Design firm reveals new MC Escher wallpaper

MC Escher's mind-bending works will soon be available as fancy wallpaper, thanks to a collaboration with Escher's estate and Italian design firm Jannelli & Volpi. Read the rest

Model of Manhattan made from recycled electronics

Zayd Manck constructed this incredible model of midtown Manhattan entirely from recycled electronic components. The astounding diorama is 165 x 80cm (5'5" x 32"). (via Neatorama)

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Topman plagiarizes designer, promises to stop, doesn't stop

Stefan Lawrence is a much-loved designer whose work graces such Maximum Fun podcasts as Judge John Hodgman and Bullseye, noticed that the "fast-fashion" brand Topman (a division of the notorious slavers Topshop) had ripped off one of his designs and used it without license or credit in a bunch of its products. Read the rest

Cool visual processing experiment with particles

Justin Lincoln creates lots of interesting little tidbits of visual ideas, like this particle capture experiment that is kind of unsettling. Read the rest

A huge trove of vintage movie posters from the University of Texas's Ransom Center archive

The University of Texas's Ransom Center (previously) has posted a gorgeous selection of digitized movie posters from its Movie Poster Collection, from the 1920s to the 1970s. Read the rest

Foldable airless bicycle tires

Revolve has released a promotional video for its prototype collapsible airless tires. Originally designed for bicycles, the same tire can also be used on a wheelchair. Read the rest

The Planet, a Buckminster Fuller-esque personal pod chair

The Planet is a personal pod chair complete with speakers and solar panels. It's a melding of the 1960s Lee West Stereo Alpha Egg Chair concept with a Buckminster Fuller geodesic vibe. The Planet sells for (gulp) $3,350. From MZPA:

An ergonomic mattress and such additional conveniences as a storage pocket, led-lamp, USB charging, speaker system and even solar panels – make The Planet a true stand-alone station for work and leisure.

The basis of The Planet is a constructor made up from triangular segments and fastenings. Adding or removing segments, you can change the shape and vary the degree of openness to the world around you.

The Planet (via Uncrate)

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The laws of UX

Jon Yablonski has created a site that crisply illustrates the "Laws of UX" -- some well-known precepts of how people interact with on-screen information. One of my favorite laws, which you see in action all the time in the real world, is the "Serial Position Effect". As Yablonski describes it ...
The serial position effect, a term coined by Herman Ebbinghaus, describes how the position of an item in a sequence affects recall accuracy. The two concepts involved, the primacy effect and the recency effect, explains how items presented at the beginning of a sequence and the end of a sequence are recalled with greater accuracy than items in the middle of a list. Manipulation of the serial position effect to create better user experiences is reflected in many popular designs by successful companies like Apple, Electronic Arts, and Nike.
(Via Sarah Drasner) Read the rest

A font based on vintage Bulgarian lottery tickets

Designers Tobias Frere-Jones and Nina Stössinger created Conductor in an homage to "the delicate, blocky numerals from vintage Bulgarian lottery tickets" with "elements of vernacular shopfront lettering and mid-century type design." (via Kottke) Read the rest

Veiny map shows best car route from center of US to every county

Topi Tjukanov makes remarkable mapped data visualization, like this map of optimal routes by car from the geographic center of the contiguous United States to all counties. Read the rest

Why the siren of the Starbucks logo is slightly asymmetrical

The designers of the Starbucks logo decided that making the siren's face slightly asymmetrical gave her the right mix of mystery and allure.

From Co. Design:

“As a team we were like, ‘There’s something not working here, what is it?'” recounts global creative director Connie Birdsall. “It was like, ‘Oh, we need to step back and put some of that humanity back in. The imperfection was important to making her really successful as a mark.”

Specifically, Lippincott realized that to look human, the Siren couldn’t be symmetrical, despite the fact that symmetry is the well-studied definition of human beauty. She had to be asymmetrical. Can you see it now that you know? Look closely at her eyes. Do you notice how her nose dips lower on the right than the left? That was the fix of just a few pixels that made the Siren work.

“In the end, just for the face part of the drawing, there’s a slight asymmetry to it. It has a bit more shadow on the right side of the face,” says design partner Bogdan Geana. “It felt a bit more human, and felt less like a perfectly cut mask.”

[Photo: courtesy Lippincott] Read the rest

Bad design: This is the menu where a wrong click triggered the Hawaii missile alert Saturday

Honolulu Civil Beat tweeted this image of the menu page where an Emergency Management Agency employee accidentally clicked the wrong item and triggered a public emergency missile alert.

According to Honolulu Civil Beat, "The operator clicked the PACOM (CDW) State Only link. The drill link is the one that was supposed to be clicked... The BMD False Alarm link is the (newly) added feature to prevent further mistakes." Read the rest

This American Life gets a new logo

The true-story radio program, This American Life, began in 1995. (My friend and Cool Tools partner, Kevin Kelly, was the subject of the very first episode!) For over 20 years, the show has used the same logo, which is tall and breaks the word American into two words, AMER and ICAN. As part of a substantial site redesign, it commissioned a new logo. It's by Erik Jarlsson. Gone is the dark purple color. The new logo has an all red simplified US flag with a speech bubble indicator and a no-nonsense "This American Life" on one line and in black. Read the rest

Fantastic demo of hand lettering with ingenious shadow effect technique

Stunning script by Santa Rosa Tattoo. See more on their Instagram: @santarosatattoo. (via r/PenmanshipPorn)

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Clothing made from kombucha tea

Sacha Lauri makes clothing and jewelry out of kombucha, more specifically the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) floating on the surface of the fermented tea. Her company is called Kombucha Couture. From an interview with Lauri in MAKE:

Sasha, what’s the process of making an actual dress out of SCOBY?

It is very simple!

First of all, boil 1 gallon of water and add 6 black teabags (for phytonutrient/nitrogen source) and 1 cup of sugar (as carbohydrates fuel the fermentation and production of cellulose. When tea is cool, pour into a tub (approx 1/2″ deep), add a small 1″ “nugget” of kombucha SCOBY, and cover. Let sit for 1 week at room temperature. After 1 week, harvest the mat of cellulose that the original kombucha SCOBY has produced over the surface of the tub. At this point, lay the cellulose mat out on parchment paper and allow to dry in 75F with indirect sunlight. This takes 1-5 days depending on size. When cellulose is dry, I colour it with acid reactive dharma dye or food colouring and cut and sew it like a leather textile.

The process is very simple as I allow nature to do all of the production. The bacteria in the SCOBY is a strain of acetobacter which naturally spins cellulose to both protect itself and keep it floating so it has access to oxygen. It is related to the vinegar producing bacteria which also create cellulose SCOBYS. It is a very natural process and just requires nutrients (tea), sugar, and an ambient temperature for the SCOBY to begin spinning cellulose.

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Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums

Maryam Omidi crowdfunded a photographic tour of Soviet-era sanatoriums, and the resulting book, Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums is like a weird 1970s sci-fi catalog. Read the rest

The excellent Standards Manual design series announces next title

Standards Manual is one of the greatest recent projects in archival graphic design. Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth painstakingly recreate notable graphics standards manuals from NASA, the EPA, the American Bicentennial, and the New York Transit Authority. Next up is Identity: Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, an overview of the iconic design firm behind many logos still in use today. Read the rest

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