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.
The Victoria & Albert Museum is hosting Disobedient Objects, an exhibit on 'out-designing authority.' [more inside]
Tony Zhou (previously) has created another great video essay on filmmaking techniques: "A brief look at texting and the internet in film" (also previously).
Automatic gear shifting, auto-adjusting lights, built-in fenders and platform rack, an electric motor (with detachable rechargeable battery) for pedaling assist, and a detachable handlebar that turns into a bike lock: "The Denny," designed in Seattle, has won a nationwide design contest and will be produced by Fuji.
On 28 June, Santa Cruz typographer Adam Lewis Greene submitted his Bible-as-literature project Bibliotheca to Kickstarter for one month of crowdfunding. Within 27 hours, the project had attained its $37,000 funding goal. People kept pledging support. By 26 July, following publication of a Verge article about the project, backing passed the $1 million mark. Two days later, when the fundraising period closed, the project had raised $1,440,345 from 14,884 backers. "No notes, no chapter numbers, no scripture verses. Just the text." What the Success of Bibliotheca Tells Us About the Future of Publishing. [more inside]
Why R.E.M.’s Out of Time Is the Most Politically Significant Album in U.S. History (Hint: It's not the music).
Korean fashion and design is having a moment, but what is fueling it? It's complicated. Let's explore the K-wave. [more inside]
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.
In 1915, dissatisfied with the many competing designs for rural mailboxes, the US Post Office Department decided to specify its own box. The result, designed by postal engineer Roy Joroleman, was the iconic tunnel mailbox. Unpatented and easily manufacturable, it would be become ubiquitous along America's roadsides and would often serve as a blank canvas for homeowners' artistic expression. [more inside]
On July 21th, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin waited within paper thin walls on the surface of the Moon. Hours ago they had made history by being the first humans to land and walk on its surface. Now the only thing left to do was take off. All that entailed was performing the final test of the Lunar Module: launching from the lunar surface with no on-site support or possibility of fixes if something failed. [more inside]
Coverjunkie celebrates creative magazine covers. Classic covers, sexiest, typographical, controversial. [more inside]
"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.
Shin-Bijutsukai, The new monthly magazine of various designs by the famous artists of to-day, 1902. View gallery of selected pages; download full PDF.
The exhibit Fashion Follows Form: Designs for Sitting, at the Royal Ontario Museum through January 25, 2015, showcases the work of designer Izzy Camilleri, whose company IZAdaptive features chic, stylish, comfortable clothing — all of it designed for seated people who use wheelchairs. [more inside]
Why Crossovers Conquered the American Highway
Last year, roughly speaking, two crossovers were purchased for every three cars. It's tough to compare apples to apples, but in April, IHS Automotive analyst Tom Libby noted that small crossovers were the single best selling segment of any type of vehicle, including midsize sedans, which are the staple crop of the automotive industry.
"If the trend we have witnessed in the first two months of 2014 continues for the remainder of 2014," Libby wrote, "it would mark the first time in recent memory—if not ever—that a car segment did not lead the industry."
“For the past 105 days, I've been tracking everything about myself.” Anand Sharma shows the progress of his life through a beautifully designed site. [more inside]
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.
A Decade of Computer Design [SL-Engadget]
The post-war boom gave rise to new concepts of modernity in domestic architecture and, of course, massive suburban development. One such concept was the California ranch-style home, pioneered by Cliff May (1909-1989). Another contemporary architect, Joseph Eichler (1900-1974), had his own vision of modernity in America's new suburbs, but both styles used similar language. At the time, these new designs for living were seen as modern and at the cutting edge of sophistication, but sophistication within reach of the average professional, middle-class family. They were designed to have a practical as well as an aesthetic value. Welcome to mid-century modern. [more inside]