Hello! We're Jen and Omar, the dynamic duo behind
These Are Things. Want to learn more about us than you ever thought you needed to know? Well, here you go!
What We Do
These Are Things is an illustration studio and paper goods brand created by
Jen Adrion and Omar Noory. From our headquarters in the middle of Ohio,
we craft modern cartographic goods, draw informational illustrations,
and write about the business of art at Making It!
Our unique collection of wall art, paper goods, and gifts is designed for adventurers, travelers, and dreamers.
Since the debut of our original Modern World Map in 2010, we’ve shared our work with thousands of happy customers in all fifty states and over 30 countries. Our line is sold through our online boutique and carried in over 100 retail stores nationwide.
Featured in art and design publications, commercials, films, design blogs, and the New York Times bestseller The $100 Startup, we’ve turned this simple side project into an internationally recognized art brand.
Using simple forms, vintage textures, and a touch of humor, we bring complex data and concepts to life through our signature style.
We've had the pleasure of working with a diverse group of clients including 3M, AFAR Magazine, American Greetings, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, Doodad, Rodale, Southwest Airlines' Spirit Magazine, T. Rowe Price, Tourism Australia, and Tumi. A selection of our work can be seen on our portfolio page.
We're always looking for great clients and partners to work with. If you think we'd make a good match, head over to our project inquiries page and let us know!
Since we began this journey three years ago, we’ve been sharing our adventures in life, love, and mapmaking through our blog, Making It!
Focusing on the intersection of art and business, we aim to educate young designers and makers about the realities of running an independent creative enterprise by documenting our own experiences and relaying lessons we've learned along the way.
To bring these lessons into the real world, we enjoy sharing our insights through panel discussions, talks, and workshops.
Meet J + O
These Are Things is a collaboration between two lifelong artists slash total weirdos.
Take a trip down memory lane to see how we got here.
Jen’s twin passions for art and business emerged early. Always busy with a million projects, she spent her childhood organizing the neighborhood kids into various groups and clubs, complete with custom-designed t-shirts and laminated membership cards. Shortly after discovering the magic of HTML at age 10, she won a nationwide web design competition by creating a site about Sailor Moon and cats.
After graduating from art school, Jen taught college courses in design and typography while maintaining a full schedule of freelance clients. She has since learned how to “chill out” and do one thing (okay, a select few things) at a time.
When she’s not making maps, Jen plans trips around the world, lifts heavy things, and fights for justice.
Omar’s interest in animation began in 1998 with the debut of his signature collection of secret agent themed GIFs, each painstakingly created with Microsoft Paint and a freeware program called GIF Construction Set.
Ten years and one art degree later, Omar landed at motion graphics studio S77, where he worked on slightly more complex projects for clients like EXPRESS, ESPN, NASCAR, and Absolut Vodka. On a quiet day at work, he returned to his frame-by-frame roots and animated a strutting fat kid that became an internet sensation. Haters Gonna Hate, anyone?
In his spare time, he plays Starcraft II, draws ladies with impossibly big butts and hangs out with his cat, William “Ball” Smith.
We met in art school, where we spent four years sitting in the back of classrooms drawing stupid pictures and laughing uncontrollably. It was the start of a perfect partnership.
Shortly after graduating in 2008, we started spending more time together thanks to Omar’s persistence. We spent our days at flea markets, riding our bikes around Columbus, and pursuing a pair of short-lived street art careers.
Eventually, we started to travel. The more places we visited, the more we dreamed about all the other places we’d like to see someday. The possibilities were endless. To help visualize our wanderlust, we wanted to hang a giant map on our wall.
When we couldn’t find the perfect modern map of our dreams, we decided to create our own. During a frigid Ohio winter, we spent our evenings and weekends holed up inside, working on our masterpiece.
With one copy framed and hanging nicely in our living room, we figured we’d try to sell the rest so they didn't collect dust. On a Sunday night in February, we made a one-page website with a PayPal button and put the remaining 49 prints up for sale.
It turns out that lots of other people were looking for a clean, modern map, too. After a feature on the popular home decor blog Design*Sponge, our first run of fifty prints sold out in minutes. We sold hundreds more in the following days.
We spent the following nine months growing our little project. Every minute that we weren’t working our real jobs was spent creating new products, shipping out orders, and learning more about the art of business.
During a trip to New York City in 2010, we wondered when it would be time take the leap and quit our jobs. When our splurge fancy meal was immediately paid for by an incoming order, we knew it was time.
That was three years ago. Since then, we've grown this simple side project into our full-time thing. We're running a bustling online boutique and doing freelance work for clients around the world.
Today, we live and work in Columbus, Ohio, where we spend our days making art and watching reality tv. The rest of our story is a work in progress.
About this website
Many people have been asking technical questions about our website. We’re happy to report that this site was designed and coded by the two of us! Web development is something we will never do for hire (sorry!) but we love to make websites for ourselves. We created hundreds of individually illustrated elements and spent nine months developing the concept and code behind this site. As with many web projects, it's a perpetual work in progress. For a full recap of our development process, including links to helpful resources, check out this super detailed blog post.