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The designer’s thirst-quencher served weekly

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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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Back to the Future

Irina Werning admits to being nosy when it comes to old photographs. "As soon as I step into someone else’s house, I start sniffing for them," says the Buenos Aires-based artist. "I like to imagine how people would feel and look like if they were to reenact them today." She started doing just that a few years ago—taking old photographs and then painstakingly restaging them—sparking a project that took her to 32 countries and resulted in Back to the Future (teNeues), a mesmerizing look at aging that also serves as a reminder of the charms and varieties of analaog photography in the age of Instagram.

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Hot Shots

Meet some creative people
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Sabi

Meet Sabi, a company that aims "to transform life's small tasks into moments of joy" through better designed lifestyle and wellness products. From a debut line of Yves Behar-designed pill organizers and related accessories (vitamin pulverizers, sleek carafes), the Palo Alto-based company moved onto colorful, eye-popping canes created in collaboration with Rie Norregard. Now they've teamed with Barber and Osgerby’s MAP Project Office in London for a collection of bathroom storage and organization pieces made of modern materials. "We love seeing people use products they really enjoy, and we intend to keep making them," say the founders. "Who knows which flavorless product category we will innovate next?"

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Tinsel Tape

If the thought of once again wrestling with a thicket of Christmas lights and hauling home an unwieldy Douglas Fir has you feeling like the Grinch, we have the perfect way to streamline your imminent December decorating: Atypyk's Tinsel Tape, 75 feet of the festive silver stuff photoprinted onto clear packing tape. Grab one roll for decking the halls and another to add some cheer to those gifts you'll be mailing across the miles. Heading to a last-minute holiday party? Simply wrap a few inches around your wrist or waist for a witty bracelet or belt that will stick with you.

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Font Fizz

Typography
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Hello I Am Erik

Get to know Erik Spiekermann—the man, the myth, the legendary typographer, designer, and entrepreneur—in the pages of Hello I am Erik, new from Gestalten. The visual biography, edited, written, and designed by Johannes Erler with contributions by a host of design luminaries and fellow professional typomaniacs, is set entirely in Real, a typeface Spiekermann designed especially for the book. He also weighed in on the blazing neon cover. "I’m not much of a color person. I'm very black-and-white," said Spiekermann at a talk held earlier this week in New York City. "But I’ve always liked orange dayglo."

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Better Bags

In a world awash in totes, carryalls, and gadget sleeves, we've found a new favorite in Carga. The New York-based company's rugged bags are produced in a family-run workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina using a pattern-free "zero-wastage" process: each one is made from single strips of material (felt, leather, industrial-grade canvas) cut from side to side, without any further trimming, and often riveted rather than sewn. Meanwhile, the striking lines of each Carga creation come thanks to founder Mauro Bianucci, who trained as an architect at the University of Buenos Aires before turning his sharp eye to accessories.

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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In Top Form

Designing online forms just got a whole lot easier thanks to JotForm. The San Francisco-based startup recently released its new Form Designer, which offers a range of options for sizing, color selection, and font selection, all displayed in an eye- and brain-friendly WYSIWYG interface. To celebrate the launch of the retooled tool, JotForm is holding a form design contest, with a top prize of $7,500. Entries will be accepted through December 4th.

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Kool Ade

Old school, retro picks
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Awkward Stock Photos

Grasping for last-minute Halloween costume ideas? Best not to seek inspiration from Awkward Stock Photos, an addictive Tumblr of visual oddities that tends toward the hilarious and brain-scarring (you've been warned). Strange tableaus such as a young ballerina posing on a train track, a man getting his had shaved with an ax, and identical twins sharing a mock-turtleneck sweater defy all explanation yet set the mind reeling: What were they thinking? What key words would turn up this gem in a stock photo search? Just don't get any ideas of swiping these photo for your own projects. According to ASP creator Mark Hauge, a Chicago-based graphic designer, "This site is strictly for nonprofit educational purposes and/or laughter."

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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Chairish

Having four kids in three years kept Anna Brockway and Gregg Brockway busy in more ways than one: they moved frequently to accommodate their growing family and often had furnishings—beautiful, stylish, well-made pieces—to jettison along the way. But how to sell them? The entrepreneurial couple created Chairish, a person-to-person online marketplace that cuts through the clutter with a curated approach. "Nothing is listed or sold that we don’t look at carefully and think is a great piece," explains co-founder and Saarinen womb chair lover Eric Grosse, the company's president. "We also understand that sometimes you change your mind—and that’s ok—so we allow buyers the option of returning their item if it doesn’t work out."

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Green Cube

If you've ever returned from a trip to discover your favorite plant reduced to a parched pile of leaves, you'll want to treat your photosynthetic friends to the Boskke Cube. Designer Patrick Morris deconstructed the traditional plant pot and added an ingenious irrigation system to create this self-watering planter, which acts as a reservoir for a month’s supply of water. “The clear plastic body reveals the water, soil, and roots of the plant, allowing you to witness firsthand the mechanics of plant growth,” says Morris of the Cube, which comes in assorted sizes. “And great for all those travelers…you only need to water it once a month.”

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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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Alphabetabum

The standard alphabet book takes a turn for the nostalgic—and slightly creepy—in Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka's Alphabetum, new from the New York Review Children's Collection. The benevolent ghost of Edward Gorey hovers over the book's faux-weathered pages, on which vintage photos of children (from Radunsky's vast collection of antique black-and-white photographs) are joined by playfully alliterative names and rhymes penned by Raschka. Among the questions posed by the authors: Are these children our great-great-great grandparents? We knew "Excellent Edwin Eugene" looked familiar!

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