Aurion looks to be a standard and mechanically unremarkable retro action RPG with heavy Japanese design influences. But its design and feel are unmistakably fresh, offering a bold color palette and interesting unit designs. Its fiction is rooted in stories of exploitation and division, and in a desire for harmony.This review of Cameroon's Kiro’o Games latest release is just one of the increasingly visible ways Africa's game developers are beginning to gain traction in their domestic and international markets. Last fall, Lagos hosted the inaugural West African Gaming Expo, bringing together startups, gamers, developers and investors for the first time. Games range from mobile only, extremely local - smash the mosquito or drive your matatu like a maniac - to educational - to full fledged RPG like Kiro'o's Aurion. Women are as much a part of this nascent industry, breaking barriers and encouraging others to join. Watch this space.
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]
Stian Korntved Ruud is nearing the end of a yearlong project in which he designs and crafts a unique wooden spoon every day. He's using hand tools exclusively. You can follow the results and see a little of the process on instagram. Via core77.
A legendary design firm, a corporate executive, and a Buddhist-hospice director take on the end of life.
Typographica reviews its favorite typefaces of 2014.
Archillect, billed as The Ocular Engine, is a recent project from enigmatic designer Murat Pak. [more inside]
Fictional user interfaces in film, TV and games. Kit FUI UI BAKA SciFi Interfaces VisualPunker: UI FakeUI Screens on screen [more inside]
Clothes to Deploy for Uncomfortable Situations
Imagine this, you’re a start-up attending your first business card exchange. You’re in your zone, with speaking points ready to go and pockets stuffed with original laser cut business cards, but then the reality sets in. Everyone is already clustered in little groups conversing among themselves, and there you are left alone. It’s an awkward moment and suddenly you realize you aren’t as well prepared as you thought. Well, just deploy your mega cap sleeves to show them you’re boss, or activate your funnel neck collar to escape the embarrassment. It’s your clothing and you can command it. That’s the idea behind the Clothing for Moderns by Lea Albaugh.
“From the beginning, the Le Sabre was conceived as Harley Earl’s personal automobile, and Earl held a (generally accurate) belief that if he liked something, the American public would also like it.” Sleek, airplane inspired, and innovative, the 1951 GM Le Sabre is often held to be the most influential concept car of the 20th Century. [more inside]
When the late Lauren Bacall's long time apartment at the Dakota was listed for $26 million in November, the photos accompanying the listing were drab, showing the apartment after it had been stripped of nearly all of the actress's possessions - new photos from the upcoming Bonham's auction show how the three bedroom apartment looked during the 50-odd years Bacall lived there.
The Department of Justice has postponed its NPRM on the accessibility requirements of websites for places of public accommodations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, from March 2015 to June 2015. The NPRM for accessibility requirements of government websites was due in December 2014. [more inside]
Pivot: A Tool to Empower Human Trafficking Victims
Pivot provides rescue information to human trafficking victims without detection by their captors. Ordinary-looking sanitary pads are distributed by activists and healthcare providers to suspected victims. Hidden inside each pad is an insert with rescue information and a trafficking hotline number. A victims accesses the insert in the privacy of a restroom, detaches the phone number (disguised as a fortune-cookie tab), and flushes the rest of the insert in the toilet.[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).
Photographer Andrew B. Myers makes photographs that don't look like photographs so much as like clean-edged graphic design illustrations. Much of his work combines vibrant colors, flat, non-gradated lighting with crisp shadows, and a long-lens isometric composition to create tableaux that resemble old-school screensavers or wallpaper prints.
The Nest thermostat, as described by usability expert Kara Pernice: "When I turned the dial to increase the heat to 66 degrees, rather than responding by making the house warmer . . . the next day the house temperature plummeted to a punishing 50 degrees. So I pull on another sweater and mittens and a hat. Indoors. And I wait until my thermostat decides that I am worthy of radiant warmth." [more inside]
Stockholm-based design firm Söderhavet has designed a typeface for Sweden that it thinks sums up the country's own design heritage. The resulting typeface is a practical serif/sans hybrid that is inspired by Sweden's tradition of minimalist design, and the principal of lagom—not too much, but not too little.
Re Made Co. You've drooled over the hand-tooled hand tools of Best Made, but a real man needs a plunger. [more inside]
"a highly-automated, vertically-integrated manufacturer" Visit a zipper factory and see how a perceived design flaw translates into a more labor-intensive process. From the blog, bunnie: studios.
World-renowned British graphic designer Neville Brody rebrands his studio "Research Studios" as "Brody Associates" after around 20 years of doing business. Reason? Clients misunderstood the services of the studio under its old name. [more inside]
3 awesome downloadable NASA designed Travel Posters for places we haven't been to yet NASA's Kepler telescope is still discovering new, distant exoplanets in our corner of the Milky Way, but oftentimes they're hard to visualize and easily forgotten about by some of us normal folk. Now, to get everyone dreaming about these potentially habitable worlds, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has drawn up a trio of beautiful posters by the "Exoplanet Travel Bureau." All three echo the WPA's iconic travel prints from the mid-1930s, with classic typefaces and swathes of flat, contrasting color.
The European Parliament building regularly makes visitors and employees break down and cry. The disorienting effect probably wasn’t an accident. “Our buildings offer themselves to their inhabitants and to the city as ‘mysteries,’ or stories for which we provide ‘keys’ and signs so that they can be deciphered,” is how Architecture-Studio’s website describes its approach.
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.
"Demolished: the end of Chicago's Public Housing" A look back at Chicago's 20th-century public housing high-rises, and how they were taken down. Also an interesting form of web presentation. (SLNPR)
I AM INTO THIS. Who are the Cambridge Satchel Company and why should we care? The company started in 2008, and they sell old-style 1950s/60s era British school satchels. Originally meant for kids (the founder states, "I honestly thought that it would be schoolchildren and parents buying my bags!"), the satchels have become a more modest and budget-friendly alternative to designer bags. As a small startup company, they relied on enthusiastic word-of-mouth from the internet to bolster their profits; Deane states,"I think online was the only way that we could really engage and get traction really quickly" (warning: autoplaying video). This is the perfect storm of internet obsession: you click the link, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. [more inside]
Bolivia has undergone a significant change under the three terms of President Evo Morales, the first president to come from the country's indigenous majority. Members of that majority have found prosperity, increasing the prestige of indigenous design and style, as seen in this seven minute segment on the new buildings and minor twists on old fashions adopted by Bolivia's indigenous bourgeoisie, from Financial Times' coverage of the displays of the Aymara people's new-found wealth. [more inside]
Do you like books for more than just the words inside? Here, thanks to MeFi's own Jason Kottke, are four and a half lists of the best book covers of 2014.
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
How Ambi became Paisley: "It began as a teardrop in Babylon. Where the sunlight came from Astarte, shameless goddess of the fecund feminine. The boteh. Stylized rendition of the date palm shoot, tree of life, fertility symbol. It danced through Celtic art, until the heavy feet of Roman legionaries tramped over the Alps. Then it fled the wrath of Mars and Jupiter, dove underground as Empire rose ." From Shailja Patel's Migritude. Here's a short film about the Migritude project (book on Amazon).
"Unlike hearing people, the deaf have to keep sightlines in order to maintain conversations. So when deaf people walk and talk, they’ll lock into a kind of dance. Going through a doorway, one person will spin in place and walk backwards to keep talking. Walking past a column, two deaf people in conversation will move in tandem to avoid collision." The podcast 99% Invisible interviews a designer of a building at Gallaudet University designed for the way deaf people move and talk. [full transcript]
Do you need to get the lead out? Are you having trouble getting to the point? Maybe this post all about the joys of mechanical pencils will help!
- Dave's Mechanical Pencils is probably the
goldlead standard, with reviews and links about everything related to mechanical pencils, leads, erasers, and pencil-related ephemera.
- Vittorio Villani's Drafting and Mechanical Pencils takes more of an individual collector's approach, with many beauty shots along with the reviews.
- All jammed up: The Old Geezer offers advice on how to clear a lead jam.
- Leadhead's Pencil Blog focusses on antique and vintage mechanical pencils. They are works of art themselves, and blogger Jon Veley has even set up an online museum.
- Leadholder Drafting Pencil Museum hasn't been updated in a while but is an exhaustive collection of lead-related material, including a section on the mechanics of different types of mechanical pencils.
- If you've only seen one mechanical pencil, it was probably a Scripto.
- The Pencil Pages is a treasure trove of pencil information and links.
- Finally, Pencil Revolution (previously) does not limit itself to mechanical pencils but the entire pencil lifestyle. After all, a great pencil needs great paper. (Warning: the links will take you down a time-sucking, pencil, paper, and office-supply rabbit hole.)
Common sense dictates that video games should be balanced. Of course they should be! Why wouldn't they? Well, it turns out there are actually some pretty cool things that can happen when a game isn't balanced. - The Unbalanced Design of Super Smash Brothers
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.
Who designed the tricorder, the flip-top communicator, the Vulcan lute, the the Romulan Bird-of-Prey? Wah Chang. Who made the Gorn and the salt vampire from M-113? Who commissioned the first 500 tribbles? Wah Chang. Who made Tarantula take to the hills? Who built the prototype for the time machine and created a monster too terrible to show on television? Who animated dinosaurs and adorned Cleopatra? Wah Chang, Wah Chang, Wah Ming Chang. [more inside]
Do you have fond memories of afternoons spent making geometric patterns and designs with your Spirograph? If so, enjoy Inspirograph, a digital version. [more inside]
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."
Norway, which is not part of the Euro currency cooperation, has new design for its bank notes. Whereas the older note design from the 90s featured prominent Norwegians, the theme for the new currency is the ocean. One side features a pixelated motif from design giants Snøhetta, and the other side features detailed nautical images designed by The Metric System. Visual News has some coverage here, and you can look through all the submissions, including the discarded ones, in a Norwegian language PDF from Bank of Norway here. The winning design will be worked over slightly to incorporate security features, and the new bills will be in circulation from 2017.
Interested in art, architecture, design, numismatics, software? Then you will be fascinated by Dutch artist Stani's detailed description how he won the competition to design the 2008 commemorative 5 Euro coin themed "Netherlands and architecture". A brilliant insight into the designer's thought process and the technology used to implement his concepts.