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The designer’s thirst-quencher served weekly

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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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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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Book Brew

New and upcoming books
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Favelization

Is the exotic Brazil that we see referenced and traded upon in contemporary film, fashion, and design real or imaginary? Or perhaps a little of both? These are among the questions addressed by author Adriana Kertzer in Favelization, a new ebook that is part of the DesignFile series launched last year by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Kertzer, a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Arts & Design, sets out to understand the ways in which specific producers of contemporary Brazilian culture capitalized on misappropriations of the favela (informal squatter settlements that grow along the hillsides and lowlands of many Brazilian cities) in order to brand luxury items as “Brazilian.”

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Hot Shots

Meet some creative people
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Extreme by Design

Design for extreme affordability. That’s the challenge presented by one course at Stanford University’s Institute of Design (better known as the d.school); how students address it—drawing on methods from engineering and industrial design in combination with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences, and insights from the business world—is the subject of a new documentary. In Extreme by Design, available on iTunes, Ralph King Jr. and Michael Schwarz follow d.schoolers as they develop potentially life-saving products for those in the developing countries they visit.

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House Blend

Interesting products
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Drumstick Pencils

Percussion meets pencils in the latest addition to our ever-expanding collection of novel writing utensils. Designed by London-based Moko Sellars, the Drumstick Pencil goes from work (the pencil end) to play (the drumstick end) and back again. Suck UK produces them with classic HB graphite using wood from well-managed forests, so you'll never write--or play--a bad note.

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Magic Potion

Cool ideas & design solutions
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Mission: Impossible

Imagine if there was a way that you could communicate what you need and, lo and behold, somebody might turn up and actually do that. That's the concept that inspired model, actress, and social entrepreneur Lily Cole to create Impossible.com, a riff on "I'm possible." The new website and app, backed by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, encourages people to do things for others for free. People can post wishes of things that they want or need help with; offer what they can give, whether things or skills; and then create posts of thanks once their wish is granted.

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