A technology-free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact. With a thin, light and completely wireless design, the noPhone acts as a surrogate to any smart mobile device, enabling you to always have a rectangle of smooth, cold plastic to clutch without forgoing any potential engagement with your direct environment. Never again experience the unsettling feeling of flesh on flesh when closing your hand.

The accompanying “How does it work?” video is particularly hilarious.

Note to Facebook: this is SATIRE.


Paul Rand’s “Thoughts on Design” Back in Print

“Thoughts on Design” by Paul Rand

Chronicle Books has put legendary graphic designer Paul Rand’s legendary book “Thoughts on Design” back on bookstore shelves after a long absence. First published in 1947, the short, highly regarded volume has been out of print since the 1970s, and used copies have been very difficult to come by. This new release is priced reasonably, can be had in electronic form (let me know what this looks like if you buy it), and features a brief foreword by Michael Bierut, who writes:

Ostensibly, it is nothing more than a how-to book, illustrated with examples from the designer’s own portfolio. But in reality ‘Thoughts on Design’ is a manifesto, a call to arms and a ringing definition of what makes good design good.

Alas, no hardcover edition is available, which seems halfhearted given how the publisher’s own marketing copy describes this work as “seminal.” You could argue that there’s not a huge market for high-end design treatises, though Unit Editions would likely make the case that there’s a robust one, at least. We should probably all just be grateful that Chronicle brought this back into print in any form, but it’s worth saying that they had an opportunity to produce something really special here and they passed on it.


Thuy at Five

Here’s a picture of my daughter only a few days after she was born, back in 2009.

And here’s a picture of her today, on her fifth birthday. I can’t believe it.

Thuy at Five

Happy birthday, kiddo.


A Twitter Card That Does Something

Cards as an interaction paradigm took a small but significant step forward today with this tweet from Acura. It introduces interactivity to Twitter’s previously rather rudimentary definition of the form; the card embedded in this tweet lets you actually “configure” an Acura TLX—choose your preferred engine, steering and color—and then tweet out the result.

Acura’s Twitter Card

It’s not an earth shattering level of interactivity—in fact it’s kind of banal. But it’s meaningful in that the card does something without taking you out of your current context. This is a key aspect of what lays ahead for cards, and part of why they have tremendous potential. I’ll be writing more about this soon; in the meantime, you can learn a bit more about what we’re doing in this arena at at Wildcard.


UI Designs for “Guardians of the Galaxy”

This is London creative agency Territory Studio’s showreel of user interface concepts developed for this summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” I’m not sure I see very much that’s new here, but it’s good, fun stuff—much like the movie itself.

Territory’s Vimeo account also has some longer shots from the movie, including this footage showing “weather systems” from one of the movie’s spacecraft.

Here’s a “prison bot cam”:

And something called an “Orion table”:

If you enjoy this kind of thing—that is, hypothetical user interfaces designed for film—read this brief roundup I wrote in January.


Untold Stories Behind Classic Logos

“TM: The Untold Stories Behind 29 Classic Logos” by Mark Sinclair

Out next month from Laurence King Publishing: “TM: The Untold Stories Behind 29 Classic Logos,” by Mark Sinclair.

The book takes 29 internationally recognized logos and explains their development, design, usage, and purpose. Based upon interviews with the designers responsible for these totems, and encompassing the marks from a range of corporate, artistic, and cultural institutions from across the globe, TM reveals the stories behind such icons as the Coca-Cola logotype, the Penguin Books’ colophon, and the Michelin Man.

Spread from “TM: The Untold Stories Behind 29 Classic Logos” by Mark Sinclair
Spread from “TM: The Untold Stories Behind 29 Classic Logos” by Mark Sinclair

Sinclair is deputy editor of the U.K.’s Creative Review magazine, so the list of brands that he covers, below, includes some names that might not be immediately familiar to many Americans. Nevertheless, it looks terrific.

  • Bell Systems, Saul Bass, US, 1985
  • British Rail, Gerry Barney, UK, 1964
  • British Steel, David Gentleman, UK, 1969
  • CBS, William Golden, US, 1951
  • Canadian National, Allan Fleming, Canada, 1960
  • CND, Gerald Holtom, UK, 1958
  • Coca-Cola, Frank Mason Robinson, US, 1887
  • Deutsche Bank, Anton Stankowski, Germany, 1974
  • ENO, Mike Dempsey, UK, 1991
  • ERCO, Otl Aicher, Germany, 1974
  • España, Joan Miró, Spain, 1983
  • I Love New York, Milton Glaser, US, 1975
  • London Underground, Edward Johnston, UK, 1919
  • Michelin, O’Galop, France, 1898
  • Munich, ’72, Coordt von Mannstein, Germany, 1971
  • Musée d’Orsay, Bruno Monguzzi, Switzerland, 1983
  • NASA, Bruce Blackburn, US, 1974
  • National Theatre, Ian Dennis, UK, 1974
  • Osborne Bull, Manolo Prieto, Spain, 1956
  • Penguin, Edward Young, UK, 1935
  • Peru, FutureBrand, Argentina, 2011
  • Pirelli, Unknown, Italy, 1908
  • Pompidou Centre, Jean Widmer, Switzerland, 1977
  • Randstad, Ben Bos, Netherlands, 1960
  • Tate, Wolff Olins, UK, 1999
  • UPS, Paul Rand, US, 1961
  • V&A, Alan Fletcher, UK, 1989
  • Woolmark, Franco Grignani, Italy, 1964
  • WWF, Sir Peter Scott, UK, 1961

More information at, or you can pre-order a copy at—if you use that link, I get a little affiliate fee and everyone’s happy.


Portrayals of Texting in Film

Tony Zhou produces wonderful short video essays about film under the name Every Frame a Painting. I wrote about his piece on Michael Bay’s “Bayhem” brand of filmmaking last month. It’s well worth a look (afterwards you might read my thoughts on Michael Bay too).

His latest essay is called “A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film,” and it examines the evolving methods that filmmakers have used to incorporate this new social behavior into narrative film-making. The solutions are often quite graphical in nature, and Zhou discusses the pros and cons of that. He also makes the argument that the various techniques we’ve seen so far are proof that film is a continually evolving, unfixed form.

It’s a great piece, though it piques my interest about how various other technological innovations have been portrayed in movies, especially in their early days. It would be fascinating to see a similar study of how movies first wrestled with television, for instance, or mobile phones.

+ is a running collection of Web typography specimens that aims to identify particularly effective pairings of web fonts. Its goal is to “know what font goes with what?” among the still relatively limited selection of typefaces designers can specify for the web. Combine this with Justin Van Slembrouck’s fantastic Type Sample utility, and you’re set.


Escher Girls

This is a blog to archive and showcase the prevalence of certain ways women are depicted in illustrated pop media, specifically how women are posed, drawn, distorted, and/or sexualized out of context, often in ridiculous, impossible or disturbing ways that sacrifice storytelling.

The site focuses primarily on the hyper-real illustrative vocabulary of comic books, which has always been highly exaggerated but in recent decades has become grotesque. There are lots of images that I could have reproduced here, but the site’s authors make such a thorough case for the aggregate vulgarity of this kind of imagery that to include even one seems like it would be an endorsement. See for yourselves here.