Friday Finds 5.8.09

Now that we've been doing these weekly round-ups for a while, it's fun to watch the links pour in from the Dwell editors and designers and see whether any theme emerges that reveals the collective consciousness of the office. This week, it seems a few of us have been thinking about data and maps, whether in the form of historic hand-drawn relics, high-tech graphic renderings, or personal statistic logs. Read on for more...
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In my Internet perambulations this week I came across this really cool site dedicated to hand-drawn maps. It's a winsome concept, but what could have been an exercise in user-generated cute actually takes on a far more idiosyncratic, almost Borgesian quality. I particularly like John Hutchison's personal history (States he's lived in, states he's seen Star Wars in, states he likes the least) mapped over the US. Good stuff.

Sarah: Infosthetics

While statistics can be useful for making a point or supporting an argument, the data involved is often overwhelming and difficult to parse. In my opinion one of the greatest uses of high-tech tools and graphic design is the creation of infographics, which replace the tedium and potential confusion of stats with a visually interesting illustrations of facts about the world. I could get distracted for hours in the posts on the infographic blog Infosthetics (tagline: "where form follows data"), which points to tons of data visualization projects. One that appealed to me this week was a series of maps based on geotagged Flickr uploads, showing the geographic distribution of photographers and their images. As the post points out, these maps end up providing a lot of information about the world well beyond the immediate data from photo-sharing internet users.

Sam: Fukasawa Juice Boxes

We all know Naoto Fukasawa can design the most alarmingly beautiful household gadgets on the planet, but these new juice packages are perhaps his most clever design to date. [via Jean Snow]

Dakota: Kitsune Noir

I, like everyone else who utilizes some sort of RSS feed reader, can (frequently) become intimidated by the number of unread posts on my favorite blogs. When I am feeling overwhelmed, a nice catch-all design site that I really enjoy is Kitsune Noir, the inspiration blog of Bobby Solomon, an L.A. based designer. He writes brief daily summaries of design that catches his eye (including the video of our own Kyle Blue!) My favorite recent post is a preview of Naïve: Modernism and Folklore in Contemporary Graphic Design, a book that features young illustrators who have drawn inspiration from classic graphic design methods such as hand lettering, folk art, and woodcutting, etc. An extra plus: His Desktop Wallpaper Project which features wallpapers by illustrators that you can use to make your desktop/iphone easy on the eye.

Nicole: Miller Goodman ShapeMaker

As a mother of a 5-month-old who has just this week discovered that two objects can be picked up at the same time and banged together, I’ve been on the hunt for a good set of wooden blocks. I was thrilled to discover the Miller Goodman ShapeMaker set—a set of 25 colorful, hand-printed, environmentally-friendly, rubber wood blocks with thousands of geometric possibilities. (A great animated ShapeMaker video can be seen here.)

Ashley: Bud Vases from Ryan Takaba

I found these these bud vases on Etsy this week. The designer describes the collection as an exploration of "the cross between sculpture, function, architecture and design." They make beautiful, sculptural and varied homes for succulents or single-stem flower displays. Former Dwell editor Andrew Wagner did a video interview with Takaba when he was at American Craft, which can be seen at the American Craft site.

Jordan: Tulip Fields

Tulip season has arrived in the Netherlands, and these pics of flowering fields are beautiful, like an epic agricultural carpet covering the landscape. The bright colors are pretty unbelievable, and it's hard to imagine that nearly nine billion Dutch bulbs are grown each year (!). Ah, to be tiptoeing through the tulips...

Miyoko: Daytum

I love keeping lists in my journal (books read, new movies watched, flights flown, etc) and apparently, so do many others. This week, Daytum showed up on my radar. The site, co-conceived by designer Nicholas Felton, whose personal life "Annual Reports" have caught the interest of graphic designers since he began publishing them in 2005, offers an easy, visual way of recording lists. It also offers an interesting look at what people find important in their lives: Beverages consumed, bike rides to specific destinations, hours slept, and so on.

Top Image: Hand-drawn map #6, by Yumi Janairo Roth Inset image: Bud vase from Ryan Takaba


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