Freshly Laundered 014 / Jory Raphael


Our fourteenth interviewee (and first for 2015) is Jory Raphael. Jory is the co-founder of Notabli, a designer, illustrator, awesome Dad, and pretty funny guy. You may know him from such things as his line of vector icons, Symbolicons, his artwork for, or perhaps one of our best selling tees, Sportsball. Click through to learn more about Jory, his work at Notabli, and what he works on in his free time.


CB: We love your latest Hipster Icons for the Flat set of Symbolicons. How did Symbolicons come to exist?

JR: Hey, thanks! I happen to like the hipster icons, too :) I have a ton more in the same style that I hope to release soon - if I could stop procrastinating. And by procrastinating, I mean “being ridiculously productive at other things while ignoring my icons”. And by “ridiculously productive”, I mean procrastinating.

Symbolicons have gone through quite the evolution. The very first icons I ever designed were actually for a couple of pedestrian wayfinding signs. From there I created a few more in the same style to use on a client’s website. And since the creation of icons hadn’t been scoped for that project budget, I offered to make them for free, as long as I kept the rights. It was a rare moment of prescience for me.

At some point, I looked down and noticed that I had created a bunch of icons that weren’t half bad, and I thought “hey, maybe I can sell these”. And so I did. And then someone actually bought them. And then I was hooked.


CB: It’s definitely easy to get hooked on selling things, you could say we have that problem too. Tell us a little about your newest venture, Notabli. Where’d that idea come from?

JR: If Symbolicons are all about creating something of value for designers (and developers), then Notabli is all about creating something of value for parents (and their kids) [and their family] {and their friends}. Basically what I’m saying is that I’m all about creating value.

My buddy and fellow designer Jackson Latka and I created Notabli as a way to authentically document childhood. On the surface, it’s an easy way to privately share photos, videos, audio, quotes, and notes about your kids with the people who actually want to see them. But below the surface, it’s a way to create a powerful archive of the most important part of life. So instead of selfies, status updates, and pictures of last night’s dinner, we encourage folks to post moments that they want remembered. P.S. Your dinner last night looked fantastic.


CB: Notabli sounds awesome! Parents are going to love having that virtual archive to go back through I bet. What’s the response been like so far?

JR: The response so far has been fantastic. If you’re a parent, and you love your kids, you’ll love Notabli. If you’re a parent, and you’re only mildly fond of your kids, then you’ll probably still love Notabli.

Right now, we’re iOS-only (with a web viewing app and email digests), but are working hard to complete the picture. A full-featured web app will be launching in the next couple of months, along with an Android app.


CB: Awesome! When you’re not working on Notabli what are you doing?

JR: Are my partners at Notabli reading this? If so, then I’m never not working on Notabli. Right now, while I’m responding to this question, I’m actually working on Notabli. When I make breakfast in the morning, the pancakes are shaped like the Notabli logo. (And yes, I eat pancakes every single morning. It’s a requirement if you’re a Vermonter. I wake up early, tap a few maple trees, convert the sap into maple syrup in my attached sugarhouse, milk a cow, and then make pancakes… and then work on Notabli.)

But seriously (yes, I know what that word means), when I’m not working on Notabli, I’m spending time with my family. And occasionally making icons. And even less occasionally working on a children’s book. Wait is “less occasionally” a double-negative?


CB: A children’s book!? That sounds cool. Are you writing it? Illustrating it? Both? Tell us more.

JR: Both! Albeit rather slowly. I actually have two ideas for children’s books. The first will be called “The Little Girl, the Little Boy, and the Rock Giant”, or something similar. It’s a story about (you guessed it) a little girl and a little boy meeting a rock giant (and also a baby turtle - awwwwwwww) and the shenanigans that occur thereafter. The kids will, of course, be modeled after my own. But they’re used to that. The Notabli logo is actually based on them (my daughter has a little gumdrop haircut and loves headbands, and my son has a double-cowlick).

The second is called “The Day the Signs Went for a Walk,” and will probably be aimed at a younger audience. The goal is to teach about types of signage, and why we need it. I did wayfinding design for a number of years, and it has always fascinated me. The book starts when the dude on the crosswalk sign decides to abandon his post and take a stroll around, and then all of the havoc it creates.

Apparently both of my book ideas have an event happening that results in havoc and/or shenanigans. In other words, write what you know.

CB: Jory, you are seriously so amazing. The idea for the wayfinding book is so clever and cute. Thanks for taking time out of your hectic schedule to chat with us. Now, back to work!

You can keep up with all things Jory via his twitter feed and website. Check out Jory’s 2015 Year of Icons project on dribbble. You can find out more about Notabli here and if you’d like to see any of Jory’s tees come back for another round, make sure you get your requests in.