It's not a bug, it's a feature: Carolin Horn has designed Anymails, which represents your email messages and folders as micro-organisms. The morphology of the individual organisms and their behaviour within colonies imparts information about the state of your email. You can view QT movies of the application in action (1, 2), download her thesis, and download the Anymails code itself. See some of her other work here (predominantly in German). via Madame Martin, the "French Metafilter".
The origin of the peace sign. Various histories of designs, top 10 tools for artists and designers, hilarious pencil attachments and other cool stuff at designboom (previously).
I loved this beautifully filmed short documentary on The Letterpress. For those of us who have ever risked our very own fingers for the cause of printing, or had the California Job Case burned into memory, this will be a trip down memory lane. For the rest of you, it may give you an idea for your next hobby.
DIY business card holders from paint chips from industrial designer Aaron Tang at designverb, step by step.
User interface design so epically bad you need a strategy guide to defeat it. Presenting The Legend of FacilityFocus.
Seattle is red hot and almost no other market is. So says this great data visualization that Zillow just put out. (bonus: while previewing the link I also noticed a useful page of quarterly reports for major real estate markets)
Bar Code Revolution! With more than just lines and rectangles, Japanese company Design Barcode works around the basic elements of a barcode and infuses real, functional barcodes with creative designs and silhouettes. See barcodes as tomatoes, stomachs, rain, pianos, guns, train tracks, waterfalls, cliffsides, and yes, even combovers.
Ever wonder what's powering your favorite websites? Builtwith promises to give you a clear picture of what software and technologies are behind almost any site. Unfortunately, it's not always very accurate.
What we've tried to do is create a piece of software that streamlines the design process from start to finish. Digital, um, art. (Slightly suggestive images in last link.) (Previously 1|2|3.) (Via)
Associative Design - a study of new neighborhood models. requires QuickTime
Ever had a yen for a table made from jet engine turbine blades or a desk fashioned from a wing or a cowling? Giancarlo de Astis and Moto Art are two high-end design firms that are creating eye catching furniture and functional art from scavenged airplane parts. You can see their work and the work of others in the aviation art community at InterFlight Studio. Or do-it-yourself-ers in the crowd might just prefer a Field Guide to Aircraft Boneyards.
Data Visualization: Modern Approaches is a Smashing Magazine article examining a variety of increasingly popular or novel information visualization employed on modern websites.
Type The Sky: font project by a student at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
"Couture [...] represents the fusion of fashion [...] and costume." The Metropolitan Museum of Art and its Costume Institute present designs by Charles Frederick Worth, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (see also), Paul Poiret, and other designers such as Lanvin, Vionnet, Schiaparelli, Givenchy, and Yves Saint Laurent.
The maps of the London Underground and the Washington Metro are iconic in their cities and a favorite of experts on information graphics. They share a similar philosophy: sacrifice geographical accuracy in order to clearly illustrate the system. What if the New York Subway map were drawn the same way? What about the Interstate system?
The Buckminster Fuller Institute is now accepting submissions for it's new, annual design challenge contest. Submissions must be applicable with real-world technology, solving real-world problems with a minimum of ecological impact. The offered prize is $100,000, on par with some of NASA's challenges. ( Buckminster Fuller on Wikipedia, and E2 )
The son of industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger (creator of the distinct styling of the Apple IIc and subsequent products, as well as founder of frog design) shares memories and photographs (auf Deutsch; Google cache) of Apple's early attempts at an iPhone.
Noah Scalin explores different media and techniques to come up with a Skull a Day. Yes, there are pancakes. via Neatorama
Dirk Dieter, an industrial and exhibit designer, paid $101,000 in 1999 for a 250-square-foot house built on a triangular lot at the end of a dead-end street in Pacifica. Built in 1954, the little house was probably a warming shed for local fishermen, but Dieter's modest yet dramatic renovation has transformed the house into a marvel of space-saving design, inspired him to formulate strategies and design furniture for streamlined living, and brought a recent appraisal of $375,000. Previously on MetaFilter: Tiny Footprints.
A few cool shelves: a skull shelf and another, made of books by Jim Rosenau, invisible shelf, secret stash shelf, accordion shelf by Thut Möbel, maze shelf and broken shelves.
Bugaboo Daytrips is a gorgeous site featuring 22 strollable daytrips in major cities worldwide (not just US Only), all laid out on beautiful artistic (yet still helpful) maps with downloadable PDFs for taking with you on your wanderings. For those terrified of being marketed to, it should be noted that Bugaboo is a baby stroller company, although the site is by no means of restricted interest to parents only, and bugbaoo's presence on the site seems confined to the URL. Also note that unfortunately for those alergic to it, the site is designed entirely in Flash. On the other hand, the maps & art are really awesome, so you should do yourself a favor & get over it this time. Via.
London Flyers. Paris Flyers. Punk Flyers. More UK Flyers. Belgian Flyers. German Flyers. Greek flyers. Academic Flyer. Flickr Flyers.
Mefite Fans of rock concert posters are probably familiar with gigposters.com, but here's an interesting list of over 20 other individual designers concert posters sites with tons of designy goodness.
The entire sequence takes 26 seconds. There’s too much to take in. Or, you don’t know what you’ve taken in, and how deep the impression has been.
The Flow, by Paul Myerscough
That image gives way, quickly and successively, to a series of others: a young black woman smoking, smiling at the camera through a reinforced glass window; three teenage girls in a car, laughing, filmed through the windscreen; a whip-pan to the American flag, pierced by sunlight, drifting in the breeze; a DIY programme on a pixellated TV screen; a ride-along shot of a family in an oversized golf buggy; two different angles of a man alone in a lecture theatre; two more of traffic at night; a woman, suspicious of the camera, wearing a polka-dot dress and partly obscured by glassy reflections; a blurry shot of a long windowless corridor; a man wearing shades in a crowded street; a woman pursued down the cosmetics aisle of a supermarket; and, as Curtis comes to the end of his three short sentences, a woman seen jogging in the wing-mirror of a moving car. The entire sequence takes 26 seconds. There’s too much to take in. Or, you don’t know what you’ve taken in, and how deep the impression has been.
Grass rings, lace rings, rock rings, bunny rings...The Carrotbox has month after month of posts about odd and unusual rings. Alice is allergic to metal so focuses in her own collection on "glass, lucite, resin, plastic, jade, wood, bakelite and even stone — anything, as long as it's not metal!" She even provides a timeline of plastic history. [via FunForever]
I'm officially jealous of the people who get to work in this office workspace custom designed to look like Captain Nemo's Nautilus, from 20,000 Leagues. Via.
The British Olympic Committee unveiled the logo and branding for London 2012 today, at a cost of £400,000 (USD796,000). Reaction has been swift - a petition to change the logo or go back to the old one has already reached 10,000 signatures.
"Future House Now is dedicated to exploring ideas about better living in family homes that are affordable, modern, efficient, healthy, environmentally responsible and available today."
Fontfilter -- ever wondered what font a logo uses? Wonder no more. (site's in German but the chart is simple--there's also a reversed one, by font instead of by company)
Helix — a 1D skyscraper with a single corridor. The principle is a cylindrical building with a helical shape for the floor. The slope of the floor is 1.5% (it rises by 1.5 cm every meter), thus hardly noticeable. The height of each ’storey’ is 3 meters, so that when you walk 200 meters along the corridor, you have walked a full circle, but you end up one ’storey’ above or below your starting point.
Chicago based designer & music fan J Tyler took it upon himself to craft a music video for The Arcade Fire song "My Body Is A Cage" using clips from the classic Sergio Leone film Once Upon A Time in the West. The clips evoke the elegaic, reflectively somber beauty in the song remarkably well - so well that the video reached the attention of someone in the Arcade Fire's camp, who emailed Tyler and requested his permission to post his work on their official site. If you have the bandwidth, I highly recommend this direct download link to a high-res quicktime version, it's much, much better than streaming flash.
Magazine fetish? Like flipping thru mags when you're bored? Tidningar lets you look thru a bunch of Swedish mags, page by page, ads and all. Neat if you're into design. (The link on the left under each mag is full screen--on the right is regular.)
Innovation, originality, revolution... Oh.
Yesterday, Design*Sponge added a city guide for Toronto to their small but growing list of Guides. The list also includes a Letter Press Guide, an Affordable Art Guide, a Gift Guide (2006), and guides for Brooklyn and LA.
"The difference between BJ and AJ, Before and After Jobs, is not the process," [Don Norman] continues. "It is the person. Never before did Apple have such focus and dedication. Apple used to wobble, moving this way and that. No more."
Lettermade This ongoing project, started in 1998, is aimed at documenting, appreciating, and recontextualizing vernacular letterforms and typography. (Design dorks rejoice!)
Metafilter's own Fake, Dan Reetz, recently spent several months in the former Soviet Union; while there he managed to round up this great selection of Soviet Movie posters from 1921-1973, as well as this interesting 1952 set of food drawings from the government produced book "Tasty & Healthy Eating." Finally, bonus content for anyone jonesing for more soviet content, this Russian Winnie the Pooh cartoon from the 1970s is fantastic. (via)
The website of London's Design Museum contains a wealth of resources. Explore the illustrated history of architecture and design, from the Anglepoise lamp to Buckminster Fuller. Read an interview with Dan Houser of Rockstar Games. Ponder the evolution of the humble chair.
What if Apple is bad for design? Or at least not good?
Getting around underground in NYC is no longer only for people who already know how to get around underground in NYC. Graphic Designer Eric Jabbour has been spending his free time obsessively redesigning MTA transit maps. And the results are striking. Non-New Yorkers will undoubtedly be able to figure out what's what. Cleaner lines and neighborhood boundaries are just a few features. Also, one can clearly see and understand transfer points and more street names.