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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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Pixelist

Your Instagram masterworks deserve to break free of their pixellated prisons, spread their wings and start a new life as... photorealist oil paintings! That's the transformative promise of Pixelist. The startup offers handmade oil paintings of any image you can capture or create, with "commissions" starting at $150. How? A bunch of willing and able Chinese painters sourced by founder Will Freeman, an Emory grad now based in Hong Kong. Notes Freeman, "We’re using the very thing that nearly killed realistic painting centuries ago -- the photograph -- to bring it back."

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House Blend

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Kitchen Pencil

Whether you aspire to write a novel while whipping up some macaroni, find yourself brimming with design ideas and the need to stir soup, or just take pride in multitasking, you'll want to add the Kitchen Pencil to your arsenal of writing utensils. Created by London-based Sebastian Bergne for ENO (Editor of New Objects), the solid beech wood object is half spoon, half pencil and all part of Bergne's goal to design things that elicit grins. "I like to think that different projects make different people smile for different reasons," said the designer. "The beauty is that there is no smiliest project. If there was, we would all be the same." Just take care while sharpening your dual-function kitchen tool, lest your dish receive an accidental pinch of pencil shavings.

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Magic Potion

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Logo Party

"It's not what you know that counts, it's what you do!" While that's not a sentiment we can rightfully endorse, it sums up the loopy logic of Logo Party, a brandtastic board game that tests your logo knowledge. Get your teammates to guess brands by giving them clues based upon the four ways to play: draw it, describe it, do it and reveal it. The first team to reach the "Logo Party Space" wins!

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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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Cabinet of Curiosities

Last year in downtown Manhattan, the former headquarters of the New York Mercantile Exchange were temporarily transformed into "Le Cabinet de Curiosités," an exhibition that combined contemporary art with 18th- and 19th-century antiquities in a setting that blurred time and categorization. Now the show, conceived and curated by Thierry Despont with Marlborough and Steinitz galleries, returns in the pages of a sumptuous new book from Assouline. From an astronomer’s cabinet to trompe l’oeil crumpled paper paintings by the late Claudio Bravo, the exotic interior is both seductive and disorienting.

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House Blend

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Husque

For those times when you feel like a nut, stock up on Husque products. Handmade in Australia, these colorful bowls, vases and platters are not only inspired by the smooth curves of macadamia nuts, they're also made from waste shells of the locally farmed crop. Queensland-based designer Marc Harrison developed the novel composite material, which is then colored and hand polished (with macadamia nut oil) to a lustrous gleam. The resulting objects, with their thick, faceted edges and brightly colored linings, look good enough to eat -- or at least eat off of.

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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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It's Modern

Whether you're looking to add to your own library or get a head start on holiday shopping for creative friends, you can't go wrong with Charles Churchward's It's Modern. (Rizzoli), a beautifully produced volume devoted to the late, great Alexander Liberman. The influential editorial director was also an accomplished photographer, artist and graphic designer. This book brings together his professional and personal oeuvres alongside works by the likes of Matisse, Beaton, Picasso, Avedon and Penn.

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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Turnover

Calling all art lovers in small spaces with imaginative minds: meet Turnover, illustrated and photographic panels that can be stacked on top of one another in a frame to create custom wall art. "In an era of customization, where everyone wants something unique to their personality, we have decided to reconsider the way we think about art," say founders Katie MacLachlan, Sisi Recht and Robyn Faith Donnelly. The New York-based company is now in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign, and backers will get first dibs on infinitely swappable, mix-and-match packs.

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House Blend

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Inkling

A magical writing utensil that instantly transforms your sketches into digital files? The Jetsons-esque concept is now within reach thanks to Wacom. The Tokyo-based company has developed the Inkling, a high-tech ink pen that uses ultrasonic and infrared technologies to capture a digital likeness of your work while you sketch with its ballpoint tip on any sketchbook or standard piece of paper (up to size A4). Transferring files to your computer for export to programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator is just a matter of clicks. Ready to put this miracle pen to the test? In exchange for $99, you can draw your own conclusions.

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Font Fizz

Typography
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Typography Calendar

Only 60 calendar shopping days 'til 2014! Keeping track of time takes on a typographical twist with the 365 Typographic Calendar, which sets each month in a different typeface. The calendar is the brainchild of Pentagram veteran Kit Hinrichs, who produces it through his San Francisco-based design office. "So many people, designers included, have no idea who designed the beautifully crafted typefaces that are very much a part of our everyday life," he says. "I wanted to enable people to become more aware of type as a designed object." The dozen typefaces celebrated in the 2014 edition were nominated by members of the illustrious Alliance Graphique Internationale, and in addition to holidays, the calendar notes the birthdays of the type designers along with their brief biographies or explanations of what inspired the design.

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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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Fritz Kahn

Get to know infographics pioneer Fritz Kahn (who was also a doctor, educator and popular science writer) in a new monograph from Taschen. On the 125th anniversary of Kahn's birth, brother and sister team Uta and Thilo von Debschitz delve into his extraordinary life and achievements, most notably the development of creative visualizations to explain complex scientific ideas. More than 350 illustrations with extensive captions are joined by original texts by Kahn, a foreword by Steven Heller and an essay that considers Kahn and his legacy.

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