The Storm Behind Millman's Eyes

millman_125The mind of a creative person can be a very violent place. Not violent in the “now where did I put that ax” sense, but rather a constant maelstrom of colors and passions and images. In most cases, we’re spared the full-brunt of the storm. Sometimes, though, a creative person is given enough creative rope (i.e., a publishing contract) to share with us the kaleidoscopic chaos that churns behind their fluttering eyes and better natures.

All of which is a long-winded way of introducing Debbie Millman’s latest, and most personal, project: Self-Portrait as Your Traitor. A tome that in any other hands would’ve simply been yet another garble of bad poetry is transformed by the designer into an aggressive exploration of how design influences our processing of words, and vice versa.


Though Millman discovered a passion for painting words about 20 years ago, it was only recently that she made time between her corporate branding jobs specifically to address that love in this book, according to FastCoDesign:

“I was getting far too commercial and was losing my soul a bit. I didn’t feel like my soul was being nourished. Money was never going to do it.”

millman_coverWhile Self-Portrait… is never going to be a universal crowd pleaser, it will definitely resonate with some designers, and even some writers, who are forever searching for the nexus between word and image. And if someone with Millman’s workload can find the time to bring a passion project to fruition, we must think that surely some of us can do so as well. (Never too early to start making those resolutions…)

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