In the last two years, I have had the privilege of befriending designer, Debbie Millman. Though I’d known of Debbie for years, I met her in person through my collaborator and dear friend, Maria Popova. Debbie is not only one of the most talented designers and design thinkers on the planet; she is also an exceptional artist and one of the warmest, kindest human beings I have ever encountered. I am the proud owner of one of her original pieces of typographic art, gifted to Clay and me for our wedding earlier this summer.
So it was with great pleasure that I dove into Debbie’s latest book, Self-Portrait as Your Traitor, which was released by HOW Press last month. The (gorgeous coffee table sized) book chronicles Debbie’s life journey through illustrated essays and poems. Her deeply personal, spirited essays and poems are illustrated in beautiful hand lettered type, which change as her story evolves to match the mood of each part of her story. In the words of Paula Scher who penned her introduction, “…each piece of lettering seems to have been created to express the exact emotional subject matter at hand.” Indeed, Debbie uses type to convey mood; but this book is really not an illustrated book of typography. It is, rather, a memoir expressed in in deeply personal art. For anyone who has lived and simultaneously struggled as a creative human (and who among us hasn’t), the book is an tribute to personal strife, perseverance, and triumph.
You can purchase Self-Portrait as Your Traitor here or at your local bookstore. I also highly recommend Debbie’s radio show Design Matters in which she has interviewed an amazing array of leading designers, artists and thinkers since 2005.
Have a very happy Wednesday, friends.