Dieter Rams's "10 Principles of Good Design"

Legendary designer Dieter Rams lays out the ten principles underlying his approach to "good design."

A scene from "Rams", Gary Hustwit's new documentary about legendary designer Dieter Rams, with original music by Brian Eno. Motion graphics by Trollback & Co.

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Reflections on letterhead collecting, with accompanying (gorgeous) samples

Steven Heller calls himself a "letterhead" -- that is, someone who collects letterhead (compare with "Deadhead"); his brief reflections on his passion for Design Observer and interesting and well-observed, but they're not a patch on the actual samples of beautiful, bygone letterhead from his collection. Read the rest

Fantastic gig posters for scientists' lectures

Bob Goldstein, a professor of cell biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is also a talented graphic designer who creates fantastic "Gig Posters for Scientists" who lecture at the university. These days, Bob and his son do their own screenprinting too! Above:

12.5x19 inch hand screenprinted gig poster for distinguished scientist visiting UNC Chapel Hill. This one's got lights... LED lights are powered by 3V lithium-ion button cell batteries that were taped to the back of each poster. Image is based on results reported in this cool paper that showed that doublet microtubules are 2-lane highways. Locomotive image modified from this photo by priceman141, caboose modified from this photo by Roy Winkelman via ClipPix.

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Inside Roald Dahl's backyard writing "hut"

"It may not be pretty or tidy, and it certainly hasn't been cleaned and the floor hasn't been swept for five years at least..."

In this 1982 interview, Roald Dahl, author of James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, takes us inside his backyard writing hut in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England. The hut is now part of the Roald Dahl Museum.

Dahl modeled his hut on Dylan Thomas's own writing shed in Carmarthenshire, Wales. From BBC News:

Although Dahl based the design of his hut on Thomas's shed, there was one major difference - the lack of natural light. He often kept his curtains drawn (10) to block out the outside world and was dependant on an angle-poise lamp for light....

Dahl's widow Felicity said: "He realised he had to have a space of his own in the garden away from the children and the noise and the general domesticity and he remembered that Dylan had felt the same.

"And so he went down to Wales to look at Dylan's writing hut and, like everybody, fell in love with it."

Built to the same proportions, with the same angled roof - the similarities could be a coincidence. But according to his widow it was built in a similar design by Dahl's builder friend Wally Saunders, who the BFG was based on.

"He built it exactly to the same proportions as Dylan's hut, the same roof, one skin of brick," said Mrs Dahl. "Of course Dylan's hut was a garage originally, whereas Roald had nothing, it was an empty space that he built on."

"How Dylan Thomas's writing shed inspired Roald Dahl" (BBC News)

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Delightful set of Mondrian sticky notes

Designers Assia Quetin and Catherine Denoyelle created this ingenious sticky note desk accessory inspired by the beloved abstract artist Piet Mondrian. "Monde Riant" is €13.75 from PA Design.

Of course it reminds me of pastry chef Caitlin Freeman's wonderful Mondrian Cake below. (Recipe in Freeman's book Modern Art Desserts.)

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Twitter is slow-rolling out a simpler web interface, some users get it first

“A new Twitter is coming,” tweeted Twitter today.

“Some of you got an opt-in to try it now. Check out the emoji button, quick keyboard shortcuts, upgraded trends, advanced search, and more. Let us know your thoughts!” Read the rest

Astonishing aerial view of Hong Kong's public housing towers

Aerial photographer and filmmaker Toby Harriman turned his lens on the soaring public housing apartment block towers in Hong Kong. Read the rest

Online viewer for Windows 98's icon set

win98icons.alexmeub.com presents Windows 98's meticulously utilitarian and currently fashionable icons in an easy, no-nonsense way.

Why are they so good?

Rather than some designer’s flashy vision of the future, Windows 98 icons made the operating system feel like a place to get real work done. They had hard edges, soft colors and easy-to-recognize symbols. ... Maybe its nostalgia, but I still prefer the classic icons of Windows 98 over the shiny, drop-shadowed icons of later years.

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Create and print your own perfectly-gridded paper

Rostislav Blaha created gridzzly, a simple single-page website where you pick the type of grid you want (lines, square, triangle, hex, dotted), set the size of the grid units and the weight of the line, then hit print. Voila! Custom gridded paper.

Here's what I got:

Good enough for government work. Read the rest

Best book covers of 2018

A roundup from Lithub of the best cover art on books from this year, with commentary. There's a strong trend toward in-camera or handmade graphics and natural media, with computers only showing up to do things that you don't need computers to do. I think this is a good thing, but it inspires me to pick out Joan Wong's art for Sam Munson's Dog Symphony, which is perfectly, surreally computerized. Read the rest

Interesting logos are being replaced with boring ones

The trend is to make distinctive logos all look the same by using bold san serif typefaces.

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A guide to the Socialist Modernist Architecture of Romania and Moldova

The BACU Association -- the folks behind the incredible brutalist Socialist Modernism Tumblr -- have announced a limited run, 800-copy book collecting photos and details on 242 Socialist Modernist "objects" in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Read the rest

An appreciation of the long-lost MP3 player skins of yesteryear

When MP3s conquered music, it depended on three key technologies: CD ripping software, file-sharing software, and MP3 playing software, primarily Winamp. Read the rest

Astronomea: a gorgeous, handmade, astronomy inspired desk lamp

Art Donovan (previously) writes, "Delivered. A very special design commission for the Project Director of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. A 'white glove' delivery, in fact. The first lamp in 28 years that I simply could not trust to survive the ravages of FedEx." Read the rest

8-bit style sheet for websites

You'll need to be handy with CSS to make use of it, but NES.css offers boxes, buttons, containers, forms, speech balloons, icons and more to make your web projects looks like 8-bit games. It's by @bc_rikko. Read the rest

Why every company has its own font now

Spoiler: a mix of corporate vanity and to avoid recurring licensing fees, though Arun Venkatesan elaborates a complex trend.

Sadly, much of the justification behind typefaces from some very admirable companies is quite shallow. I can’t help but feel that some of these companies wanted a custom typeface simply because that’s what everyone else is doing. This cargo cult mentality that is so prevalent in design is at best wasteful and at worst illegal.

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PlayStation sneakers from Nike

Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star and retro-videogamer Paul George worked with Nike and Sony on a new pair of PS1-inspired sneakers. Due out December 1, the PG 2.5 x PlayStation design follows on the heels (sorry) of the black PG2 x PlayStation sneakers that were released in February and sold out in a hot minute.

"For those who know me, gaming is a big part of who I am – I love the fans and I love this community, so it was amazing to see the gaming and sneaker worlds collide with the original PG2 collaboration," George writes. "This time around, I wanted to take the design old school, back to my earliest days of gaming. For me – as I’m sure many of you can relate – those memories date back to the original PlayStation."

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