Creating An Authentic Story

 

 

Tell Me A Story
We love stories. We can read a book or have one read to us. Perhaps a story is online or viewable on the multiplicity of media available. Ultimately, the results of the creation of an authentic story is a treat for us all. Besides entertaining, a story can be informative. In addition, it can promote a business or a product. Whatever the purpose, the process is basically the same. In this post, the focus is on the process.

The Creation of a Story
The process of creating an authentic story requires intensive research and lots of writing. I’ve created several stories containing the required elements. In all four authentic story situations, there was access to primary sources and extensive research. Sometimes having access to primary sources is impossible. So when it does happen, it can be very special for both the writer and the reader.

Four Authentic Stories
The authentic stories here touch upon four different non-fiction topics:
• business-a multi-million dollar corporation that started in a janitor’s closet
• social issues-The Middle Class Poor Crisis, a serious situation that exists today
• creativity-a creative-organizational process called Knolling
• music-some very special musicians

Each of these stories is set up as a series of blog posts. To read each of them, click on their link. That will be the first post of the story. You will be able to read the additional posts from there.
 

The Story of A Corporation That Started In A Janitor’s Closet
The Charrette Corporation Chronicles
The Charrette red van was part of my intense research & writing process
The Charrette Red Van Travelled from Boston to New York Daily Long Before The Invention of Federal Express Overnight Delivery.

 

A Social Issue called, ‘The Poor Middle Class Crisis’
The Poor Middle Class Crisis
poor middle class financial survival toolkit
The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans

 

A Creative Organzational System Based on Florence Knoll Furniture Designs, Knolling
Knolling
 
What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs
What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs Posted on the CreativeMarket.com Blog, August 19,2015

 

Some Very Talented Singers
Expressions of Creative Passion
 
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The ‘Godmother of Rock ‘n Roll

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KNOLLING Part Four: From Chaos To Creativity

This series of blog posts about KNOLLING is dedicated to Andrew Kromelow who coined the term ‘knolling’ in 1987 and to Tom Sachs who expanded on the concept of knolling to ‘Always Be Knolling’.

I first heard the term ‘knolling’ around a month ago. I was fascinated by the term and started to research everything I could about it. I became somewhat confused because I could not discern if it was a systematic method of organization or an artistic technique also called flat lay photography or flatlays.

It seems to have started as the former and morphed into the latter over time. ‘Flatlays’ or ‘flat lay photography’ has nothing to do with knolling as a systematic method of organization. But from the way I understand these terms, they can be used as a record of knolling a set of objects. It can also be an art form of pleasantly laid out objects. It is presently and widely used on Instagram, tumblr and Pinterest. The purpose of using these social media applications is a popular means of graphic design layout or brand marketing as shown below. Instagram photos used in an article on Business Insider called, Everyone’s obsessed with ‘knolling’ their stuff and putting the photos on Instagram

I have written three previous blog posts about knolling to get as clear an understanding of it as possible. These blog posts represent my process with this goal in mind.
KNOLLING: Organizational or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System?
KNOLLING: Can It Help Organize My Costume Jewelry Collection?
KNOLLING: Social Media Gives Knolling New Meaning

The focus of this fourth blog post is to analyse the original process of ‘knolling’ used as an organizational tool. Specifically, it is about the process which I believe that Andrew Kromelow used to ‘bring order out of chaos’ in Frank Gehry‘s furniture fabrication factory where Kromelow worked. That resulting order prepared the staff for the continuation of a project or the starting of a new project.

I am finding that knolling is also a catalyst for creativity. This is my experience and what I would like to share. Just to clarify, the following video is not what I am writing about. My focus is not on flatlays or flat lay photography. But for information sake, this video, Making a Flat Lay Collage for a Campaign, Brochure or Magazine from StyleShoots by Matt Brasier, explains those terms and their current use.

The following video, Ten Bullets by Tom Sachs, does focus on knolling in great detail.

In my second blog post, I asked the question, KNOLLING: Can It Help Organize My Costume Jewelry Collection? In a word, YES. It can and it is helping a great deal. I am in the process of creating four boards so far:
• a board for my bracelets that holds 48 bracelets laid out in color order as an additional organizational system
• a board for about 2 dozen necklaces, again using color order as an additional organizational system
• a board for earrings
• a board for pins
I am also working on layouts for my hat collection and my purse collection.

knolling my bracelet collection using color order as an addition system
Knolling my bracelet collection using color order as an addition organizational system

The next things that happened was a spontaneous inspiration. Once I had created order out of chaos and could see my things neatly laid out in front of me, I experienced an epiphany. I felt the desire to commence making jewelry. I am not ever sure what the thought process was or if there even was one. I do have lots of broken pieces of jewelry which I hoped to repair some day. I also have a new piece that was missing some stones that needed regluing. The next thing I knew, I had retrieved my jewelry storage boxes from my shelves. I got out my glue and I started creating. I have already created two pieces of jewelry out of one piece and have plans for quite a few other pieces.

knolling my necklace collection using color order as an additional system
Knolling my necklace collection using color order as an additional organizational system
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KNOLLING Part Three: Social Media Adds Another Perspective to Knolling

This series of blog posts about KNOLLING is dedicated to Andrew Kromelow who coined the term ‘knolling’ in 1987 and to Tom Sachs who expanded on the concept of knolling to ‘Always Be Knolling’.

What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs
What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs Posted on the CreativeMarket.com Blog, August 19,2015
BLOG POSTS REVIEW

My first blog post about knolling was entitled, KNOLLING: Organizational or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System?

My second blog post on this topic was about exploring knolling as a practical organizing solution. I sought to answer the question KNOLLING: Can It Help Organize My Vintage Jewelry Collection? The second blog post essential showed that it could.

 

REFLECTION

In reflecting on the points which are detailed in my second blog post and summarized below, I concluded that I had a grasp on knolling and that I had created organizational templates using materials at hand to knoll. My solutions are working very well for my bracelets, decorative pins, earrings, purses and shoe box collections. Where it has not worked as well is due to a lack of space and the proper materials to lay out all my hats. But the system of knolling itself has held up to every one of my challenges. In retrospect, ‘Always Be Knolling’ is a great approach to facing my challenges of organizing my favorite personal items for quick, methodical access.
 

THE CHALLENGE AND THE SOLUTION

To summarize, my challenge had been to see if knolling, as coined by Andrew Kromelow and defined by Wikipedia, worked. The steps I took worked. They were:
• to design templates with materials on hand that could organize my vintage accessories collections
• to determine if knolling using these templates could solve my fashion accessories challenge by making my collections easily accessible to select what to wear

I feel it is safe to say that it worked. What do you think from observing the photos, or ‘flat lay photographs’ I took to share the results?

 
KNOLLING, SOCIAL MEDIA AND FLAT LAY PHOTOGRAPHY aka FLAT LAYS
One question remained. Where did ‘flat lay photography’ which came to be known as ‘flatlays’ in the social media world fit into knolling? My next step was:
• to confirm what Andrew Kromelow’s meaning was when he coined the term knolling
• to determine if knolling had other practical uses pre or post Andrew Kromelow’s coining the phrase and to ‘Always Be Knolling’ (ABK), as Tom Sachs suggested
• to find out if ‘flat lay photography’ which came to be known as ‘flat lays’ enhanced knolling the way I had come to understand and use it

ANDREW KROMELOW’S DEFINITION
Andrew confirmed that his coining of the term, knolling was directly attributed to the clean, simple parallel and perpendicular designs of Florence Knoll’s furniture designs. But he added that knolling was a system used for years, as an example, in a medical operating room and other areas where the lay out of tools could make a difference between life and death.

Before moving onto social media and knolling, I would like to provide a few samples of both present day and historical uses of what knolling was coined as, an organizational system. To emphasize, it could even mean the difference between life and death. This concept was emphasized by Andrew Kromelow.

SOCIAL MEDIA TAKES ON KNOLLING
Let’s examine what social media has done with knolling by examining the following samples.
 
PINTERESTKnolling on Pinterest

Knolling On Pinterest
Knolling On Pinterest

 

TUMBLRTumblr: Things Organized Neatly

Things Organized Neatly
Tom Sachs—”Always Be Knolling.“ from Ten Bullets on Tumblr, “Things Organized Neatly”

INSTAGRAMFlatlays

Flatlays on Instagram @flatlays
Flatlays on Instagram @flatlays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOG POSTS ABOUT KNOLLING
What Is Knolling? The Overhead Photography Trend Explained

What is 'knolling' and why is everyone doing it on social media? By Komando Staff
What is ‘knolling’ and why is everyone doing it on social media?
By Komando Staff

How To Become A Pro At Knolling

mattiasinks:  Sketchbook motherboard  Just discovered Mattias Adolfsson’s incredibly detailed illustrations. Magical worlds herein.
mattiasinks:
Sketchbook motherboard
Just discovered Mattias Adolfsson’s incredibly detailed illustrations. Magical worlds herein.

CONCLUSION
Knolling is a technical, even scientific systemization that has a specific dynamic function. On the other hand, unless they are a record of a knolled exercise, flatlays are a static, artistic event that is meant to be pleasing to the eye usually as a commercial tool. These kind of flat lay photos have become very popular in the design layout and products marketing world. Such is the evolution of things.

What started out as a scientific system for ordering tools evolved into something pretty and commercial, in other words, an advertising/marketing tool. That is the nature of invention. It is not bad. One has the choice of using knolling for either or both purposes. In my opinion, the essential element is to remember knolling’s origins and its inventor. Then one can truly enjoy its metamorphosis without forgetting the inventor or limiting the invention.

RESOURCES AND SOURCES

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KNOLLING Part Two: Can It Help Organize My Costume Jewelry Collection?

This series of blog posts about KNOLLING is dedicated to Andrew Kromelow who coined the term ‘knolling’ in 1987 and to Tom Sachs who expanded on the concept of knolling to ‘Always Be Knolling’.

Vintage bracelets and lots of rings
Vintage bracelets, lots of rings. Can knolling help to keep them organized?
INTRODUCTION

Now that I have a fair understanding of Knolling, I wondered if it might be the answer to this 21st Century woman’s fashion accessories challenge. Could it help organize my costume jewelry collection? Collecting and wearing vintage accessories is my passion and hobby.

I have so many bracelets, pins, necklaces, earrings, purses and rings. I store them in the closet, protect them in fancy boxes and display some of them on my dresser where they just collect dust. That is not why I got them. I love them. I want to enjoy them. This means, wear them to enhance my outfits and show them off to everyone else to enjoy, too.

 

bracelets before knolling
This system makes it hard to quickly reach the bracelet I want to wear and sometimes I am not sure where I even put it
CHALLENGE

It’s very time consuming to find what I want to wear to accessorize my outfits for both daily attire and special occasions. I always forget pieces I have because I don’t see them. In addition, there are so many accessories stored in so many places, I can’t remember where I put them. I also have a problem with my shoes collection.

 
MY INITIAL KNOLLING BLOG POST

After hearing about knolling, I wrote an initial blog post about it, KNOLLING: Organizational or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System? I decided to see if knolling was an organizing system or just a design/branding technique. Could it be a solution to my fashion accessorizing challenge or just a pretty way of photographing my collections? The rest of this post and the following posts about Knolling explore the various aspects of knolling and its metamorphosis into flat lay photography and flatlays.

 

WHAT’S NEXT

By Wikipedia definition, Knolling is the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization. Therefore if I could use knolling as an organizational system, my next steps would have to be:

• to design a template that could organize my vintage jewelry collections
• to display them to see if the process of knolling could solve my fashion accessories challenge
• to determine if knolling had other practical uses and ‘Always Be Knolling’ (ABK), as Tom Sachs suggested
• to discern if ‘flat lay photography’ and social media ‘flatlays’ are actually knolling
• to confirm what Andrew Kromelow’s meaning was when he coined the term knolling

 
ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME: KNOLLING BRACELETS

I decided to tackle one challenge at a time. The first challenge and priority was to see if I could knoll my bracelets. Here is what I did. I took a 24″x18″ office cork board and divided it into three” squares. That gave me 48 squares or 24″ divided by 3 = 8 and 18″ divided by 3 = 6. Since 8 x 6 = 48 that is how I determined the number of squares that would result from this division. I marked off each 3″ box with ribbons both vertically and horizontally. Then I began to add my bracelets unsure that I would even have 48 of them. I still have plenty more to include. But at least the 48 knolled bracelets are easily and quickly accessible.

There is an additional reason I can find them so easily. I employed another element to my jewelry knolling, a color order system. I started with the red ones and variations of red. Then I went through the rainbow adding solid colors and then variations on that color. I can now find any bracelet I want to wear in record time as long as it is included in this set up.

knolling my bracelet collection using color order as an addition system
knolling my bracelet collection using color order as an addition system

MY DECORATIVE PINS COLLECTION

At first, I had trouble with my decorative pins. I thought that the grip template I used for my bracelets would carry over well for my pins. It did not. Once I realized that I should lay them out in rows, I found the solution to this part of my knolling challenge.

My decorative pins collection knolled and easy to find
My decorative pins collection knolled and easy to identify

 
NEXT CHALLENGE: EARRINGS

The next knolling challenges included my earrings, then my necklaces, pins, purses and shoes. Here is the progress I have made so far. How do you think these work?

Earrings Pre-Knolling
Earrings Pre-Knolling System Works Well
Knolling Earring Collection
Knolling Earring Collection Needs Solid Background

The earring knolling project is ineffective. The background on the right should be a solid color so that the earrings stand out better. Also, I still have a lot more earrings that need to be added. I came up with a great solution totally by happenstance. This lampshade is a ‘street find’ and an excellent solution to earring knolling.

EARING PHOTO TO COME

 
NECKLACES

I am finding it difficult to knoll my necklaces because hanging them vertically takes up a lot of room and is not optimal. But it is better than no system at all.

Pre-knolling: Using Necklaces for Decoration
Pre-knolling: Using Necklaces for Decoration
Necklaces Semi-knolled
Necklaces Semi-knolled, Colored backgournd is distracting

Finally I figure out the best way to knoll my necklaces for the time being. It is working okay.

knolling my necklace collection using color order as an additional system
knolling my necklace collection using color order as an additional system

 
PURSES

I decided that the best place to position my purses is near the door since they are one of the last things I grab before I leave the house. Here is my knolled board of them.

IMAGE FOR PURSES

MY ‘FAMOUS’ HAT COLLECTION
I am known for my hats. I love hats and I am almost never seen without one. It’s funny. My mother hated hats; she never wore them. But my grandmother and great-grandmother adored them. In fact, the greater the grandmother the more outrageous the hat.

Knolling hats posed a problem for me. I was able to organized them to some degree. Some are on a plant stand. Some are on vintage hat trees that I found. Some are balancing on my bed frame. I can’t really say that I have knolled my hats. But I can find them easily so that I don’t end up wearing the same one every day.

IMAGES OF HATS

SHOES

Shoes hold a particular challenge for me. I insist upon keeping them in their original boxes. In fact, I even keep the receipt in the box. That way I can refer to when I bought them and how much they cost. The boxes are actually easier to knoll. The shoes are harder to remove from the box every time I want to wear them. Here are the results.

Knolled Shoe Boxes
Knolled Shoe Boxes

To be continued with . . . Part Three, link below.

RESOURCES AND LINKS

KNOLLING Part One: Organizational Or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System?

KNOLLING Part Three: Social Media Adds Another Perspective To Knolling

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KNOLLING Part One: Organizational or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System?

This series of blog posts about KNOLLING is dedicated to Andrew Kromelow who coined the term ‘knolling’ in 1987 and to Tom Sachs who expanded on the concept of knolling to ‘Always Be Knolling’.

What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs
What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs Posted on the CreativeMarket.com Blog, August 19,2015
INTRODUCTION

Knolling is defined in Wikipedia as “the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization”. The original phrase, knolling, was coined in 1987 by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor in the furniture fabrication shop of Frank Gehry. Gehry was designing chairs for the legendary, Knoll Furniture Company. Kromelow was particularly impressed with the furniture designed by Florence Knoll.

 

 

HISTORY OF KNOLL FURNITURE

Florence Knoll furniture
Florence Knoll furniture designs which Andrew Kromelow admired for their clean, angular lines.
From http://www.knoll.com/designer/Florence-Knoll

 
ANDREW KROMELOW

Andrew Kromelow especially liked the clean, angular lines of Florence Knoll’s designs which can be seen above. As a result, at the end of the workday, Kromelow would collect all the tools that had been left out in the work studio and organized them in a similar geometric manner then photograph them from the top. No photographs of Kromelow’s work seem to have survived, publically.

Things Organized Neatly
Tom Sachs—”Always Be Knolling.“ from Ten Bullets on Tumblr, “Things Organized Neatly”

The above image from Tom Sach’s, Ten Bullets, #8: “ALWAYS BE KNOLLING’ suggests what a Kromelow ‘flat lay-overhead photo’ might have looked like.”The result was an organized surface that allowed the user to see all objects at once”. Kromelow referred to this as ‘knolling’ due to the idea’s inspiration from Florence Knoll’s design sensibility. The term, the concept and the ‘flat lay photography’ Kromelow made of his arrangements caught on thanks to another person in Gehry’s employment.

 
“ALWAYS BE KNOLLING”

Tom Sachs, an artist and sculptor who also worked in Gehry’s studio, popularized Kromelow’s knolling and his ‘flat lay photography’ process. According to the blog post in CreativeDesignMagazine.com, Sachs created a piece about knolling and adopted the phrase, “Always be Knolling” (or ABK for short) as a motto for his work. By 1987, knolling had officially become a trend. But what transpired between 1987 and 2009?

One wonders because nothing more seems to be available about it again until the 2009 blog post on CreativeMarket.com, ‘What Is Knolling? The Overhead Photography Trend Explained’. Supposedly, this style of organizational layout has been used for over three decades to shape brands and sell products. No examples were available. Instead, decades before the social media venue, Instagram, had the popular account, ‘The Flat Lays’, before the existence of social media at all, and separate from Kromelow’s organizing technique, knolling existed as a graphic design layout and branding inspiration. But it was not known as knolling and it was before 1987.

Pencil sharpeners
Mechanical pencil sharpener boxes pinned to Pinterest. This image is from a series of the blog posts, the Charrette Chronicles on Examiner.com. The image is courtesy of the Charrette Corporation and former art director, designer Johanna Bohoy

 
 WHEN ‘KNOLLING’ WAS JUST A CHARRETTE CORPORATION LAYOUT AND BRANDING TECHNIQUE

The process of ‘knolling’ existed independent of Knoll and apparently previous to Andrew Kromelow’s coining a phrase for it. It was a prominent style designing with type, graphic design layout, architectural presentation and products branding including overhead or flat lay photography. One company that prominently exemplified this pre-knolling sensibility was the Charrette Corporation. The architect  David Paul Helpern, designer of the NYC Charrette Corporation flagship store and the graphic design/branding designer, Johanna Bohoy, the Art Director at Charette’s Headquarters in Woburn, Massachusetts were responsible for its conception. This can be traced back to the early 1980’s rather than the late 1980’s when the term knolling was coined.

There is a series of articles about the Charrette Corporation written by me, the NY Graphic Design Examiner on examiner.com. Many samples of their forward-thinking graphic design and branding style are included. Suffice to say, whether it is called knolling or attributed to the earlier Charrette Corporation methodology, the result is very calming on the brain to observe objects in an orderly rather than chaotic manner. This seems to be especially true for artistic, creative brain dominant people.


 
TECHNOLOGY TAKES ON KNOLLING

To add to this, technology has taken leaps, specifically with the creation of social media venues which facilitates present day knolling. But according to my research, history clearly illustrates that the clean, perpendicular and parallel lined style of graphic design layout, now known as knolling, was not a revolutionary idea and did not begin with Florence Knoll or Andrew Kromelow in 1987. This is not to deny that the advent of social media has allowed knolling to become very practical, even pedestrian in its incarnation as ‘flat lay photography’. Layout and branding are now easily and attractively showcased by Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, pictured directly above and below.

Coffee Stationery / Branding Mock-Up By forgraphic™ in Graphics
What is Knolling? The Overhead Photography Trend Explained
Looking for an easy way to incorporate some knolling into your next project? We’ve got you covered. From CreativeMarket.com

 
CONCLUSION

Life has a way of providing what is needed at a particular time in history. Credit it to The Charrette Corporation, Florence Knoll, Andrew Kromelow or Tom Sachs. They have all played a part in transforming the disciplines of design layout and branding forward to another level of usefulness and appeal in the world of product marketing. But is there more to it than that?!

My next blog post will attempt to answer that question and this one specifically:
Can It Help Organize My Costume Jewelry Collection?

Knolling Orange
From luisamaria.ac on Instagram. Photo from CreativeMarket.com
Another simple but great knolling photo on Instagram comes from luisamaria.ac. Rather than group items by category or type, she created a photograph that was themed by color. This knolling photograph is predominantly orange and features a toy moose, a notebook, flowers and more.

 
SOURCES AND RESOURCES

KNOLLING Part Two: Can Knolling Help Organize My Vintage Jewelry Collection?
What Is Knolling? The Overhead Photography Trend Explained
Knoll
Florence Knoll
Frank Gehry
Andrew Kromelow
Tom Sachs
Ten Bullets Website aka Tom Sachs Working To Code
Things Organized Neatly
Flat Lay Photography
Charrette Corporation Layout and Branding Technology
Alison Gilbert, NY Graphic Design Examiner

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