Slate’s design blog.

Sept. 24 2014 9:13 AM

A School Lunch Tray Redesign to Trick Kids Into Making Healthy Choices

Brian Wansink is a nutritionist, behavioral economist, professor at Cornell University, and the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. He is the lead author of over 200 academic articles and books on eating behavior, including the best-selling Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (2006). In his new book Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, published this week, Wansink argues that 25 years of research has convinced him that "becoming slim by design works better than trying to become slim by willpower." In the book, he outlines concrete strategies for designing homes, restaurants, grocery stores, workplaces and schools in ways that surreptitiously encourage healthy eating habits. Here at the Eye, Wansink shares a brief adapted excerpt from the book that presents an idea for a stealthily redesigned school lunch tray—currently in the prototype phase—that he hopes will help kids make healthy choices without having to think twice.

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Sept. 23 2014 11:33 AM

High-Concept Stuff Designed to Remind People That They Don’t Need Stuff  

The other day I received an email from Elliott Spelman, a young guy looking to spread the word about a new design-related Kickstarter project.

“It's called The RoShamBusiness,” he wrote, “and our products are literal things. That is, we take ideas from language (idioms, figures of speech, etc.) and make them into consumer items. Rock paper scissors. Falling trees that no one has heard. Sandwiches with everything.”

Sept. 22 2014 9:12 AM

What Is This Singaporean Road Sign Trying to Tell Us?

It’s time for our first Southeast Asian edition of What’s That Thing, Slate’s column examining mysterious or overlooked objects in our visual landscape. Wondering about something—on or off road, at home or abroad? Drop us an email.

Nothing awakens a traveler’s senses like their very first hours in a new place. Every time I leave Singapore’s Changi Airport by bus or taxi, I’m astounded all over again by the public greenery—the multicolored flower beds, the vine-drenched overpasses, the trees so flawlessly coiffed that from any distance at all they resemble bonsai.

Singapore’s long-standing ambition has been to be a growing metropolis in every sense; to become not a city with lots of gardens, but a city in a garden. Singaporeans are wealthier than almost anyone, and it looks to me like all that extra cash is going into landscaping.

Sept. 19 2014 12:50 PM

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Designer Dominic Wilcox has dreamed up an improbable but dazzling stained glass “Driverless Sleeper Car of the Future,” currently on display at Designjunction, part of the London Design Festival, until Sunday. The project is part of the Dezeen and Mini “Frontiers” exhibit on the future of mobility.

Sept. 18 2014 12:47 PM

How One of the Most Prolific Known Forgers in Modern History Faked Great Works of Art

For three decades, Mark A. Landis conned the art world by deftly copying works by great artists then donating his forgeries to dozens of museums under his own name and a roster of assumed names and identities that ranged from philanthropist to a priest.

But in 2008, his nonmercenary but questionable antics were discovered by a museum registrar named Matthew Leininger, who appointed himself lead detective on an obsessive quest to expose and stop Landis. (Landis has never faced prosecution for his actions, which, while clearly deceptive, have not been found to be illegal.)

Sept. 17 2014 12:19 PM

Early Cancer Hospitals Were Modeled on French Castles, Served Champagne

Roman Mars’ podcast 99% Invisible covers design questions large and small, from his fascination with rebar to the history of slot machines to the great Los Angeles Red Car conspiracy. Here at The Eye, we cross-post new episodes and host excerpts from the 99% Invisible blog, which offers complementary visuals for each episode.

This week's edition—about cancer hospitals—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM

These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home

These inspired outdoor cat shelters created by some of Los Angeles’ leading design firms were created for Architects for Animals’ Giving Shelter, a benefit for feline charity FixNation that was held on September 10 at the Herman Miller showroom in L.A.

Sept. 15 2014 11:51 AM

The Design Bible Behind New York City’s Subway Republished as a Limited-Edition Book

The New York City subway was a confusing mess in the 1960s, with inconsistent, haphazard signage that made navigating the system a nightmare for commuters. In 1967, the New York City Transit Authority decided to do something about it. They hired Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda of the design firm Unimark International to design an improved signage and wayfinding system. The designers spent four years studying the labyrinth of the subway, analyzing the habits of commuters, and devising the iconic visual identity of the NYC subway that is still in use today, documented in the 1970 New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual.

In 2012, designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth of New York City design firm Pentagram discovered a rare copy of the manual in their office’s basement. They created a website that included scans of the manual to serve as a digital archive of the work that they call “one of the world’s classic examples of modern design” and shared it with friends. Within 72 hours, more than a quarter-million people had browsed the images, and they decided to approach the MTA about republishing the manual in all its full-size, printed glory.

Sept. 12 2014 11:17 AM

What Was the First Item Ever Designed?

Roman Mars’ podcast 99% Invisible covers design questions large and small, from his fascination with rebar to the history of slot machines to the great Los Angeles Red Car conspiracy. Here at The Eye, we cross-post new episodes and host excerpts from the 99% Invisible blog, which offers complementary visuals for each episode.

This week's edition—about the hand ax—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

Sept. 11 2014 10:55 AM

Designers Turn Tel Aviv Street Art Into One-of-a-Kind Furniture

Tel Aviv–based industrial designers Ariel Zuckerman and Eran Shimshovitz came up with a creative way to get local street artists to help them design their new line of furniture. They hung wooden boards around the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood near their workshop and waited for graffiti artists to do their work.

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