When it comes to the most visually obsessed and culturally astute individuals on your holiday shopping list, the gift that keeps on giving is a subscription to Aperture. The 60-year-old quarterly, relaunched last year with a stunning new look masterminded by London-based graphic design studio A2/SW/HK, remains the world's most vital photography magazine. Each issue combines exquisite writing with inspiring (and suitable-for-framing) photographic portfolios.
Designing online forms just got a whole lot easier thanks to JotForm. The San Francisco-based startup recently released its new Form Designer, which offers a range of options for sizing, color selection, and font selection, all displayed in an eye- and brain-friendly WYSIWYG interface. To celebrate the launch of the retooled tool, JotForm is holding a form design contest, with a top prize of $7,500. Entries will be accepted through December 4th.
Having four kids in three years kept Anna Brockway and Gregg Brockway busy in more ways than one: they moved frequently to accommodate their growing family and often had furnishings—beautiful, stylish, well-made pieces—to jettison along the way. But how to sell them? The entrepreneurial couple created Chairish, a person-to-person online marketplace that cuts through the clutter with a curated approach. "Nothing is listed or sold that we don’t look at carefully and think is a great piece," explains co-founder and Saarinen womb chair lover Eric Grosse, the company's president. "We also understand that sometimes you change your mind—and that’s ok—so we allow buyers the option of returning their item if it doesn’t work out."
How sharp is your color acuity? Find out by taking X-Rite's Color IQ test. It's as easy as restoring a checkerboard of color chips to their proper ROYGBIV formation. The first and last chips in each of the four rows are fixed. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: drag and drop the ones in between to arrange them in hue order. Once you're confident in your efforts, click "Score Test" to see where you fall on the color IQ spectrum. The site will also provide historical score ranges by sex and age bracket. The real challenge: achieving the perfect score of zero. Meanwhile, don't let a low color IQ bring you down—just blame an improperly calibrated and profiled monitor.
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.