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A Day in the Life of a Star Wars Imperial Army Soldier

Stormtroopers fishing

Swedish photographer Kristina Alexanderson created an interesting challenge for herself 332 days ago: take a picture every day for a year of Star Wars stormtroopers—new and old—in a variety of daily life activities. Using only the action figures, tiny props, and cleverly, a LEGO figurine as a child stormtrooper, Alexanderson images sweetly humanize these not-so-nice foot soldiers of Darth Vader and the Dark Side.

Going the Extra Mile

Too often, designers take the easy way out. We Photoshop images, use pre-made textures, make things look like “this” without actually being “this.” It’s not as if we mean to be phonies, but a shortage of time, energy, and resources forces one to take the quickest, most efficient route. Usually it leads us straight to the computer. This is a shame, since there is something to be said about the authenticity of good design. We should be taking the time to carve that logo into a plank of wood if that’s what the project calls for. Or scan that filleted fish to get the perfect background. As designers, we are responsible for the integrity we create. Every effort should be taken to execute a concept in all of the glory from which it originated in your mind. The details are key and every element of a finished piece is telling of the process, as well as the eventual worth of the piece as a creative artifact.

Director Dulcidio Caldeira of ParanoidBR had details in mind when he shot this video for MTV Brazil (though the sound track may be one detail he overlooked). The video is a clever animation with the tagline “A Musica Nao Para” (Not for the Music). The cartoon captures that idea by depicting some of the more notorious characters in rock music history. Caldeira takes this simple animation a step further by using the unique properties of a balloon to create a tactile and dynamic flip-book effect in quite an unusual way.

The time and resources it must have taken to create this one minute video had to have been extensive. Yet without that effort, the payoff would not have been nearly as satisfying. The moral of the story: Don’t cheapen your design efforts by taking the easy way out. Go the extra mile—even if it’s made up of balloons.

Georgia and Verdana Go Pro

After what seems like decades (in internet time anyway), two of the most prominently used web-safe fonts have finally expanded their families. Not only do Georgia Pro and Verdana Pro offer Light, Semibold, Black, and even condensed versions, but Webtype has also been so bold as to create Small Caps, oldstyle figures, and other OpenType options for web embedding (as has Font Bureau for print). So, if you like to stick to the classics, the days of trying to fit the entire typographic hierarchy of your website into two font weights are over.

Someday, Iceland. Someday.

I have a mild to medium obsession with all things related to the homeland of Björk. It is a country of extreme contrasts—a place where fire and ice co-exist, where the Aurora Borealis meets summer’s midnight sun. It is next on my list of far away lands to visit and things like this breathtaking time-lapse video from photographer Joe Capra fuel that desire. Made over 17 essentially sleepless days in June, Capra shot 38,000 images and traveled 2900 miles across the spectacular landscape capturing Iceland’s amazingly vivid colors, unusual shapes and beautiful light.

Everything is a Remix

“The act of creation is surrounded by a fog of myths.” So begins part three of Kirby Ferguson’s “Everything is a Remix” series, which explores the acts of creation: copy, transform and combine. The elements of creativity are set with notable examples and historical context. Take a look and learn why Ferguson argues that “creativity isn’t magic.”

The Ten Commandments of Dieter Rams

The day after the Brand New Conference in San Francisco, I visited the SFMOMA with my friend Earl Gee and we enjoyed the special exhibit of Dieter Rams. The famous German industrial designer’s ten principles for good design are timeless: (1) Good design is innovative, (2) Good design makes a product useful, (3) Good design is aesthetic, (4) Good design makes a product understandable, (5) Good design is honest, (6) Good design is unobtrusive, (7) Good design is long lasting, (8) Good design is thorough down to the last detail, (9) Good design is environmentally friendly, (10) Good design is as little as possible. No surprise, then, that Rams himself recently remarked “Apple is the only company designing products according to my principles.”

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