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What’s in my Backpack?


This might be a fabricated memory but I remember at some point in high school watching a Buzzfeed video on YouTube where women dumped out their purses and had a running commentary about the contents.

I‘m a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a person by their bookshelves and backpacks, and for me this week those seem to be one in the same.

So, both to share what I’ve been reading and working on recently, and to self-reflect on these things, I’m going to show a temporal snapshot of the life of Katie‘s backpack. Like New Rules Every Monday, I think I’m going to do these multiple times to track the things I’m interested in.

So here goes:



First and foremost, my sketchbook.


I’ve been trying to use this as The Sketchbook instead of having one notebook for ideas and inspiration, another for drawings, another for lists. It’s really convenient to have everything in one place, and the binding allows the pages to lay flat which I love.



Next up are all the books I’ve been carrying around. In middle school I never used my locker and carried around every textbook I had from class to class (which probably explains why my back hurts so much at 23.) Things haven’t really changed. A few comments: Munari’s book is amazing but I’m having trouble reading it as an artist. A lot of his words are (true) comments about having to modify designs based on what other people want and need, and his views don’t leave a ton of room for superfluous “art as art” in “design as art.”

The Augusten Burroughs book is an interesting memoir/fiction(?) about witchcraft and I’m here for it.



tools of the trade



Feminine Necessities



Modern Necessities



Creative Necessity featuring Pokemon crystal



Very Katie Things featuring home-made hand earrings

And there you have it - my physical brain dump of the week. As I’ve been diving more and more into design, I’ve been questioning the design choices I see in the products I have and the greater world around me. Before I lost my phone last week, I’d taken a trip to Santa Cruz with the personal assignment to photograph ten things I thought were really well designed and to question what aspects of those design elements I liked and why. It was a surprisingly difficult challenge because despite the number of books, pens, clothes, mugs, jewelry, and everything else I carefully looked over in all the shops, I could only find a handful that I wouldn’t change in some way to fit my particular aesthetic desires. This is because I have particular preferences, not because the products were in any way flawed. The exercise, even though I lost all the pictures and didn’t write any commentary, was useful because it helped me craft my personal aesthetic ethos and what products would look like from my own brand.

I’ve been using that same passive eye when looking at the objects I own. I love the transparent ice blue with glitter flecks that makes up the GameBoy cartridge because it reminds me of other transparent glittery things from my childhood. I love the tarot deck because it’s circular instead of rectangular which is novel but also gives readings new interpretations (cards angles to the left and right allow for new meanings to be read instead of the typical right-side-up or upside-down.)


I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness not only as it comes to my life and self but also to the objects I interact with and purchase. Why do I like certain colors on water bottles but not pants? What is the best size for a certain book? Will my dog like this dog toy as much as I do?

I think the more we take time to ask these questions, the more connected we can become with the things we have, and the less we’ll get easily bored with our possessions and crave new ones. In the meantime, I’ll be playing my gameboy and reading about design and witchcraft. I wish you the same pleasures.




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