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Paper Goods: Think Mini!

This is the time of year wherein the chickens, if not properly attended to, will start clucking their way home to roost. Our New Year’s resolutions have begun their soft fade-out from our waking minds, and that W2 form still seems like a superfluous piece of mail, a nebulous duty we can attend to at some later calendar date. Welcome to the dark and dreary February of our souls.

However, as Peter Lorre notes in Beat the Devil, “Time is a thief.” So therefore: stay vigilant, stay alert and, for goodness sake, write it down! It doesn’t have to be hard—start small and work your way up. To wit, I introduce you to Portland, Oregon’s Mary Kate McDevitt and her Mini Goals Empire. Chronicle recently published Mary Kate’s Mini Goals Notepad, an ingenious collection of 100 fill-in to-do lists that help take the pressure out of list making. As you see, just get two things done, and contentment fast approaches. The joy of crossing off an item from your list is a reward in itself. Here’s a few of my to-do lists from recent days:

Mary Kate’s Etsy shop features different variations of her mini-goal chalkboards, like this one, which would probably look good in your kitchen.

As my own organizational system is, at best, inchoate, I thought I’d ask Mary Kate a few questions about her process, art, and general joie de vivre. Enjoy this brief peek into the mind of a master!

JTS: Mary Kate! Given the nature of your work, I’m going to take a guess and say that you’re an incredibly organized person. True? If so, any basic organizational tips and tricks you can give to a person, like me, who is chronically disorganized?
MKD: It’s a fair assumption, but the truth is I’m constantly struggling with staying organized. Part of the reason I started making work based on getting stuff done was to kick myself into task-accomplishing shape. My tip would be to organize your thoughts on paper or a chalkboard, keep a semi-clean desk and take short breaks for something fun.

JTS: Hand-drawn type seems to be having a renaissance moment these days. What typographic artists do you admire or look to for inspiration?
MKD: I look to vintage typography for inspiration a lot of the time but I admire these hand lettering artists for their fresh take on type and their ability to change letters into a work of art; Linzie Hunter, Jonny Hannah, Julie McLaughlin, Christopher Silas Neal, Jeff Rogers, Olimpia Zagnoli, Katie Daisy, Jon Contino and the list goes on. Sorry if I left you out, I think you’re rad.

JTS: Are there any “mini goals” you find that you are continually assigning to yourself? Sort of a daily, “Oh, I gotta get this done again!” kind of thing?
MKD: Aside from my normal daily routine like answering emails, painting, drawing and playing with my cats, I try to assign myself some fun mini-goals throughout the day to break up my schedule, like go on a picnic for lunch or draw outdoors. You can tell I’m excited for summer.

JTS: Obviously, I love your hand-drawn type. And obviously, I love Chronicle Books. Without taking too much of your time, mind taking a whack at a hand-drawn version of the Chronicle logo?
MKD: Positively!

Jason Sacher
Associate Editor

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