Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

26 NOVEMBER, 2010

Launching the Brain Pickings Shoppe!


What double rainbows have to do with the holiday spirit and the life of the mind.

Consumerism may be the downfall of civilization, but we believe curation is its saving grace. Because life is better with a good book and a few thoughtfully designed objects. So we’ve sifted through mounds of stuff to bring you, excitedly, the Brain Pickings Shoppe — a carefully curated collection of goodies we love and think you might, too.

The collection currently features 63 hand-picked items across 3½ thematic categories: design + eco + quirk, featuring everything from a hand-crafted bamboo keyboard to recycled circuit board coasters to Jane Austen action figures, books (divided into art + design + photography and life + work + mind), and tea lovers, because we love tea and wanted to share our favorites in case you do, too.

The books featured in the Shoppe have been previously reviewed here — you can find them in our book archive or simply plug a specific title in the search box at the top right to see what makes that book so special.

We’ll be adding to the collection over time, but wanted to get it started in time for gift-giving season — because who doesn’t have a friend that could use a solar-powered double rainbow maker?

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24 NOVEMBER, 2010

Mad Men: The Illustrated World


Tips for the modern metrosexual from the 1960s, or what martinis have to do with Twitter.

Yes, we love Mad Men goodies, who doesn’t? Nearly two years ago, we featured NYC-based illustrator, designer and comedian Dyna Moe‘s absolutely wonderful Mad Men illustrations. The series eventually charmed AMC into launching the popular Mad Men Yourself app, which has since populated countless Twitter streams with Mad-Menified avatars.

This fall, Dyna Moe released her dynamite work in Mad Men: The Illustrated World — a truly, truly fantastic book that captures not only everything we love about Mad Men, but also the broader cultural landscape of the era, from fashion and style to office culture to lifehacks like hangover workarounds and secretary etiquette.

Mad Men Illustrated

Mad Men Illustrated

Mad Men Illustrated

With stunning, vibrant illustrations inspired by the aesthetic and artistic style of vintage ads from the 1960s, the book is a priceless and colorful timecapsule of an era few of us lived in but most of us romanticize.

Mad Men Illustrated

And, of course, effort to capture the spirit of the era would be complete without the spirits of the era.

Mad Men Illustrated

Conceptually playful and artistically ambitious, Mad Men: The Illustrated World is the perfect gift for the vintage revivalist, illustration aficionado or Mad-Men-holic in your life, and a fine addition to your own collection of paper-based design gems.

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22 NOVEMBER, 2010

Coralie Bickford-Smith’s Book Covers for Penguin Classics


Coralie Bickford-Smith is easily our favorite book cover designer. Her signature patterns for Penguin breathe new life into some of literature’s greatest classics. Somewhere between Victorian wallpaper and modernist upholstery, her intricate yet minimalist designs emanate a kind of obsessive charm that makes us love the books they grace even more.

The color choices and graphic elements offer a wink with subtle play on elements from the book’s plot or setting to those who would wink back, from the glamorous chandelier of The Great Expectations to scissors of Little Women.

The cover is there to serve the content, so the content has to be taken into consideration. How and to what extent the content is represented on the cover varies of course – sometimes it will be quite literal, other times more oblique, or even just a suggestion of mood and tone.” ~ Coralie Bickford-Smith

But perhaps most stunning of all is Bickford-Smith’s work on Penguin’s recently released F. Scott Fitzgerald series, from The Great Gatsby to Flappers and Philosophers: The Collected Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald and everything in between.

A few of our favorites:

The complete collection can conveniently be found right here.

So if you’re looking for a thoughtful and elegant gift that will mesmerize the design-loving literary fiend in your life, look no further than Coralie Bickford-Smith’s Penguin classics.

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