Going viral

Paths of Leaves

A lovely, subtle ad creates a big impact in this outdoor campaign for the China Environmental Protection Foundation. As a nod to recognize the environmental benefits of walking vs driving, a white canvas with a bare tree was laid across a crosswalk in China. An “inkpad” of green paint was placed at the sidewalk edge, so that as pedestrians crossed they imprinted the tree with sole prints of green leaves.

South African Pride

In tribute to Nelson Mandela, South Africa is releasing gorgeous new banknotes with the leader’s image and scenes from his life etched on them. The notes are layered with rich ranges of color and pattern, showing the iconic and beloved man in five scenes. Check out the video introducing the new money released by the South African National Reserve Bank.

Before Green Eggs

Long before Dr. Seuss became famous for the Cat in the Hat and his antics, he honed his illustrating and writing skills as an advertising creative. His formative work for companies like GE, Holly Sugar, and Flit insect repellant shows the early glint of the style and characters we’ve come to know and love. The University of California at San Diego has a great library of his work to peruse.

Water Illumination

Artist Antonin Fourneau has developed a striking temporary graffiti system in Paris, giving visitors the opportunity to create illuminated art with water. Water Light Graffiti uses a giant matrix of LED’s embedded into a moisture-sensitive surface, which lights up when it comes in contact with water. The effects are incredible – and best of all, there’s no paint to clean up.

Insta-Minute

We use Instagram, and realize that a lot of other people do as well – but a new image aggregator makes it interestingly apparent just how many people globally upload photos to the app consistently. The site is simple – it aggregates all the images being taken in large global cities – Stockholm, New York, Sao Paulo – and updates a rolling feed to show what Instagrammers are snapping right at that moment. It’s an eye-opening glimpse of the depth of users, and an interesting collection of what they are seeing and sharing in their city.

The Work of Olympic Play

The Olympics is the perfect example of seriously hard work, which looks like (and still is) play. The athletes work the hardest, of course, but tons of effort also went into the buildings, graphics, and activities. There’s the bright Coca-Cola beatbox, a large nest of red and white panels, which can be played like a musical instrument. Barber Osgerby’s elegant design for the Olympic torch won the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award. And the tickets, medals, and typeface – all designed to evoke the vibrant, energy of the games. All working at playing hard.

(Image of Olympic Tapes)

Vibrant Viewing

Kenzo’s pre-fall 2012 video recalls the early days of MTV promos, with its roughly cut, collaged animations and bright neon highlights. Director Quentin Jones shows a model against industrial backdrops, with hula-hoops, boxing gloves, and monkey bars, spelling out Kenzo with vibrant, sketched and spliced-in letters.

Oh Canada

Plaid, igloos, hockey & syrup – how do you visualize Canada?

Kurt Andersen’s Studio360 Redesigns series – which takes a large subject like “Teachers” or “Valentine’s Day” and re-thinks it – tasked Bruce Mau Design with fixing Canada’s image problem in the U.S. The result is Know Canada – which minimizes the Canadian flag into 2 red bars as a frame logo for it’s 21st Century Icons – Joni Mitchell, Kids in the Hall, and Bike Culture included. The project shows the bars as applied to backgrounds at press conferences, the passport stamp, a monument, etc.

Visualizing for Good

Even with a great mission for a relevant cause, many nonprofits would benefit from a little help communicating their purpose. Sparkwise is a new system aiming to help nonprofits and activists do just that – communicate better, via data visualization and outreach. The platform is well-designed, open-source and free. It includes tools for translating organization’s information, history, and spreadsheets of data into beautiful visualized presentations, making it easy for nonprofits to better tell their stories.

If You Build It…

The iconic physical building block has gone digital. Lego Australia is collaborating with Google Chrome to allow kids (and adults) to build, share, and tear down their own lego creations. The program uses WebGL, which provides new abilities in web-browser graphics. Structures can be viewed and shared by others, allowing users to show off their building capabilities. Finished work is shown in a map-like format, which Chrome users can navigate in 3D, similar to Google Street View.

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