Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

30 SEPTEMBER, 2009

Responsive Shapes: Minivegas Digital Sculptures

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What Daft Punk have to do with sculpture and the evolution of storytelling.

If you didn’t catch us raving about it on Twitter earlier this week, here’s your chance to catch up on this brilliant piece of work by directing collective Minivegas — a virtual gallery, featuring a visualizer rendering digital sculptures in real time in response to sound and gestures.

The gallery walls are adorned with album artwork of the mp3′s loaded into the visualizer (including the appropriately chosen Daft Punk classic, Technologic), with the music itself driving the shape-shifting mutations of the sculptures. The shapes can also be manipulated with hand-motion using a webcam.

Refreshingly innovative, this work illustrates an exciting intersection of multiple senses and multiple media — a beautiful epitome of the evolution of modern storytelling.

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28 SEPTEMBER, 2009

Data Posters: FlowingPrints

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Yellow buses, Scantron sheets and why teachers prefer California.

We love data visualization. And FlowingData is among the smartest, most compelling curators of the discipline. Today, they launch the long-awaited FlowingPrints poster series — gorgeous original prints, in sets based around specific data themes.

The inaugural set features three prints about education. Enrollment and Dropouts reveals historical patterns of attendance, illuminating both the progress made so far and the need for further improvement. College High exposes the staggering disconnect between average income and yearly cost of higher education. How America Learns: By The Numbers was inspired by the nostalgic tangram puzzles of childhood, divulging the complexity of all that goes into learning.

The series is both beautiful and revelational, offering a conceptually and aesthetically sophisticated way to explore fascinating data stories.

Besides, let’s face it, no matter how inspired and creative a piece of data visualization may be, the sheer size of the computer screen often sells it short. (GOOD Transparencies, we’re looking at you.)

And now for a special Brain Pickings treat: Get $20 off when you order the set here and use the discount code CQ4W9GWH.

Enjoy — we certainly are.

We’ve launched a weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays, offers the week’s articles, and features five more tasty bites of web-wide interestingness. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

25 SEPTEMBER, 2009

Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Victorian Curiosities

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Cards, stamps, and what zebras have to do with Victorian craftsmen.

We love visual thinking. And we’re all about curiosity. Naturally, we’re head over heels with painter, artist and bookbinder Johnny Carrera’s Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities — a charming, chunky volume of over 1,500 engravings from Webster’s 19th-century dictionaries.

Cleaned, restored and curated in a captivating and unusual reference guide for modernity, these engravings are both novel and iconic, radiating the enigmatic luster of vintage Victorian aesthetic. From to Aardvark to Zebra, the alphabetically arranged gem is both archival record and aesthetic feat, a treat for history geeks and design aficionados alike.

Also from the series, 26 delightfully nostalgic wall cards, one for each letter of the alphabet, reproducing the engravings from the book on sumptuously heavy card stock with superb typography.

And for a lovely final touch on this visual exploration of vintage curiosity, check out the Pictorial Webster’s Stamp Set, an extraordinarily authentic collection of actual historic engravings, embellished with all the details of line execution, shading, and perspective you’d expect from meticulous Victorian craftsmanship — not your average rubber stamp clip-art.

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