exaggeration that builds throughout the book is seen in the illustrations. The book is printed using four spot colors, yet the creative use of color and overlapping those colors creates a vibrant story. It starts with blue line drawings and as the story progresses yellow is introduced and then blue is overlapped for green. Then they introduce red with the blue for purple. It’s simple color mixing and a simple technique that we still consider today in how to best tell a story or how to efficiently print projects with traditional offset printing. The simple use of the four colors is able to produce a depth in the illustrations and is supported beautifully with the story.

Chip Kidd Book One 


Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd is one of my favorite designers. I actually got to meet him and he signed this book for me. He wrote, “Hi Charlie, here’s my life, handle with care, xoxo Chip Kidd.” If you don’t already admire his work, Kidd is a graphic designer that has created amazing book covers for Alfred Knopf, Penguin, Random House, DC Comics and Pantheon, to name a few. This book is an incredible collection of inspiration. He designed it, naturally, and it almost feels like you’re in his sketchbook, his office or even his brain. He did an incredible job of collecting what goes into his thinking, his process and what he’s done in his career. It’s a 20-year collection of his work where you can see his style change, deepen and evolve. You can also see the other influences that inspired his work. He included his collections of batman, superman, comic book work and shows how it influenced certain projects.
I keep this book at the office for inspiration. It can break you out of a rut or linear thinking. He’s just so eclectic and very diverse in the way that he approaches design problems. He’s done work for a variety of things – from Charles Schulz in Peanuts to DC Comics. He’s one of my design heroes’. I’ve been lucky enough to hear him speak and study his work. The medium that he works on is unique, in the fact that it’s primarily book covers. It’s very similar and relatable to what we do, in that, you must take the context, the big pictures, the depth of a story and summarize that into a cover. Your intention is to summarize, to intrigue and provoke someone to dive in deeper. It’s very much a parallel to how we look at everything from logos to ad campaigns. It’s a very similar thinking in a very specific medium.

Seven Men and the Secret of Their Greatness 


Eric Metaxes

A friend gave this one to me to read. Eric Metaxes goes through the lives of seven incredible men throughout history. Men like George Washington, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Jackie Robinson. He tells the story of them historically and highlights the tremendous role they played in history. It shows the consistencies of all seven men is and their dependence on faith. Each man, who we celebrate as heroes today, once selflessly relied on God’s provision and not on their own abilities. It was humbling to see these extra layers of humanity that are less often discussed when you read about them in history books. Each of these seven men had different struggles but the same selfless reliance on the Lord’s will.
It’s also cool because it doesn’t portray itself that way, it presents itself as a history book. It’s a way for this author to witness to other people. Today these men are role models for their accomplishments and they deserve to be role models for our faith.
Each man handled a tremendously difficult situation and very real struggles.  In the moment, there was a lot of unknown and uncertainty that we take for granted when we look back on their lives knowing the final outcome. They didn’t know that slavery would end, that the United States would become its own country, that the barrier of race would one day not be an issue for major league baseball player. It’s interesting to look back in hindsight to see what their struggles were and how a faith in God allowed them to persevere and ultimately conquer their challenges.

Creativity Inc.


Ed Catmull

I love this book. The author, Ed Catmull, was one of the founders of Pixar. He is an incredibly smart guy. He’s a computer scientist who has contributed to many important developments in computer graphics. He is the technology and operations brain within the best animation studios, Pixar and Disney. I gained a lot of insight by relating to someone very technically driven and operationally focused inside a creative organization. He’s a tremendously creative person and has such a great philosophy on how to run a creative business. Pixar has done some pretty great things, consistently, year after year. They have hundreds of people who work for them who are constantly motivated and inspired to create incredible things. This book focuses on the management and balance of an organization’s creativity without stifling it. How do you light the light, fan the flame and keep it under some sort of control without letting it go out? It was eye opening to see him talk about the struggles from a company, like Pixar, that is so incredibly successful. He shared stories of how they’ve powered through some of their failures and mishaps and used it to grow from to truly excel beyond where they were.

Graphis Poster Annual 2008 – 2009

Graphis is an international design publication. I actually got published in this annual for a poster series that I designed and illustrated in 2006. It was one of my very first professional projects and it was very humbling to get published right out school. My work is featured right next to some of my design heroes like DJ Stout, Michael Schwab and Milton Glaser. I studied these guys in school by looking through books like this. I felt incredible validation when I realized I too could do this. This collection is what Graphis deemed the best posters in the world that year but after its done you go back to work to compete again next year. It’s a very inspiring accomplishment and it motivates me to keep creating. It sits on my shelf and is as much affirmation as it is motivation.