Archicards

Architectural playing card designs by Italian architect Federico Babina.

“When I was young, I used to build a house with cards: why not use architecture to design cards?”

(via The Guardian)

See also

Craft and creativity

Architectural playing cards

“Maybe I use a building or a window… something that represents them. If you look at a simple detail of the cards you can find the architect” — Federico Babina in The Guardian

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These weird and wonderful bike designs were produced by product designer Gianluca Gimini, based on designs he had solicited from friends and strangers over several years…

“I would walk up to them with a pen and a sheet of paper asking that they immediately draw me a men’s bicycle, by heart. Soon I found out that when confronted with this odd request most people have a very hard time remembering exactly how a bike is made.”

He sees these designs as proof that sometimes our brain allows us to believe that we understand something when we really don’t.

“There is an incredible diversity of new typologies emerging from these crowd-sourced and technically error-driven drawings.”

This anecdotal fact is amusing too: “Some diversities are gender driven. Nearly 90% of drawings in which the chain is attached to the front wheel (or both to the front and the rear) were made by females. On the other hand, while men generally tend to place the chain correctly, they are more keen to over-complicate the frame when they realize they are not drawing it correctly.”

See also

Craft and creativity

Velocipedia: Bikes drawn hastily from memory, realised by a product designer

“The most unintelligible drawing has also the most unintelligible handwriting. It was made by a doctor.”

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Life on the Internet

That emoji does not mean what you think it means

Gizmodo: Since emoji are designed differently across platforms, sometimes your text messages might get lost in translation. But how differently might your well-intentioned emoji be displayed?

Grinning face with smiling eyes

The most widely misinterpreted is the “grinning face with smiling eyes” emoji, which—depending on the platform—can range from the rosy-cheeked cherubic face of glee to the anguished clenched-teeth look of constipation.

Same emoji, different emotion

That wide range between sentiment rankings was named “misconstrual” by the researchers. You can see how the 22 emoji tracked across platforms, with “smiling face with open mouth and tightly closed eyes,” “face with tears of joy,” “sleeping face,” and “loudly crying face” all having their own issues of interpretation. But “grinning face with smiling eyes” is still the clear winner when it came to sending the wrong message.

Sentiment misconstrual scores

Across-platform sentiment misconstrual scores grouped by Unicode. Each boxplot shows the range of sentiment misconstrual
scores across the five platforms. They are ordered by decreasing median platform-pair sentiment misconstrual, from left to right.

See also

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Toyota Setsuna logo

The Toyota Setsuna (Japanese for “moment”) is a roadster concept car made from cedar and birch and built using a traditional Japanese carpentry technique known as “okuriari” that doesn’t involve nails or screws but relies on perfectly carved joints to hold the components together.

The Verge: Toyota is thinking of the Setsuna as something you’d want to pass down to your kids — not as a beater first car, but as a family heirloom.

“As a family accrues time and experiences together with their car, lovingly caring for it and passing it on to the next generation, that car will acquire a new type of value that only the members of that family can appreciate.”

The boat-like body is made up of 86 hand-crafted panels of Japanese cedar across a frame of birch.

The company notes that wood’s characteristics change over time, depending on the temperature and humidity levels it is exposed to and how well it’s taken care of. The idea is that as the Setsuna ages, it’ll change and pick up the personalities of its owners and the lives they led. To that end, the car has a “100-year meter” embedded inside of it — a tracker for your grandchildren or great-grandchildren to know how old this machine is.

Telegraph: The use of metal has been kept to a minimum in the engineered parts of the open-top roadster, which is powered by six batteries that give it a range of 16 miles and a top speed of a rather lumbering 28 mph.

Toyota Setsuna plans

See also

Craft and creativity

Toyota Setsuna

Unfortunately, the Setsuna, which will be on display for five days from April 12 [2016] at the Japan Pavilion at Milan Design Week, is not authorised to be driven on public roads. — Telegraph

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Rio 2016

99u.com: How The 2016 Olympic Logo and Font were CreatedRoughly 18 months after the Rio 2016 logo was developed by Tátil Design, Dalton Maag got the prompt to design the full font.

“Our prompt was that the font had to be an exact replica of the letters in the logo,” says Maag, who knew it would be a challenge due to its reverse creative process. “Usually you make the font and then do the logo,” he notes. Dalton Maag had 3 letters — R-I-O — and 4 figures — 2-0-1-6 — to use as a roadmap.

“You could say, we already have the letters ‘R,’ ‘i,’ and ‘o’ and we want to make letters that look like them, so we could just expand on them. But the tricky thing is that we can’t use the same letters because they might not connect, or have the same weight and proportions, as with the rest of the letters in the alphabet. So we started using different words — ‘passion’ and ‘transformation’ — that had multiple ligatures to see how one letter could connect and match with another.”

See also

  • Channel 4’s surreal new brand identity — By creative dream team of 4Creative, Jonathan Glazer, Neville Brody and DBLG.
  • Sweden Sans — A national typeface meant to encapsulate fuzzy Scandinavian concepts — progressivism, authenticity, lagom (Swedish for “just the right amount”).
  • …and other posts tagged ‘typography’.
Craft and creativity

How the 2016 Olympic font was created

“On this project we were extra careful to be super right, because it will be seen by billions of people. But we didn’t treat the project any differently than others were work on. I thought we would nail the concept much quicker, because we knew the design and just needed to expand on it. We didn’t realize we would have to create 23 different versions to get there.”

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Flag Stories

Flag Stories — a project by ferdio, an infographic agency.

Basically we started looking at all the flags in the world and squeezed all the data we could possibly gather in to a blank spreadsheet. The more we dug into it, the more stories we managed to reveal, so our plan is to keep digging and continuously adding new stories to the project.

Many, many more flag infographics at Flag Stories. (via Co.Design)

See also

  • The Flag of Planet Earth — Oskar Pernefeldt’s graduation project at Beckmans College of Design.
  • Airport CodesEvery airport has a unique three-letter IATA code. Some make sense if you know the city or the name of the airport and others, well, what the heck?
  • Mapping the Online Worldan atlas redrawn according to the number of registrations within each country’s internet domain* — whether .uk for the UK, .de for Germany, .cn for China, and so on.
Craft and creativity

Flag Stories: Infographics revealing the hidden stories behind flag designs

“Sure, there are a lot of books and websites covering the different aspects of flags like history, demography and culture, through heavy text, but we wanted to add new aspects to this field by only looking at the graphics and telling the story visually. So we started this Flag Stories project to discover the hidden stories behind the graphics.” — ferdio

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Pepo watermelon slicer

The Pepo watermelon slicer is fun for kids and adults.

Product designer Avihai Ahurin has developed these clever ‘Pepo’ lolly-shaped cutters as a fun way to eat his watermelon, while avoiding waste.

(via fubiz.net)

Craft and creativity

Ice lolly shaped cutter for watermelons

Product designer Avihai Ahurin has developed these clever ‘Pepo’ lolly-shaped cutters as a fun way to eat his watermelon, while avoiding waste.

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Printer's mark
Craft and creativity

Design facts

Design Facts is a platform for sharing the inspiring, shocking, passionate, brilliant, revolutionary, carefully crafted and relatively young history of our craft, all in bite-sized servings.

Some of my favourites…


21. Printers of the Italian Renaissance designed printers’ marks to identify and protect their work.

36. In 1981, Fisher-Price released a movable type Printer’s Kit, designed for children ages 5 years and older.

It was discontinued after 1984. (via)

48. From 1947 to 1949 Jan Tschichold developed a set of design guidelines to help standardize Penguin Books.

(via)

56. In 1974, Saul Bass directed his only feature length film, a science fiction piece called, “Phase IV.”

62. International Typeface Corporation (ITC) was one of the first type foundries to have no connection to metal type.

78. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament symbol (peace symbol) is based on semaphore flag-signalling letters.

CND logo

97. The logo for Spanish lollipop company, Chupa Chups, was designed by Salvador Dali in 1969.

Chupa Chups logo

127. Type designer and illustrator William Addison Dwiggins is credited with coining the term, “graphic design” in 1922.


See also

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The Art of Firewatch

Campo Santo artist Jane Ng delves into the process for creating the art of Firewatch!

How the team at Campo Santo turned Olly Moss’s very graphic 2D art style into a 3D world that can be explored in first-person.

In this video Jane Ng recreates her talk from GDC 2015 in which she breaks down how the visual style of Firewatch was accomplished by looking at three elements in detail: layers of colour, strong shapes and narrative details.

See also

Light-based media

The art of Firewatch

Creating the art of Firewatch: A recreation of Jane Ng’s talk from Game Developers Conference 2015.

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NROL-39
Craft and creativity

The story behind the NRO’s sinister octopus logo

MuckRock reports:

When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn’t get quite the response they had hoped. That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth.

NROL-39

Privacy and security researcher Runa Sandvik wanted to know who approved this and why, so she filed a FOIA with the NRO for the development materials that went into the logo. A few months later, the NRO delivered. As for the question of “why a giant octopus,” the NRO offers up these two clunky paragraphs

Description of the NRO octopus logo

If that imagery comes off as somewhat forced, there’s a reason for that – an article for what appeared to be the ODNI’s internal magazine reveals the “secret origin” of the octopus…

NRO octopus patch design

That article draws from a speech made by the Mission Manager…

“It’s really neat to me. It’s kind of saying the enemy has nowhere to run.”

MuckRock: “A little sinister!!” The story behind National Reconnaissance Office’s octopus logo

See also

  • The patches of US spy satellite launchesA purple-haired sorceress holding a fireball. A three-headed dragon wrapping its claws around the world. A great raptor emerging from the flames. No, these are not characters from a Magic: The Gathering deck. They are avatars depicted on the official mission patches made for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
  • MuckRock is a collaborative news site that brings together journalists, researchers, activists, and regular citizens to request, analyze, and share government documents, making politics more transparent and democracies more informed.
  • What does the red swoosh in NASA’s ‘meatball’ logo mean?The distinctive red shape wasn’t just a designerly flourish…
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Anatomia typeface

Anatomia is a quirky grotesk typeface designed by Jacopo Atzori, Vicky Chinaglia and Matteo Giordano for a type design course at Poli.Design in Milan in 2013.

“We found this old anatomy book (from which the name, Anatomia) printed in the early 20th century, set in this ugly scotch face with exaggerated details that made it work in small sizes. Our idea was to bring the skeleton, the proportions and some characteristic aspects into a grotesk–formula based typeface, being that the historical evolution of these modern faces.”

“Big serifs and strong details for the small sizes would become characteristic elements in big sizes.”

“The design of the typeface followed the rule of keeping the counterform shaped as the original design, while building the outside of the letters in a more geometric way. What comes out of this process is a grotesk typeface with a characteristic dynamism through the texture, with an accentuated stroke modulation.”

See also

  • Recovering The Doves Type from the bottom of the ThamesIn 1916, the Doves Type was seemingly lost forever after it was thrown into the River Thames. Almost 100 years later, and after spending three years making a digital version, designer Robert Green has recovered 150 pieces from their watery grave…
  • A detailed look at Apple’s new San Fransisco typefaceSo is San Francisco really the perfect system font for Apple’s products? It’s complicated.
  • Making of a typeface: GT Sectraoriginally designed for the long-form journalism magazine “Reportagen”
  • Neue Haas UnicaMonotype’s revival of a typeface that has attained almost mythical status in the type community. Unica was an attempt to create the ultimate sans-serif – a hybrid of Helvetica, Univers and Akzidenz Grotesk.

(via)

Use your words

Anatomia: a quirky grotesk typeface

A grotesk typeface born from the skeleton of an old Scotch Roman used in an anatomy book printed in the early 20th century.

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Some of the best book cover designs of 2015…

The Casual Optimist: Notable Book Covers for 2015

The Casual Optimist: 52 YA Covers for 2015

Buzzfeed: 34 Of The Most Beautiful Book Covers Of 2015

(via kottke.org)

See also: Covers – A series of 55 animated vintage book graphics

Craft and creativity

Best book cover designs of 2015

“When considering the book as a whole, I prefer that the interiors contain answers and the covers ask questions.” — Matt Dorfman, NYT

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Use your words

A free book about creating new typefaces (using FontForge)

Design With FontForge is a free web book (also available in ePub, Mobi and PDF formats) about creating new typefaces. While much of it is geared towards working in FontForge, there is still plenty of general information, like this chapter on Creating Your Type’s DNA:

So, for instance, you may want to use “a d h e s i o n” to start with. This set of letters is what’s used in the type design MA course at the University of Reading, UK. An alternative is “v i d e o s p a n” which is used by the foundry Type Together to start their projects, and in their own type design workshops. Either set has enough DNA to be meaningful, and both are small, so they are easy to make ‘global’ changes to.

While it may be easiest to simply use one of the above sets of letters, you can also build your own. Ask yourself what set of letters you should pick to add to ‘n’ and ‘o’. Consider the following options:

  • ‘a’ — the letter ‘a’ is also a very common starting choice. The ‘a’ may also be useful in ‘anticipating what the terminals of the ‘s’ will look like.
  • ‘d’ — the shape of ‘d’ can let you know quite a lot about the design of ‘b’, ‘p’ and ‘q’.
  • ‘e’ — in English and many other languages, the letter ‘e’ is especially common — which ‘makes it especially valuable. The shape of ‘e’ can also be used to begin the design of ‘c’.
  • ‘h’ — while ‘h’ can be built fairly rapidly from the ‘n’, it also provides variety to the texture you want to test by offering an ascender.
  • ‘i’ — like ‘e’, the letter ‘i’ is fairly common and has the benefit of letting you know a little bit about the face of the ‘j’. The shape of ‘i’ is also partly inferable from the shape of the ‘n’.
  • ‘s’ — the letter ‘s’ is a good one to draw early on because it adds visual variety to the texture of the letters you will be testing. The letter ‘s’ is also unusually hard to get right, so starting on it early makes it more likely that you will be able to spend enough time to get it right by the end of the project.
    The terminals of the ‘s’ may sometimes be useful for anticipating what the terminals of ‘a’, ‘c’, ‘f’, ‘j’ and ‘y’ could be like.
  • ‘v’ — the letter ‘v’ is useful for anticipating what the ‘y’ and ‘w’ may be like.

FontForge

A chart and a video explaining typeface design →

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Anything is possible
Craft and creativity

The design process of living logo legend Massimo Guzmán

A Medium post about a bold and creative logo redesign for startup company localweb.isForward slash: The story of how Massimo Guzmán turned our simple logo into a brand of possibility.

On the surface, this is a story of how the letter ‘e’ got rotated counter-clockwise 15 degrees. But below the surface, it’s a tale about a logo of humble beginnings who defied all odds and transcended time and/or space to become the cornerstone of our brand identity.

Massimo believes in a philosophy called Radical Brandsparency™. He immediately began absorbing our brand and everything ‘local web’. He talked to users on our beta list, played Settlers of Catan with all the founders, resharded our Redis cluster and added Guzmán.js in our frontend. He even “temporarily” moved into my apartment.

Tiny paper symphony

The genius of his process was becoming obvious to me now. By putting the designs on the wall, we could point to them, and stand in front of them with our arms folded. We could blankly gaze into this mosaic of inspiration and listen as if a tiny paper symphony was playing a discordant masterwork.

The universe was speaking to me

Just as Massimo had predicted, once the slash had a name… it came alive. While I had simply created a design, Massimo had created a symbol that we could give to the world. A symbol for hope, for peace, and for possibilities. For weeks afterwards it was all I could think about. The Pósi. I would see the Pósi everywhere and in everything. I was surrounded by possibilities. The universe was speaking to me, through Massimo.

Feel free to run the math yourself

To my surprise Massimo was quite enamored with our simple slash logo, and after he “ran the geometry” there was mathematically no improvements that could be made so we decided to leave it alone

Anything is possible →

See also

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Use your words

A detailed look at Apple’s new San Fransisco typeface

Nick Keppol has written two fabulously detailed posts for The Syndicate with a focus on Apple’s new typeface.

San Francisco

  1. Why San Francisco? — a primer in typography, legibility and screen rendering explains why Apple made a new typeface.
  2. Arriving at San Francisco — an examination of the features of San Francisco… and its failings.

So is San Francisco really the perfect system font for Apple’s products? It’s complicated.

Many critics have compared it to Helvetica and DIN. When viewed under this simplified stylistic lens, they aren’t exactly wrong. There are a lot of similarities. If we put San Francisco under the microscope, we’ll see that the visual similarities are just a small piece of this type system. It’s a typeface designed for the digital age and it excels in this medium in ways that Helvetica, DIN, or Lucida Grande ever could.

Letters and numbers with similar forms get misread. For example, it’s easy to confuse a capital B and an 8. A capital A and a 4; or a capital G and a 6. This is partly why non-lining old-style numerals exist. To solve for this legibility challenge, and add a bit more style to the typeface, San Francisco has alternates for the 4, 6, and 9 for both proportional and tabular figures.

These things take time though and I doubt the type design team at Apple is very large. I’m not proposing a font designed for ultra low resolution like Verdana or Input — rather something more subtle and on brand. If Apple were to exaggerate the changes they made to the text sized glyphs vs the display cuts—opening the apertures and counters a bit more; and adjusted the spacing metrics…and maybe the weights, I think we could have a really nice looking, legible version of SF UI for low-resolution displays without any real impact to style. Would it be obsolete in 5-7 years? Yes, probably—but if everyone using a 1x display could have a better experience until everything is retina, isn’t it worth it?

See also

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Covers – A series of 55 animated vintage book graphics

How would these great book covers from the past look like when set in motion?

Perhaps a glimpse at our eBook future?

(via)

MIT Media Lab Knotty Objects: Phone

What changes when you stop designing phones for companies and start designing them for people?

This video is one of a series of videos in collaboration between m ss ng p eces and MIT Media Lab for the Knotty Objects Summit, the first MIT Media Lab Summit devoted to design.

(via kottke.org)

Other videos in the MIT Media Lab Knotty Objects series

  • BrickThe brick invites questions about modular building and construction practices across all aspects of contemporary life, and how these are changing as they come to incorporate living materials instead of constraining them.
  • SteakThe steak is a vivid reminder that all manufactured consumables have consequential origins, whether those origins are living, breathing animals, or cells in vitro.
  • BitcoinThe bitcoin defies simple distinctions between currency, asset, and platform, and changes not just the imagining and practice of money, but of trust, reputation, value, and exchange.

See also

  • MIT Media Lab on Medium: Knotty Objects celebrates the chimeric nature of design. The event is therefore centered around four objects–the brick, the bitcoin, the steak, and the phone–that cut across research fields and defy a discipline-specific approach.
  • Casio F-91W: terrorist watchIt is cheap, basic and widely available around the world. Yet the Casio F-91W digital watch was declared to be “the sign of al-Qaida” and a contributing factor to continued detention of prisoners by the analysts stationed at Guantánamo Bay.
  • How the design firm behind the Xbox built the bike of the futureOregon Manifest’s three pillars for the competition were safety, security, and convenience.
  • Adam Savage’s Ten Commandments for Makers — From an address to the Bay Area Maker Faire.
Craft and creativity

Phones for the people

“The phone lies at the foundation of 21st century human (and non-human) communication, and shapes these exchanges for the hand, for the eye, and in the mind.”

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OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System

With the thermos carafe, showerhead dripper and a variable temperature kettle that can be used separately, this machine has the potential to be a great coffee maker. I’ve been using a Clever Dripper for a few years now, but I do miss some of the convenience of using a drip machine. This could be the one to take me back.

OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System

If the clever pump that goes through the handle, over the top and out the spout of the kettle works as well as it seems (without leaking or making a huge amount of noise or anything) then this could well be one of the best coffee makers.

Seattle Coffee Gear overview

See also

Webdesigner Depot: Channel 4 reveals a bizarre rebrand

Channel 4 is today launching a major brand redesign. Masterminded by 4Creative, Channel 4’s in-house creative agency, the new identity is brave, bizarre, and striking.

Shot by Jonathan Glazer, the idents tell the story of the channel’s blocks being discovered in caves, mined from the ground, and refined in labs. They’re natural, elemental curiosities.

“The idents present the blocks as kryptonite-like. They tell the story of their origin and how they have a powerful impact on the world around them. Just as Channel 4 does. It is a story that we shall build on.”

It’s Nice That: New Channel 4 identity by creative dream team of 4Creative, Jonathan Glazer, Neville Brody and DBLG

Two new typefaces have been designed by Neville Brody. The first is Chadwick, a rounded, warm, corporate typeface. Its forms are heavily geometric and designed for readability. The second typeface is Horseferry, an unusual, disruptive display text. Horseferry uses the basic forms of Chadwick, but blends in the blocks from the ‘4‘ logo.

See also

(via & via)

Light-based media

Channel 4’s surreal new brand identity

“The broadcast media landscape is a much more complicated place than it was ten years ago, so there’s a need to stand out more than ever before.” — John Allison, 4Creative

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Hyperallergic interviewed Vancouver-based art director and motion designer Peter Quinn:

“PQ FUI toys is meant for those situations where you just have to drop in some Fake UI bullshit to make something look a pinch more interesting, adding a little sparkle, or just saving yourself 10 minutes.”

NASA logos
Craft and creativity

What does the red swoosh in NASA’s ‘meatball’ logo mean?

The distinctive red shape wasn’t just a designerly flourish, it was actually inspired by a model for a supersonic plane being tested in the wind tunnels at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

An Ames wind-tunnel model of a radical supersonic airplane configuration designed for efficient flight at Mach 3

From Gizmodo:

James J. Modarelli, head of the Research Reports Division at the NASA Lewis Research Center (now the NASA Glenn Research Center), was the chief designer of the NASA seal and meatball insignia. In July 1958, Modarelli attended the triennial inspection of the AAL, during which facilities and research efforts within the NACA were highlighted and discussed for invited guests in the scientific community. […] During the Ames meeting, Modarelli participated in a tour consisting of nine stops for presentations on topical research activities. At the Ames Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, he viewed an Ames exhibit featuring a discussion by Ames researchers on current advanced supersonic aircraft technology. On display was an Ames wind-tunnel model of a radical supersonic airplane configuration designed for efficient flight at Mach 3. Featuring a cambered and twisted arrow wing with an upturned nose, the sleek model deeply impressed Modarelli as a symbol of the leading-edge aeronautical efforts of the NACA.

See also

…and other posts tagged ‘space’.

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WGBH News: For the next 26 days, one letter will leap out on the front page of Fitchburg’s daily newspaper. Today, it’s a minimalist red A that fills the space above the fold like a house. Tomorrow, B could be big or small, legible or hardly so. Only those putting together the Sentinel & Enterprise’s public art project, “The Alphabet,” know, and they’re out to surprise their readers—”make them wonder, what the hell is going on with the paper?” said visual artist Anna Schuleit Haber, who’s steering it all the way to Z.

WGBH News will be updating the article with every new design in the series.

Use your words

Typographic A to Z for Massachusetts’ Sentinel & Enterprise

‘Schuleit Haber, who was born in Germany and who usually works by herself in her New Orleans studio, recruited 26 typographers from around the world and a team of students and volunteers. Then she embedded herself in the Sentinel & Enterprise newsroom to oversee the endeavor, with the blessing of editor Charles St. Amand.’ — WGBH News

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Max Touhey photographs JFK’s abandoned TWA Terminal which has been off limits to the public since 2001 and is set to undergo redevelopment into a boutique hotel.

JFK's TWA Terminal

Even when I’m really excited to shoot a space, if it stands the hype the excitement still drops off at a certain point. But TWA is different. You can stand in 100 different places and still be in awe.
Max Touhey, Photographer

(via Daring Fireball)

See also

Craft and creativity

JFK’s abandoned TWA terminal

“The opening of the TWA Flight Center in all its jet-age splendor marked a shift in the history of air travel in which middle-class Americans could now afford to fly. Clearly, the terminal’s heyday coincided with the golden age of flying, in which travelers were restricted neither by economic class nor security concerns.” — Curbed

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AMPC – A modern computer built inside a case inspired by older amplifiers.

Lovely work from Love Hultén, Swedish designer and craftsman.

The works of Love Hultén are also nostalgic visions in a world of throwaway excess and economic efficiency gone awry.

See also

Craft and creativity

AMPC: A modern computer built inside a case inspired by older amplifiers

A lovely American walnut and aluminium PC inspired by amps from the late 70’s.

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Exploration in Games – Four Ways Players Discover Joy

Extra Credits: Exploration appeals to basic human instincts, and the basic joy we get from discovery makes exploration a key element for many games. While the geographic discovery of finding new levels or zones is a great example of exploration in games, it’s not the only type of exploration that exists. Among others, games can provide mechanical discovery, where players try new build paths or skill combos to increase their mastery of the game; content discovery, where players seek to unlock secrets or rush to open new packs to find out what they carry; and narrative discovery, where instead of being walked through a story the player must piece together backstory and lore from evidence they find around the world. This joy of discovery comes as much from the hunt as from the finding, but the designer must reward the player’s successful exploration with new tools or insights to show that the game recognizes their efforts.

See also: Making your first game

Grovemade produce gorgeous handcrafted accessories for your technology.

Grovemade walnut desk

The keyboard tray is particularly clever. (There’s a Magic Trackpad version too.)

The iPhone dock is another of my favourites. I personally don’t like cases that cover the screen, but this one with the leather flap looks very smart.

I’m not a huge fan of the watch either, but it does look lovely. I wonder if they’ll make anything for the Apple Watch?

This sleeve design however is just incredible. There are versions for the iPad Air, Mini and for the 13 inch MacBook Air. Like everything, it’s available in maple and walnut.

Grovemade iPad

They have loads more lovely product shots and behind-the-scenes photographs on Instagram too.

(via Bless This Stuff)

See also

Craft and creativity

Grovemade make gorgeous handcrafted tech accessories

Based in Portland, Oregon (where else?) Grovemade produce gorgeous tech accessories that I really, really want. Seriously! I mean, this isn’t a paid ad guys but if you want to send me a maple monitor stand you can consider me paid!

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Like icon

In his time working for Facebook (2008–2014), Ben Barry did a lot of really nice design work for the company. Luckily for us, he has posted it on his website. Below I’ve selected just some of my favourite examples.

Facebook’s Little Red Book

“As the company of Facebook grew, we faced a lot of challenges. One of them was explaining our company’s mission, history, and culture to new employees. We wanted to try to package a lot of those stories and ideas in one place to give to all employees.”

The Next Web: Here’s our first peek inside the little red book Facebook gives to employees

Barry and Everett Katigbak co-founded Facebook’s Analog Research Lab , a print studio that is near Facebook’s original Menlo Park building. In his time at Facebook, Barry was famous for his focus on the company’s brand, even to the point that he was dubbed the company’s “propaganda minister” internally.

Facebook Visual Identity

This page features a wealth of design concepts, including this revision to the famous wordmark which Facebook approved but have not (yet) implemented.

Facebook wordmark comparison animaton

Facebook wordmark comparison

“Facebook as a product and organization evolves very fast, and it was a challenge trying to design a system that was flexible across many mediums and contexts. Separate from the visual design work, there was the incredible task of creating awareness, gaining support, and ultimately creating a cross-functional team to approve and implement these changes.”

Facebook Analog Research Laboratory

The Facebook Analog Research Laboratory is a printing studio and workshop. Its primary mission is to produce work that reinforces the values of Facebook.

Facebook Posters & Ephemera

Finally, there are these posters and other miscellaneous designs produced by Barry, usually for internal hackathons.

Lovely, lovely work, all of it.

See also: A Facebook board game!

Life on the Internet

Facebook design

About Ben Barry: “One of the first communication designers to join Facebook’s team in California, his focus was on developing Facebook’s internal culture, voice and brand. Most notably, he cofounded the Facebook Analog Research Laboratory, an internal print studio and art program.”

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International Flag of Planet Earth
Shape of things to come

The Flag of Planet Earth

Oskar Pernefeldt’s graduation project at Beckmans College of Design is a flag for our world, “to remind the people of Earth that we share this planet, no matter of national boundaries”.

Astronaut portrait

Centered in the flag, seven rings form a flower – a symbol of the life on Earth. The rings are linked to each other, which represents how everything on our planet, directly or indirectly, are linked. The blue field represents water which is essential for life – also as the oceans cover most of our planet’s surface. The flower’s outer rings form a circle which could be seen as a symbol of Earth as a planet and the blue surface could represent the universe.

International Flag of Planet Earth construction

Construction animation of The International Flag of Planet Earth by Johan Fredriksson


Inspired by this work, Wired has taken a look at other alternative flags for Earth as designed by visionaries and hippies

I particularly like this design by redditor ‘thefreck’ who designed an extensible flag that can be updated as humans colonise other planets…


Finally, Roman Mars gave a great TED talk recently based on an episode of his radio show/podcast 99% Invisible about flags: Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed

In this surprising and hilarious talk about vexillology — the study of flags — Mars reveals the five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything.

Give him a few minutes to warm up as it turns into a great talk.

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Pantone Minion Yellow
Shape of things to come

Pantone announces new colour: ‘Minion Yellow’

PANTONE Minion Yellow Swatch Card The press release is pretty hilarious too, and not in a deliberate way:

“Just as the sun’s rays enliven us, PANTONE Minion Yellow is a color that heightens awareness and creates clarity, lighting the way to the intelligence, originality and the resourcefulness of an open mind – this is the color of hope, joy and optimism,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute.

“An extroverted hue, it projects playfulness and warmth and is suggestive of intellectual curiosity and enlightenment.”

Pantone Announces PANTONE Minion Yellow


Now I’m no colour expert at the Pantone Color Institute®, but this officially licensed hue seems a little too pale to my eye. You only have to look at these images of the Minions themselves holding up the Pantone swatch card to see that they’re not exactly the same colour.

Via the highly technical process of using Photoshop’s blur and colour dropper tools for a few minutes I’ve sampled what I think looks like a more Minion-y yellow.

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Is the Parthenon designed after the Golden Ratio? NOPE!
Craft and creativity

The Golden Ratio is total nonsense

Co.Design: The Golden Ratio: Design’s Biggest Myth

Those who believe the golden ratio is the hidden math behind beauty are falling for a 150-year-old scam. The golden ratio has any relationship to aesthetics at all comes primarily from two people, one of whom was misquoted, and the other of whom was just making shit up.

The first guy was Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan friar who wrote a book called ‘De Divina Proportione’ back in 1509, which was named after the golden ratio. Weirdly, in his book, Pacioli didn’t argue for a golden ratio-based theory of aesthetics as it should be applied to art, architecture, and design: he instead espoused the Vitruvian system of rational proportions. The golden ratio view was misattributed to Pacioli in 1799.

The other guy was Adolf Zeising, a German psychologist who argued that the golden ratio was a universal law that described “beauty and completeness in the realms of both nature and art… which permeates, as a paramount spiritual ideal, all structures, forms and proportions, whether cosmic or individual, organic or inorganic, acoustic or optical.”

He was a long-winded guy. The only problem with Zeising was he saw patterns where none exist. For example, Zeising argued that the golden ratio could be applied to the human body by taking the height from a person’s navel to his toes, then dividing it by the person’s total height. These are just arbitrary body parts, crammed into a formula.

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