Delight & inform

World of Props

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British photographer Victoria Ling specializes in creating surreal, colorful, otherworldly scenes with great props, backdrops and lighting. Whether with stitched and felted fake food from prop maker Anna Lomax, or a city atop a diamond from set designer Kyle Bean, her engaging images pop with wit and humor. We are enamored with the little worlds she creates.

World as 100 People

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We recently came across the enlightening, incredible set of statistics known as the “World as 100 People,” which has been interpreted infographically a number of times. The concept, based on this 1990 article by Donella Meadows, provides a clear picture of our global state of affairs by simplifying the world into a village of 100 people. Graphically presented, the information can be incredibly powerful – whether shown simply divided in one image, or cut-paper style into geometric pie charts. One of the best visual interpretations is this bold, clean set of postcards – one for each category, showing clearly that of 100, 83 villagers have clean water, 20 consume 80% of the energy, and 7 have computers.

Food City

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Atelier Food is a new Swedish organization dedicated to examining and improving society through food. To promote their mission, founder and art director Petter Johansson created a gridded city-of-food, set against the backdrop of an architectural plan. Some of the cubed fruit and vegetables sits atop of others, forming little stacks of buildings, while some is left in its natural shape and form, like pieces of broccoli on green blocks. The organization will operate as a restaurant, holding workshops and food labs, bringing together artists, designers, scientists, business developers and chefs to change our food systems.

Vignelli & Meier

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In a beautiful, slow-paced video on Nowness, two iconic design figures – modernist architect Richard Meier and Massimo Vignelli discuss their long friendship, grids, white space, and working and living in NYC. Both recently collaborated on a monograph – Richard Meier, Architect Volume 6, and both have worked for years on the West side of Manhattan. With Meier speaking beautifully to his use of white and light – “white is all colors,” and the obvious respect and admiration between the two, its a great little peek into their influential minds.

Ampersand a Day

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As unabashed lovers of the ampersand and typography, we were overjoyed to discover this incredible collection of the character, one shared each day in 2010. The depth and range of the tumblr site is great, as is its simple presentation. Each is displayed calendar-card style, in black, uniform size. As they note, “there are ampersands that are elegant, graceful and serene but that didn’t leave out the stumpy, awkward, stout or the festively plump.”

Papercut Story

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Artist Rob Ryan creates beautiful, intricate paper-cut works of art to make the pages of his books. Chronicle Books just released his newest, A Sky Full of Kindness, about an expectant couple of songbirds who get help prepping their nest from friends and family. With each page, Ryan composes lovingly illustrated scenes of cut paper, with accompanying poetic text carefully crafted and incorporated into the scenes, to masterful effect.

Well-Guided

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Travel guide apps are easy and accessible, yes. But there is still something appealing about a well-designed, tactile, folded-up paper map. Herb Lester Associates’ maps/guides are the ideal go-to to throw in your travel bag. With gorgeous, nostalgic illustrations and type, they choose and map out the best Copenhagen, London, Brooklyn, and Berlin have to offer. Delving into specific themes like, “How to Find Old New York,” “A London Pub for All Reasons,” and “Rome: Moods and Places,” their maps provide wonderful experience-based tours.

New Money

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French artist Philippe Pétremant’s series “The Magnificent Seven” plays with one of the most overlooked objects we encounter daily – the banknote. Pétremant folds and forms several countries’ notes, transforming the ubiquitous images of famed leaders into humorous adaptations of their likenesses. George Washington, Queen Elizabeth and Chairman Mao’s identifying features remain noticeable, leaving you guessing with other less familiar elements and designs.

Stretch the Bunny

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Kids – or adults – essentially get the chance to collaborate with NY Times illustrator Christoph Niemann in his new app, Petting Zoo for the iPad. Starting with choices of 21 animals drawn in simple outline form by Niemann, the app allows users to draw, distort, and manipulate each one to their liking. Bunnies shrink and bend, and porcupines grow their prickly exteriors, as Niemann’s work transforms to the touch. It’s a fun, engaging and intuitive use of the iPad’s capabilities.

Veggies Visualized

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A literal picture of health, Pop Chart Lab’s “Various Varieties of Vegetables” chart lovingly, obsessively illustrates over 400 vegetables (and some fruits). The simple drawings are at once charming and educational – apparently there are over 20 types of cucumbers, divided into categories of “Pickling,” “Slicing,” and “Burpless.” From the Rhizome category, with Galangal and Lotus Root – to Courgette Flowers and Flashy Trout Back Romaine, the comprehensive chart could make a vegetable lover out of anyone.

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