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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New high-end electric scooter with slick form and function

When my friend David Hyman is passionate about something -- whether it's digital music, online games, or audio gear -- he immerses himself in the subject entirely, completely, obsessively. Once he's deep in it, he tries to find problems that if solved would improve the experience for the user. As a result, David has turned his personal, obsessive interests into a string of successful businesses! For the last year, David's been all about electric scooters. ALL about them. And now he's launched Unagi, a beautifully-designed electric scooter that David says is, well, the best in the world. I haven't ridden one yet but the folks at Gizmodo, The Verge, and Elektrek were pretty damn impressed. I helped David with some writing for his project and I hope he sends me the scooter I was promised soon.

Unagi is now accepting discounted pre-orders via Kickstarter with shipping in February.

Unagi: The Ultimate Electric Scooter (Kickstarter)

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Unscii: a new unicode font set for old-school text-art

Viznut created a set of bitmapped Unicode fonts for use on your bulletin boards.

Years ago, I noticed that Unicode had a bunch of pseudographic characters that could be used to enrichen Ansi art. However, no one seemed to use them. Even MUDs that used the 256-color Xterm palette and had no issues with Unicode still preferred to stick to the blocks available in the MS-DOS codepage 437.

After looking into existing Unicode fonts, the reason became obvious: the implementation of non-CP437 graphics characters was shaky at best. Unicode Consortium doesn't even care how pseudographics are implemented. It was a kind of chicken-and-egg problem: No commonly accepted Unicode graphics font, no Unicode art scene; no art scene, no font support. The idea of an art-compatible Unicode font was born.

They're based on fonts from the Commodores 64 and Amiga, the Amstrad CPC, the IBM PC's original ROM font, and iconic Atari arcade fonts. Read the rest

Our homes are designed for stuff, making them unsuitable for people

Kate "McMansion Hell" Wagner continues her unbroken streak of excellent and incisive architectural criticism with a new piece that riffs on Stewart Brand's classic "How Buildings Learn" to discuss how McMansions have gone awry: they represent a break from the tradition of designing stuff to fit in spaces, and instead, they are spaces designed for status-displaying stuff. Read the rest

100% diamond ring designed by Apple's Jony Ive and Marc Newson

Sothebys is to auction a diamond ring created by Apple design chief Jony Ive and Marc Newson. Read the rest

Prototyping the betentacled, inflatable soft robots of zero gee

The MIT Media Lab's Spatial Flux Project was created by Carson Smuts and Chrisoula Kapelonis to imagine and prototype soft inflatable robots that would be designed to operate in zero-gee, where there is no up or down and "we do not have to contend with architecture's greatest arch-nemesis, gravity." Read the rest

Bruce Sterling on architecture, design, science fiction, futurism and involuntary parks

In 1918, there was plenty of speculation about 2018; in 2018, no one is talking about 2118. Bruce Sterling discusses the relationship of industrial design to science fiction; the New Aesthetic and Turinese architecture; and many other subjects with Benjamin Bratton. (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

The hoodie is 3,000 years old

In the video above, the always-fascinating Paola Antonelli, architecture and design curator at New York's Museum of Modern Art, takes us through the history of the hoodie, "a humble masterpiece," beginning in ancient Greece and Rome.

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Supreme/Richard Prince release t-shirt with composited face of Trump's female accusers

Clothing brand Supreme and artist Richard Prince created "18 & Stormy," a new t-shirt design emblazoned with the composited face of Stormy Daniels and eighteen women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. The proceeds from the t-shirt benefit Downtown for Democracy, "a political action committee founded by creative people to transform cultural influence into political power."

(Hypebeast) Read the rest

Why most pencils are yellow

I like bright yellow and orange equipment because it's easy to find. I'm less likely to leave something on a hotel room bedside table if it isn't black. I always thought pencils were yellow because it made them easier to spot on a cluttered desk, but the real reason turns out to be a lot more interesting.

From The Little-Known Reason Pencils Are Yellow, by Gabrielle Hick

A number of pencil manufacturers, including Hardtmuth, now sourced their graphite from Siberia—the vast Russian province which shares borderland with China. That geographic proximity was key for Hardtmuth as it devised its marketing scheme.

In China, yellow had long been tied to royalty. The legendary ruler considered the progenitor of Chinese civilization was known as the Yellow Emperor; thus, centuries later in Imperial China only the royal family was allowed to wear yellow. Eventually, the shade came to represent happiness, glory, and wisdom.

Hardtmuth settled on yellow to communicate the graphite’s geographical origins, while also linking its product to the long-held Chinese associations of royalty, and therefore superiority.

To further emphasize the point, Hardtmuth dubbed its new line of yellow pencils “Koh-I-Noor” after the world-famous diamond from the British Crown Jewels. “Diamonds are graphite, and the name Koh-I-Noor—being the name of such an exquisite diamond—was deliberately chosen to suggest the quality of graphite in the pencil,” Petroski noted. So popular was its yellow pencil that the company actually changed its own name to Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth.

Image: Shutterstock/Valentin Kundeus Read the rest

Frighteningly strange high-heeled "skin shoes" now for sale

Surrealist art/fashion duo Hannah Rose Dalton and Steven Raj Bhaskaran (aka Fecal Matter) designed these deeply bizarre "skin shoes" as part of a Photoshopped image for a Vogue profile on their work last year. After the manipulated photo caused a stir, the artists have now made the shoes real and (sort of) walkable. From Vogue:

Each part was made out of silicon that was shaped and molded to match Dalton’s leg. Skin hue, dents, moles, the arch of the foot, and even the hair mimics Dalton’s actual leg. (“There are little hairs!” she says.) The duo worked with the artist Sarah Sitkin, who specializes in creating replicas of bodies and body parts...

The shoe is like when you are going to Chanel to get a wedding dress. You get the fittings and the customizations. For even me to get the shoe, I have to stand and each of my legs have to be perfectly molded,” says Dalton, while Bhaskaran adds, “It is like creating a custom art piece that is wearable.” The shoes, like anything Chanel, come with a hefty price: The starting rate for the thigh-high is $10,000.

Fecal Matter’s philosophy behind the footwear reflects what they think humans will eventually look like as a result of body modification, social media, and advances in technology.

View this post on Instagram

Yes, they're walkable

A post shared by Fecal Matter (@matieresfecales) on Oct 26, 2018 at 2:01pm PDT

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Issue design citations with the Typographic Ticket Book

Have bad type choices got you bummed out?

Don't despair, type foundry Hoefler&Co. has got you covered. Their 50-page novelty Typographic Ticket Book makes it easy to play the enforcer of design infractions like "improper kerning" and "unironic use of Helvetica."

Fast Company:

...let us praise Hoefler & Co.’s attention to detail. The Ticket Book nails all the design conventions of municipal meter-maid gear: “things set in ALL CAPS that would be easier to read in lowercase, searing colors that dazzle the eyes, and confounding administrative indicia like bar codes and form numbers,” says Jonathan Hoefler. “And Helvetica. If the state is dressing you down, it’s always in Helvetica. Helvetica means you’re in trouble.”

The delights don’t stop there. Individual citation codes run the gamut from dad-jokey (“poor typeface choice: 72-60-HUH”) to so-inside-baseball-it-hurts (“improper hyphenation/justification: 72-436-RVR“), with a few dashes of guffaw-inducing surrealism thrown in for kicks (“improper word spacing: 72-428-C/WLKN”… get it?). The ticket book includes 32 “common design infractions,” which Hoefler admits he had to edit down. “Space permitting, [it] could probably have run to at least 60,” he says.

The Typographic Ticket Book is available from Hoefler&Co. for $10.

FACIET MAIOR LOGO = "Make the logo bigger." Read the rest

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