Otis and Dorothy Shepard: exemplars of mid-20th century design

Anyone with even a passing interest in mid-20th century design has heard of Charles and Ray Eames, but Otis and Dorothy Shepard were arguably the more influential designing couple. Until recently, little was known about the pair, each of whom was an accomplished artist in their own right, efficient with line, unerring with color. A gorgeous new book by Norman Hathaway and Dan Nadal titled Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream corrects this gap in the design literature. Filled with never-before-published materials from the Shepard family’s archives, the book is packed with both personal photos and key examples of their work from the 1930s to 1960s.

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Play thousands of 48-hour game jam entries

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The Ludum Dare international game jam is probably the largest event of its kind -- and the longest running, at over 12 years. Three times a year, game developers are challenged to build and share a new game within 48 hours, often documenting their process and making source code available. Each time, the community votes to agree on a theme.

This year's is 'Entire Game On One Screen.' Which sounds simple, like, 'okay, no iPad companion app,' but it's actually a real design challenge -- just think about how many games have menu screens, inventory screens, y'know, different levels, little things like that.

The submission phase is over, and anyone who wants to dive in can play and rate the 2,637 games, with 1,365 in actual competition (here's a cool entry browser if the website itself is overwhelming). It's fun to get involved, not only to learn more about the rapid prototyping process, but to see the seeds of game design's next wave of inspiration. The winner of the competition is always a creator to watch.

There's often a lot of brilliant weirdness -- like this 'hot n cold' maze game led by staring animals. Or this -- what is this? And there's something about this simple but beautifully-drawn dragon game that takes me back to the interactive net art domains I used to visit in the 90s.

Spacetime curvature placemats


AP Works's Trick Mat is a placemat that mimics spacetime curvature; no word on whether or how it can be purchased, alas (though you could probably make a pretty good disposable facsimile with an inkjet printer and some vector-art software). (via Super Punch)

Snap-together Strandbeest kit

Theo Jansen's amazing, wind-walking Strandbeest (featured in my story the Man Who Sold the Moon) can be had as a 6-inch-cubed snap-together, 80-piece, chunky "rhino" kit: assemble and blow on it and it will walk across your desk with the odd majesty of the Strandbeest.

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3D printed dress made from 2,279 triangles and 3,316 hinges

Designer Jessica Rosenkrantz writes, "I made this 3D printed dress and the MoMA just acquired it. This video, filmed at Shapeways factory showing the printing and depowdering of the dress (there's also this one, documenting the dress's sounds and movements).

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National Response Center: now THAT's a logo


via Bruce Sterling

A gallery of impossible board games

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Joe Kowalski says:

Last month I was asked to participate in an art show. I was told was that I’d be receiving some objects, and I was to craft a response to them using whatever medium I wanted. A week later, I received a package. It contained a cryptic telegram from the 1960s, a disc with an atom icon carved into it, and a metal ruler that measured days rather than distance.

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Long-forgotten plans for a Haunted Mansion boat-ride


From the Long Forgotten blog, a characteristically excellent and thorough going-over of the aborted plan to build the Haunted Mansion as a boat ride-through, much like Pirates of the Caribbean (which may have cannibalized some of the aborted watery Mansion plans).

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Anatomical bags and accessories from Konstantin Kofta



Kiev-based Konstantin Kofta makes leather bags and accessories that mimic human anatomy, sometimes making it look like there are hands clutching at the wearer, sometimes looking like the wearer's skin has been flayed and used to make the bags.

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Tiny, transforming apartment made huge with massive wheeled storage-compartments

Yolanda Pila's tiny Madrid apartment is now a transforming, five-room space, thanks to the addition of novel, rolling, track-mounted storage units that hold all her possessions as well as a murphy bed, and can be rolled around to rearrange the space as needed.

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What "the worst ride in Disney World" teaches us about media strategy


Foxxfurr's latest article on Disney theme park history is yet another amazing and insightful read that uses the tenth anniversary of Stitch's Great Escape ("the worst ride in Disney World") as a jumping-off point to show how the history of theme-parks, animation, the elusive 5-12 year old boy market, and the entertainment business all influenced one another.

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Incredibly-designed record players of yore

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Above, Hartmut Esslinger's incredible Wega Stereo Concept 51 (1978), from the Museum of Modern Art's exhibition "Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye" opening this weekend.

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Gallery of poor design choices

Sauces that look like car polish. Windshield cleaner that looks like blue soda. Atrocious architecture. Unintentionally sexual signage. Confusing instructions. Enjoy this gallery of lousy design.

Color palette generator for designers in a hurry

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Coolors is "the super fast color scheme generator for cool designers." Just hit the space bar to see a new palette, and get inspired.

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Furniture from old Apple G5 towers

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Klaus Geiger's concept design for minimalist furniture fashioned from the chassis of old Apple PowerMac G5 tower computers

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