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The designer’s thirst-quencher served weekly

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Wayne White

Fans of Pee-wee's Playhouse -- that is, everyone -- will recognize the distinctive creations of Wayne White, one of the creative minds (and voices) behind the show's puppets and insane charm. The designer, painter, puppeteer, sculptor and musician gets his well-deserved close-up in Beauty is Embarassing. The documentary, now available on platforms such as Vimeo and Netflix, not only examines White's deliciously madcap creative process, but also retraces his steps from childhood in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to parenthood in Los Angeles. "I hope audiences get that sense of joy that Wayne has about what he does everyday," says director Neil Berkeley. "That's the lesson I learned from him... spend every day doing work that makes you happy."

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Font Fizz

Typography
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Type on Screen

The extraordinary Ellen Lupton follows up her smash-hit primer Thinking with Type with a guide to the flickering, ephemeral world of type on screen. Published this month by Princeton Architectural Press, Type on Screen "surveys new design principles born of screen-based communication while drawing on traditions of form and function that have evolved over hundreds of years," writes Lupton in the book's preface. Pick up a copy to brush up on the finer points of web fonts, logotypes and animation alongside inspiring case studies.

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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The Luxe Project

Oops. You forgot your business cards. Again. Break the cycle by upgrading to sturdy morsels of lovingly printed cardstock you'll be proud to hand to strangers. In other words, get thee to Moo. The web-based print shop has earned a strong following of perfectionist creative types, in part by tapping top designers for its Luxe Project initiative. The latest guest creator is Jessica Hische, who has drawn upon her Daily Drop Cap project to create an elegant stationery set that includes customizable business cards, notecards and letterheads. Need another reason to snap up the latest Luxe set (available for a limited time)? All of the proceeds go to cat-loving Hische's charity of choice: the ASPCA.

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Slice

Designer scissors? Better nail clippers? Lime-green cheese graters with ceramic blades? We were skeptical, until we got our hands on products from Slice, the California-based company that offers a line of cutting tools that celebrate "bold design and extraordinary function." Slice has tapped top designers such as Karim Rashid, Yves Behar and Michael Graves to rethink everyday objects ranging from tweezers to spice grinders, and the results not only look impressive, they work better than their traditional counterparts.

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Hot Shots

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Monikers

Drunk Jeff Goldblum. Kool-Aid Man. The Kraken. Get your friends to guess names such as these to triumph in Monikers, a snappy update of the classic party game Celebrity. Now up for funding on Kickstarter, the deck-of-cards-based delight is the creation of Alex Hague and Justin Vickers, who have tapped some of their favorite web writers, game designers, and illustrators for maximum zaniness. "There’s something amazing about how the jokes build up, so that by the end of the game, everyone is sharing the same depraved hive mind," says Hague, "and all someone has to do is make some obscene thrusting gesture and everyone immediately knows they mean Ruth Bader Ginsburg—or whoever."

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Font Fizz

Typography
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Codex

Summer reading alert! Font fans will delight in Codex, a journal-magazine hybrid "for people seriously in love with type." Founded by writer, designer, and publisher John Boardley, the visually entrancing periodical celebrates and analyzes "the people, tools, and type associated with this craft, from the man carving beautiful cherubim into wood blocks in the 1400s to brilliantly formed modern interpretations and departures." The latest issue includes a beautiful foldout of Gastrotypographicalassemblage designed by Lou Dorfsman and Herb Lubalin for CBS.

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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Birdsnap

Toting around a thick field guide is for the birds. Identify flying creatures the modern way with Birdsnap, a new iPhone app that covers 500 common North American bird species. The free app was developed by researchers at Columbia University (the people that brought you Leafsnap!) and the University of Maryland using computer vision and machine learning techniques. Visual recognition technology can help to identify birds in photos you upload, and with a tap or two, you can automatically see visually similar species and learn how to distinguish them—or have the app generate a guide to local birds based on your location and the time of year.

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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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Typewriter Art

In 1898, Flora F. F. Stacey used a typewriter to "draw" a butterfly, beginning a rich creative legacy that is dwindling with the introduction of each new digital device. Get acquainted with the medium's greatest hits in Barrie Tullett's Typewriter Art, new from Chronicle Books. The analog-themed anthology ranges from historical works (the Bauhaus was apparently chock full of typewriters) to contemporary art. We think it's a key addition to any creative library.

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Font Fizz

Typography
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Helveticards

Swiss style. International fun. That's the promise of Helveticards, a deck that plays it sleek with the help of Max Miedinger's famed typeface. The king, queen, and jack are dethroned (and defaced) by capital letters—K, Q, and J—while two corners of each card feature not numerals but words ("Five of Clubs"), a touch that creator Ryan Myers describes as "a tongue-in-cheek celebration of Bauhaus-style Swiss design." As for those that grumble about the cards' aesthetics trumping their functionality, the designer takes it all in stride. "Design for design's sake? Sure, to a certain extent," says Myers. "What isn't? If that weren’t the case, we'd all be driving tear-drop shaped cars. But, we appreciate individuality and beauty in color, texture and shape."

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Hanno the Gorilla

Conquer your cluttered desk and massive pre-summer vacation to-do list with the help of Hanno, a wooden gorilla created by designer David Weeks. The beechwood beast is named for Hanno the Navigator—the Greek voyager who explored Africa 2,500 years ago and is credited with discovering gorillas—and shares his namesake's bravery, strength, and curiosity. Weeks's jointed wooden menagerie also includes Ursa the bear, Lucy the crocodile, and Simus the rhinoceros.

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