Happy New Year everyone!

With the passing of one year to the next we find ourselves standing at the precipice of our past and future—reflecting on where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and how we’ve grown, while looking forward towards the vast potential that lies ahead.

Happy 2016 — created with Over and Unsplash

Looking back (which is always the easiest place to start), what a year it was!

We started the Unsplash Book project nearly 10 months ago with a few simple words on a whiteboard. From that moment we’ve spent countless hours learning the ins and outs of conceptualizing, designing, funding, and printing a 250-page hardcover book.

We’ve contacted and worked with hundreds of photographers, illustrators, writers, and designers, received feedback from thousands of people in our community, and, thanks to you, ran a Kickstarter campaign that was overfunded by more than $30,000!

So, thank you for an amazing 2015!

Now, as we look forward, we’ve got a few loose ends to tie up before the Unsplash Book is ready to be sent to the printers.

The first (and most exciting for us) is announcing the winners of our Medium writing prompt and the design competition hosted with Over.

The potential for good in everything

On Medium, we asked you to explain how you see the world differently—how you find unique ways to explore the world and find inspiration in everything.

The writing we received was nothing short of spectacular. In a few short weeks we received 153 insightful, honest, open, and beautifully unique responses ranging in format from essays to personal stories to poetry.

We asked our community to help select the winner and in the end, Tom Farr, a writer, storyteller, and high school English teacher, was selected for his essay on seeing the potential in everything.

Here’s one of our favourite quotes from Tom’s essay:

An excerpt from Tom's submission for the Unsplash Book

This choice wasn’t an easy one and so we’ve put together a selection of a few of our other favourite responses for you (click on the author’s name to read the entire submission):

“Hit it while it’s hot. Dance while the song’s still on. Write while you still can.” - Carina Sitkus

“Creation is the birthplace of inspiration, not the other way around… Our life and our art are inseparable, no matter how hard we may try to pull them apart.” - Maeve G

“That’s the secret, that there’s no secret. If you want to be inspired to write, then write, and you’ll be in the right spot when inspiration arrives. And it’ll keep coming, until you have so many ideas that you’ll never stop creating.” - Jeffrey Ricker

“In quietude and calm we re-sensitize and synchronize to the rhythms of life. Remember that we are perpetual recipients. We receive knowledge, music, beauty, and light.” - Ua Vandercar

“One day every color will fade from both our vision and minds. But that’s what makes life fascinating, knowing that we’re seeing and experiencing the world in a way that no one has before, or after ever will. This life is unique to our own eyes and imaginations. Our individual lives are a momentary explosion of brilliance.” - Alex J Hughes

“But when you recognize that you are made of art, that your feelings are beautiful and that you are that muse, and that you are not alone, you can find comfort in knowing that art is all around you. That you are the very fiber of inspiration and that even if nothing matters in the end, you were somehow an integral part of all of this.” - Shana Leigh Haynie

Catching contagious creativity

With the fine people at Over, we ran a contest asking designers and illustrators to showcase their favourite quotes about creativity set against an Unsplash photo. Again, the response was amazing as hundreds of you submitted creations using #unsplashbook on Instagram and Twitter.

After going through the designs with the people at Over, we narrowed down our selections and eventually all agreed on this submission from Queensland-based illustrator and creative Sam Lynch:

Sam's Unsplash Book creation: Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.

We all felt that Sam’s image, quote, and personal story about rediscovering her own creativity fit perfectly with the tone of the book and we’re so excited to be able to feature her in its pages.

To see the rest of the submissions from the Over contest, check out #unsplashbook on Instagram and Twitter.

With these two pieces in place, we’re closer than ever to having the book designs finalized and off to our printers.

Again, thank you to everyone who took the time to create and share work as part of the Unsplash Book contests!

Here’s to an amazing 2016!

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