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The Shape of Design is a short, accessible book about the creative process & the intersection of storytelling, craft & improvisation.
Created by

Frank Chimero

2,109 backers pledged $112,159 to help bring this project to life.

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Hi friends,

We’re halfway through August, right in the middle of the haze of summer, and I’m thinking about snow. See, I’ve got two documents open right now: one is the first draft of the book, flush with the editor’s commentary, and a second file next to it, white and pristine, like a blanket of snow powdering a flat plain. Second drafts are second chances, and rather than leaving my mark on an unscathed surface like the first go-through, I’ve got hints and trails of ideas to guide the words. Writing has turned to rewriting. I’m fitting my feet into my old footprints, and trying to correct the missteps. 

I took a few weeks away from writing while Mandy was editing, and that time has given greater clarity about the book’s impetus. The first draft felt like inventing, but the second appears to be more like choreography—complete with cut chapters, added sections, revised order, and refined focus. I’m excited about the direction of the book, and invigorated by the response of those who have read the first draft. The ideas are there, the structure is nearly there, and the writing has momentum.

In this moment of velocity, I feel obliged to slow down and consider my fortune to be able to write this book, share these ideas, have an audience, and enjoy the support this book has had. So, I’m sending out this note as a simple way to say thank you for your support, patience, and interest. All three seem to be in ever less supply these days, so to be offered them in such abundance is certainly a blessing not to be taken for granted.

Again, thank you.


Frank Chimero

✓ First Draft

Dear reader,

Three days ago I submitted the first draft of the Shape of Design to its editor, Mandy Brown. Three weeks from now, she will return the manuscript, cleaned up and with comments, which I will use to begin my rewrite. It's tempting to say that the hard part is over, but more accurately, I've only finished the parts of the process I haven't experienced before now.

So, what's left to do after the rewrite? First the interior design, then a suite of illustrations, and finally production (both printing and ebook versions). It looks as if the book will be released toward the end of this year, and I'm terribly excited to share it with all of you.

I'm hesitant to discuss any specific details about the book until I hear back from Mandy, but I will say that the book uses several ideas and examples at the periphery of design to investigate the relationship between the designer and the work's audience. My usual themes are invoked: delight, storytelling, paradox, gift-giving, and more. Design opens a line of communication, creating a space that the client, designer, and audience all inhabit and, increasingly, collaborate. It becomes the work of the creative to, in the words of John Berger, give that space a "face."

It's a booky book, with many more words than pictures, and even fewer examples of design. (As I go through what I've written, I realize that I envoke paintings more often than pieces of design.) All in all, the book is a celebration of the seed of creativity and craving at the core of design: the desire to make things that help us to live better. I try my best to make this the purpose of the work that I do, and I hope that the thoughts in this book might prompt that same desire in you. Making is a machine we employ to live well, and as I sign off to reread what I've written again, I sincerely hope you are indeed well.

Until next time,

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Chapter 1 Trailer


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Gathering Information


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