Thursday, April 02, 2009


This week's links. Enjoy.

Distillate is a great Australia-based site that filters and then chronicles the best online in fashion, design, objects for living, hand crafted wares, photographers, illustrators, artists, cocktails and food. You can sign up for their twice-weekly newsletter, or simply browse through their online archive. Perfect if you love good stuff but have no time to search for it. Thanks, Erica!

Designers in Oxford take action against bad signage! And man, was it bad. An excellent argument as to why good design matters, too. Via the Creative Review blog.

Video Games Can Improve Vision
This is intriguing. A new U.S. study suggests that playing action video games can actually boost "contrast sensitivity," often one of the first aspects of vision to be affected by ageing, and previously thought to be fixed. Researchers found playing the games improved the ability to notice even very small changes in shades of grey against a uniform background, important in situations such as driving at night, or in conditions of poor visibility. Eye exercises just became a whole lot more fun ...

Robert Propst Tries To Set Office Workers Free, 1968
The cubicle is often seen as the bane of office life these days, but Robert Propst, a designer and director of the research division of furniture company Herman Miller and the creator of the cubicle in 1968, was actually trying to free office workers from a much more dehumanizing environment. From Joe Moran's article in the Financial Times: "Until the 1960s, lowly office workers were usually placed in serried rows of identical desks, all facing the same way, like the Jack Lemmon character who works as a clerk at "desk number 861" in Billy Wilder's film, The Apartment. In America, this layout was known as the "bullpen", to suggest either the stockyard or the sweaty, crowded area where baseball pitchers warm up. In these regimented rows, office workers could be watched, monitored and subjected to time-and-motion studies. They had to keep files and letters moving quickly from their in-trays to their out-trays, just like a factory assembly line. They were not expected to personalise their desks with photographs or mementos." Yikes. Via things magazine.

Sunday Puzzle
When we can, Andrew and I like to listen to this after a leisurely brunch on Sunday — puzzle master Will Shortz's weekly brain teaser on NPR.

Everybody Loves Rea Irvin
Emily Gordon looks at the career of Rea Irvin, The New Yorker’s first art editor — illustrator, cartoonist, man-about-town — who helped make a typeface, and the magazine, immortal. Via Print Magazine.

Sweets to Soothe the Soul
The economy may be bad, but the candy business is booming, just as it did during the last Depression — during the 1930s, candy companies thrived, introducing an array of confections that remain popular today. Snickers started in 1930. Tootsie Pops appeared in 1931. Mars bars with almonds and Three Musketeers bars followed in 1932. Seems a sweet treat is once again an affordable way to brighten a gloomy day, just as it was back then ...

DIY Magazines
Hewlett-Packard is currently experimenting with MagCloud, a self-publishing site that enables you to create your own magazine — one that's only printed on demand. Like Blurb, but for mags.

And one more thing — Tina of the stunningly beautiful English Muse blog was chosen as a blogger of note this week! Congrats, Tina!

Photograph via Domino's Deco Files.


I'm rather stressed with deadlines at the moment, so I'm taking a little visual break for something that always makes me happy — peonies. Ahhh. Hope you're all having a good day! Beautiful photograph by Ngoc Minh Ngo. From design is mine, via weheartit.
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