Category Archives: Design

“A brief & beautiful bubble in design history”

I always love a good dive into learning not just the what and the how of how things—in this case materials from the US federal government—was designed, but why things were done that way.

This video’s all about the briefly groovy period in which Federal designers let it all hang out. From the NASA Worm, to the EPA’s funkadelic graphics, to, heck, the Department of Labor acting like it just took mushrooms, this was an unquestionably adventurous period. And then it stopped. What went wrong?

The Federal Graphics Improvement Program was an NEA initiative started under Richard Nixon, and its brief reign inspired design conventions, logo revamps, and graphics standards manuals. But it was also just a cash infusion rather than a bureaucratic overhaul. And as a result, we only remember toasty Federal Graphic Design, rather than enjoy its enduring legacy.

“What is Mise en Scène?”

One of the great pleasures of parenting is, of course, getting to see your kids’ interests and knowledge grow, and yesterday my 13yo budding photographer Henry and I were discussing the concept of mise en scène. In looking up a proper explanation for him, I found this great article & video, which Kubrick/Shining lovers in particular will enjoy:

“For All Mankind”

Hey friends—Happy New Year! I hope you’ve been able to get a little restful downtime, as I’ve done. I thought it’d be nice to ease back into things with these lovely titles from For All Mankind, which I’ve belatedly started watching & which I’m quite enjoying. The work is by Imaginary Forces, whom I’ve admired ever since seeing founder Kyle Cooper speak in the 90’s:

From the creators:

Lines deviate and converge in a graphic, tactile world that pays homage to the past while hinting at the “what if?” future explored throughout the series. Like the show logo itself, these lines weave and merge to create stylised representations of human exploration—badges, almost— ultimately reminding us of the common thread we share.

Heinz AI Ketchup

Life’s like a mayonnaise soda…
What good is seeing eye chocolate…

Lou Reed

The marketers at Heinz had a little fun noticing that an AI image-making app (DALL•E, I’m guessing) tended to interpret requests for “ketchup” in the style of Heinz’s iconic bottle. Check it out:

Adobe 3D Design is looking for 2023 interns

These sound like great gigs!

The 3D and Immersive Design Team at Adobe is looking for a design intern who will help envision and build the future of Adobe’s 3D and MR creative tools.

With the Adobe Substance 3D Collection and Adobe Aero, we’re making big moves in 3D, but it is still early days! This is a huge opportunity space to shape the future of 3D and AR at Adobe. We believe that tools shape our world, and by building the tools that power 3D creativity we can have an outsized impact on our world.

Ketchup goes AI…? Heinz puts DALL•E to work

Interesting, and of course inevitable:

“This emerging tech isn’t perfect yet, so we got some weird results along with ones that looked like Heinz—but that was part of the fun. We then started plugging in ketchup combination phrases like ‘impressionist painting of a ketchup bottle’ or ‘ketchup tarot card’ and the results still largely resembled Heinz. We ultimately found that no matter how we were asking, we were still seeing results that looked like Heinz.”

Pass the Kemp!

[Via Aaron Hertzmann]

Making the “Gaslit” Main Titles

“Not a single keyframe of animation was set in the making of the title, created by tweaking and bending the alignment knobs of a vintage TV,” writes Anthony Vitagliano. “Instead, I shot it using a vintage Montgomery Ward ‘Airline’ Portable Television, an iPhone, and a patchwork of cables and converters in my basement.”

Check out the results:

See Anthony’s site for high-res captures of the frames.

A 3lb. wind turbine promises power on the go

Hmm—dunno whether I’d prefer carrying this little dude over just pocketing a battery pack or two—but I dig the idea & message:

Once set up on its tripod, the 3-pound, 40-watt device automatically rotates towards the wind and starts charging its 5V, 12,000 mAh battery. (Alternatively it can charge your device directly via USB.) The company says that in peak conditions, the Shine Turbine can generate enough juice to charge a smartphone in just 20 minutes.

Giant Lego “wooden” rollercoaster

Did you think there is a world in which I don’t post this, my friend?
Happily, there is no such world. 😝

Per Digital Trends,

The coaster was constructed from just under 90,000 individual Legos, and Chairudo estimates that it took him about 800 hours to build. The mammoth replica is more than 21 feet long, four feet wide, and almost five feet tall, with a total track length of 85 feet. It’s so big, Chairudo had to rent a separate room just to construct it.

Design: “The Fish & The Furious”

I know that we’re on a pretty dark timeline sometimes, but these little bits of silly (?) human ingenuity keep me going:

Stephen Colbert & crew had some good fun with the news:

Design: Google’s “Dragonscale” solar roofs

For the last few years I’ve been curiously watching what I affectionately call “nerd terrariums” being erected on Google’s main campus. Now the team behind their unique roof designs is providing some insight into how they work:

These panels coupled with the pavilion-like rooflines let us capture the power of the sun from multiple angles. Unlike a flat roof, which generates peak power at the same time of the day, our dragonscale solar skin will generate power during an extended amount of daylight hours… When up-and-running, Charleston East and Bay View will have about 7 megawatts of installed renewable power—generating roughly 40% of their energy needs.

Four construction team members install BIPV at Google’s Bay View office development.

Check out a quick overview—literally: