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One Flag Competition

Here's a lofty design task that doesn't require a big agency project: Help pick a flag to represent global citizenship. The activists over at Adbusters have narrowed their One Flag competition down to 32 finalists, and you can vote for the winner until March 17. You'll find complex, multilayered efforts—such as a flag woven with one strip from the flag of every country in the world—and simple solutions that elicit an immediate, emotional response: Two human fingerprints overlapping to form a heart.

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Digital Photography School

Simon Hoegsberg's photography project "We're all gonna die—100 meters of existence" has already created quite a stir. It's a striking 100-meter-long image featuring 178 people that he shot over 20 days from a railroad bridge in Berlin. Now there's an interview with him at the Digital Photography School website that shines a bright flash on motivations and methods behind the project. Learn why he thinks it's optimistic (despite the downer title), how he made it look like all those people were in one place at one time, and when you can see the work in person.

by Michelle Taute

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hugeType

If the folks at hugeType were to let us write their tagline, it might go something like this: "Type geeks seek fellow iPhone users for found type fun." The hugeType online experiment invites you to upload photos of individual letters and symbols to an online image pool. You'll find snapshots of everything from hand-painted letters to the size on the back of a bowling shoe. Each image is prepped for your iPhone screen, so you can spell out clever messages when you line up everyone's phones at happy hour.

by Michelle Taute

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Valentine's Day Song Lyrics

Valentine's Day tends to herd people into two polarized camps: blissfully coupled or bitter and alone. But Alyssa Pheobus' hand-drawn love song lyrics explore the messy territory in-between. Her graphite strokes intersperse provocative pieces of text—"No interest in free love" or "You ain't a beauty but hey you're alright"—with hash marks, intersecting lines and a sometimes-dizzying overlap of text and pattern. Imagine the maze of human relationships rendered on oversized cotton rag. See the work through Feb. 21 at Bellwether Gallery in New York or browse online.

by Michelle Taute

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Cereal-Box Notebooks

Now that you're sufficiently jazzed about cereal graphics, you might want to carry them with you everywhere you go. Or just add a clever little recycled notebook to your arsenal of sketching equipment. There's an endearing selection of hand-bound notebooks over at Etsy, featuring covers made from the fronts and backs of miniature cereal boxes. You can show your allegiance to Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran, Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops and more for only $7. Just don't drag a notebook showing a Kellogg's cereal into a client meeting with the folks at Post or General Mills.

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The Affluenza Exhibit

Typically, you might find the words "create vaccination" on a scientist's to-do list, but The Affluenza Exhibit shifts the burden to art and design realms. You have until Jan. 30 to propose a piece of art that offers up an insight or solution related to the dark underbelly of consumerism. If you're unfamiliar with affluenza, symptoms may include: debt, anxiety, banking bailouts or an obsession with money. (Use the nightly news for inspiration.) The resulting exhibition takes place March 19-28 in London.

by Michelle Taute

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Quit Your Day Job

You dream about quitting your job to sell your oil paintings, knitted iPod covers or other handmade obsession ... but how to make those skills pay the bills? Etsy's Quit Your Day Job series gives you an inside look at the transition from sideline gig to full-time business. These articles feature candid interviews with some of the site's thriving crafters, who dish on the good (no boss!), the bad (cash flow!) and everything in-between. Consider it required reading before putting in that two-week notice.

by Michelle Taute

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X-Acto Calendar

As 2008 disappears before our eyes, the most important thing on the to-do list isn't figuring out next year's resolutions—it's finding a wall calendar worth staring at for 12 months in a row. Nikki McClure's 2009 calendar takes all the fear out of the commitment with her artful paper-cut designs. From an intricate bird's nest to enchanting mushrooms, she uses an X-Acto knife to depict poetic visions of everyday life. She's paired each image with a simple reminder about living well, with lessons such as such as "know," "evolve" and "ditch the car."

by Michelle Taute

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Wood, Paper, Checkmark

Everyone loves FSC certification … well, everyone who knows what it means. The folks over at Design 21 believe more people would buy FSC products if they understood the materials come from sustainable forestry practices. How can you help spread the green word? Enter the Wood, Paper, Checkmark competition. It challenges designers to create a comprehensive campaign (read: play creative director) to raise FSC awareness. And with a Jan. 13 deadline, you'd better get cracking right now.

by Michelle Taute

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Bert Lettering

Jeremy Bert's signage alphabet is a lovable cast of strays. His hodge-podge letters—one each from A to Z—come from cast-off advertising signs, and they vary in shape, color and personality every bit as much as the puppets on Sesame Street. It's fascinating and maddening to ponder each letter's original context, a feat you can attempt in person through November 23 at Gather gallery in Seattle. Or just click through to the installation video for a behind-the-scenes look at how it all came together.

by Michelle Taute

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