Magic Words

Musings from 'Collateral' by the Design Union: About writing as the native expression of self and how print is alive & damn well

'Collecteral' by Design Union

Today marked the last day of the weekend-to-weekend curated event Collecteral by Design Union. If it's a lovechild of risograph printer a good reason and letterpress printer The Alphabet Press, I'd expect it to spring leaps and bounds beyond expectations. I'm biased but you know that it's true. 


The event included an extensive exhibition of print collaterals, risograph printing and letterpress printing workshops, and movie nights of The Happy Film by Stefan Sagmeister. Everyone should listen to Stefan talk about happiness on TED.

Writing: The native expression of self

It was just earlier in the week that I sat down with a friend over beer chat and we talked about how writing is the native expression of self. I think that it couldn't have be more precise. Body language, fashion, and even social media are very interpersonal expressions of our conscious and subconscious selves. When it comes to writing –be it letters that follow a blinking cursor or ink to paper–, this intrapersonal expression of self becomes infinitely more intimate and telling


I've written for as long as I can remember. It was my balancing act thru anxious teenage years and was put to a halt when I struggled with the 'emerging adulthood' phase at 21. 


When you're about ten, you don't really know consequences. Well, I didn't. So I didn't fully understand that if I do this, that will happen, because there is no concept of that. What's a Newton's third law? Pffttt... I just threw myself in. As a kid you kind of just do it without even understanding what you are doing. I learned to express via writing by nature, by just being rather than anatomising it. It works when you are little, because fear was not a factor. And there really is magic in writing... 


The older I got, the more I recognised that fear was what drove me to write less, express less and ultimately, share less. It's a mumbo jumbo of self perception and surrounding perspectives. "Who are you to you?" is a question that carries hundredfolds the weight versus how others view you. Well, it's not all bad. This expression limbo taught me how to pick my battles and cancel out white noise but it also deterred my pushing the envelope, simply because I tried less. Now, I'm trying to do this balancing act thing again like I did when I was a kid; To express as fully as I may but now with the awareness of my own grounds and strengths and humility for my lacking. I'm just me the way you're just you and I'm going to make magic happen for myself again. Hey! 

Print Is Alive & Well

'Print is not dead' isn't just a marketing campaign for the print and traditional media industry. Letterpress and risograph and print media are going to be around for as long as I'd live and more. The print market landscapes are evolving to keep up. I'd even say that print actually stands out more in this digital age. 


There's something about the tactility of paper that we'd unconsciously associate with expressing. We all started off with pressing the lead of a pencil to paper. Writing is something that allows us to flex our expressions. We all have a doodah that's second to nature. This be mine. What's yours? 

© Chan 2003-2017

Opinions on this site are my own and not of people I work with, work for, and work against.