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The designer’s thirst-quencher served weekly

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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Rorshöck Treatment

I say Rorschach, you say Rorshöck. Rather than call the whole thing off, let's explore what that means with the help of a psychodiagnostic card game. Rorshöck In Color offers self-serve therapy through 20 original color ink blot cards, made much more fun than the real thing through the wacky photography and suggested responses printed on the reverse. An irrational diagnosis booklet is included to aid in analyzing. And the game's spiffy packaging, the work of San Jose-based Rotodesign, gives a new meaning to "shrink wrap."

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Guggenheim Color

Hunting for the perfect paint color? Try the purply blue favored by van Gogh or a Gauguin-ish green. These are just some of the shades to choose from with Guggenheim Color, a line of wall colors. Woodstock, Vermont-based Fine Paints of Europe teamed with New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to create two paint collections suitable for residential and commercial use. The Classical Colors range offers 150 colors drawn from paintings in the Guggenheim's permanent collection, while the more subued Gallery Colors consist of 50 hues favored by generations of Guggenheim curators, artists, and designers including Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the museum and originally wanted to make its exterior red, "the color of creation."

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Kool Ade

Old school, retro picks
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Gift Shop of Horrors

Before you plan your summer vacation, pay a visit to Crap Souvenirs, a photo blog that delights in commemorative kitsch. "This site is meant to serve as a collection point, or perhaps a refuge, for the tackiest of mementos," notes editor Doug Lansky, who solicits snapshots from around the globe, adds witty descriptions, and invites readers to vote for their favorites. Among the early hits are a bottle opener featuring the face of Pope John Paul II, a stuffed camel whose flashing red eyes almost make you forget that its flank is embroidered with "EGYBT" (oops!), and a Mount Rushmore oil lamp that would appall and frighten even the most grizzled Antiques Roadshow appraiser.

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Font Fizz

Typography
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Type:Rider

The search for a fontastic pastime is here in Type:Rider. Created by Paris-based interactive studio Cosmografik in conjunction with the European cultural TV channel Arte, the elegant puzzle game (available for iOS and Android) follows two plucky dots on their adventure through the history of typographical styles and techniques, from cave paintings to pixels. A series of ten worlds are brought to life through historical images, artwork, and music to reveal key periods in the history of type.

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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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Say Wa?

The Japanese concept of "wa" is one of harmony, gentleness, and peace: qualities embodied in the country's distinctive design aesthetic. In a book of the same name, out later this month from Phaidon, authors Rossella Menegazzo and Stefania Piotti explore the way in which Japanese design harnesses materials ranging from bamboo to polymer-coated membranes in an elegant balance of tradition and cutting-edge experimentation.

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Kool Ade

Old school, retro picks
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Typewriter Rescue

Miss the old-timey clackety-clack and sturdy buttons of manual typewriters but not about to abandon the digital world? Check out the USB Typewriter, described by Philadelphia-based inventor Jack Zylkin as "a new and groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence." Originally conceived as a kit to teach basic electronics, the retro-modern creation allows you to use a manual typewriter as a keyboard for any USB-capable computer, including an iPad, with the addition of newfangled keyboard functions such as Ctrl, Esc, and arrow keys.

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Hot Shots

Meet some creative people
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20x200

After a hiatus for much of last year, 20x200 is back with more original yet affordable works by up-and-coming artists, designers, and photographers. The online gallery's name is a nod to founder Jen Bekman's original smart and simple formula for selling art online: (limited editions x low prices) + the Internet = equal-opportunity art with a tantalizingly low barrier to entry. 20x200 introduces new pieces each week in various sizes, with prices ranging from $24 per print to larger works in smaller runs at higher price points. Says Bekman, "We're really excited about creating a place where almost any art lover can be an art collector."

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Kool Ade

Old school, retro picks
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Omni

Before the digital revolution there was Omni. The strangely enchanting popular science magazine was created by Penthouse founder Bob Guccione, which explains the touches of sex and flashy graphic design amidst the science news and science fiction. Omni folded in 1998 after a two-decade run, but The Mind's Eye: The Art of Omni, due out in June from powerHouse Books, will serve up the publication's vintage science fiction imagery. Meanwhile, an Omni reboot is already underway online, where the search for lost images and kindred sprits will continue.

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Charcoal Soap

Rare is the soap that doubles as a chic, antibacterial paperweight, but we've found it in this onyx-hued oval from Japan. It's infused with Binchō-tan, traditional white charcoal, that has all sorts of Zen powers of purification. Keep the bar handy to exfoliate, moisturize, and carry away any lurking impurities in a cloud of dusky bubbles.

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Moleskine Bags

In the wake of its 2013 initial public offering, Moleskine continues to expand beyond little black notebooks. The latest addition to the Milan-based company assortment is myCloud, a line of bags and wallets "for everyday and extraordinary journeys." Created with both form and functionality in mind, the bags are analog networks of compartments, loops, and pockets designed to fit on-the-road essentials such as a laptops, tablets, notebooks (of course), and pens. Other nice touches include colored linings that make it easier to find things in a rush and Velcro closures for battening down your belongings.

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