Hi. My name is Scott Stowell. I run a design studio in New York City called Open. Over the last fifteen years we’ve made (and learned) a lot of stuff. Design for People is a unique book full of real people telling the true stories behind our work. It’s a documentary, a guidebook, and an obsession. It’s got an essay by Alice Twemlow and contributions from lots of other smart people. It’s designed by Open. And you can get a copy before anybody else.
Design for People is our story. And like all the work we do at Open, that story wouldn’t be much of anything without all the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. We want to share this book with all the people who have been part of our story, and now that includes you. I hope you’ll be interested in Design for People, order a copy for yourself and/or a friend, and get something out of it. You can help make this unique project happen, and get a book (and a poster), too. We can’t do it without you.
Design for People is an all-access pass.
Open has clients like Etsy, Google, and Patagonia. Our work is in books and magazines. I won a National Design Award. That’s all thanks to the people I’ve worked with, and you’ll hear from them in this book. Design for People tells the stories of our biggest projects through interviews with clients, consultants, designers, interns, vendors—and regular people who use the stuff we make, including my Mom and Dad (and maybe you!). If you like to get into the details of how things work, Design for People is for you.
Ian Adelman (director of digital design, The New York Times): “Great people, great design—it’s gonna be a great book. Get it.”
Design for People is an Open book.
Design for People is a tablet-sized book with an exposed binding, a protective cover, and 256 pages—16 signatures of 16 pages. It’s illustrated with emails, sketches, presentations—and the best images ever published of our work. Alice is writing an essay. The glossary explains anything (like fax machines, Paul Rand, or Star Trek) that might need explaining. And there are mini-essays by amazing people like Maira Kalman, Emily Pilloton, and Michael Van Valkenburgh, too.
Jason Santa Maria (senior designer, Vox Media; co-founder, A Book Apart): “Design for People by Scott Stowell (and a cast of hundreds) looks spectacular. Don’t miss out.”
Design for People is full of surprises.
Being a designer is a fascinating job. We get to work with all kinds of people who do all kinds of things—and help solve their problems. That process is complicated, exhilarating, and fun. So is this book. Plenty of books are full of pretty pictures. Others have good stories. This one has both. So you’ll hear what went wrong, how we fixed things—and when we couldn’t. Design for People will show you what it’s like to work together to make things better. Then I hope you’ll do the same.
Jennifer Daniel (graphics editor, The New York Times): “A huge part of my design education was ripping off Scott Stowell. Ten years later I promise not to shoplift his book.”
Design for People is for you.
Design for People is not a collector’s item. We’ve been working on it for years and want to share it with everybody. Connecting with you through Kickstarter is the fastest and most direct way to do that. At Open, we help our clients share their ideas with as many people as possible. So we’d love you to be a part of this. I think you should get (and/or give) a copy of Design for People. But you can’t have the first one. That’s for Mom and Dad.
Matt Dorfman (art director, The New York Times op-ed page): “Open is a polymathematical design hub. They’re finally spilling their guts. So yes, that’s worth money to me.”
Design Taxi: “Featuring fascinating text contributions from the likes of Alice Twemlow and Maira Kalman, and ‘pretty pictures’ of the various projects, this insightful industry-insider tome explains what really goes on during the design process—more specifically, it will ‘show you what it’s like to work together to make things better.’”
It’s Nice That: “What got us interested, though, was the fact that many of the stories in the book are told through the eyes of the client, rather than the designer, giving frank summaries of what went well, and even more enticingly, ‘when things fell apart.’”
Core77: “This book from Scott Stowell and Open, the design studio he founded in NYC fifteen years ago, deserves to be funded and gifted. Support the book on Kickstarter, and you’re promised to get a book about the behind-the-scenes of Open’s projects. Knowing both their thoughtfulness and humor, this promises to be a design book like no other.”
Design for People has a lot to offer.
$5 You’ll get an envelope of Open printed matter, including a Pay Attention bumper sticker. U.S. shipping is included.
$10 You’ll get the Open printed matter + a limited-edition poster that reproduces every page of Design for People (at a very small size) on one 24" x 36" sheet (ships folded). U.S. shipping is included.
$25 You’ll get the Open printed matter + the limited-edition poster + your own copy of the ebook of Design for People. U.S. shipping is included. All backers above this level will automatically get the ebook too.
Every book order will include a complimentary ecard, sent upon request at the end of our campaign (unless you need it earlier—just let us know).
$50 You’ll get the Open printed matter + the limited-edition poster + your own copy of Design for People. U.S. shipping is included.
$100 You’ll get the Open printed matter + the limited-edition poster + your own signed copy of Design for People + another copy for a friend. U.S. shipping is included.
$250 You’ll get the Open printed matter + the limited-edition poster + your own signed copy of Design for People + your name in the thanks section of the book + four more copies of the book. U.S. shipping is included.
$500 You’ll get the Open printed matter + the limited-edition poster + your own signed copy of Design for People + your name in the thanks section of the book + nine more copies of the book. U.S. shipping is included.
$1000 (limited to 5) You’ll get the Open printed matter + the limited-edition poster + your own signed copy of Design for People + your name in the thanks section of the book + nine more copies of the book + we’ll write fifty words about the topic of your choice in the glossary and mention your name as its sponsor. Two restrictions apply: The topic can’t be self-promotional and is subject to our approval. U.S. shipping is included.
$2500 You’ll get the Open printed matter + the limited-edition poster + your own signed copy of Design for People + your name in the thanks section of the book + nine more copies of the book + I’ll do a Pay Attention talk at your business, organization, or school. U.S. shipping is included. Travel expenses are not included.
Scott Stowell: I’m a designer working in New York City. Before that, I went to RISD (BFA Graphic Design, 1990) and worked at M&Co. and Colors. Since 1998, I’ve been doing business as Open—surviving by staying small, specializing in not really specializing in anything in particular, and (according to the Cooper-Hewitt museum) embracing “an open notion of the term ‘office,’ inviting different participants to every project.” As it turns out, everything is connected and everything is an opportunity—if you’re paying attention.
Alice Twemlow: Since Scott and I first talked about this book, I’ve had a baby who is now in kindergarten, started a PhD and finished it, launched a Design Criticism program at SVA, and graduated five classes. But that’s okay. The thing is, it’s really happening now, and the book is all the better for having stewed in its own juices for so long. My role in the book is to throw ideas back and forth with Scott, write an essay, and do the editing. Oh yes, and Chappell and Bryn are two of my graduates.
Chappell Ellison: Alice thought Scott and I would make each other laugh (she was right). She also knew that I love talking with people about the design process. I’m organizing and conducting tons of interviews with designers, clients, and even end users who actually read, watched, or otherwise engaged with Open’s work. I’m really excited about the way quotes are woven together in the unique format of this book, which Scott created and sometimes refers to as a “hilarious radio play.”
Bryn Smith: When Chappell asked me to join the project it was already in full swing, though there’s still plenty to help out with. I’m staying busy interviewing Open designers, clients, and bit players, while sifting through Scott’s meticulously detailed archive. Early on we decided two things: I’d play the straight man of the group, keeping everyone on track; and majority rules, meaning between Scott, Chappell and me, if at least two of us feel something is important to the story, it gets to stay in.
Martha Kang McGill: I joined the team at Open this year, so I didn’t actually work on any of the projects in this book. But the book itself is in many ways a dream design project. It’s a puzzle with many pieces—a huge pile of images and a chorus of different voices—and Scott, Chappell, Bryn, and I will all have to make these pieces work together to tell a story. It’s exciting because things are changing constantly—we never know what people are going to say.
Jason Jude Chan: Before I joined Open in 2012, I was whiling the days away as a carbonated soft drink on various social media channels. The chance to make a book (i.e. a real object!) happen, among other things, was much more exciting. So, we researched production costs, Kickstarter practices, and cautionary tales, and put together a detailed five-week plan. Then, of course, those “other things” ended up taking up more time than planned. Two years later, I’m here to do anything and everything to make this real object.
Alex Daly: I run crowdfunding campaigns for a living. I’ve actually been called the “Crowdsourceress.” This project is so appealing to me because I’m not a designer and I’m still really into it. Design for People is engaging, informative, and accessible—with no big design words I don’t know (and if there are big design words I don’t know, there’s an awesome glossary to take care of that). This is a great book for any of us who want to learn things about working with people, which most of us do every single day.
Risks and challenges
The “risks and challenges” of a project like this include trying to remember what happened years ago, putting our hands on all the emails and files and other stuff we need to get into the book, making sure everybody’s voices are included, possibly finding out things that we didn’t want to know—and getting all our regular work done while we’re working on this. But we’ve been making projects like this for other people for years. We’re making this one for you. If you order a book, you’ll get it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (34 days)