Highlights of 2009 at Magnetic State

At this time of year, I’m focused on my goals for 2010: a year of exciting potential, new designs, expanded skills, nefarious schemes, and the occasional overseas jaunt on my new private jet, Dan Force One. Nonetheless, here’s a quick look back at a truly thrilling 2009 at Magnetic State.

In all honesty, it was one of the best years of my life as I continue to develop the life of my design studio. Although my schedule is always packed with design work (two new site designs and a menu design will be featured on the homepage soon), some of 2009′s highlights came through my writing. For most of my life, I have been interested in both writing and art/design. In college, I earned two degrees – one in Illustration, one in Writing – at the New School’s BA/BFA program. People always asked about my goals for the two fields or how they’d intersect. Now that I am making my living by creating graphic design and also writing about design, I know the answer to that question. Or at least one of the answers.

Anyway, here’s my highlights from 2009. Thanks to all my clients, friends, and colleagues.

1. Five Chapters Redesign
The year started with a very successful job: the redesign of the logo and website for Five Chapters. Here’s my blog post on the redesign (written in January, reposted to this blog in August).

2. New York Times City Room Blog Feature
Say what you will about Twitter, but that site generated a 2009 highlight for me within days of joining. New York Times editor Patrick LaForge asked his Twitter followers for suggestions of blog posts about NYC people/events. I made a suggestion, and shortly thereafter, Mr. LaForge was kind enough to include my interview with Michael Sayers on the NYT City Room blog. Here’s the interview at my blog, and here’s the feature on City Room (they link to Magnet Cat, which was the former name of the Magnetic State blog).

3. SK6ERS Shirt Design
A design highlight was this t-shirt design to promote the album The Bear by my friends in rock band Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers (SK6ERS drummer Boots Factor and I were flatmates and drinking buddies while living in Stirling, Scotland). Here’s a bunch of fans wearing the shirt.

4. London For The Win (Literally)
The shock of the year came in August when I won a trip to London. I won the trip by writing a short essay about Magnetic State for the British Airways ‘Face of Opportunity’ contest. Forget 2009, this trip was a highlight of my life. Here’s my blog post the day before leaving and here’s a summary of the trip, including my Tweets from London. My favorite Tweet I wrote, and a moment that remains vivid in my mind: “Walking along the Thames. The sound of bagpipes off in the distance, ocassionally smothered by the wind”

5. Supermundane Interview
I spent my days in London writing two articles. The first one is this interview with artist and designer Supermundane.

6. Smashing Article
The second piece was my debut for Smashing Magazine. The piece is called The Beauty of London in Design. The article was a joy to write and I was flattered when Pentagram acknowledged it. I look forward to the publication of my next piece for Smashing, which is complete and will be published in the next few weeks. Many thanks to Vitaly and the rest of the Smashing editorial team.

7. Lighthouse Art Class
This is an ongoing highlight for me, but this year I continued to find new meanings and rewards in my job teaching visually impaired teens at the Lighthouse International. In 2009, we made 3D wire sculpture, a robot pinata, and tactile skeleton collages, among other projects. Here is an article I wrote about art for the visually impaired, including samples of my maskmaking project with the Lighthouse kids.

8. Save The Werewolves
I had a lot of fun working on a project for fun and charity: www.savethewerewolves.com. Here’s a blog post on my intentions with the satirical site design.

9. What Recession?
The freelance income at Magnetic State more than doubled from 2008 to 2009. Many thanks to all clients, colleagues and friends.

Thanks for your support and pleased stay tuned for new designs and new writing that will be posted here and at the www.magneticstate.com homepage in the next few weeks!

Happy New Year and much love,

Dan Redding

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