These Are Things


100 Things: A New Project

Jen AdrionComment

When Omar and I first started making things together back in 2010, we had a simple goal: to make art. That was it! It wasn't about starting a business or even about making maps. It was about making things that we wanted to make. It was about seeing our ideas come to life as real, physical things and sharing those things with the world.

As our business has grown, we've found ourselves spending more time in spreadsheets than our sketchbooks. When you're relying on your art as your sole source of income, there's a lot on the line. It's easy to get caught in a trap of continually moving forward, spending all your time and energy on the business, leaving little left over for making art.

Lately, both Omar and I have felt a strong desire to change that. We knew we wanted to switch things up, but we weren't quite sure how to do it. Then, a few weeks ago, we had an idea: What if we made art every day? It was a big idea, the kind of idea that made us start laughing out loud because it seemed so impossible. But as we started thinking about it, it seemed not only possible, but entirely necessary for our evolution as artists. When we heard that #The100DayProject was scheduled to start next week, we knew we had to do it.

This whole adventure started as a series of creative experiments. So, inspired by the early days of These Are Things, we’re challenging ourselves to make more art. Starting a week from today, on April 6th, we're going to make a new limited edition art object and share it with you, every single day, for 100 days. We've cleared everything from our schedules, put our map shop on hiatus, and simplified our website so we can focus on one thing: making more art.

We're calling this project 100 Things. The rules are simple:

  1. Each object will be created in a limited edition, ranging in quantity from 1 to 100.
  2. Each object will be shared in our new gallery webshop starting on April 6, updated daily at Noon EST.
  3. Each object will be available for purchase, priced from $1 to $100.

Other than that, the only rule is that there are no rules! During this project, no idea, process, or subject will be off limits. When this project wraps up in mid-July, these 100 objects will be a celebration of the creative process and an experimental exploration of the future of These Are Things.

As for our maps? We still love them, of course, but for the duration of this project, we will not be selling any of our old pieces. We went back and forth about this until the final hour, but ultimately we decided that we need to focus our full attention on this project. You'll have a few more chances to buy maps from some of our retail partners this spring/summer, so we'll keep you posted on that. Who knows, we might even make some new maps as some of our 100 Things! We'll see.

It feels strange to admit that the thought of actually making art for the next 100 days is a little scary! But it feels scary in a good way. It's been a while since we've challenged ourselves like this and we can't wait to see what happens. The freedom of this project has already given us so many ideas and we can't wait to show you what we've been working on.

We hope you'll tag along with us on this new adventure! We'll be posting our newest thing on Instagram using the hashtag #TheseAre100Things. We'll also be showing lots of behind the scenes action, like a tour of our studio (it's almost done!) and our new Risograph. Lots of fun things ahead.

See you back here in 7 days for the beginning of 100 Things!

Interview: Pencil vs Pixel

InterviewsJen AdrionComment
The better you do, the more the work is going to demand from you and the more the business is going to demand from you, so you do have to be in love with it.

A few weeks ago, Omar and I had a great time chatting with Cesar for an episode of his podcast, Pencil vs Pixel. We talked about our creative process, the importance of sharing your work, and how to stay inspired. Listen here!

Five Years


Last month, These Are Things officially turned five years old. As usual, we've been too busy to slow down and celebrate our birthday! Passing the five year mark is a huge milestone for us. I feel like "they" always talk about those statistics that say most small businesses shut down by this point, so for us to make it this far by selling art feels truly surreal.

Five years ago, we took our desire to chart our travels, mixed it with our love of making art, and created our first print: the Modern World Map. From there, we shared it with the world (wide web) and set off on a journey that neither of us could have expected.

Since then, we've designed hundreds of prints, selling them to thousands of customers in over 50 countries. We've illustrated pieces for magazines like AFAR and HOW and brands like McDonald's and Airbnb. We've spoken at conferences like Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, Pioneer Nation, and Adobe MAX. We even got to see our work on the shelves of Nordstrom stores from coast to coast.

Not exactly what we had in mind when we made that first print back in 2010! Surreal, indeed.

This project certainly hasn't been easy. We've had our fair share of struggles and mistakes. They've cost us money, time, and sanity. But, looking back, we've learned from every single one. We've come a long way and I know we will take all of this experience with us into the future with These Are Things.

Speaking of the future, where do we go from here? Over the past few months, we've spent a lot of time thinking about that very question. We have a few ideas. ;) For now, we just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has supported us over the last five years. We can't wait to show you what we're making next.

To five more!

J + O