The big picture

V&A Everyday

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British designer Mark Blamire created a wall planner for the V&A that also serves as a work of art in itself. Inspired by a vintage Braun ad, Blamire designed illustrations and icons for each day of the year, many representing iconic objects in the museum’s collection, while others are familiar, everyday items. All are neatly lined up in a grey and white grid, with pink lettering punctuating the design.

Human Body

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The Human Body is a great new app that teaches users all about how we humans function – with interactive features that show the processes of skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems in a fun way. Illustrator Kelli Anderson created beautiful renderings using cut paper or drawings of the human body, its bones, muscles and veins. Watch as food is processed through the digestive system, and see how vision works through the front camera on your device, and how hearing works with your microphone. A great educational tool.

Lifelong Learning

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Looking to brush up on your skills, or just interested in taking a class? EduPunks Atlas is a great place to browse new forms of education – online and off. Organized like a periodic table of resources, it collects and distills new learning organizations into an easily navigatable format. Represented are everything from Visualize Me (an online resume visualizer), the Johnston Center (a college where students design their own degrees), and the Amani Institute (a field-based social entrepreneurship program).

Getting Fit

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In its final days at the Center For Architecture (closing Sept 7), “FitNation” is an exhibition in conjunction with NYC’s Active Design Guidelines and new Center for Active Design. The show presents “design, policy, and grassroots strategies to promote physical activity as part of daily life,” inspiring movement in its very exhibition design by Pentagram. Huge icons of people being active – swimming, running, skating, doing yoga – blanket the walls of the space against lovely blue backgrounds, and dimensional wall panels protrude from exhibition spaces, with encouraging typography seen activated at the right angles. Projects showing active design principles are on view, and suggestions for making environments more active are encouraged throughout.

Back to Business!

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What better way to start September than with new supplies. We are admiring the ingenuity and visually appealing experience of MobileGear’s online shop. Dedicated to the mobile workforce, with a slimmed-down selection of durable and multi-purpose goods, the site is smartly divided into function-based sections – like “Organize,” “Protect,” or “Home Office.” Best of all, the main navigation for each section is a beautiful, well-organized clickable layout of the goods (think Things Organized Neatly).

Sneaker Freaker

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Sometimes it takes a well-designed infographic to fully comprehend a subject over time. Pop Chart Lab’s great new Visual Compendium of Sneakers is a perfect summation of the evolution of the iconic comfortable & functional shoe: the sneaker. With graphic illustrations of sneaker highlights from each year since Converse’ Chuck Taylor All-Star in 1917, the chart is a view into a great shoe closet. Many of the earliest designs, like the All-Star, Adidas’ Samba, and Nike’s Cortex, are all still appreciated and in production today.

Scratch Travel

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The Scratch Map is nice new take on the tradition of marking travel on a map with pins. No pins necessary here, just a coin to scratch off foil over the countries, cities or states where you’ve travelled. Each map – whether of the world, the UK, US, or Europe – comes as a non-descript grey or brown poster. Scratch off a country you’ve been to, and lovely new colors are revealed, resulting in unique, personalized maps showing your travel bug.

The Power of Art

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We recently came across Arts@efa, a wonderful non-profit organization whose mission is to support revitalization of depreciated and overlooked communities through the arts. Arts@efa partners artists and creative initiatives with communities in need, focusing their efforts on small towns like Topeka, Kansas, Mobile, AL, and Hartford, CT. Projects supported include Artspace in Elgin, IL, – a $15 million building including artist work/live lofts, and retail and community space for arts-friendly businesses and non-profits.

England, Mapped

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Japanese illustrator Takayo Akiyama creates gorgeously involved maps celebrating British regions and culture. Her amazingly detailed London Nautical chart shows portholes looking onto the city maps as they are surrounded by elegant sea creatures. Her West of England Flannel map, commissioned by luxury brand Alfred Dunhill lovingly depicts the region, complete with cats and foxes as people in traditional dress.

In the Graph

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For many companies, the annual report is a long-winded, boring, strictly numbers summary of the year’s business. For  Ablynx however, Belgian design studio Coming Soon got interactive with presenting their information – literally. They enlarged all of the pie charts and graphs to larger-than-life size, creating and painting giant boxes for bar graphs, and pie slices for charts, making interaction a part of the whole report, and making it much more interesting.

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