Man insults all 50 US state flags in a 2-minute video

Here's one of the 50 insults Matt Buechele hurled towards the US state flags: "Nevada started this project, meant to finish it later, then they just had to submit it at the last second."

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The ten types of movie: orange and blue, sexy legs, blurry cop...

Lee Steffen's glorious Twitter thread about "the ten types of movies" (as determined by similarities in their poster art is quite the little design project, building on similar work from the likes of Christophe Courtois and others. (via Kottke) Read the rest

The lost Apple Store design of the 1990s

In the 1990s, Marc Newsom designed the Apple retail store concept as imagined in this presentation video by Me Company. Read the rest

Company sells square tip knives to help reduce knife violence

In 2019, knife crime in England and Wales hit record highs with police counting 44,000 offenses over a year span, half of which were stabbings. In an effort to help (and also probably to, ahem, get some press), UK cutlery brand Viners is now selling a line of knives with squared-off tips. From Insider:

Due to be released later this week, (a Viners press release states that the line) has been "repeatedly tested to ensure the tip does not pierce skin intentionally or otherwise."

"With knife-related crime incidents at a record high and a reported 285 fatalities in the last 12 months alone, the UK government has taken the decision to reclassify kitchen knives as an offensive weapon with the new Offensive Weapons Act 2019, leading some retailers to remove single knives from sale in retail stores," a press release for the knife collection stated.

"The new Assure collection from Viners has been created in response to this new legislation, with the team extensively testing a new shape knife that is highly functional for the modern cook but shaped to reduce and prevent injuries, accidents and fatalities."

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The beauty of sewers before the first flush

Our cities' sewers are some of the most incredible structures in the built environment. In a new book, "An Underground Guide to Sewers: or: Down, Through and Out in Paris, London, New York, &c." historian Stephen Halliday explores the systems (and people) that deal with our shit so we don't have to. From the book description:

Halliday begins with sanitation in the ancient cities of Mesopotamia, Greece, and Imperial Rome, and continues with medieval waterways (also known as “sewage in the street”); the civil engineers and urban planners of the industrial age, as seen in Liverpool, Boston, Paris, London, and Hamburg; and, finally, the biochemical transformations of the modern city. The narrative is illustrated generously with photographs, both old and new, and by archival plans, blueprints, and color maps tracing the development of complex sewage systems in twenty cities. The photographs document construction feats, various heroics and disasters, and ingenious innovations; new photography from an urban exploration collective offers edgy takes on subterranean networks in cities including Montreal, Paris, London, Berlin, and Prague.

"An Underground Guide to Sewers: or: Down, Through and Out in Paris, London, New York, &c." (Amazon)

More images at Smithsonian: "These Photos Capture the World’s Sewer Systems When They Were Brand New"

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The inventor of the ball pit was inspired by a jar of pickled onions

More than 40 years ago, Eric McMillan, a renowned designer of children's play areas, and his team created the ball pit, those troughs of brightly-colored plastic balls that children swim around in. (Ball pits also may be a giant petri dish of pathogens but, hell, the kids love 'em.) Apparently, McMillan--who went on to be known as the "father of soft play" for his numerous playful innovations like the "punch bag forest"--found his inspiration for the ball pit in his kitchen. From the BBC:

McMillan and his team came up with the idea for the ball pit in San Diego more than 40 years ago, when inspiration struck after looking at a container of pickled onions in the kitchen. “There was a jar of onions, and we were sort of saying: ‘wow, how about if you could crawl through those? And then – ding – we decided we’d try it,” he says.

The first ball pit, filled with 40,000 balls, opened soon after their epiphany. “People just went crazy about it. Thank God for those onions.”

More in this BBC podcast: "Pickled onions inspired me to design the ball pit"

image: "Children in ball pit in Nachshonit" by יעקב (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

Genius billboard advertising the new Dracula TV series

In this brilliant billboard for the new Dracula TV series, the 3D stakes create an ominous shadow. (And yes, there's an electric light in case the sun doesn't cooperate.)

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Vaughan Oliver -- graphic designer for 4AD, Cocteau Twins, Pixies -- RIP

Vaughan Oliver, the graphic designer whose work defined the 4AD record label, has died. He was 62. His ethereal, surreal, magnificent album art for The Pixies, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, and Clan of Xymox brought together design and music in a way that forever changed and elevated the design of music packaging. From The Guardian:

Oliver, born in 1957, grew up in County Durham and studied graphic design at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Polytechnic. “I was a working class lad from a dull town,” he said in 2014. “There was no real culture, my parents were not really interested in anything unusual – everything I was getting was through record sleeves. It was a democratic way of discovering art.”

He moved to London and in 1982 became the first employee for the record label 4AD. As their in-house designer, he created artwork that helped define them as purveyors of dark and complex alt-rock music; with their clashing fonts and boldly allusive but mysterious symbolism, his sleeves became some of the most revered in modern pop. “I like to elevate the banal through surrealism,” he said in 2014. “Mystery and ambiguity are important weapons in a designer’s arsenal.”

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We need a "science of the night"

In the journal Nature, University of Melbourne researcher Michele Acuto argues that what happens in our cities after dark has a tremendous impact on energy, sustainability, waste, and inequality "yet scholarship and policy often neglect these dark hours." According to Acuto, we need a coordinated and cross-disciplinary "science of the night" to gather data and build understanding if we hope to tackle societal-scale issues and build truly smart cities. From Nature:

For instance, few analyses look to see whether policies exacerbate inequalities, which tend to be worse at night. The hospitality and entertainment sectors get most of the focus, even though more midnight workers are employed in logistics and health care. Work at University College London (UCL) demonstrated that night-time spaces for LGBT+ people (people from sexual and gender minorities) are important for community life, and are also at a higher risk of closing than other establishments. UCL also highlighted inequality in transport options: London’s celebrated 24-hour Night Tube serves bustling downtown and restaurant districts, and so does more to accommodate late-night revellers than low-income late-shift workers...

Information about the night-time is also crucial for a sustainable planet. At the Connected Cities Lab, we are working with the Melbourne School of Design and the London-based design firm Arup to evaluate how cities are performing at night-time vis-à-vis the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This is no academic exercise. Evidence that late-night and shift workers have higher risks of conditions such as heart disease, mental-health disorders and cancer reinforce other analyses calling for a higher night-time wage.

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Coop's Randotti skulls: now available as tights!

Artist Coop's revival of the outstanding skulls of the Randotti Corporation (as seen at Disneyland and Walt Disney World!) continues with a line of tights featuring Haunted Skull, Voodoo Skull and Pirate Skull. Read the rest

Logos of videogame consoles from then and now

Graphic designer Reagan Ray compiled more than 100 logos of videogame consoles from 1976 to 2017. (Just a handful seen above.) Oh how I miss the days of the, um, Fairchild Channel F and the Bandai Playdia. Ray writes:

This list covers the second (1976) through eighth (present) generation consoles. According to Wikipedia, there were 687 first-generation consoles produced, so I decided that was a rabbit hole I didn't want to enter. I had fun designing the page to look like an old video game ad or one of those posters that came in Nintendo Power. The TV screen borders even made me nostalgic for playing games on an old crappy 19-inch TV.

Video Game Console Logos (ReaganRay.com) Read the rest

Here are the winners of the Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge

The Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge was conceived as a way to produce "imagery that better represents the cybersecurity space in an accessible and compelling manner."  Something more meaningful than "pictures of locks, white men in hoodies, or green 1s and 0s."

25 submissions were shortlisted, including this one by Bronney Hui, intended to highlight the absurdity of over-sharing of personal data:

Those shortlisted selections were further refined, until the five winners were announced. Winners include "So Long And Thanks For All The Phishing" by Abraham Pena:

In style, I was inspired by the drawing style of the New Yorker covers, as this is a major publication aimed at a public looking for information and quality reports. Given the wide demographic range, they should be friendly to an audience of both sexes, of a wide age range and not necessarily illustrated in deep concepts of technology or engineering. Therefore the use of bright colors, warm, in a more casual tone and even slightly irreverent.

Ivana Troselj based her submission on The Cuckoo's Egg:

I don’t think we yet understand how to best recognise this threat; it has crept into the most trustworthy aspects of our everyday business. The bird is mistakenly rearing a grenade in a nest of its own eggs. This represents the act of misplaced trust. Information Warfare elements (my PhD topic of research) are often masked as trustworthy elements of our online information space, which we willingly incorporate into our networks, or accept in good faith as part of our decision making processes.

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Buy Banksy's disco ball/riot helmet hanging lamp

Available from Banksy's delightful new homewares shop Gross Domestic Product, the "Met ball" "home entertainment lighting system is made from an old Police riot helmet and approximately 650 little mirrors." It is a limited, signed edition of 15 and sells for £500.00.

The Gross Domestic Product shop will reportedly only be open for business for a couple of weeks as it was created to thwart a stupid trademark claim on the artist's name. Read the rest

Exquisitely engineered coin contains a mechanical beating heart

Russian artist Roman Booteen modifies coins with incredible engravings and feats of mechanical engineering. This coin features a beating heart. Other exquisite examples of his work are below. He also customizes Zippo lighters.

(via Kottke)

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#hobonickel #goldinlay #morgandollar #engraved #engravedcoin #hobonickel #hobonickels

A post shared by Roman Booteen (@romanbooteen) on Aug 7, 2017 at 8:02am PDT

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A post shared by Roman Booteen (@romanbooteen) on Nov 17, 2017 at 12:50am PST

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Greta Grotesk: a font based on Greta Thunberg's hand-lettered signs

Uno's Greta Grotesk is a free font based on Greta Thunberg's hand-lettered signs. Read the rest

Watch: how magazines were produced before desktop publishing

Bryony Dalefield pasted up the London Review of Books in the early 1980s. In this video she shows how she did it back in the the good old days of rubber cement and X-Acto knives.

I laid out the first issue of bOING bOING in 1987 this way.

Image: YouTube

[via Open Culture] Read the rest

How Susan Kare applied embroidery skills to create the iconic Macintosh icons

In the early 1980s, Susan Kare joined Apple Computer to design fonts and user interface graphics. A legend of pixel art, Kare created the look of the original Macintosh, from the Chicago typeface to the Trash Can to the Happy Mac icon. She's currently creative director at Pinterest. David Kindy profiles Kare in Smithsonian:

Pioneering designer Susan Kare was taught by her mother how to do counted-thread embroidery, which gave her the basic knowledge she needed to create the first icons for the Apple Macintosh 35 years ago.

“It just so happened that I had small black and white grids to work with,” she says. “The process reminded me of working needlepoint, knitting patterns or mosaics. I was lucky to have had a mother who enjoyed crafts..."

Designing the icons proved to be more of a challenge (than the typefaces). Reproducing artwork on those primitive CRT surfaces, which used a bit-mapped matrix system with points of light, or pixels, to display data, was a designer’s nightmare.

However, the friend who recommended Kare for the job—-Andy Hertzfeld, then lead software architect for Macintosh-—had an idea. Since the matrix was essentially a grid, he suggested Kare get the smallest graph paper she could find. She then blocked out a 32-by-32 square and began coloring in squares to create the graphics...

After leaving Apple in 1986, Kare became creative director for Apple cofounder Steve Jobs at the short-lived NeXT, Inc., an influential computer startup that was eventually acquired by Apple. She founded her own eponymous design firm in 1989, which created graphic designs for hundreds of clients, including Autodesk, Facebook, Fossil, General Magic, IBM, Microsoft and PayPal.

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