The Subtle Genius of Elena Ferrante’s Bad Book Covers by Emily Harnett [The Atlantic] With their sandy beaches and windswept women, the U.S. editions of Elena Ferrante’s novels look familiar even if you’ve never seen them. That’s because they look like virtually every other book authored by a woman these days—not to mention like bridal magazines, beach-resort brochures, and even “Viagra ads.” On Twitter and beyond, readers have described Ferrante’s covers as “horrible,” “atrocious,” “utterly hideous,” and as a “disservice” to her novels. At Slate, one commenter approvingly mentions a local bookstore’s decision to display one of Ferrante’s books in plain brown paper, reviving a practice used for Playboy and the infamous issue of Vanity Fair with a pregnant Demi Moore on the cover. The implication, of course, isn’t that Ferrante’s covers are obscene in the traditional sense—just obscenely bad. Previously.
De-dimension, the graduation project of Design Academy Eindhoven student Jongha Choi, is a different take on flat-pack furniture. It's a bit more practical than his Cigarette Chair.
Uncube has ended. A Berlin-based digital architecture magazine that began in 2012 has concluded with issue #43, Athens. Known for its unconventional reportage and groundbreaking design, monthly themes ran the gamut from the desert to Iceland to outer space to, well, death. [more inside]
Recovering the Classics is a crowdsourced collection of original covers for 100 great works in the public domain, designed to increase interest and access to classics in e-book format. [more inside]
Photographer Mehrdad Rasoulifard is taking viewers on a visual journey through the history of ancient (and modern!) Iranian architecture and design. He captures the structural and artistic intricacies of iran’s most significant places of worship and cultural complexes, including the tessellated and tiled ceilings of historic mosques. [via designboom]
Animal Families - A collection of animal illustrations that explore the relationship of parent and child. By artist Michael Sutton.
The Paint and Sip Industry has been steadily on the rise since 2007. You bring wine or beer, there are snacks, and you tie on an apron to make some art. Yes, the paintings tend to look similar; one instructor writes that "There is real merit to what is being done, but it is a whole different animal than what some artists want or feel about art." [more inside]
The Art of Punk (previously) is a documentary series from MOCAtv, the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Arts’ YoutTube channel. The series looks at the visual language of the punk rock movement by focussing on three legendary punk rock bands and the seminal artists behind their iconic logos. [more inside]
Sorry We're Closed is "an awareness project by designer and educator, Kelly Holohan", designed to bring attention to LGBTQ human rights around the world. It's on at the AIGA Philadelphia, but you can see the posters here.
Sara Hendren talks at the Eyeo Festival about how she, as an artist, came to work at an engineering college. Hendren teaches at Olin College in Needham, MA and runs the site Abler, a site about "art, adaptive technologies and prosthetics, the future of human bodies in the built environment, and related ideas." Hendren's talk name-checks the artist Claire Pentecost, who has elaborated idea of the artist as "public amateur": the learner who is motivated by love or by personal attachment, and in this case, who consents to learn in public so that the very conditions of knowledge production can be interrogated. [via Text Patterns]
Typography design and illustration is still an active artform, and you can get an idea of the skills at play by looking at two rather different young penmen: Seb Lester (previously) and Jake Weidmann. While both started as self-taught artists, Seb designs fonts and draws free-hand typographic art pieces with no formal education in type design, while Jake mentored under calligrapher to the White House, Rick Muffler, and is the youngest of the 14 Master Penmen (one of the few programs where inductees must craft their own certificates). As an introduction to the craft and these artists, here's more of Seb Lester and his craft, and an interview with Master Penman Jake Weidmann, with displays of his works. [more inside]
David C Roy designed and handcrafted over 150 different one-of-a-kind kinetic sculptures. Common elements in his work include motion and wood. They are powered by constant force springs. [more inside]
Taxi Fabric - connecting designers with taxi drivers – turning seat covers into canvas’ for young Indian designers to show off their design talent and storytelling skills. [via Art Radar]
"Pee-wee’s Playhouse is where you can stop at every roadside attraction in the world." Patreon's Art of the Title speak with Prudence Fenton, Phil Trumbo and Paul "Pee-wee Herman" Reubens about the two-minute animation that opened each episode of the classic 1980s television program Pee-wee’s Playhouse
The Twitter account Diana_Vreeland pays tribute to the celebrated fashion editor/social maven by coming up with colorful suggestions for how to live your life.
Books in the films of Wes Anderson - a video essay.
Feelers is a typographic experiment based on the movement of animal appendages.
Building the Moroccan Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art [slyt, 17m44s] "In 2011, The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened the New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, which house the Museum's renowned collection of Islamic art. A vital part of the installation was the Patti Cadby Birch Court, a Moroccan court built by a team of experts—from curators and historians to designers and craftsmen—over many months.... This video documents a marvelous journey from Fez to New York, and the creation of a twenty-first-century court using traditional fifteenth-century methods."
Seb Lester is an astonishing calligrapher and graphic designer. In this clip, he freehands a number of famous logos... [more inside]
Women Characters Redesigned by Women SFF Artists
As I said, I’m going to be discussing this at length in my next post. For now, I’m going to give you a flood of examples of women characters in fantasy art — many infamous for being depictions unwelcoming to women — that have been redesigned by the professional artists in the Women in Fantasy Illustration group. Each woman’s point of view is different, and the redesigns reveal what is most important to that woman, whether it’s realistic body armor, or it’s making sure the woman has a narrative and agency of her own. There is no one right way to depict a woman character, and it is not as simple as "cover her up more" because, as you'll see, some of these redesigns are sexier than the original. And I have found through my own work that you CAN absolutely have a single depiction of a character that is sexy and empowering to all genders. As I said, more on that next post.[more inside]
Archillect, billed as The Ocular Engine, is a recent project from enigmatic designer Murat Pak. [more inside]
That’s how I feel about the web these days. We have a map, but it’s not for me. So I am distanced. It feels like things are distorted. I am consistently confused. — Frank Chimero, on What Screens Want
"Foregrounding the back of Martin Luther King’s head, Selma’s poster is an act of protest in itself. But as a recent book on black movie poster art shows, many past poster designs have obscured, caricatured or edited out black actors altogether." Isabel Stevens writes on black movie poster art at the British Film Institute (BFI).
Re Made Co. You've drooled over the hand-tooled hand tools of Best Made, but a real man needs a plunger. [more inside]
Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. (previously, twice, thrice) takes on a logo design challenge, describing how he goes about creating enduring designs. If you enjoyed Aaron and his style (bigger image), you can take a tour of his well-organized junk and join him as he scours an estate sale for more inspiration, and continue with him as he discusses the art of the side hustle, specifically Field Notes (previously; history). Or if you'd prefer design tips, Aaron talks about workflow, moving efficiently, and how to make a laurel. But wait, there's more! Aaron also presented at TEDxPortland, discussing work ethics and giving back, and extends on some of those topics in this 22 minute interview. Getting back to the art of things, Aaron talks on logo design the Draplin way, and Aaron Draplin's favorite signs. Warning: obscene language abounds, may not be workplace appropriate.
Pantone has announced that 18-1438 aka Marsala, is the color of the year for 2015. Here's how they decided, although not everyone approves. Fast Company offers some alternate names.
Pantone Color of the year, previously – 2014: Radiant Orchid, Pantone Color Forecasting
Pantone Color of the year, previously – 2014: Radiant Orchid, Pantone Color Forecasting
The Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2014 celebrate excellence and beauty in data visualizations, infographics and information art.
Your wrought iron gate lacks that identifying touch, your wax seal seems a little anonymous, and your handkerchief might as well belong to anyone: you definitely need a monogram. Perhaps one of these 1200 gorgeous public domain examples drafted by A. A. Turbayne, famed Art Nouveau designer, will do the trick. [more inside]
The Amazing Pattern Library is an ongoing project which compiles patterns shared by designers, available to be freely downloaded and used without restriction.
The pointe shoe in ballet is a piece of technology critical to the performance of dance. While mechanically tough, its design is simple and flexible enough for personal modification and tailoring to the individual dancer's needs. Spanish artist Lesia Trubat has taken the pointe shoe into the 21st century, sewing in LilyPad Arduino controllers and sensors and integrating their operation with iOS, allowing the dancer to turn pressure and motion into a dynamic and novel expression of this centuries-old art form.
Paul Klee: The Silence of the Angel (2005; 51:14) is a documentary about the painter whose lectures/notebooks, The Thinking Eye and The Nature of Nature, have been called "the most complete presentation of the principles of design ever made by a modern artist ... it constitutes the Principia Aesthetica of a new era of art, in which Klee occupies a position comparable to Newton's in the realm of physics."
Chocolate Mill was comprised of a giant cylindrical chocolate block that was carefully organized in 10 stacked layers, with flavored shapes used to create different geometric patterns. As a crank-turned blade similar to a cheese slicer grazed shavings off the top, the hidden layers were slowly revealed.
"I mean, seriously we're adorable. How could we have a blog that didn't feature us up front and center? ;)" Meet Adam and Andrew. They blog about the aesthetics of Disney. Those little details that are found in all aspects of Disney parks (and related materials): bathroom signs, murals (bathrooms again), vintage Dumbo book illustrations, Epcot's UK (part of their Shake to Randomize series), Theming At Animal Kingdom's Serka Zong Bazaar, and Six Things I DON'T Hate About The Italy Pavilion At Epcot. (In fact The whole month of June 2012 is a treasure.) There's also a podcast.
Kirlian photography techniques used to capture electrical discharges and made famous in parapsychology research are revisited in the Digital Ethereal project to manifest the ghosts of wireless networks.
The World's Ball - the NYT reviews the design evolution of the soccer/football from 1930 to the present
The two-day Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) graduate showcase at NYU was a madhouse, with some 100 projects on view, ranging from groundbreaking innovations to timely trinkets. But the most talked about project by far was Peiqi Su's "Penis Wall" - an array of 81 robotic phalli that rise and fall in response to the stock market. Official Vimeo account for the project - Thesis presentation - in depth How-it-was-made production blog. (Slightly NSFW if your work doesn't like white, plastic, abstract dicks.)
Following on the heels of Phonebloks, a Google/Motorola formed a design group called Project Ara. The Verge recently interviewed Paul Eremenko, the project lead, about progress made towards modularization of mobile phone components, overcoming engineering issues, and the group assigning itself an ambitious timetable to succeed in delivering a sellable product within two years, or disbanding.
World's longest-running experiment captures elusive tar pitch drop fall on video after 84 years of waiting — though, sadly, too late for physicist and former pitch drop custodian Prof. John Mainstone, who passed away last year.
The Nordic Society for Invention & Discovery has brought never-before-seen and totally exclusive technologies into the world, such as the Aaltopuck (an ice hockey puck modeled after Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase), the Flower Shell (a shotgun shell that shoots seeds into the ground), the Wall of Sound (an 8000-watt iPod dock) and No More Woof (a device that wraps around your dog's head and translates his or her brain waves to computerized speech).
The Uncomfortable. A treasury of poorly designed things.
Space Replay is a floating black sphere that follows people around and plays back ambient sounds it has recorded. It was designed and built by Francesco Tacchini, Will Yates-Johnson and Julinka Ebhardt.
"Liquid Sky is one of the most visually ambitious films ever made about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers, ordering Chinese food and having them put it on your tab, the Empire State Building, androgyny, neon and tin foil. The 1982 cult classic may be the perfect embodiment of camp. " The Awl talks to the director of the film about his plans for a sequel.