The Eye
Slate’s design blog.

Sept. 3 2015 1:51 PM

See the 1975 Manual That Dictated NASA’s “Worm” Logo, Color Scheme, Uniform Patches, and More

The 1969 moon landing was a heady moment in American history. But the romance of putting men in space began to wane after NASA’s Apollo program ended in 1972, until the agency looked to design to help keep the NASA mystique alive.

Nixon had been pushing U.S. government departments to raise the standard of design and communications with the National Endowment for the Arts Federal Graphics Improvement Program, and NASA’s fragmented, old-fashioned visual identity was an early target. The agency approached a young, small New York City–based firm run by Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn to present a proposal for a brand-new visual identity for NASA, and in 1974, their work—the NASA Graphics Standards Manual, with instructions on designing everything from letterheads to space shuttles—was approved.

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Sept. 2 2015 11:03 AM

The Tiny Deep Sea Capsule That Changed Our Understanding of Marine Life

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

Sept. 1 2015 12:25 PM

A Bucolic New York Farm Aims to Recruit Veterans to Help Fix the U.S. Farming Crisis

A 19-acre farm near Hudson, New York, is being reimagined as an agricultural training camp for veterans. Plans for the complex, unveiled last month, include eight compact housing units and a communal space designed to respect the character and landscape of an existing farm in the town of Claverack set among the rolling agricultural fields and mountains of the Hudson River Valley.

Aug. 28 2015 12:10 PM

Incredible Inflatable Trampoline Bridges, Mobile Scientific Laboratories, and Furniture Powered by Air

Air is invisible, impossible to draw, and easy to take for granted, but forward-thinking architects and designers have long experimented with this most ephemeral of building materials as a magical ingredient for creating lightweight, portable, flexible, pneumatic structures that include inflatable buildings, bridges, sculptures, furniture, and more.

Aug. 27 2015 9:16 AM

Charting an Architect’s Obsession With White—and Other Fun, Irreverent Infographics

Archi-Graphic: An Infographic Look at Architecture by Frank Jacobus is an irreverent, stealthily informative look at architecture through a series of visualizations that include a chart of the type of architecture that dictators prefer, subway-style maps of the romantic affairs of famous architects, color wheels devoted to palettes of 20th-century architects, a map of every project that Le Corbusier ever built by order and location; and infographics mapping the most popular structures for death by suicide or building collapse.

Aug. 26 2015 1:07 PM

This Bright Yellow Scottish Castle Perfectly Illustrates the Complexity of Historical Restoration

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 Scotland’s Stirling Castle—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

Aug. 25 2015 12:53 PM

Why Do So Many of This Year’s Book Covers Have the Same Design Style?

Among the many challenges book cover designers face is trying to represent a book’s premise or main character without getting so specific that readers are left with little to imagine. A few years ago, the headless woman was one of the most commonplace sights on bookstore shelves (if the lack of something can be considered a “sight”). By not showing the female character’s face, a publisher assumes that readers will be able to use their imaginations to fill in what she looks like.

Aug. 24 2015 9:06 AM

The Insides of Mumbai’s Taxis Are As Colorful As the Views From Their Windows

Design is everywhere, but it’s often invisible, like the nondescript fabric on a taxi seat. Now a group of designers in Mumbai, India, have turned the interiors of city taxis into a vehicle for promoting the country’s emerging design talent with a project they’re calling Taxi Fabric.

“Taxis in India, particularly in Mumbai, are not only the most convenient form of transport but have also become an iconic piece of culture,” the designers write in a press release about the project. Although drivers routinely tailor their taxi interiors to make them stand out from competitors, the designers say, the upholstery on seats is often an afterthought, something drivers pick up at the local market, usually “dull and forgettable.”

Aug. 21 2015 8:30 AM

This Glass-Encased “Sky Pool” Will Have You Swimming Over the Streets of London

Have you ever gone swimming and thought to yourself, Gee, this is fun, but it would be a whole lot better if I were doing this about 10 stories in the air and it felt like I were flying? Well, you’re in luck: London’s glass-encased, 82-foot “sky pool” is perfect for you.

Aug. 20 2015 9:04 AM

Is Letting Your Lawn Turn Brown a Crime Against the American Dream?

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

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