Slate’s design blog.

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.”

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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.

Oct. 16 2014 9:08 AM

Was the 1977 New York City Blackout a Catalyst for Hip-Hop’s Growth?

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 New York City blackout that may have catalyzed the hip-hop movement—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

Oct. 15 2014 9:07 AM

John Malkovich Pays Homage to Iconic 20th-Century Images in a Wild Series of Portraits

John Malkovich is one of a handful of actors who brings his inimitable persona to every role, giving off the impression that he is playing some (often twisted) version of himself. A cultural icon in his own right, he’s also shown he is game to offer himself up as cultural fodder, à la Being John Malkovich. In a new series called “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters” by Sandro Miller, Malkovich plays the parts of man, woman, and child with an eerily unsettling plausibility in 32 wild portraits that celebrate great 20th-century photography.

Oct. 14 2014 11:59 AM

How Font Names Became One-Word Sales Pitches for Typography

Over the past 25 years, Tobias Frere-Jones has created some of the world’s most widely used typefaces. He has taught at the Yale University School of Art since 1996, gives lectures around the world, and has work in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Here at the Eye, Frere-Jones shares a post from his blog about the history of typography names.

Oct. 13 2014 11:06 AM

Norway’s Redesigned Banknotes Will Be the World’s Coolest Currency

Norway’s Norges Bank invited eight design teams to submit proposals for a series of sea-themed banknote redesigns. The standout concept above by Snøhetta Design, which will appear on the backs of Norway’s krone bills, uses the abstracted language of pixels to depict coastal settings.

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