Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘omnibus’

30 MARCH, 2010

Retro Revival: Vintage Posters for Modern Movies


Helvetica, Hitchcock and what Saul Bass can teach J.J. Abrams about mystery.

The retro revival design trend has been around for a while, but over the past few months we’ve seen one particularly interesting and wonderful niche manifestation — vintage-inspired, retrostalgic posters for modern television and film. Here are seven of our favorites, plus some extras.


A few days ago, we tweeted a delightful what-if: Spanish digital creative Hexagonall‘s vision for what Tron and Lost opening sequences would’ve looked like if the iconic Saul Bass had designed them.

It gets better: Hexagonall has an entire poster series under the Tron vs. Saul Bass umbrella — and they’re all fantastic.

And despite curmudgeonly remarks disputing whether Saul Bass would approve of these, we think what’s important here, and what Bass would certainly approve of, is the fact that almost half a century after his heyday, his visual heritage is still being celebrated and is still a force of inspiration. What more could a creator ask for?


Speaking of Lost and past Twitter raves, these fab vintagey Lost posters by designer Ty Mattson are an absolute treat.

Our favorite: This distinctly Saul Bassean hand.


Count on one of our favorite illustrators, Olly Moss, to reimagine iconic film posters with brilliant vintage-inspired minimalism.

His Films in Black and Red series is a piece of quiet genius.

Bonus points for the mandatory Helvetica overuse.


In another bout of brilliant minimalism, designer Nick Tassone reimagines his 10 favorite Stephen King films.

The only downside: All this slick and stylish designerliness makes the films appear considerably less creepy, which makes them technically counterproductive.


After BAFTA (the British Academy for Film and Television Arts) announced this year’s nominees, London-based designer Tavis Coburn set out to illustrate each of the films as unspeakably gorgeous vintage-inspired posters.

Needless to say, we’re back to the age-old question of why everything is better in Britain.


Designer Brandon Schaefer may be only 25, but he’s got a knack for the vintage aesthetic that he employs brilliantly in his retrofied posters for modern movies.

The collection also includes Schaefer’s reenvisionings for older, iconic movies, like Rear Window and Star Wars.


Tom Whalen has some classically vintage renditions of contemporary horror and scifi films, in a style that’s both recognizably retro and distinctly his own.


Also of note: Penney Design reimagines modern movies as vintage games; the brilliant I Can Read Movies has been around for some time now, but it never ceases to amaze and amuse with its assortment of vintagey film-based mock book covers; Ibraheem Youssef’s has a delightfully vintage-minimalist take on Quentin Tarantino movies; though not designed as posters, these typographic covers for the new digitally remastered box set of Hitchcock films are just as indulgent; speaking of, British designer Matt Needle’s Modern Hitchcock series is utterly fabulous.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

19 MARCH, 2010

Infoviz Education: Animated Visualizations for Kids


Helium, carbon, and what Little Red Riding Hood has to do with malnutrition in Africa.

We love infographics. We love animation. And we’re all for engaging kids in creative education. So today we’re looking at three educational infoviz animations that shed light on complex or important issues in beautifully art-directed ways that make little eyes widen and little brains broaden.


Directed by Denis van Waerebeke, How To Feed The World is a brilliant animated short film made for the Bon appétit exhibition in Paris science museum. Though aimed at helping kids ages 9 to 14 understand the science behind eating and why nutrition is important, the film’s slick animation style and seamless visual narrative make it as educational for kids as it is for budding designers, looking to master the art of using design as a storytelling medium.

Bonus points for the obligatory British voiceover, always a delightful upgrade.


Though not necessarily aimed at kids alone, Annie Leonard’s brilliant The Story of Stuff — which we reviewed extensively some time ago — condenses the entire materials economy into 20 minutes of wonderfully illustrated and engagingly narrated storytelling that makes you never look at stuff the same way again.

The Story of Stuff recently got a book deal, further attesting to its all-around excellence. We highly recommend it.


A few months ago, we reviewed They Might Be Giants’ fantastic Here Comes Science 2-disc CD/DVD album aimed at the K-5 set, a brilliant intersection of entertainment and creative education. One of the highlights on it is this wonderful animated journey across the periodic table, a true exercise in art-meets-science.

The entire album is well worth the two Starbucks lattes that it costs, both as a tool of inspired education for kids and a timeless music treat for indie rock fans of all ages.


Though certainly not educational, and likely not aimed at kids, this fantastic animation — which we featured exactly a year ago today — offers a brilliant infographic reinterpretation of the Brothers Grimm children’s classic The Little Red Riding Hood, inspired by Röyksopp’s Remind Me.

We’d love to see this as a series, celebrating the cross-pollination of some of our favorite facets of creative culture — animation, data visualization, and classic children’s literature — with quirk, humor and superb art direction.

We’ve got a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

12 MARCH, 2010

Beyond the Business Card: Three Alternative Tools


How to bump strangers, who killed the Rolodex, and what to do about it.

This week, we’re at SXSW, supposedly a mecca of interactivity and tech innovation. And yet we keep bumping into one massive business etiquette dinosaur: The exchange of physical, paper business cards.

So we’ve curated three handy digital tools to help unload the fossils and bring your networking up to speed with the digital age. The Rolodex is dead (we don’t even know anyone who owns one, let alone uses it), long live LinkedIn.


Bump may just be our favorite app ever. Free and available for iPhone and Android, it lets you exchange contact information with another person simply by bumping the two phones together. While it requires that the other person have the app as well, we’ve seen Bump adoption rates skyrocket in the past few months — it’s that good — so it’s bound to spare you a massive amount of number-crunching as you attempt to digitize those crumpled up business cards floating around your laptop bag.

Simple and incredibly fun to use, Bump combines seamless functionality with a kind of delightful playfulness — it’s hard not to smile when you see two grey-haired CEO’s bump fists and chuckle like fifth-graders.

Tip: If you keep your phone in your pant pocket, avoid walking up to people, saying “Let’s bump!” and pointing to said area of your pants. The capacity for martinis tossed in your face is limitless.


Let’s face it, most of us have more online profiles than we know what to do with — Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare… they’re just the tip of the random registrations iceberg. And while a handful of them are actually useful for connecting with people, they’re becoming increasingly hard to manage, let alone share.

Enter, a nifty centralized home for all your digital dwellings. This tiny, update-from-anywhere video-enabled calling card contains all your favorite sites and services, giving you a simple URL to share with people.


We’ve always liked the idea of connecting real-life objects to the virtual world. Enter Stickybits, an ingenious tag-based platform for attaching digital information to physical objects. It’s simple — you get a bunch of barcode stickers, attach something to them online, and start handing them out. A free iPhone and Android app reads the barcodes and relays the embedded information.

Though meant for a much wider array of purposes — from “sticking” a wish on a gift to slapping on your laptop as a bring-it-home system in case you lose it — they’re perfect for sharing your contact info or even your resume.

Grab a pack of 20 barcodes for just $9.95 and start slapping.

Psst, we’ve launched a fancy weekly newsletter. 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.