When I clicked on the link to the spare typed list of principles entitled “Publish Local” posted on Reference Library, I came upon some wonderful, processy illustrations of them, along with a PDF of print-and-tape-on-the-wall-worthy signs – sixteen in all, in beautiful black-on-white type. At least the first twelve principles are reminders of a great path to bringing an idea into the world. If you tacked them around the walls of your workspace or office, you’d be sure to bring your idea to fruition, all the while keeping faith in your project.publish-local-2

The signs are the generous offering of Task Newsletter, which has no visible “About” page, and a rather oblique mission statement: “Task Newsletter…uses design as a perspective, designed objects as evidence of larger systems, and designers as researchers

…is hard to describe as anything but ‘in flux.’ a labor of love (/hate).


Apparently, the designers who are Task created them for the exhibition Forms of Inquiry: The Architecture of Critical Graphic Design.

It seems to me their signs are a labor of love.


Make it viable.

Research and plan.

Expand existing systems.

Plan transparently.

Start small.

Commit to it.

Learn about your local flora.

Don’t get permission.

Print what you’ve got.

Make positive spaces.

Find funding.

Plan for its future.


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2 replies on “12 rules for creating (almost anything)

  1. What a surprise, expecting an image but seeing, or hearing these words like the voice of the most straightforward friend. To me, acquiring skills or figuring out how something or someone works can be an act of subversion, especially when a thing is socially > off-limits (guns) or specialists who cost too much with mediocre results. Verbally, I’m fine, but I can’t visualize space. I have no design sense but I wish I did, in part to subvert what is > depicted as possible. Our potential creativity comes in pre- thought-out “kits.” As a smallish middle-aged single female with a desk job, a new old house that I love and want to work on, too often I take “Well, it isn’t really done that way…” for an answer. I want to solve problems through recombining component parts, but at Lowe’s plumbing, lumber or tools section I’m leperous or invisible. I find all this infuriating and often expensive.

    Then came this blog… Just about everything in it is uncomplicated and deptively simple, which are qualities of genius. At first I envied people whose work is both practical and beautiful, who find new uses for old things or by recombining things to make something new that makes total sense. I want that and it’s like having something on the tip of the tongue that is not possible to retrieve. But then looking more closely at the blog, I realized there’s also a lack of pretense in the author and her choices. Her vision is a generous one she carries forward from her cookbooks. It’s not based on aspiration to hobnob on a higher plane. She doesn’t presume her readers are dedicated sophisticates. She just wants us to look more closely at what we’ve already got. I think what Sally is telling us is that it’s not so much about making an impression as being practical. The people she profiles are accessible; they’re ordinary people who make extraordinary choices.

    Anyway, all this has worked on my brain in wonderful ways. Everything is possible if you let ideas come in their own time. My innovations are modest: a few ancient brass doorknobs inside a pair of mittens filled in for the “clean tennis shoe” in the dryer to fluff up a just-washed down quilt (the dry cleaner sent them back smelling of pickled pee), or adapting lengths of pvc conduit to fit my new Shop-Vac so I can reach 20′ to clean gutters bristling with pine needles. (I wonder if it’ll work on the wild plums in the ravine…hmmmmmm)
    Thank you, Sally,

    Susan in Seattle

  2. Susan, thank you, deeply, for your words, for taking the time to write and to post them. You’ve really captured what I was hoping ‘the improvised life’ would do, that is, provide a daily reminder of the power of improvising, of its fluid, creative mindset, and in that way, get it moving in readers’ lives. And it does. Once we’re oriented to it, the idea of improvising naturally begins to change the way we think about things.

    If you get that plum picker rigged up out of the pvc conduit (used to rig your Shop-Vac), please send pictures (and plums…).

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