Slate’s design blog.

Oct. 31 2014 12:22 PM

An Artist Who Paints With Fire and Feathers

Sometimes the most intruiging aspect of a work of art is the design process used to make it. As seen in the captivating video below, Canada-based artist Steven Spazuk’s black-and-white paintings begin with a blank sheet of paper and an open flame. He burns images onto the paper using a torch and a freewheeling hand. Next he etches the ensuing soot and embellishes the charred designs with paint.

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Oct. 29 2014 12:57 PM

The Strange, Spooky History of the Ouija Board

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 Ouija board—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

Oct. 28 2014 1:10 PM

Sweden Has Its Own Font. Should the U.S.?  

The news that the Swedish government commissioned a national font had my Slate colleagues talking last week. The font, Sweden Sans, was designed by Swedish agency Soderhavet in collaboration with Swedish font expert Stefan Hattenbach as part of a new branding effort.

“One purpose of the new brand identity for Sweden was to replace the many fragmented organizational identities of Swedish ministries, agencies and corporations with one integrated visual brand identity system, to unambiguously represent Sweden in the world,” Soderhavet’s Erik Lidsheim told me in an email, noting that the font is also used outside the country. “In that sense [it’s] more or less doing the same job as any corporate brand identity.”

Oct. 27 2014 1:51 PM

Designer DIY Masks That Make Unique and Inexpensive Halloween Costumes 

Halloween costumes don’t have to be tacky, expensive, or wasteful. Design-conscious minimalists with a penchant for user-friendly DIY might be intrigued by the inexpensive, handsomely designed, and subtly spooky geometric masks from designer Steve Wintercroft that include templates for skulls, werewolves, and pumpkin heads in addition to a range of animal masks.

Oct. 24 2014 11:56 AM

Japanese Designers Give the Ordinary Rubber Band a Hip Makeover

The unexciting if useful rubber band has never aspired to be more than a utilitarian object. Unless stored on a rubber band ball, most rubber bands find themselves stranded at the bottom of drawers or, even worse, discarded after a single use.

As part of a new stationery collection, Japanese designers Nendo have come up with an eye-catching rubber band redesign called the Cubic Rubber Band. The designers call the geometric shape of the silicone rubber bands “assertively three-dimensional.”

Oct. 23 2014 12:48 PM

Track Your Bag and Charge Your Phone With This Carry-On Smart Suitcase

Carry-on luggage design innovation tends to involve subtle changes in weight, materials, the turning capacity of wheels, or surface elements like shape and color. But the team at Bluesmart, a New York City–based company founded last year by a group of students, seasoned product designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs, has decided to build their version of the 21st-century suitcase. They have likely created a innovative leap in carry-on suitcase design with a prototype of “the world’s first smart, connected carry-on suitcase.”

Oct. 22 2014 1:01 PM

The Surprisingly Xenophobic Origins of Wonder Bread

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 origins of white bread—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM

How Designers Use Creative Briefs to Better Their Work

The design brief is an integral part of any serious design project, a typically written mission statement that crystallizes the rules to live by dictated by the creative or the client, or a consensus of the two.

Briefly, a short film from Tom Bassett of Bassett & Partners, asked a handful of leading designers and architects to offer their insights on how a well-thought-out design brief facilitates the process of doing creative work.

 

Oct. 20 2014 1:20 PM

The Berlin Wall Resurrected, 25 Years After Its Fall

The Berlin Wall fell nearly 25 years ago, and to commemorate that momentous event, Germany has commissioned a poetic art installation to mark the Nov. 9, 1989, anniversary.

Oct. 17 2014 10:29 AM

This Gorgeous Sculpture Creates Instant Architecture in an Empty Room

Held annually since 2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ArtPrize is a democratic art competition open to anyone in the world over age 18, with generous cash prizes awarded by both a jury of experts and popular vote. For the first time, a single work—Intersections by Pakistan-born Anila Quayyum Agha—took this year’s public and juried grand prizes for a total of $300,000.

Agha’s stunning piece is an obvious crowd-pleaser, a 6½-foot square laser-cut, black lacquer wood cube suspended from the ceiling and lit with a single light bulb that casts breathtaking 32-feet-by-34-feet shadows to create instant architecture in an otherwise empty room.

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