“Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product under standable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.”—Dieter Rams’ ten principles of design
It’s hard to choose between the two, as they’re both rather lovely, but as a devoted reader for the past ten years (I recall the good old days when each issue came with a poster), it’s got to be Creative Review. That said, there’s no choosing between their websites, which have both become amazing in the last few months. Keep it up, both of you.
Every year since 2005, graphic designer Nicholas Felton has produced a personal annual report, collating and quantifying an assortment of of facts and figures about his life. Illustrating each one with all manner of graphs, tables and beautiful, beautiful maps (including one that could be folded into an icosahedron), he has created an extraordinary snapshot of 21st century life, like some kind of iPhone-armed Manhattanite Samuel Pepys.
The popularity of these reports (printed copies of which are available from his website) has led Nicholas to join forces with fellow data-obsessive Ryan Case to create Daytum, a personal statistics recorder. Now anyone can keep track of their own bizarre habits and routines, and wrestle the control of personal data away from the loyalty cards and cookies that permeate modern life.
Gym Class Magazine managed to interupt Nicholas’ work for long enough to throw some questions at him …
By far the best thing on telly this week is The Beauty of Maps on BBC4. Focussing on a small selection of massively important (and in some cases, just downright massive) maps held in the British Library, it discusses the social, theological and political roles that cartography has played throughout history.
A highlight is – of course – the episode on the mapping of London. I could stare at the 1682 William Morgan map for days and not be bored (thanks to @lexnels for the link). It’s a shame that with all the technological Google-mappery of today, the actual craft of map-making has been lost. I’d opt for hand-drawn hatching and considered typography over satellite images any day.
The last part is on tonight – but it’s the sort of thing that you can watch in one big go on iPlayer. The BBC also has a rather smashing website that goes into more detail.
Well I think it’s fair to say that the new issue of Creative Review (which, when flip-reversed, is also The Annual 2010), is bloody gorgeous. And I bet white lab coats were involved at some point. Looking forward to picking mine up next week from one of the six remaining shops in the UK that actually stock a decent selection of magazines.
The other day I was fishing around for a Ffffound invite, having completely forgotten that I already had an account. Fortunately, my computer remembered, and so I’ve now finally refound my Ffffound findings (link below).
For those of you unaware of the wonders of Ffffound, it’s basically an image bookmarking site. To set up an account you need an invite from someone. I don’t have any, but it’s well worth scavenging round on Twitter and elsewhere for one, as it’s a bloody useful little site that can lead you to all sorts of interesting image resources.
“The programme’s glacial tempo is startlingly alien to the average modern viewer, accustomed to meaningless televisual lightshows such as CSI Miami – all winking lights and trick shots and musical montages telling you what to think with such detached efficiency they might as well issue a bullet-pointed list of plot points and moods and have done with it. Shows in which the story is secondary to the edit, edit, edit: where any sense of meaning or even authentic emotion is doomed to death by a million tiny cuts. Mad Men’s tranquility and poise makes it resemble a still photograph by comparison. The viewer has to calm the fuck down to even start appreciating it.”—Charlie Brooker on Mad Men
Check out Massive Attack’s astonishing new video, directed by Edouard Salier. Well worth five minutes of your time. And please, if you have any sense at all, you’ll watch it on the biggest screen you can find.
After reading about Creative Review’s new online-only subscription offer, which includes access to an archive of back-issues, it occurred to me that this sort of model could be a real game-changer on the iPad.
So far, there’s been a lot of chat about various magazines bringing out digital editions from this point forward, but not much about the massive potential for offering whole archives of older content. When a perfectly portable printed issue of a magazines exists, I don’t really see the appeal of replicating that on a screen for the same price (no matter how many flying toasters you stick on the page). However, give me the option to have every single issue with me, and you’ve got yourself an essential purchase.
The seeds for this model of publishing are already out there, most obviously The Complete National Geographic (which comes on its own hard drive!). In print, Taschen have been producing lovely (but expensive and bulky) reproductions of Arts & Architecture and Domus. All it needs is for someone to take that logical step into apps-ville. Imagine a Domus app for, let’s say, £40. Every single issue. 71 years’ worth. Searchable, bookmarkable, portable.
Or how about an app that contains the entire run of The Face? As well as allowing you to flick through all those old issues, it could come with a documentary about the magazine and an automatic playlist-generator that would pluck relevant tunes from your iTunes library to listen to while you’re reading. All that in your little satchel for a reasonable price-tag.
ArchiveApps: who wants one? Any suggestions for titles that would work particularly well? Any other potential features that you can think of? Am I completely wrong? Does something like this already exist? Replies on the back of a stamped-addressed tweet.
“The single simplest reason why human space flight is necessary is this, stated as plainly as possible: keeping all your breeding pairs in one place is a retarded way to run a species.”—Warren Ellis, Wired
This little website is just a few weeks old, and so far the response has been blush-inducingly positive. As well as some lovely emails and tweets (thank you, various people!), I’ve also been linked to from all over the place:
… which is all rather nice. Now, on a slightly different subject, I’ve taken a shine to Tumblr’s new “answers” toy, so go ahead and ask me a question. I’ll take a shot at pretty much anything you ask, as long as it doesn’t involve long division. Here are some previous answers.
And yes, before you ask me again, it is staying black and white.
Following my tweetly rant about the dearth of magazine sellers in the UK (outside of London anyway), and the complete and utter uselessness of WHSmith, Mr Hobday pointed me in the direction of a German shop called do you read me?!
In their own words:
"We offer a selected assortment of magazines and readings from around the world. The spectrum ranges from fashion, photography and art, through architecture, interior and design to cultural matters and society. We provide advice, research and compile your personal assortment."
All their stock is available to order online (farewell pocket money, farewell), but it’s the gorgeous touchy-feeliness of the shop that I like. Fingers crossed they open a store in the UK soon.
“For the design community print does of course have some redeeming features, one of which being it’s very physicality. In a day and age where everything is becoming digital, from our music collection to our photo albums, the value of ‘real’ can be significant. The very fact that it is tangible makes us drawn to it. It offers exclusivity, even collectibility, and these are connections that have yet to be made to any online offerings. When the web truly discovers a solution for archiving content that isn’t susceptible to virus, accidental deletion and is as accessable as a brief walk across to the book shelf, then it will stand a better chance.”—Design publishing future – print or pixel by Matt Judge at Design Assembly
Fact: this week, 53% of the Internet is made up of iPad reviews.
One of the big talking points is the nice-in-theory Marvel app, which I of course have a problem with it. The thing is, in terms of purchasing/storing comics, a publisher-specific app just seems like a huge backwards step for Apple. If I’m going to buy digital comics, I want them all in one place. Imagine having a separate iTunes app for each record label!
I’m not a Marvel reader, I’m a comic reader, and as such feel no need to keep different comics from different publishers in distinct boxes. I can see how this benefits the seller, but I can’t see how it benefits the consumer in any way. We need a single iComic store/app.
I’m inclined to think that an iMag app/store is the way to go too, otherwise our iPads and iPhones are going to start getting really cluttered.
“Designing is basically the practice of combining stuff; ideally in ways that haven’t been seen before. So, the more stuff you know (about everything), the greater chance you’ll find a relevant and distinctive, and therefore effective (and original) combination.”—James Webb-Young (via Because I Can).