r/place

sudoscript: Last weekend, a fascinating act in the history of humanity played out on Reddit.

r/place timelapse

For April Fool’s Day, Reddit launched a little experiment. It gave its users, who are all anonymous, a blank canvas called Place.

The rules were simple. Each user could choose one pixel from 16 colors to place anywhere on the canvas. They could place as many pixels of as many colors as they wanted, but they had to wait a few minutes between placing each one.

Over the following 72 hours, what emerged was nothing short of miraculous. A collaborative artwork that shocked even its inventors.

Above, some of my favourite little areas // Below, a static look at the ‘finished’ piece

The final form of r/place

Read more

  • Sudoscript: When Pixels CollideBut at its core, the story of Place is an eternal story, about the three forces that humanity needs to make art, creation, and technology possible.
  • Waxy: This Must Be The /r/PlaceEvery tiny patch of the Place is a story. Every piece of real estate represents a hard-fought battle, drawn from the collective activity of hundreds of smaller communities teaming together, and often against each other.
  • The r/place Atlas

And here’s a video timelapse that shows areas in detail →

Life on the Internet

r/place: a social experiment on a large canvas

“On April Fool’s Day, when the rest of the internet devolves into a cesspool of unfunny press releases and fake product launches, Reddit becomes the most interesting place online by unleashing a social experiment on its enormous community.” — Andy Baio / Waxy

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Mateusz Urbanowicz "Tokyo Storefront" series

Mateusz Urbanowicz: “Tokyo Storefront” series

When I moved to Tokyo, more than 3 years ago I was really surprised that upon my walks I encountered so many shops still in business in really old buildings. Differently to Kobe, where the earthquake wiped out a lot of these old downtown houses and shops, in Tokyo they still survive.

Mateusz Urbanowicz "Tokyo Storefront" series

Spoon & Tamago: Mateusz Urbanowicz, also known as Matto, is a Polish artist and illustrator currently based in Tokyo. One of his latest projects is the Tokyo Storefront series.

See also

Craft and creativity

Matto’s incredible watercolour paintings of Tokyo storefronts

Born and raised in Silesia, Poland, Mateusz Urbanowicz studied electronic engineering until he found out that making art can be more than a weird hobby…

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Zen Pencils, a website where inspirational quotes from famous people are adapted into cartoons by Gavin Aung Than.

another beautiful story: In our latest episode, we speak to Melbourne based cartoonist Gavin Aung Than of Zen Pencils. “A lot of people think I’m just living an exciting life, thinking of ideas and drawing, but being a cartoonist is a lot of hard work”. And while it may be hard work for Gavin to continually push out good quality comics, the cartoonist reveals in this video why his readers feedback, has in-turn made him find his calling.

Progression and regression

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“I quit my job without any grand plan, it was a big risk and one of the scariest things I have ever done.” – Gavin Aung Than

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International Color Symbolism Chart

A guide to what different colours symbolize in different countries; a useful consideration for designers. [PDF]

For example, the color red has many different meanings in other countries. In the United States red signifies danger and is often interpreted as a signal to stop, yet it also symbolizes love and passion. However, in China red speaks of good fortune, celebration and happiness. On the financial front, red denotes a rise in stock prices in East Asian stock markets while it reflects a drop in stock prices in North American stock markets. In many ways these attitudes toward color are completely opposite in these different cultures.

Purple is another example. There are vast differences in how some countries perceive this color. Japan looks at purple as wealth. France sees it as freedom or peace. The U.K., China and the United States understand purple as royalty. India, however, identifies this color with sorrow and unhappiness.

Six Degrees: An International Guide to the Use of Color in Marketing and Advertising (via Rands in Repose)

See also: Mummy Brown and other historical colours

Humans and other animals

International colour symbolism

“Though this chart may not reflect the totality of color representations, it serves as an introduction to expand your knowledge of color meanings.” — Six Degrees

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WEB Du Bois

WEB Du Bois: retracing his attempt to challenge racism with data

The Guardian: The civil rights pioneer and scholar is most famous for his book The Souls of Black Folk, but his use of data to show inequality is still profound today

Mona Chalabi has updated WEB Du Bois’ visualizations with recent data, while staying faithful to the design of the original illustrations.

I thought about DuBois while drawing these. Not just his outstanding craft (how did he manage to get those lines so straight? Those labels so neat?) but how he would feel to look at data 117 years later about the “present condition” of black Americans.

See also

Progression and regression

WEB Du Bois: Using data to show inequality, updated

The civil rights pioneer and scholar is most famous for his book The Souls of Black Folk, but his use of data to show inequality is still profound today.

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Slice of Life logo

“Slice Of Life” is an original short Science Fiction film set in the Blade Runner universe.

While I’m not convinced that this will be a succesful a tonal match for Blade Runner, it has certainly nailed that 80s dystopian look. Most interestingly, this film is being made using old-school special effects techniques, like miniatures, matte paintings and rear projections.

For the huge advertising billboards we wanted to use rear projections. In a way because that’s how it was done in the 80’s, but also because if you film something with a camera it’s going to look much better than if it was added digitally. So we needed to design and animate a dozen of different advertisements, and then we project them on the buildings. It can’t get more analogue than that.

The Croatian filmmakers are uploading video production diaries as they go.

(via The Verge)

See also

Light-based media

‘Slice of Life’

Slice Of Life is an original short Science Fiction film set in the Blade Runner universe.

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Mozilla logo

Mozilla’s new brand identity

I don’t do many posts highlighting new brand identity work, but I really like this. Some might reasonably argue that the design is too clever, but I feel like that’s fine for this company logo. If this were the new Firefox logo, that might be a different matter.

Mozilla logo variants

Our logo with its nod to URL language reinforces that the Internet is at the heart of Mozilla. We are committed to the original intent of the link as the beginning of an unfiltered, unmediated experience into the rich content of the Internet.

The font for the wordmark and accompanying copy lines is Zilla. Created for us by Typotheque in the Netherlands, Zilla is free and open to all. [The font will be made available later.]

Mozilla bespoke typeface

We chose to partner with Peter Bilak from Typotheque because of their deep knowledge of localization of fonts, and our commitment to having a font that includes languages beyond English. Prior to partnering with Typotheque, we received concepts and guidance from Anton Koovit and FontSmith.

Selected to evoke the Courier font used as the original default in coding, Zilla has a journalistic feel reinforcing our commitment to participate in conversations about key issues of Internet health. It bucks the current convention of sans serif fonts.

Anyone can create the Mozilla logo by typing and highlighting with the Zilla font, making the logo open and democratic.

The black box surrounding the logo is a key building block of the design, and echoes the way we all select type in toolbars and programs.

See also

Craft and creativity

Mozilla’s new brand identity

“At the core of this project is the need for Mozilla’s purpose and brand to be better understood by more people. We want to be known as the champions for a healthy Internet. An Internet where we are all free to explore and discover and create and innovate without barriers or limitations. Where power is in the hands of many, not held by few. An Internet where our safety, security and identity are respected.” — Mozilla

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‘Rooms’ by Jordan Bolton

These creative movie posters are made by recreating a film’s set design in miniature.

Prints are available on Etsy and Amazon. (via ARCHatlas)

See also: The man who made some of cinema’s most iconic movie titles & these wonderful animated movie posters by Pablo Fernández Eyre.

Craft and creativity

Jordan Bolton’s miniature film set posters

These creative movie posters are made by recreating a film’s set design in miniature.

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Master Works: Rare and Beautiful Chess Sets of the World

The World’s Most Beautiful and Unusual Chess Sets

Atlas Obscura: Some designs, as with the Communist Propaganda set, arose from ideology. Some were born out of wealth, such as the opulent rock crystal and silver set from 16th-century France. And some were made from necessity, such as the cardboard pieces created during the 900-day siege of Leningrad in World War II.

Master Works: Rare and Beautiful Chess Sets of the WorldThis book brings together some of the most beautiful and unusual chess sets ever made. Over hundreds of years, from five continents, they are culled from private collections and museums, including: 200 year-old sets made by nameless Indian craftsmen; sets by Peter Carl Fabergé; sets from Soviet gulag prisoners; and sets by leading artists of the 20th century, including Max Ernst.

See also

  • Chess set architectureDaniel Weil has created a new design for the chess set which is making its debut at the World Chess Candidates Tournament in London.
  • ArchicardsArchitectural playing card designs by Italian architect Federico Babina.
  • D&D maps and cartography Dyson Logos is a prolific and talented creator of Dungeons and Dragons maps.
Craft and creativity

Master Works: Beautiful and unusual chess sets

Chess, one of the world’s most popular games, has inspired artists for hundreds of years. Though apparently offering a limited canvas – each set has 32 pieces, each board 64 squares – sets have nevertheless been designed in countless ways, using almost every imaginable material: from precious metals, to ivory and rock crystal.

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Epoch

By Ash Thorp

Epoch is an experimental film intended to take you on a voyage through our solar system and beyond. It is a personal project orchestrated to share our enjoyment and admiration for science fiction films and literature.

To optimize your viewing experience, Epoch is best experienced with a full screen, no artificial light intrusion, ample sound speakers, and an open mind free of predictions or expectations in order to allow the film to guide you on its expedition and take you to another place entirely.

See also: Wanderers — a short film by Erik Wernquist

Light-based media

Epoch: a voyage through our solar system

“Epoch is a result of merging my love of design with space and moving imagery. It is a visual exercise intended to communicate that childhood wonder and enjoyment without any commentary. By primarily utilizing visuals and music, it will allow the viewer to experience the passage through their own imagination.” — Ash Thorp

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Still File

…is a series of 4 photographs recreating computer renderings as physical scenes by Skrekkøgle, a product and digital design studio in Oslo.

Cube, sphere and cone geometry with material textures mahogany, clear glass and white marble. Placed on reflective checkers plane.

Floating colored cube without environment. Low greyscale resolution creates gradient banding in background.

Three white Utah teapots – scaled, rotated, intersected and distorted. Diffuse lighting, composed on matte yellow plane.

Patterned spheres with pink metallic texture. Panoramic photo of a beach added on cylindrical environment, mirrored in both the base plane and in the metal spheres.

See also: Other posts tagged ‘3D’ and ‘CGI’.

Light-based media

Still File: Real recreations of computer renderings

The photos’ artifacts, surroundings, camera settings and lighting has been shaped intending to resemble 3d graphics of different types.

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Zelda original game map

Take a look behind-the-scenes with design documents from The Legend of Zelda!

Nintendo: It’s The Legend of Zelda’s 30th anniversary this year, and so we thought you might appreciate a look at some illustrations created during the development of the first The Legend of Zelda game, originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System!

These design docs include a video of the hand drawn overworld map and show how some of the original dungeon sketches translated into the game.

(via Gamasutra)

See the video showcasing the Zelda overworld map →

Light-based media

Nintendo’s design documents from The Legend of Zelda

Some of the hand-drawn maps Takashi Tezuka and Shigeru Miyamoto used when designing the original Legend of Zelda. A fascinating glimpse at Nintendo’s game design process from days gone by.

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Anglo Saxon London Map

A map by Matt Brown at Londonist: In 2011, we put together a map showing the London area in Anglo Saxon times (roughly speaking, 500-1066AD). It’s pieced together from many resources, showing our guess at the roads, rivers, forests and marshland that characterised the region.

Anglo Saxon London Map

The main purpose was to highlight the many villages, hamlets and farmsteads whose names are still part of modern London. For example, the map shows ‘Wemba Lea’, the land belonging to a local chieftain by the name of Wemba. We know nothing about Mr Wemba, yet his name is familiar to millions, perhaps billions, through its continuation into our own times as Wembley. Similarly, Croydon is a corruption of Crog Dene, which meant something like ‘valley of the crocuses’.

See also

Progression and regression

Anglo Saxon London, mapped

The map comes with a few caveats. We’re attempting to show a period of several hundred years in one map. Some features might not have been present for the whole of that time span, and names changed.

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The Mammoth Pirates

Amos Chapple (RFE/RL): With the sale of elephant tusks under close scrutiny, “ethical ivory” from the extinct woolly mammoth is now feeding an insatiable market in China. This rush on mammoth ivory is luring a fresh breed of miner – the tusker – into the Russian wilderness and creating dollar millionaires in some of the poorest villages of Siberia.

The Mammoth Pirates

This 65-kilogram tusk, photographed a moment after it was plucked from the permafrost, was sold for $34,000. The two men who found it unearthed three more in just over a week, including one weighing 72 kilograms.

Ravaged landscape is the obvious result of the tusk hunters’ methods, but the impact on Yakutia’s waterways is far-reaching.

See also

Progression and regression

The Mammoth Pirates

On condition that he not reveal names or exact locations, RFE/RL photographer Amos Chapple gained exclusive access to one site where between bouts of vodka-fueled chaos and days spent evading police patrols, teams of men are using illegal new methods in the hunt for what remains of Siberia’s lost giants.

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Star Trek Original Series Set Tour

Boldly Go to Upstate New York to Board the USS Enterprise

Wired: [In] Ticonderoga, New York, in a former supermarket. There, at 112 Montcalm St., a valiant would-be commander named James Cawley has constructed a precise replica of the original starship set used for Star Trek: The Original Series.

Cawley began construction in 1996, crafting set pieces in his grandfather’s barn-turned-workshop. Over the past 20 years, he has spent an “astronomical” (he said it, not us) sum painstakingly rebuilding the Enterprise. Some items, like Scotty’s wrenches and a Klingon costume, are originals from the show. Others, like Captain Kirk’s chair, Cawley built from scratch.

The Star Trek Tour is permanently housed in Historic downtown Ticonderoga, New York. The sets are full recreations based upon original blueprints. The recreated sets achieve a high-degree of accuracy based on original blueprints, hundreds of hours of serious research and thousands of photos – both period images and images culled from extensive review and capture from latest Blu-ray images.

See also: Other posts on this blog tagged ‘Star Trek’, including many on the restoration of the original USS Enterprise model at the Smithsonian.

Craft and creativity

Tour replica original Star Trek sets in upstate New York

Visitors can sit in Captain Kirk’s chair and punch buttons just like William Shatner did 60 years ago, or perhaps gaze into Spock’s scanner and search for signs of life. Everyone has to make that decision at some point. — Wired

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Beautiful Wooden Lego

Fubiz: French designer Baptiste Tavitian (aka BTmanufacture) made these gorgeous wooden sculptures of Lego ‘minifigs’ and bricks.

Made entirely by hand, the little figurines resemble the famous minifigs, and exist in several sizes; The largest measuring 80cm, and are manufactured in very limited edition.

See also: Lego sets are getting grayer

Craft and creativity

Beautiful wooden sculptures of Lego

“Bringing life to peculiar puppets with my own hands, I work in a small workshop with the concern of underscoring the material. A special attention to details and a touch of eccentricity are my ingredients; for I like my artisanal creations to be unique and singular.” — Baptiste Tavitian

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The planet Jupiter. Observed November 1, 1880

The Public Domain Review: The French artist, astronomer and amateur entomologist Étienne Léopold Trouvelot is noted for the 7000 or so illustrations he created from his astronomical observations, the quality of which reached their zenith in the 15 exquisite pastel works which were published as ‘The Trouvelot Astronomical Drawings’ in 1882.

As well as his illustrations, Trouvelot also published some 50 scientific papers, and was credited with discovering “veiled spots” on the Sun in 1875.

See also

See also: Other posts on this blog tagged ‘space’.

Craft and creativity

The pastel astronomical drawings of Étienne Léopold Trouvelot (1882)

The second and rather more unfortunate legacy Trouvelot left the world was the accidental widespread introduction of the highly destructive European Gyspy moth onto North American soil. Although he reportedly notified some nearby entomologists and relevant officials no action was taken. A few decades later the species was rife. — The Public Domain Review

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Pedro Medeiros (aka @saint11) creates pixel art and other game dev stuff on Patreon.

See also: The best Logos from the Commodore Amiga Scene

Light-based media

Animated GIF pixel art tutorials by Pedro Medeiros

Pedro Medeiros: “My focus with this Patreon is to fund pixel art and other game development tutorials. I post a new 256×256 gif tutorial every Monday [on Patreon], and on my twitter.”

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Enderal logo

Enderal: The Shards of Order

Enderal is a total conversion for TES V: Skyrim: a game modification that is set in its own world with its own landscape, lore and story. It offers an immersive open world, all for the player to explore, overhauled skill systems and gameplay mechanics and a dark, psychological storyline with believable characters.

In Enderal, we have attempted to combine open world gaming with a complex and profound storyline. While the game world of Enderal is smaller than Skyrim´s and the quests are fewer, we believe that the depth of our story and the complexity of our characters both surpass those in recent Elder Scrolls games. Enderal also differs in its game mechanics: While some have been taken over from Skyrim unchanged, others have been refined (for example, some armor sets in Enderal give set bonuses when several pieces are worn), and yet others (such as leveling up and the raising of skills) have been overhauled so greatly that they hardly resemble Skyrim mechanics any more (most noticeably, Skyrim´s “learning by doing” skill-ups have been replaced by experience points and skill books). Finally, a few (such as levelscaling and randomly spawning enemies) have been completely removed. As far as level design is concerned, Enderal spans several climate zones and regions, only some of which share Skyrim´s distinctive Nordic atmosphere and color palette.

Enderal is a free download for anyone who owns Skyrim on Windows.

Continue reading

Light-based media

Enderal: A ‘mod’ that turns Skyrim into a whole new game

Enderal is a total conversion mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A total conversion is a game mod that does not add an island or quest, but instead creates its own world with its own landmass, questlines and characters.

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London mini metro map

Mini Metros

Peter Dovak — a graphic designer and self-confessed ‘lifelong transit nerd’ — has shrunken and simplified 220 metro and light rail maps from around the world to produce this fun poster.

Mini Metros, by Peter Dovak

In a blog post about the designs, he compares some of his minified designs to the original transit maps. Below you can see Seoul, one of the more complex examples.

Peter sells his designs as posters, magnets, mugs and more.


See also: Johnston100: a modernisation of TfL’s classic London Underground typeface

Craft and creativity

Mini Metros: Peter Dovak’s minified transport maps

“All of the cities in the project had the same requirements: they had to fit in a 120px circle (with 10px of padding), the lines had to be 3px wide with a minimum of another 3px between the next parallel line, and all diagonals had to be 45-degrees.” — Peter Dovak

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Two cartograms from Benjamin Hennig’s Views of the World website showing how the US voted in the 2016 election and how the UK voted in the EU referendum earlier this year.

Cartogram of the 2016 US election results

US Presidential Election 2016: The population-centric perspective of this map shows that Trump’s success has largely been in the more rural areas, while Clinton won more of the votes in the urban areas that stand out in the cartogram. An analysis by the Economist showed that “80% of voters who have over one square mile (2.6 square km) of land to enjoy to themselves backed Mr Trump.” […] However, despite having received more votes from the electorate, Clinton is not the winner of this election. Since the president is not directly elected, but by an electoral college of electors that the voters technically vote for, the presidential election is an indirect one and the outcome of the popular vote does not always reflect the outcome of the election.

EU referendum results cartogram

The EU Referendum: 17,410,742 people of the United Kingdom’s 65 million population voted for leaving the European Union. These are about 26.8% of the UK’s resident population, or 37.4% of the electorate in this EU referendum. It also equals 51.9% of the valid votes cast.

See also

Shape of things to come

The divided states of America: A cartogram of the 2016 election results

Benjamin Hennig is a geographer whose work looks at social inequalities, humanity’s impact on Earth, global sustainability and new the development of concepts for analysing, visualising and mapping these issues.

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My Type of Beer, a fun typography-flavoured packaging portfolio piece by Alec Hughes.

(via Page)

Craft and creativity

My Type of Beer

Fun typography-flavoured beer can designs by Alec Hughes, a student of Falmouth University.

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AuthaGraph World Map

This Map of the World Just Won Japan’s Prestigious Design Award

Spoon & Tamago: Tokyo-based architect and artist Hajime Narukawa has a problem with our current map and he’s been working for years to try and fix it. In 1569 geographer Gerardus Mercator revealed his world map and, to this day, it’s the generally accepted image we have of this planet. But it has major flaws in that it dramatically distorts the sizes of Antarctica and Greenland.

AuthaGraph 'globe'

Narukawa developed a map projection method called AuthaGraph (and founded a company of the same name in 2009) which aims to create maps that represent all land masses and seas as accurately as possible. Narukawa points out that in the past, his map probably wasn’t as relevant. A large bulk of the 20th century was dominated by an emphasis on East and West relations. But with issues like climate change, melting glaciers in Greenland and territorial sea claims, it’s time we establish a new view of the world: one that equally perceives all interests of our planet.

See also

  • The AuthaGraph World Map shows there are no “four corners of the earth”, winner of the Good Design Grand Award.
  • Founded in 2007, Spoon & Tamago is an international blog that is based out of New York City and Tokyo Japan. It is written by artist and writer Johnny Strategy. Drawing from an extensive multicultural database and resources, Spoon & Tamago attempts to comprehensively cover all aspects of Japanese design from fine art and architecture to product and graphic design.
Shape of things to come

The AuthaGraph world map: A new way to look at the world

“The 2016 Good Design Award results were announced recently with awards going to over 1000 entries in several different categories. But the coveted Grand Award of Japan’s most well-known design award, given to just 1 entry, was announced today. […] This year, the grand prize went to a world map.” — Spoon & Tamago

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The Daily Spoon

The Daily Spoon

The past year [2014] Stian spent most of his time exploring the unique organic qualities of wood and how adding of a function can beautifully refine a piece of wood. The project consists of 365 unique hand carved spoons made from various types of wood. One carved everyday through a year.

(via Kottke)

See also

  • Velocipedia: Bikes drawn hastily from memory, realised by a product designer — 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.
  • 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.
  • Primitive Technology: Making a bow and arrow“I made a bow and arrows in the wild using only natural materials and primitive tools I’d made previously from scratch (as usual). The tools used were a celt stone hatchet, a stone chisel, various stone blades and fire sticks.”
Craft and creativity

The Daily Spoon

“By repeating the production of a spoon every day for a longer period of time (365 days), the goal is to challenge and explore a spoons aesthetic and functional qualities.”

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How a Word gets into the Merriam-Webster dictionary

To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it’s used. They carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them.

See also

Use your words

Merriam-Webster: How a word gets into the dictionary

This is one of the questions Merriam-Webster editors are most often asked.
The answer is simple: usage.

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Daily papers: an artist’s crafty emojis

The Guardian: Kashia Kennedy uses a scalpel, tweezers and double-sided tape to create these tiny works, which easily fit in the palm of a hand for her #emojieveryday on Instagram.

“For some reason in 80-plus days I haven’t been able to bear the thought of skipping a day. I’d be so annoyed with myself.”


The inventor of emoji on his famous creations

The Guardian: MoMA in New York has just added the first emoji to their collection – Shigetaka Kurita explains how he designed them.

The original set of 176 emojis, acquired by MoMA

“I was part of a team that spent about two years designing the first emoji for the launch of i-mode [NTT DoCoMo’s mobile internet system] in 1999. It limited users to up to 250 characters in an email, so we thought emoji would be a quick and easy way for them to communicate. Plus using only words in such a short message could lead to misunderstandings … It’s difficult to express yourself properly in so few characters.”


[Updated: Making this a Guardian / emoji trifecta post.]

The Emojibator: how a euphemistic fruit became an actual sex toy

The idea of turning an eggplant (emoji-speak for penis) into a vibrator started out as a late-night joke. Now founder Jaime Jandler can’t make enough.

The Emojibator

“Our mission is to destigmatize masturbation and promote healthy sexuality” – one emoji-themed sex toy at a time. “We don’t think sex needs to be taken seriously all the time,” he added. “So we’ll make more unique products that are both intimate and silly.”

See also

  • That emoji does not mean what you think it means — Since emoji are designed differently across platforms, sometimes your text messages might get lost in translation.
  • 100 new emoji, by Avery Monsen — featuring: ‘A Box Which Must Never Be Opened’, ‘Three Worms Pretending To Be One Long Worm’ and ‘A Spectre Rises From A Seven Layer Fiesta Dip’.
Craft and creativity

Kashia Kennedy’s #emojieveryday & Shigetaka Kurita talks about designing the original emojis & Jaime Jandler’s ‘Emojibator’

“I don’t accept that the use of emoji is a sign that people are losing the ability to communicate with words, or that they have a limited vocabulary. And it’s not even a generational thing … People of all ages understand that a single emoji can say more about their emotions than text. Emoji have grown because they meet a need among mobile phone users.” — Shigetaka Kurita

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Tetris, by Box Brown

Tetris: The Games People Play, by Box Brown

Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega—game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft.

In this graphic novel,New York Times–bestselling author Box Brown untangles this complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce. For the first time and in unparalleled detail, Tetris: The Games People Play tells the true story of the world’s most popular video game.

See also

Craft and creativity

The true story of the world’s most popular video game: Tetris

This is a lovely book too. Mine came with a bookmark and numbered print.

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How to measure typographic accessibility

Fontsmith: The illustrations use one of our most accessible typefaces FS Me which was researched and developed with charity Mencap and designed specifically to improve legibility for people with learning disabilities.

See also

Use your words

How to measure typographic accessibility

“Accessibility in typography is not an exact science and there is no such thing as either accessible or not. It is better to imagine a sliding scale where certain speciality typefaces are highly accessible at one end and some eg. script or display fonts are very inaccessible at the other end. Most fonts lie somewhere in the middle.” — Fontsmith

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No More Tofu

Google Noto Fonts

When text is rendered by a computer, sometimes characters are displayed as “tofu”. They are little boxes to indicate your device doesn’t have a font to display the text.

Google has been developing a font family called Noto, which aims to support all languages with a harmonious look and feel. Noto is Google’s answer to tofu. The name noto is to convey the idea that Google’s goal is to see “no more tofu”. Noto has multiple styles and weights, and is freely available to all.

Monotype: Creating Noto for Google

Monotype: A typeface five years in the making, Google Noto spans more than 100 writing systems, 800 languages, and hundreds of thousands of characters. A collaborative effort between Google and Monotype, the Noto typeface is a truly universal method of communication for billions of people around the world accessing digital content.

Malayalam and Devanagari in-use on Android devices

Above: Malayalam and Devanagari in-use on Android devices

TechCrunch: To be sure, there was a degree of skepticism when Google and Monotype embarked on this project, in my opinion well summed up in the words of Pakistani-American writer Ali Eteraz (quoted by NPR in 2014, when the project was already well underway):

“I tend to go back and forth. Is it sort of a benign — possibly even helpful — universalism that Google is bringing to the table? Or is it something like technological imperialism?”

Noto color emoji

Noto includes Android’s blobby emoji

Wired: But developing a typeface for 800 languages that feels cohesive yet respectful of each language’s cultural heritage created inherent tension. And making those fonts “unmistakably Google” is nearly impossible. The Tibetan script, for example, draws heavily from a calligraphic tradition, while English is more linear and geometric. The Arabic typeface is emphasized in left to right strokes, while French’s letters carry their weight in their vertical stems. Some fonts, like Runic, are so obscure that typographers at Monotype built the font from scratch using stone engravings for inspiration.

[Steve Matteson, Monotype’s creative director] designed Noto to be modern but friendly, with open counters, soft terminals, and strokes rooted in 5th century calligraphy. He avoided making Noto too austere, mostly because the shapes wouldn’t translate as nicely to other languages.

“It’s not easy to interpret fancy calligraphic languages like Tibetan into a Futura typeface model, which is all circles and straight lines.”

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(Post updated to include excerpt from the Wired article)

Use your words

Google’s Noto Project: a unified font for all languages

Google has been developing a font family called Noto, which aims to support all languages with a harmonious look and feel.

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Two 1/350 scale USS Enterprises

Two fantastic models by ‘ModelChili’ that are fun to compare.

Scale Enterprise models

The carrier Enterprise had a crew of about 5,500, whereas the starship Enterprise only had a crew compliment of 430. // The carrier Enterprise was commissioned in 1961, the starship Enterprise studio model was built in 1965.

Scale Enterprise models

The carrier Enterprise took about 5 months work, and included buying extra parts such as aircraft, photoetch details, aftermarket decals, photoetch figures, resin Phalanx guns. // The starship Enterprise took about 3 months work and the only extras were some 1/350 scale figures for the bridge and shuttlebay.


This is an especially nice comparison as some of the original starship Enterprise drawings by (presumably) Matt Jefferies also used the aircraft carrier to help show the scale of his design.

USS Enterprise Space Cruiser

(I have this Polar Lights 1/350 Enterprise kit myself. I’m looking forward to making it… one day! You can probably tell from this blog that I have a bit of an obsession.)

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Craft and creativity

Two 1/350 scale USS Enterprise models

“The carrier Enterprise is 342m long, so at this scale it comes to 1005mm. The starship Enterprise is noted as being 289m long.”

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