In a world of slicker-than-slick children's apps (far too many of which seem to involve applying digital makeup to virtual faces), a quirky and creative standout is This Monster. Art director and graphic designer Julianna Goodman created the interactive short story ($1.99 on the App Store) after failing to find a digital version of cherished books from her childhood: handcrafted, thoughtful, and more like a poem than a video game. She filled the app with colorful, touchable-looking materials as well as original music and sound effects to weave a tale that stars color-eating monsters—iPad-savvy mutant progeny of Eric Carle's insatiable analogue caterpillar.
What do punk rock and Swiss modernism have in common? Nothing, unless you count Swissted, an ongoing project of graphic designer Mike Joyce. When not busy running Stereotype Design in New York City, he gives an international typographic style twist to vintage punk, hardcore, new wave, and indie rock show flyers, all of which are posted on his website and available to purchase in the form of prints and iPhone cases. "Each design is set in lowercase Berthold Akzidenz-Grotesk Medium—not Helvetica," notes Joyce, a stickler for historical accuracy. "Every single one of these shows actually happened."
Polish up your photography skills in time for summer vacation snaps with Magnum Stories, new from Phaidon. A visual journey through the past six decades, the book features the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Eugene Richards, Martin Parr, Inge Morath and 55 other Magnum photographers. Each is represented by a fully illustrated photo story of their choice and a text that takes readers behind the lens.
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."
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."
Crowdsourcing and tattoos sounds like a dangerous combination, but not in the hands of Dottinghill. The site is serious about "skin accessories" (read: temporary water-transfer body tattoos). "We believe that temporary tattoos have been neglected as a great medium for people to express themselves artistically," say the Singapore-based founders. In addition to functioning as a marketplace, Dottinghill is a platform for designers to submit their original ideas for temporary tattoos. Submitted designs are scored by community members and selected designers are then compensated for the exclusive license to use their work, so they have skin in the game.
Determined to remember her late grandmother Elizabeth as the wonderful force of nature that she was, Welsh illustrator and animator Gemma Green-Hope created "Gan-Gan." The short video uses archival photographs, contemporary footage, inherited possessions (books, diaries, a knife carved from the wood of HMS Victory), and a touch of whimsy to tell the story of a life well-lived.
In the course of working on projects for IBM, art director Sue Murphy was forever discovering graphic design gold in the company's deep archives. "Because of the nature of the Internet, not a lot of this is available easily online," notes Murphy, an art director at Oglivy & Mather in New York. "Or God forbid–hi res!" She is changing that with Good Design Is Good Business, a Tumblr that takes its name from a 1973 speech by Thomas Watson, Jr., IBM's second president. The online collection of posters, by the likes of Ogilvy, Paul Rand, and Carl De Torres, is sure to make you THINK.
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."
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.