Sam Potts has helped design platforms for the New York Times Crossword app, created blogs and websites for celebrated writers and has a rather enviable twitter following. But at the end of the day, he does a lot of his thinking on paper. More specifically, 3 in x 3 in Canary Yellow Post-it® Notes.
Before striking out on his own, he worked for a top design firm where he became well-known for his Post-it® Note prowess. “I used to doodle on Post-it® Notes during conference calls — random words, dumb things. When I left, as a going-away present they gave me a framed collection of Post-it® Notes that I’d doodled on. People wrote messages on them. It was really nice.”
Sam marvels at the migratory nature of Post-it® Notes, believing that if the ideas written on them are any good, they won’t stay in one place for very long.
“The whole point of Post-it® Notes, at least in the design world, is to keep them moving. To group them and un-group them, to see where they lead.”
A self-declared office supply obsessive, Sam has his favourite colours, for sure. “I love the white Post-it® Notes, though they’re very hard to find. I also like, I think it’s pumpkin, sort of a dark orange, as well as the dark purple ones. But my favourite is the dark pale; it has 5 to 10% gray in it — especially when it’s paired with a black Sharpie.”
In addition to his current duties at the New York Times, Sam is also designing a dictionary of fictional literary biographies. “At least that’s the basic concept,” he says.
But much like his Post-it® Notes, Sam is never in one place for long — always learning, always absorbing. He’s currently learning how to build bicycle frames. “I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. For now it’s just an idea. You never know what it will lead to.”
You can see more of Sam’s work, including his AIGA poster (which, not surprisingly, features a Post-it® Note), his “Tweets on Paper” and a diagram he created of all 200+ characters in the novel Infinite Jest at his website: sampottsinc.com