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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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Six Monkeys

Take a break from your perpetually overstuffed inbox to contemplate the future of email with the help of Six Monkeys, an exploration of our interactions with email through Internet-connected objects. Commissioned by Mailchimp (hence the simian theme: each of the objects is named after a famous chimpanzee used in linguistic research), the project considers how we might change our relationship to email by placing it within our everyday spaces, with the help of kinder, gentler gadgets.

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Font Fizz

Typography
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Type Connection

Will Avenir live happily after in the strong yet graceful arms of Adobe Garamond Pro? Can Martha Stewart-y Archer ever make it work with Eurostile? See for yourself by playing Type Connection, a fontastic online dating game created by designer Aura Seltzer. Choose a single and get ready to mingle by selecting one of four strategies for finding a good match for your bachelor or bachelorette typeface. In addition to honing typeface-pairing skills, players explore typographic terminology and brush up on type history. Meanwhile, you'll never look at Gil Sans the same way again -- the British octogenarian is revealed to be an emotional eater who wears quirky spectacles.

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Hot Shots

Meet some creative people
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Mvstard

Between Quirky and Kickstarter comes Mvstard, which aims to offer a new way to discover, shop for, and support design. Launched yesterday to coincide with London Design Week, the web-based platform was born out of a frustration with the current process for getting product to market. "We found it difficult to introduce new products at a sensible cost without scale, and tough to get scale without big investment," says founder James Coombes. "We believed there was a better way." Sign up to help solve the chicken-and-egg scale issue and directly support designers by committing to pre-purchase products you love. The opening selection includes an iPhone-charging desk lamp, a mobile made of varnished leaves, and a nifty cast-aluminum stool.

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Kool Ade

Old school, retro picks
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On Repasts Past

Order up some delicious inspiration with Menu Design in America, 1850–1985, published by Taschen. Design writer Steven Heller provides the appetizer, an introduction on the history of menu design, but the main course consists of almost 800 color graphics from vintage menus. And for dessert? Fascinating captions by the book's editor, Jim Heimann, who reveals the backstories of defunct establishments and calls out oddities such as the mention of "Eastern Oysters" on the menu of a San Francisco eatery. "The menu has gone beyond a mere element of a restaurant to a marketing tool, a branding opportunity, an indicator of cuisine, a barometer of taste, and a highly sought piece of ephemera," writes Heimann in his foreword. Creative types are sure to work up an appetite perusing the jumbo-sized coffee table tome, so avoid reading it on an empty stomach.

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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Circle Up

Why should square and rectangular frames have all the fun? Advocating for a more well-rounded distribution of shapes is Hamburg-based Jo Marie Farwick, creator of "Everything Looks Better in Circles." The delightful Tumblr reveals the fetching results that only an angle-free profile can provide, whether in showcasing an Eames House Bird perched on a log, a beach scene, or a veritable army of kittens.

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Loomi

Let there be...Loomi! The modular, makeable, paintable, recyclable light is a design-minded DIYer's dream. It arrives in pieces: 33 quadrilaterals of sturdy matte card stock that can be interlinked to create lights of all shapes and sizes. "It's not that hard! Honest," promise the Brooklyn-based team of friends who developed Loomi—with the help an expired Danish patent from the 1970s and a successful Kickstarter campaign. "If you follow our instructions, you'll be up and lighting in about 20 minutes. And remember, you only have to build it once!"

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Font Fizz

Typography
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Comic Sans Criminal

Next time you encounter an egregious misuse of Comic Sans (i.e., pretty much anytime the font is used), get the offender into typographic rehab with Comic Sans Criminal. London-based designer Matt Dempsey created the cheeky online primer to explore the myriad inappropriate uses of the widely loathed font. Visitors get a bit of backstory on Comic Sans, a quick review of its acceptable and unacceptable contexts, and finally, the opportunity to pledge that they will exercise caution in all future use.

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Hot Shots

Meet some creative people
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For No Good Reason

The work of Ralph Steadman took a turn for the Gonzo in the 1970s, when the British-born artist and illustrator teamed up with Hunter S. Thompson to respond to "the screaming lifestyle of America." He never looked back. See the world through his creativity-crazed eyes in For No Good Reason, a documentary now available on DVD and iTunes. Made over the course of 15 years by director Charlie Paul and narrated by Johnny Depp, the film is an animated, image-soaked, and ultimately uplifting wild ride through Steadman's career and aesthetic.

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Font Fizz

Typography
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Typeradio

"Type is speech on paper. Typeradio is speech on type." That's the mantra of the must-listen-to radio channel on type and design. Tune in -- via the Typeradio Micro FM broadcast, MP3 Internet radio stream or podcast -- for font-themed questions, answers, performances, events, and talks online and onstage. Recent guests on the broadcast include leading creative minds from around the world, such as Rick Poynor, Paul Sahre, Simon Garfield and Irma Boom.

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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Papirmass

Part magazine, part work of art, part social experiment, Papirmass (a play on the Danish word for pulp) wants everyone to have art -- the real thing. "Not the fake paintings sold at department stores or the same tired old posters every college student has," says founder Kirsten McCrea. "We want images to travel and people to get excited about seeing." It's a mission that the Toronto-based company is accomplishing by subscription. Every month Papirmass subscribers receive a new print with art on the front and writing on the back. Expect the unexpected, from collages and graffiti-inspired portraits to short stories and graphic novel excerpts.

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