Boing Boing 

Semi-rigid, cubical rubber bands


From designer Nendo, "the geometrical shapes make the bands easy to find in a drawer and easy to pick up." Eye-watering pricetag, though: about $10 for three from Mark's.

cubic rubber-band (via Colossal)

(Image: Akihiro Yoshida)

Comic sans typewriter

Artist Jesse England modified a typewriter to use a Comic Sans typeface. "If I'd made it in Helvetica people would've just observed it as a little design experiment," he says of his device, called the Sincerity Machine.

Google releases set of beautiful, freely usable icons


They're licensed CC-BY-SA and designed for use in mobile apps and other interactive stuff -- there's 750 in all! It's part of Google's Material Design project.

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Scarfolk: creepy blog is now an amazing book

Back in August, I blogged the announcement of the forthcoming Discovering Scarfolk, a book-length adaptation of the brilliantly creepy Scarfolk Council blog, which chronicles the government publications of a English town that is forever trapped in a loop from 1969-1979, a town that's like Nightvale crossed with Liartown USA, written by John Wyndham. Today, it's out!

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Streetwear for superheroes


I found Volante Designs at New York Comic-Con today and was instantly taken with their dramatic coats and hoodies, styled to look like something a superhero would wear, all made in the USA.

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The In Vitro Meat Cookbook

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Unreal lab-grown oysters from "The In Vitro Meat Cookbook," a glorious exercise in recipes as design fiction from Next Nature. More over at re:form.

Second skin spacesuit

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MIT researchers are developing a "second skin" space suit lined with tiny coils that contract when switched on, tightening the garment around the body.

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Chair that casts a monstrous shadow


At first glance, Yaara Derkel's 'Coppelius' chair appears to be a friendly "thonet" style wooden chair.

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Scott Albrecht: new show of hand-drawn typographical art and woodworks

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My hypertalented pal Scott Albrecht, a Brooklyn-based artist and designer, has a solo show of his hand-drawn typographical illustrations and wood sculptures opening tomorrow at Philadelphia's Art In The Age boutique and gallery.

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Visual Explanations - Tufte's best book

Edward Tufte has made his career teaching us how to create compelling factual illustrations. He follows his own advice in his four exquisitely designed books which he has self-published over the past decade. Each book develops his ideas of minimal decoration and maximum understanding for charts and diagrams. All his books are good, but I think his second, Visual Explanations, is his best. It is a short course in conveying critical information in a visual form. Whether you start with text, data, or ideas, he lays out some sound principles in how to convey these facts in pictures. His own pages are great examples of how readers benefit by these principles. Printed with love, including pages with pasted in cutouts, this timeless book will never go out of date, and is likely to be passed on to future generations.

Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative, by Edward R. Tufte

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Thoughts on Design – Paul Rand’s iconic design manifesto back in print

Decades ago, when I was a budding graphic designer, I found a copy of iconic designer Paul Rand’s then out-of-print Thoughts on Design at the annual State Department book sale in DC (a mecca for bookworms). The modest little tome made a big impression on me. Rand’s insistence on the integrity of form and function, his immaculately modern designs, and his brilliant sense of humor (often with cleverly hidden visual puns in his designs) really helped wire my nervous system as a designer.

Sadly, this seminal book has been out of print since the 1970s. But no longer. For the centenary of Rand’s birth (Aug 15, 1914), Chronicle has re-released Thoughts on Design. The new edition remains faithful to the 1970s edition (the one I had), with the addition of a new foreword by designer Michael Bierut.

One impressive thing about Rand’s book to me was always how much he was able to say about the nature of good design in 96 short pages (with the majority of those pages reproductions of his work). He was a master at arriving at designs that boiled down the essence of the intended messages, be it an advertisement or a corporate identity, and he similarly renders out the heart of basic design philosophy in this book. Take passages like:

There are, however, instances when recognizable images are of sufficient plastic expressiveness to make the addition of geometric or “abstract” shapes superfluous.

So, with that principle in mind, he inverts wooden coat hangers to make a flock of birds for a spring apparel poster.

Looking through this book, you realize how many monumental logos he was responsible for: ABC, UPS, Westinghouse, IBM, Ikea, Adobe, the list goes on. As a designer, I always marveled at the Westinghouse logo. Something so absurdly simple, so potently suggestive of electronics and light bulbs, and something that was just so pleasing to look at (and easy to apply in branding/packaging). To me, that logo boiled down the essence of Paul Rand’s genius, and the wisdom and the portfolio of work found in this book.

Thoughts On Design, by Paul Rand ($12)

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Watch with microscopic sculpture inside

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Tucked inside this $1.5 million watch by Greubel Forsey is a tiny ship sculpture by Willard Wigan who is the master at artworks you can't appreciate without high-powered optics.

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Video: Ferdinando Buscema on "The Magic of Breaking Ideas"

At the recent TEDxCaFoscariU in Venice, our co-conspirator Ferdinando Buscema, magician/author/engineer, explores "The Magic of Breaking Ideas." And don't miss Ferdinando's Boing Boing feature, "The Magic of Hacking Reality!"

Donate a sock - free house elves!


The vintage-y war-propaganda poster imploring you to DONATE A SOCK - FREE HOUSE ELVES! comes in sizes from 8"x10" to 24"x36" ($15-$38) from Entropy Trading Company, who have an extensive line of similar lithos. (via Geeky Merch)

Yin-yang Star Wars tee on Threadless


Ciro Trezzi's Death of a star/Birth of an hero shirt design is up for your votes on Threadless -- it's quite a lovely take on the eternal struggle for the Force.

Temporary tattoos by accomplished tattoo artists


Carl sends us, "beautiful, authentic-looking temporary tattoos designed by famous tattooers, including Dan Smith, Dean Sacred, BJ Betts, Dusty Neal, Myra Oh, and many more."

Temporary Tattoos | Tattoo You (Thanks, Carl!)

Photography: Summer (on toast), Alvaro Dominguez

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"Summer," by Barcelona-based illustrator and graphic designer Alvaro Dominguez. This series is a collaboration with photographer Javier Almar.

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Renovation of power station on Pink Floyd "Animals" cover

The decaying chimneys atop London's iconic Battersea Power Station, recognizable from the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals (1977) will be "painstakingly" reconstructed to precisely match the originals as the building is turned into shops, offices, and, yep, luxury condos.

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Tripping on Hollywood: We Buy Your Kids' psychotronic movie posters

Australian psychedelic designers We Buy Your Kids turn their third eye to science fiction and cult movie posters for a mind-bending new gallery show.

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WWII's VD posters: exciting nexus of propaganda, Mad Men, gender and design


Ryan Mungia's Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II uncovers many obscure propaganda posters that were, once upon a time, just as popular as the iconic "We Can Do It!" woman.

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Airplane parts recycled into furniture

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MotoArt, an outfit I've blogged before that transforms airplane parts into furniture, built this glorious conference table based on an engine scavenged from a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. (via Laughing Squid)

Amazing optical illusion and Spirograph

UntitledPhil "Bad Astronomy" Plait deconstructs Brusspup's "Crazy Circle Illusion" and ties it to the wonderful classic art/science/toy Spirograph.

Icons of animals in space

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Wonderful illustrations of "Animal Space Travellers" by Budapest designer/artist Norbert Mayer. (via Ariel Waldman)

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Sign Painters: book and documentary

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Sign Painters looks to be a fascinating book and documentary about the traditional art and craft of hand-drawn signage that is being lost to digital prints and die-cut vinyl. The film is playing at venues around the US right now, including this Sunday (7/27) at the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, Texas!

Alien Autopsy: William Barker on Schwa, two decades later

Twenty years ago, William Barker’s Schwa artwork revealed a world of alien abductions, stick figure insanity, conspiratorial crazy, and a hyper-branded surveillance state. It’s now more relevant than ever.

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Cop suspended after threatening to "knock out" bystander during arrest

A police officer in Staffordshire, England, was suspended from duty this week after threatening a bystander during an arrest.

The Stoke Sentinel reports that cops were dealing with a rowdy group of late-night revelers in the city of Hanley. When a woman began filming the arrest of her boyfriend, however, she was approached by a bobby and "verbally abused."

Video footage shows an officer saying "Do that to me again and I will knock you out." It's not clear what she had done, though the officer seems to suggest a punch was thrown his way--or why being knocked out would be an appropriate response to it.

"I'm not knocking the police and the policeman we first spoke to was really nice," the 22-year old filmer told a reporter. "After this all happened he spoke to us and he was really calm. But I don't know where that one particular guy came from and I don't know why he threatened me."

Wikipedia's redesign prototype

Ed writes, "You know how every now and then a design studio releases a proposal for a redesign of Wikipedia? (there's a Wikipedia page listing them, of course)"

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AIGA symbols tees and mugs

Alexandre writes, "The first set of 34 AIGA symbols was published in 1974, and received a Presidential Design Award; 16 more symbols were added in 1979."

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Scarab beetle armoire


Designer Janis Straupe created the BUG armoire for True Latvia. I love the way the neatly fitted boards look like a blown-up grain, making the whole thing seem like a scarab under a magnifying lens. The piece is also extremely beautiful when it is partially opened, each set of doors making it seem more like a fantasy jewel box blown up to a delightful, comic scale. And check out the detail shots for the incredible skill and thoughtfulness that went into the interior compartments!

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Where does the Apple 'command' icon come from? Would you believe... a Swedish castle?

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At Tested, exploring the origins of a keyboard symbol familiar to Apple computer users. Turns out it traces back to Borgholm castle in Sweden. In Sweden, the shape of the castle became a symbol used in street signs to indicate a point of interest or attraction. [via Buffer]