Design Week Recap: “Getting Away With Shit” – Timothy Goodman

On an abnormally hot Tuesday evening in April, more than 100 people gathered inside Pacific Northwest College of Art’s beautiful Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design to hear from New York City based designer and illustrator Timothy Goodman.

Goodman is known for his editorial illustrations, hand-drawn murals, thought provoking Instagram posts and various projects with fellow creative, and close friend, Jessica Walsh. His work for clients, including Google, Time Magazine, The New York Times and The New Yorker, has earned him countless awards and press.


Those in attendance were treated to a wonderful look at Goodman’s work as his presentation jumped from book covers and gifs to quotes and blooper reels to a 2-minute video chockfull of every single one of his editorial illustrations. He shared about getting started as a designer, turning down a job at Apple and dealing with fear as a creative. While Goodman spoke about many topics and works, the main themes of the night were finding your voice and vulnerability.

Finding Your Voice

Goodman began to find his voice after reading Ben Kaplan’s “How to Go to College Almost for Free.” He learned to talk about himself in an interesting and unique way in attempts to earn college scholarships, even winning a scholarship for “tall people.”

This continued as he developed his artist voice though editorial illustrations and his Instagram writing series, Memories of a Girl I Never Knew and #instatherapy_tim. And for Goodman it was always about crafting his own voice and style putting it simply, “I’d rather letter my own words horribly than someone else’s beautifully.”


This is beautifully showcased on Timothy Goodman’s Instagram account where you’ll find a colorful selection of hand-lettered quotes, thoughts, ideas and illustrations, almost all of which are his original works.


One constant in Goodman’s work, from addressing relationship and commitment issues in 40 Days of Dating to sharing raw emotions in his Instagram series, is the candid nature of the content. Unlike those who only share the polished work, thoughts and ideas, he shares a seemingly unfiltered look inside his mind, work, emotions and experiences.

TG_07bIn his most recent project with Jessica Walsh, 12 Kinds of Kindness, he addressed fears of balding as well as meeting his biological father for the first time, all of this shared publicly online.

On Tuesday evening, Goodman shared a selection of pieces from his Memories of a Girl I Never Knew series with the audience. Over the following few minutes of sharing, there were moments of laughter, sadness and joy.


As I looked around the room during Goodman’s talk there was an unmistakable sense of connection between him and the audience. The honesty and vulnerability of his practice made his work relatable to designers and non-designers alike.

Speaking as if it was a group of close friends, Timothy Goodman challenged listeners to “know the rules, have some audacity, don’t ask permission, listen to yourself, get in your work and stay young.”

Photos by Josh Lathem of PXLVUE

See all photos from our Design Week Portland Typefest events

David Baggs is a contributing writer on the AIGA Portland Communications Team. 

By David Baggs
Published May 10, 2016
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