Jews and midcentury modern design

The Atlantic's Steven Heller's feature about the Jewish designers at the forefront of mid-century modernism, from George Nelson to Saul Bass to Alvin Lustig is pegged on a new exhibition titled Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum.

US Army selects new camouflage pattern

scorpion-camouflage-600

"The U.S. Army is quietly putting the word out to commands that it is replacing its current Universal Camouflage Pattern with a pattern the service has owned for more than a decade," reports military.com.

Senior leadership chose 'Scorpion,' a pattern similar to the MultiCam pattern designed circa 2002. The story behind how these patterns are designed, how they're selected, and what the design contractors charge (or try to get away with charging!) the military is very interesting.

More at Army Times.

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Images: Military.com.

HT: @robertcaruso

Design as parameterization: brute-forcing the manufacturing/ design problem-space

Here's something exciting: Autodesk's new computer-aided design software lets the designer specify the parameters of a solid (its volume, dimensions, physical strength, even the tools to be used in its manufacture and the amount of waste permissible in the process) and the software iterates through millions of potential designs that fit. The designer's job becomes tweaking the parameters and choosing from among the brute-forced problem-space of her object, rather than designing it from scratch.

Read the rest

Hack Circus, Brighton: fantasy technology and everyday magic

F writes, "The third Hack Circus event will take place in Brighton on June 14th and the theme this time is Access All Areas. The event will feature former social engineer Nick Drage sharing true stories of breaking into computers, banks, offices and even airports. Artist Sinead McDonald will 3D print the audience's brainwaves live, and transport historian Dr Ralph Harrington will talk about the cultural and military impact of the humble bulldozer. Sci-fi author Chris Farnell will question scientist Alexandra Pohl about a laser-deflecting forcefield that she has helped develop, in theory at least, at the University of Leicester. Hack Circus is a magazine and event series founded by Leila Johnston, creator of parody gamebook Enemy of Chaos and popular geek podcast Shift Run Stop. It's being developed during her residency at Lighthouse Arts in Brighton. Arts organisations are embracing the creative in creative technology! The third issue of the magazine will be launched at the event."

Video: stunning art installation of thread and light

Video of a magical architectural installation of an illuminated web of threads, titled "Line Segments Space" (2013), by Seoul design studio Kimchi and Chips.

Mary Blair and the World's Fair: Rolly Crump describes the birth of "it's a small world"

Yesterday, I posted about the publication of More Cute Stories, Volume 4: 1964/65 New York World's Fair, an audio memoir of Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump. I've been listening to it today, and enjoying it immensely. I wrote to Bamboo Forest, the publishers, and secured permission to share a couple of MP3s from the collection with you.

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Space-age refrigeration, 1968


Frigidaire's commitment to modernism waned in the product-development phase, as can be seen from the wood-grain on this "space-age refrigerator."

Technical analysis of terrorist graphic/brand design


A long and fascinating review of the 2013 book Branding Terror, which presents a detailed analysis of the visual identity of terrorist and non-state-actor insurgent groups around the world and over time. Underground and criminalized subcultures have produced some remarkable and long-lived iconography, from the Christian fish in the catacombs to the Jolly Roger. Regine has interviewed Artur Beifuss, who contributed an introduction to the book, and the discussion is fascinating.

Read the rest

Designing the packaging for cricket protein bars


How do you package a protein bar made from cricket flour? Here's how. Exo raised $54.9K on Kickstarter last summer, as a pair of Brown roommates took their senior year project to the next level, trying to come up with a sustainable protein source, along with help from molecular gastronomy superstar Heston Blumenthal. The packaging was designed by New York's Tag Collective.

How science fiction influences thinking about the future


Eileen Gunn writes, "What's science fiction good for? The May issue of Smithsonian magazine has an essay on the relationship between science, science fiction, and the future by Boing Boing buddy Eileen Gunn. Major writers -- Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Samuel R. Delany, Kim Stanley Robinson, Cory Doctorow and others -- talk about why science fiction likes to think about the future and how SF can be used to help scientists think about the uses and ethics of their inventions. The rest of the issue covers science and ethical issues of the near future."

Read the rest

Marvelous 18th century secretary cabinet

Please enjoy this video of my new writing desk with its hidden compartments, clockwork mechanisms, chimes, inkwell, and sand sifter. It was built in the workshop of Abraham and David Roentgen during the 18th century and previously owned by King Frederick William II. OK, fine, it's not mine. But it will be. Someday. SOMEDAY! (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)

Rockabillly space-skeleton DJ backpack


This is a pretty perfect dads-and-grads season item: a backpack featuring: a) a skeleton with; b) sideburns and a quiff, wearing; c) a spacesuit, standing on d) the moon, while e) working a set of turntables. That's the whole package, all right.

Mojo Blast Off Backpack (via Crazy Abalone)

Comic Neue: a sophisticated alternative to Comic Sans


Comic Sans was never intended to be the world's most popular typeface. Its success has irritated type-nerds, who've been vociferous about their disappointment. Now, Craig Rozynski brings us Comic Neue, "the casual script choice for everyone including the typographically savvy." It's a free download, too.

Comic Neue

1982 high school yearbook with videogame theme

Prosp

Prosssss

London's IDEA booksellers unearthed this 1982 yearbook, from South Plantation High School in Florida, that has a fantastic hand-drawn video game theme. (via the excellent @ideabooksltd Instagram feed)

5 days of TED in one page

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My ultracreative friend Lucy Farey-Jones attended the recent TED conference in Vancouver and left delightfully overwhelmed. The only way she could make sense of what she learned was by mapping it on a single beautiful page.

"Upon my re-entry to the real world, friends, clients and folks at my firm say: ‘How was TED?’ And there is a big pause from me as my brain tries and fails to sum it up," Lucy says. "It’s an impossible question to answer. It’s like being asked ‘How is food?’ or ‘Puberty — how was it?’ Which is where this idea came in. I thought a way to answer this daunting question would be to make a graphic which tries to capture how TED makes me feel. I gave myself the challenge to capture 5 days in one page."

"5 days of TED in one page"