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The designer’s thirst-quencher served weekly

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Kool Ade

Old school, retro picks
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Hanx Writer

Tom Hanks loves typewriters. "Everything you type on a typewriter sounds grand, the words forming in mini-explosions of SHOOK SHOOK SHOOK," wrote the actor in a 2013 New York Times editorial. "A thank-you note resonates with the same heft as a literary masterpiece." For those that seek analog charm without sacrificing digital convenience, there is Hanx Writer, a new app that turns your iPad into a maker of "pieces of graphic art with a singularity equal to your fingerprints" (Hanks's defintion of typewritten letters). No White-Out required.

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House Blend

Interesting products
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rOtring 800+

In 1928, rOtring debuted the world's first nibless fountain pen and laid the Bauhaus-influenced groundwork for a legacy in writing utensils. The latest addition to the German company's collection of cult creative tools is the 800+. Created to enable designers to "think on paper + think on digital,” the ultraprecise mechanical pencil doubles as a stylus. Rationalize the price ($85.00) by considering its unique hybrid nature—and all the time and energy you'll save not having to swap utensils as you go from paper to touchscreen.

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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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Design and Content

Use the dregs of August to polish off your summer reading list and then make way for Design and Content, out next month from Princeton Architectural Press. It's the long-in-the-making first monograph of graphic design star and Pentagram partner Abbott Miller, whose creative genius manages to look just as stunning when channeled into a museum exhibition, identity design, magazine, iPad app, or, in this case, a 240-page hardcover book that is chock full of inspiring images.

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Hot Shots

Meet some creative people
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This Monster

In a world of slicker-than-slick children's apps (far too many of which seem to involve applying digital makeup to virtual faces), a quirky and creative standout is This Monster. Art director and graphic designer Julianna Goodman created the interactive short story ($1.99 on the App Store) after failing to find a digital version of cherished books from her childhood: handcrafted, thoughtful, and more like a poem than a video game. She filled the app with colorful, touchable-looking materials as well as original music and sound effects to weave a tale that stars color-eating monsters—iPad-savvy mutant progeny of Eric Carle's insatiable analogue caterpillar.

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Postcard Notepads

So many photos. So little time. Grab 24 or 36 of your favorite digital images and transform them into a postcard notepad, a utilitarian take on the photo album. It's one of the DIY papergoods offered by Los Angeles-based Paper Chase Press. Simply head to the website of the family-run press, bindery, and publishing house, select your size and paperstock, and upload away. Your sturdy, chipboard-backed notebook will be on its way to you within a couple of weeks.

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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In Common Images

Photography meets philanthropy with In Common Images, a photobank with a purpose. Part of the broader Milestones Project, the Littleton, Colorado-based initiative allows photographers to "donate" images that businesses and organizations can license for their own non-commercial use. A portion of the licensing fee (currently $300 per photo) then goes to a nonprofit designated by the photographer. The concept of "uncommon photos for the common good" is catching on fast, with more than 70,000 images uploaded to the site so far.

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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Found

Prepare to get lost in Found, a curated collection of photography from the National Geographic archives. The mesmerizing Tumblr was launched last year to celebrate the organization’s 125th anniversary and is still going strong with an inspirational mix of world culture and nostalgia. “Some of these photos have never been published before, others were in the magazine years ago but since then have rarely been seen by the public,” note the editors of Found. “Their beauty has been lost to the outside world.” Visit frequently and scroll slowly.

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Mixed Drinks

Must-see places or events
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Savings-o-rama

Some may call our habit of e-sourcing all of our material possessions, foodstuffs and travel arrangements lazy. We prefer efficient. A (literally) saving grace in this Internet shopping obsession—oops, make that endeavor—is Ebates, a sounds-too-good-to-be-true-but-is-really-that-good site that gives you cash back on purchases from more than 1,700 online stores, from Staples and Target to Poppin and TOMS Shoes. It's as simple as signing up, clicking through Ebates when you shop at a participating store and waiting for your quarterly "Big Fat Check" to arrive.

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Magneto

The secret to one of our favorite lamps from the bright lights at Foscarini? Magical magnets. At the heart of designer Giulio Iacchetti's versatile "Magneto" lamp is a small magnetic ball that affords total flexibility and control of the intense light beam, making it an ideal choice for creative workspaces. The magnetic force joins the microphone-like lamp's support rod with a cicular base and an LED, resulting in an effect that is at once elegant (a special channel houses the cable) and mysterious. Choose from table or floor versions of Magneto, available in red or gray.

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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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Rube Goldberg Redux

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) is synonymous with his elaborate chain-reaction approach to completing simple tasks, but he was also an established cartoonist, humorist, sculptor, and engineer. The master of contraptions and comics gets his due in the sumptuously illustrated pages of The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius, published by Abrams ComicArts. Authored by Goldberg's granddaughter, Jennifer George, the book delves into his long off-limits archives to reveal and celebrate the many (moving) parts of Goldberg's astonishing career.

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