March is a pretty exciting month here at the global headquarters. We are in the process of unveiling to the world something we’ve been working on for about eighteen months, a new brand of notebooks called Plumb.
Knock Knock, artist Tucker Nichols, and design firm MacFadden & Thorpe are collaborating on a new brand of notebooks envisioned, designed, and illustrated by contemporary artists. The result is one of the projects that I’m personally most proud of in my career.
Plumb is still a little quiet as we queue everything up, but you can visit a preview website that will turn into a full-blown e-commerce site by mid-March. Plumb is also going to start trickling in to your favorite stores, the ones with the really special stuff. The Plumb blog is set to go with posts about the process and the artists involved. And then we’ll start to really tell the Plumb story.
Craig Hetzer, Tucker Nichols, Scott Thorpe, and Brett MacFadden review Plumb's first manufacturing samples in the observation tower at the de Young Museum, where we were about to see the glorious David Hockney exhibit.
In the meantime, we’re having a fun launch party in San Francisco, this Thursday, March 6, at Gallery 16, at Third and Bryant, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. If you’re in the neighborhood, please join us—it’s Tucker’s and MacFadden & Thorpe’s stomping grounds, with my childhood and high school friends thrown in for good hometown measure.
A few early directions for the "What I Love about You" cover. It's like those block letters demanded you to love.
I got the idea for What I Love about You from a gift I received several years ago. It’s just a tiny spiral Mead notebook, but it instantly became (and remains) my most prized possession.
Maybe on some subconscious level I thought, everyone should know how this feels: to be told in concrete terms the many ways they are loved. And, on the flip side, everyone should have the chance to articulate their affection in all its glorious specificity. To place colorful leaves and nests of birds on the branches of “I love you.”
This idea, completely ripped off from my genius boyfriend—and a lifelong love of Mad Libs—is how What I Love about You was born.
NOSTALGIA 2014: Writing this post got me feeling nostalgic for my bitterness about Valentine's Day, an emotion that miraculously passed a couple years ago without even requiring a significant other. That nostalgia got me nostalgic for some of Knock Knock's now-retired Valentine's Day ink-on-paper.
The best Valentine’s Day of my life was in high school, and I can’t say that many since have even come close. Kind of sad that the standout was twenty-five years ago. By contrast, I seem to have a great New Year’s Eve—the other over-promise-and-under-deliver holiday—about every five years, separated by ones that aren’t merely mediocre but instead pretty much suck.
That superlative February 14 took place during either my sophomore or junior year. My boyfriend, whom I was with for almost all four years of high school, not counting periodic tumultuous separations, sprinkled what must have been ten gallons of confetti over my bedroom—bed, desk, floor, window sills—then placed eight inflated balloons on my bed, each with one letter Sharpied onto them: I LOVE YOU. There may also have been rose petals. When I walked in on the surprise, I was beside myself with the romance of it all. My mother did not share my excitement, in part because she thought the relationship was too intense and too young, but specifically because the confetti turned out to be all but ineradicable. Looking back from my vantage point as a real adult with a real life to keep in order, I realize that the truly romantic gesture would have been for Erik to clean the installation up afterward. The confetti on the floor was probably a half-inch deep, requiring one vacuum cleaner bag after another. Years later, when the room was repainted, we found more confetti. I’m sure a few pieces remain laminated into the walls. Read On
Most people would have had the rear-facing Janus wearing 2013 novelty sunglasses, but I prefer to focus exclusively on 2014.
Welcome, January! Welcome, 2014! So far, you feel exactly the same to me as December 2013 did. Okay, I’m a lot closer to having to go back to work than I was in December, mere days ago, and I’m going to be at work for the majority of you, January, but I honor you despite the fact that you mark the end of my vacation.
I honor you because you are named after Janus, the god of two faces. Yes, one is looking forward, and the other is looking back, but that’s still two-faced to me. Also, you’re the god of doors, which I go through on a regular basis. I don’t think it was you who opined “When one door closes, another opens,” which is good because I think it’s kind of a bullshit saying.
I also look to you, January, for putting a kibosh on the whole holiday thing. I might not be so happy about the end-of-vacation element, but I’m relieved that all the outings and events and errands and social expectations are done with for a while. I’m exhausted, and I don’t even have to deal with kids and relatives and such, so I can only imagine how the breeders must feel.
Even though I finally understand, at the age of forty-four, that New Year’s resolutions are bunkum, I do appreciate you, January, for allowing all of us to feel so very fresh and new and hopeful. And I know that the media appreciate you for that tired chestnut “New Year, New You,” an angle that will forever suck in our tummies and our dollars at the newsstand.
Now, 2014, I know this sounds improbable, but I already appreciate you and wish to honor you by misusing Sanskrit words. Like Sanskrit, there’s a lot I’ll never learn, but the world will learn what I’ve learned about never learning with one particular title in Knock Knock’s Fall 2014 release—but I can’t say what that is yet, other than to note that it makes clever use of the word “fuck.” And also, 2014, you’re going to help us introduce some collaborations the likes of which Knock Knock has never before done, taking the company in exciting new directions. But that’s still classified, too. As is some innovation in the digital arena. Basically, there’s not much I can tell you—but you’ve got a front-row seat.
2014, what I think I most appreciate about you is that you haven’t really happened yet. Everything is still possible, all is still new. You may think that’s the case for every year, but I didn’t feel that way about 2013. 2014, you are clearly the superior year. What you do have in common with your predecessors, though, is that for about 6 weeks you will allow me to feel the uncharted frontier of the future, like when I was in high school and college and had no idea how long adulthood would be.
I beseech you, 2014, to live up to your hype. You can totally do it—you can be the year in which everybody says “I can feel it—it’s going to be a good one” and it actually happens. To everybody. Except a few people of my choosing. 2014, you have upon you the mantle of a hungry generation sick of 2013 and 2012 and 2011. Enough already with prior years: we’re gunning for change and you’re the one to hit the target (including on gun control). I can tell you this, 2014: next December, you will be nominated for “Best Year” and you will win by a landslide.
The holidays come and go, but gift-giving season is all year long. With the help of our ridiculously amazing fans, we put together this vid with snippets on what it’s like to “Gift the Wit!” from Knock Knock!
Be sure to hashtag #GiftTheWit when you “Share” your Knock Knock gift this year! If you’re giving or already gave a Knock Knock gift to a friend, catch their reaction and send it our way to firstname.lastname@example.org. It could be in our next video!