the download

November 1, 2015


It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.


I attended the AIGA National Conference in New Orleans with my fellow VCFA faculty member Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton and our VP of Enrollment David Markow. It was great to catch up with so many colleagues, heroes, heroines, and just good old friends.


Faculty member Dave Peacock and I designed a set of six Risograph-printed A3 mini-posters for the event which we gave away in droves, along with sketchbooks that I designed in collaboration with faculty member and former Co-Chair Silas Munro.

We had our October 2015 residency at VCFA where we hosted amazing guest designers/critics Ian Albinson of Art of the Title, CalArts’ Gail Swanlund and David Schatz and Sereina Rothenburger of the Swiss design studio Hammer, as well as the incredibly insightful writer and critic Tim Wynne-Jones.

It was a really terrific residency—stupefyingly good lectures, terrific community interaction, eye-opening critiques, and so much more. Six really amazing designers graduated, and I was honored to be asked to give their graduation address, which was a very intentionally strange speech that will make its way online at some point in some form.

I wound up speaking *a lot* at residency—I gave the convocation address which was in the form of a choose-your-own-adventure story where the faculty, staff and student body had to choose fight or flight when faced with reanimated Modernists, fake Postmodernists, and traveling the time/space continuum. This was combined with a bit of staged aggressive violence aimed my way by my dear friend and fellow faculty member Nikki Juen which freaked the shit out of everyone. It was, in short, fun and amazing. (I just published a transcription of the speech here.)


I also gave a lecture and workshop to our eleven incoming students about documentation, inducting them into the world of making design for yourself, not just for clients. The results were fabulous—our new students are the nicest folks and they came up with some really intriguing, seductive ways of capturing documentation of their first week at VCFA.


Ed, Chad, Mike, Todd, Amelia, Ashley, Paulina, Matt, Tim, Pierre, and Marisa, I am SO PUMPED to be working with you all! Thank you for being so generous with your time and for becoming part of our community!

So, after an insane trip home that had me traversing Burlington, Boston, and Los Angeles in order to get back to Tokyo, I got a day of rest, then…


I flew to Vilnius, Lithuania via Istanbul to give a presentation at the Made in Japan conference.

It was really, really great—I was so honored to be invited to speak and to meet so many amazing creative people from all over the globe. A giant round of thanks to the Made in Japan crew!

I’ve put together a highly visual transcription of my presentation here on Medium. It’s creeping close to 1,000 reads, which is pretty damn amazing.


We just launched a new identity and website for Arts Excursions Unlimited, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public arts program spearheaded by my dear friend and collaborator Edith Abeyta.

About Arts Excursions Unlimited:

Arts Excursions Unlimited (AEU) was the result of a year long residency at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Hazelwood under the Office of Public Art’s Artist in the Public Realm program. Artist, Edith Abeyta worked with Hazelwood residents to develop a public art project. After one on one conversations, group discussions, numerous meetings, and at least 12 moon cycles an arts excursion program was born. AEU provides free monthly arts and cultural visits to various locations throughout the Pittsburgh region. We focus on family outings so our participants range in age from 2-82. Our aim is to foster communal arts experiences as well as personal growth and greater connections to the neighborhood, city, state, country, and world. We believe direct interactions with the arts makes for a better understanding of the self and the spaces we inhabit.


For their identity, we crafted a hybrid travel agency/space agency theme centered around the arts. I’m really happy with how it turned out—a hearty sprinkling of vintage NASA, multicultural representation, and inviting pop colors and typography.


YACHT has been continuing their barrage of interesting projects as of late, all using the two families of typefaces that we designed for them. Follow the amazing slew of projects that accompany the release of I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler here and see their new video here.


And for the near-final piece of news for now, Ben Barnett and I released our new band Fully Clothed’s debut LP via Bandcamp. 9 songs. Less than two minutes long in total.

And as always, I have been writing and making a ton of content for the VCFA blog, Perpetual Beta. Check out interviews with Johnny Linnert of PechaKucha, Polish designer Edgar Bak, and so much more!

Finally, I will be lecturing in Chi Chi Bello‘s class on General Assembly on Wednesday—very exciting!

work at utah moca

September 10, 2015

A number of publications I have both written and contributed to are on exhibit at Utah MOCA in their current exhibition, “Mall No. 2”.

new interview

September 9, 2015

I was interviewed for the great website Tokyo Graphic Designers recently. You can read me blathering on here. Photo above by Michael Holmes.

parting it out

September 8, 2015

I wrote this book about graphic design. Check it out here.

new typeface: perper bloeren!

September 8, 2015

We just released our new typeface family Perper Bloeren, available from Wordshape and YouWorkForThem!

Ten display fonts crammed into one! Decorative rules! A whole bunch of alternate characters! More!!!

through process

September 1, 2015

I was interviewed recently on the amazing Through Process graphic design podcast. We talk about anti-intellectualism and design, as well as issues with contemporary criticism and design education.

august news

August 6, 2015

We just updated Kimbo, our plug-in for Adobe Illustrator, so that it is compatible with CC2015. Versions for CS6, CC, and CC2014 are included. Check it out here!

I’ve been working with the band YACHT on a number of initiatives as of late, notably the design of two families of typefaces for their new album, “I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler”.

Here’s a look at the YACHT identity circa 2015. They’re using it all over the place

YACHT also has a ton of new wearables which you can check out here. They are accompanied by insanely funny copywriting, e.g.:

You’re no reactionary. You’re not claiming to have been promised some jetpack, and you’re completely grateful for the internet. But you do ask yourself why does every new shopping mall look like a Tuscan villa? Why would you want to Kickstart your cousin’s new rideable sustainable wearable?

• Non-hooded Sweat-Style Shirt
• Now Available In Heather’s Grey
• Long Sleeves To Hide Your Bad Tattoos
• Dark Black Type, Designed by YACHT & Ian Lynam
• Simplistic and Naive While Simultaneously Subversive
• Make a Statement While Staying So Cozy

We also designed this billboard promoting the album which is prominently displayed in Los Angeles currently.

Wait until you see the new record…

tacks, brass tacks.

July 13, 2015

It’s been a long, weird month. A lot has happened. Like, a lot a lot. Let’s get down to brass tacks:

My new book Parting It Out came out. And then Yuki and I packaged up 400+ of them and shipped them out to all of our amazing Kickstarter backers. Now we have 973 books sitting in our office (a chunk are sitting in Ultrasupernew currently) waiting for homes. I am not looking forward to the slog of distributing that many books, but like many things, it can be done.

The microsite for the book launched. You can procure a copy of the book there.
 It is also available from Wordshape.

Kit of Parts: 10 Years of Graphic Design by Ian Lynam

As of the end of March, I have resided and worked in Tokyo for a decade. This is big stuff. I have lived in Tokyo more than twice as long as any incorporated hamlet, town or city since becoming an adult. It’ll just be another 8 years and I’ll have left my hometown in the dust.

To celebrate, I have a ten-year retrospective up now at Ultrasupernew in Harajuku in Tokyo. I’ll be at the gallery to meet folks over the next month as time allows, though get in touch if you’d like to have me tell you about the work in the gallery.

We’ve shipped a ton of new projects. One big one was an identity project for Akasa, a Thai Healing Arts Studio run by longtime friend Gretchen Hogue. If you are in need of bodywork in the Pacific Northwest, you could do much, much, much worse!

We launched a new project for Adobe’s Typekit webfont service. After a number of years in development, Adobe has launched support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean webfonts with the most significantly reduced loading times ever—a world first! 

In the guise of a restaurant in his neighborhood of Hatagaya, Shibuya in Tokyo, I and ace developer/designer Thien Huynh have crafted a responsive site that takes advantage of Adobe’s new webfont offerings while also highlighting some fancy CSS trickery.

I participated in a few events for Adobe recently, notably the Behance Tokyo Portfolio Reviews and Adobe Creative Jam Tokyo 2015. For each, I demoed Adobe Shape CC, Adobe’s new mobile app that allows you to vectorize high-contrast images and export the vectors to CC apps. It’s a total timesaver for comping in Illustrator, and when paired with Kimbo, allows for total design craziness on the fly. 

I wrote the definitive long-form essay on the music packaging work of legendary Japanese graphic designer Yokoo Tadanori here.

I’ve been extremely busy keeping the VCFA MFA in Graphic Design blog Perpetual Beta populated with scintillating content―stuff like interviews with NORM, YACHT, Aaron Winters, Rick Poynor, Randy Nakamura and process-based content showing the work of our amazing students.

I also did a write-up of all of the guests that have visited the program during these first five years that we have been gestating. There’s a ton more to come!

Kimbo‘s about to be Illustrator CC2015-ready, as well! There have been a number of changes to Adobe’s plug-in/add-on infrastructure, none of which are worked out yet, so we’ve figured out a workaround that will work in perpetuity. Just finishing up the Windows version and documentation. Launching soon!

Our pals Kathleen and Christopher at Draw Down Books made this amazing retrospective poster for their recent VCFA workshop “Spontaneous Form, Gesture Made Visual” workshop with Draw Down Books at VCFA, 2015. Double-sided. Ships folded. Poster, 22.75 x 33 inches, offset. It costs 25 cents. 


June 7, 2015

huh interview series on VCFA blog

I started a new interview series over at Perpetual Beta, the VCFA blog. It’s called “Huh?” and so far, I’ve interviewed Thomas Knoll, the creator of Photoshop; Julia Kahl of Slanted; E*Rock; Lullatone; and Swiss graphic design studio Hammer. Interviews are forthcoming with Andy Cruz of House Industries, Randy Nakamura, Rick Poynor, Francisco Laranjo, Corey Holms, Through Process, Typecache, YACHT, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Norm, Shirana Shahbazi, Johnny Linnert of PechaKucha Night, Aaron Winters, Dave Peacock, Nikki Juen, Silas Munro, Lars Harmsen of 100 for 10, and a ton of other folks.

I also became the lone Chair of the VCFA MFA Program in Graphic Design back in April.

slanted #25

May 19, 2015

I have a new essay in Slanted #25, the Paris issue.

Within, I talk about museums, shoplifting, puberty and art.

I also talk about my dear ol’ dad.