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.
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.
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.
Your personalized playlists deserve to be heard through tailor-made earphones. Treat yourself to a pair of Normals ($199, including shipping and tax), made using "nerdalicious software and 3D printing to sculpt each one-of-a-kind pair" by Normal. Ear measuring not required. The startup, located "on the elf-ear-shaped island of Manhattan," has created an app that makes getting fitted for your bespoke earbuds as easy as snapping a photo of each ear. "The result is a premium sound made for the strange pieces of cartilage on either side of your head," note the founders. "And no one else's."
Photography meets philanthropy with In Common Images, a photobank with a purpose. Part of the broader Milestones Project, the Littleton, Colorado-based initiative allows photographers to "donate" images that businesses and organizations can license for their own non-commercial use. A portion of the licensing fee (currently $300 per photo) then goes to a nonprofit designated by the photographer. The concept of "uncommon photos for the common good" is catching on fast, with more than 70,000 images uploaded to the site so far.
Prepare to get lost in Found, a curated collection of photography from the National Geographic archives. The mesmerizing Tumblr was launched last year to celebrate the organization’s 125th anniversary and is still going strong with an inspirational mix of world culture and nostalgia. “Some of these photos have never been published before, others were in the magazine years ago but since then have rarely been seen by the public,” note the editors of Found. “Their beauty has been lost to the outside world.” Visit frequently and scroll slowly.
The mark-up on designer clothes is no secret: try eight times what they cost to make. Everlane offers an alternative. The peppy, transparency-obsessed e-tailer aims to challenge the system with its own line of "designer-quality essentials" for men and women—think well-cut tees, sweaters, and a killer weekender bag—at half the typical price. A new collection launches online every month.
Just when you thought you had squeezed every last morsel of enhanced, shared, and tagged pleasure out of your digital photos comes Tunepics, a sharp-looking app (free to download from Apple's app store) that makes it possible to give each of your images its own soundtrack. The creators, on a mission to unite music and images, are playing up the emotional dimension with colorful mood charts (feeling blue or just Rhapsody in Blue?) and image filters, so you can match the music to the photo or vice-versa.
What began as Ethan Lipsitz's college hobby of tweaking his friends' hoodie sweatshirts is now a burgeoning fashion company with a DIY twist. Los Angeles-based Apliiq ("It rhymes with unique and freak," advise Lipsitz and his team) collects rare, deadstock and recognizable textiles and applies them to everyday garments (think crying-out-for-customization American Apparel tees). The website offers an ever-changing assortment of limited-edition products and a fabric library that makes for a dizzying array of possible color and texture combinations.
The 3D-printing revolution is coming for you. Succumb painlessly with MakerBot PrintShop, a new (and free) app that allows you to harness the mind-boggling power of one of the company's newest desktop 3D printers with little more than an iPad and a dream. Ideally, that dream would be of a sign, letter, nameplate, piece of jewelry, or other customizable object that is not bigger than a breadbox—unless you favor petite loaves. Notes MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis of the new app, "We have removed the obstacle of not knowing 3D design to be able to 3D print."