video debut: design by the book!

today i am thrilled and so proud to debut the first episode of design by the book- a collaboration between design*sponge and the new york public library. for the past few months i’ve been working with a fantastic team at the library to create a series that would highlight the amazing local design talent in nyc as well as the incredible creative resources the new york public library has to offer.

together we invited five brooklyn-based artists to come to the library, become inspired by its collections and have us film their entire creative process from the beginning to the final finished product, whatever that may be. in this episode we’re introducing the project and our designers: rebecca kutys of moontree press, john pomp of john pomp glass, julia rothman, mike perry and lorena barrezueta.

this has been an absolute joy to film so far and i can’t wait to see what the artists find in the library and end up creating throughout this process. please stay tuned for the next episode (date TBA) where we’ll follow the artists as they rummage through the library to find resources that inspire them. we’ll also meet with isaac mizrahi in the next episode and talk with him about inspiration and the creative process! thank you to all of the artists who are generously donating their time for this project and thank you to james murdock, amy azzarito, and jessica pigza at the nypl for making this series the highlight of my year. (and thanks to the clear tigers for the awesome music!)

[click here to check out the video on itunesU. click here to check it out on the nypl’s site and here to check it out on youtube]


This is such a fantastic idea!! I’ve been wanting to go to the Free Library of Philadelphia for some time now, but like Rebecca mentioned, it’s so overwhelming and magnificent when you walk into such a building that I wouldn’t even know where to start! I can’t wait for the next video of the series!


Well, this just confirms what I’ve suspected for a long time… Grace, you really are the best. Just watching this little bit was so inspiring. Especially hearing Julia Rothman relate her adult and young self. I know I imagined myself in a suit when I was younger and often do something and wonder if the child-me ever imagined this.

I love the video and am looking forward to seeing where this partnership between you and the NYPL will take us. I’m also curious, who chose the music?


Congratulations on this exciting project Grace and artists (and the NY Public Library) – I look forward to watching!


this is a brilliant project.. i love the insight into the artist process, and the nypl is amazing. really looking forward to the upcoming episodes!


Grace–I’ve been anxiously checking all day for this video. YOU did a perfect job of keeping your voice the opposite of announcer-type. I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing archives, hopefully with some beautiful card catalog shots.


this is so great! (+the music was killer) i’m so curious to see what mike perry comes up with. he’s such a wonderful talent. thanks for doing this cool video project. :)

Leah Pellegrini

Awesome. This is great – I love the artists involved and the music and your spectacular narration/hosting.

Inspirational – and a pleasure to watch!


This came out SO well, Grace. And it has totally peaked my interest in this project. Can’t wait to see more.


Wow, that looks like such a fantastic project. I can’t wait to see more.


thanks guys! other than the biz lady groups this has to be my favorite project i’ve done in the past four years. working with the artists and the library has been amazing.

the music is actually thanks to amy azzarito- it’s her husband’s band!



A gem to watch, Grace! You’re a natural in front of the camera. How wonderful it is to see these artists in their own working environments, speaking about how they search for inspiration. Keep ‘em coming!!


so so great grace! i can’t wait to explore along with you all. there is so much in those old beautiful walls. i’m anxious for a peek!


amazing!! i’m looking forward to the next and the next…congratulations on such an amazing endeavor :)


“Just like being in the kitchen…”

Haha, he hasn’t seen me in the kitchen!

Fun segment, looking forward to more!


The most inspiring 9 minutes and 47 seconds of my day – a designer myself seeking inspiration constantly!


And the envelope, please…(drum roll) The award for “Best new content for a blog” goes to…design sponge!

I can’t wait to see the upcoming episodes!


What a wonderful project idea! I’m a librarian and I know that our shelves are filled with beautiful, inspiring materials. I can’t wait to see what the artists create.


Bravo! So nice to see the artists you have highlighted on your site in action. I especially like that you put their website up when you are talking to them so I can search their work again.


thanks guys :)

the filming and editing was done by james murdock. he did such a fantastic job.



This is a GREAT project. How inspired and inspiring! The first video was really fun to watch, can’t wait for the next one Grace. Thank you!

Petite Main

Great idea and I’m really looking forward to watching the next videos! Congratulations Grace!


Love the concept and it was great meeting all these wonderful artist. Cannot wait to see the rest of the series. Saying hi from Singapore!

cindy k

i just watched the video and the project sounds wonderful. the artists represent an eclectic mix, but they seem to compliment each other. i love that library and can’t wait to see their creations. congratulations!


wow… i love it. such an amazing idea and to share with the rest of the world! your site and your projects are so inspiring. please keep them coming. I look forward to video.

thank you.


so good! I was completely absorbed watching that and looking forward to the next one, well done…


You’ve brought together two of favorite things in the world: libraries and inspiring design! I loved the video and look forward to the next episode. Congratulations.


I love to learn about an artist’s process. No one is exactly alike. Thanks for this presentation. Excited and ready to watch the next installment.


One of my favorite parts of the first episode was the MUSIC!!!! What fantastic and quirky, inspirational pieces.

Your music selection most definitely put me in an inspired mood and set the tone for the whole project.

I love what you are doing here! Thank you!


Love, love, love this idea of being able to see the library as a source of inspiration for these artists. Can’t wait for the adventure!


I couldn’t possibly love this project more!! I’m so excited to see the process unfold. Great group of artist, very interesting…


that was so much fun to watch! i check julia’s book-by-the-cover at least 3 times/week.

this is truly the new medium for communication…music choice was perfect.

apt 70

Oh Grace! I just love, love, love the video. It’s so simple yet so fresh. I can’t wait to see the next episode. Thanks so much for this great project!


I am so inspired! All the featured artists are amazing. Can’t wait to see the next video.


Kelly E.

This is awesome! I can’t wait to see the next installment! Congrats, Grace!


Grace, this is AMAZING! So inspiring, such an exciting range of artists and designers, and what an awesome new way to think about a library! Any library!


I just have to add my own inspired two cents, the film was really great! I will now bravely march in the National Library here in Austria and muddle my way through some sure to be interesting german pieces of history. Yay!


Thanks Grace. Really enjoyed everything about this exciting project. Loved seeing the artists at work. Permanently hooked on design sponge.


What a fantastic collaboration. Great job Grace, and I’m looking forward to following the artists on their journey.


oh grace! i am so excited about this! i am off to link it on my blog now and i can’t wait for more episodes. i miss new york so much and it’s great to have this link back.

i am so inspired by the collaborative artists i was already following and the ones i am being introduced to through this series.

thank you for doing this!


love. it. looking forward to the whole series! also, taking note of what inspires me and how i can build off an idea.

Monicka Clio Sakki

What a wonderful and inspiring idea – a unique collaboration of creative juices!
Seeing this made me feel happy I live in the Two Thousands.
Looking forward for more :-)


As someone who almost has their library degree, what a great project!


This is so great! I’m a library school student and am really interested in how artists can be inspired by libraries and archives. Looking forward to the next video!


I love this collaboration. I live in New York and it’s common knowledge that the main NY Public Library branch is beautiful and filled with books, but now I can more easily associate it with design. I just never thought about it. What a great way for everyone to gain exposure (you and the other designers included of course). So impressed with how Design*Sponge evolves!


This is fantastic Grace and I can’t wait for the next instalment! Thanks so much for all of your hard work with design*sponge – its always very inspiring!

ana paula

nice idea! congrats!
and where are the next episodes?