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As a young designer, I started in the print world. Everything I did was eventually rendered in paper. I liked that. At my first job, my desk was no more than 20 feet away from a Heidelberg printing press. It was noisy as hell and you could smell the ink.

From 2000 to 2010 the design industry made a hard right turn toward digital media as demand for web and mobile content exploded. I went along for the ride for a few good years. No regrets. Over that time, most of the paper projects were replaced by digital work. Websites, mobile apps, motion graphics. Print shops that had been operating for many decades were going out of business all over the place. It’s all ephemera one way or another, but the intangibility of digital work is overwhelmingly unsatisfying to me. In 2012 I jumped ship and started working for myself, working my way back toward that “real” stuff. Now I enjoy working entirely – once again – in ink and paper. And glass and wood and metal. The shelf life of a bottle of spirits is still finite. Isn’t everything though? Still, it’s nice that you can run your fingers over it a few times before it’s gone. That’s good enough for me.

Here are a few favorite detail photos from the past few years, emphasizing some of the materials involved.

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