Ikea for 2x4s: Building gorgeous furniture out of unfinished lumber

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The design idea of "counter-constraint" is to create things in such a way as to get around some constraint -- for example, open source hardware works without patents or copyrights. Read the rest

A close look at the new Uber logo reveals infuriatingly untidy details

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This person has three problems with the new Uber logo. The first problem ("It can be recreated in under one minute using three of the standard shape tools) does not bother me. I actually think that's cool. But the uncentered square and the overhanging line really do suck! Read the rest

Picnic/beach blanket that looks like a knotted rug

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Fatboy's $250 "picnic lounge" is a 9'x 7', weather-resistant, picnic/beach blanket with a built-in pocket (inside the Fatboy logo-tag). (via Geekologie) Read the rest

Exuberant designer skins for the insides of Mumbai's taxis

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In Mumbai, cab drivers vie to make their vehicles stand out from their competitors', decorating them with exuberant expressions of the driver's personality. Read the rest

The creator of Papyrus, the world's second-most reviled font, was paid only $2,500 in today's money

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John Brownlee interviews Chris Costello, the type designer behind Papyrus, described as "that font comedians move onto when their Comic Sans jokebook gets a little dog-eared."

"There have definitely been days I wish I never sold the rights," he laughs, acknowledging the font definitely has its share of critics. He says he never dreamed Papyrus would end up installed on over a billion computers around the world. If he did, he probably would have asked for more than the equivalent of $2,500 today for it.
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Space-themed plates and asteroid glasses

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Seletti's "Cosmic Diner" kitchenware is a set of dishes, bowls and plates themed after our solar system's planets, sun and moons, with an accompanying set of asteroid-themed whiskey glasses. Read the rest

How the National Reconnaissance Office came to choose a sinister, planet-devouring octopus for a logo

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn't get quite the response they hoped. That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth. Researcher Runa Sandvik wanted to know who approved this and why, so she filed a Freedom of Information Act with the NRO for the development materials that went into the logo. A few months later, the NRO delivered." Read the rest

Kickstarting more gorgeous Soviet deadstock Nixie Tube clocks

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Kyle Miller (previously) writes, "I've recently launched my newest Kickstarter, featuring the third model in my crowdfunded series of Steampunk style Soviet-era nixie tube clocks. Each is handmade in black walnut or purpleheart, brass, and steel and has a ton of features. Super easy to use and no soldering or assembly required." Read the rest

Serpentine vertebral modular sofa

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The DS-600, a modular sofa from Swiss manufacturer De Sede, was designed by U. Berger, E. Peduzzi Riva, H. Ulrich, K. Vogt in 1972, and remains otherworldly and wonderful. Read the rest

The beautiful geometric GIFs of Erik Söderberg

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Erik Söderberg, a multimedia artist based in Sweden, created this series of geometric GIFs: "Fractal Experience Part 2."

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15 technology trends for 2016

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Frogdesign presents 15 tech trends that have the potential to "radically transform businesses in 2016." This year, the trends identified by the design firm include the blockchain, data driven design, the human microbiome, artificial intelligence in financial services, the role of virtual reality in medical therapies, FDA-approved video games, and more.

Readers are invited to vote on whether a trend is "likely" or a "longshot."

With the increased consumer availability of VR/AR headsets -- from Oculus Rift to the Hololens -- our personal 3D gateways into an alternate shared experience will start to emerge. Online webcams are eclipsed by connected VR cams, which allow viewers to virtually transport themselves to points in space around the world and interact with the people there. The interactions are simple at first, but users discover that the feeling of presence engenders a sense of empathy that they never felt watching video on a 2D screen. Aid to refugee camps with installed VR cams increases by orders of magnitude. War zone reporting sees a sharp increase in engagement resulting in increased demand for shifts in political policy, while the ethical implications of providing users ‘first hand’ experience into dangerous situations are debated. As with the introduction of the Internet, VR provides an evolution in the connection of otherwise isolated people and groups. Rather than getting lost in virtual fantasy, we find ourselves more deeply connected to reality.

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Walt Disney World 2015: a keen-eyed design themepunk critique

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Passport to Dreams Old in New is the absolute king-hell best Disney design criticism blog, written by Foxxfur, a former cast member who is thoughtful, encyclopedic, and razor-sharp in her observations of the Disney theme parks, especially Walt Disney World. Read the rest

Improve the Apple remote with a purple rubber band

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Jared Sinclair fixed the "fearful symmetry" of his Apple remote with an asparagus band.

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Great, weird, and bad examples of Empty States in apps

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Emptystate.es celebrates "Empty States," those moments in a user's app experience where there's no data to display yet, or an error has occurred. Empty States are actually a great moment to delight or engage the user yet this piece of UX design is frequently left as an afterthought or blown off entirely. (Thanks, UPSO!)

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The new world of packaging design: green, communicative, tailored

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A new book, Material Innovation: Packaging Design, written by a material science consultant and a design consultant, explores the ways that packaging is being changed by innovations in retail, materials, design, and marketing. Read the rest

Beautiful examples of hand-drawn packaging from around the world

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Hand lettering stands out because everyone has access to computer layout applications now. The warmth and quirky character of hand lettering has great appeal, and for certain kinds of applications (beer labels, artisanal food packages, personal services, some book covers) it’s the top design choice. Outside the Box, by Gail Anderson, a former senior art director at Rolling Stone, is loaded with sketches and finished work from the portfolios of the best hand letterers working today. It inspired me to pull out my sketchbook and do some hand-lettering like I used to do in the late ‘80s when bOING bOING was a print zine.

Outside the Box: Hand-Drawn Packaging from Around the World by Gail Anderson Princeton Architectural Press 2015, 256 pages, 8 x 1 x 10 inches (paperback) $14 Buy one on Amazon

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North Korean interiors look like a Wes Anderson film set

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Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright recently went to North Korea and took photos of colorful, symmetrical building interiors that look a lot like a Wes Anderson film set.

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