Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

01 SEPTEMBER, 2009

Kidrobot QR Scavenger Hunt

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Why vinyl is at the cutting edge of technology, or how to scan your way around Manhattan.

Since 2002, designer Paul Budnitz has been pushing the boundaries of what art toys can be in his iconic brand of super-premium vinyl toys, Kidrobot. Now, he is pushing the boundaries of what technology can do. As Android and other mobile platforms make QR codes an increasingly prevalent data tag format, why not have some fun with it? That’s exactly what Kidrobot is doing in Dunny Hunt 09 — a QR-based scavenger hunt around Manhattan, promoting Kidrobot’s Dunny Series 2009, from strategic creative studio WeArePlus.

The five-day hunt kicked off yesterday, offering Kidrobot fans daily clues leading to a promotional displays — posters, stickers, postcards, t-shirts — hidden all around the city. Kidrobot also provides links to free smartphone apps which, once installed, can be used to scan the QR codes embedded in the promotional displays. (Although their choice of iPhone app is BeeTagg Reader, we’d recommend UpCode instead.)

Victorious hunters can collect the day’s Virtual Dunny Collection image, with a chance to win various prizes, including limited-edition Dunny toys. The first person to scan the QR Code from the day’s hidden item wins a special reward. The grand prize is no less than a full set of the Dunny Series 2009 designer toys.

Dunny Series 2009 drops on September 10. Artists behind the collection include Amanda Visell, Mori Chack, Brandt Peters, Gary Taxali, Amy Ruppel, Travis Cain, Thomas Han, and more.

28 AUGUST, 2009

Fun For Good: The Indie Rock Coloring Book

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Staying outside the lines, or what Rilo Kiley’s latest haircuts have to do with charity.

Indie music defines itself through the colorful quirk of its artists and evangelists. Without that, it would blend in with the grey mediocrity of the mainstream. For the past two years, obscenely talented UK illustrator Andy J. Miller has been working on a project that celebrates this whimsy. Today, he finally releases the Indie Rock Coloring Book — a wonderful collection of hand-illustrated activity pages, mazes, connect-the-dots, and coloring pages for indie icons like Bloc Party, The Shins, Iron & Wine, Broken Social Scene, Devendra Banhart, MGMT, The New Pornographers, The National, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Published by Montreal-based creative nonprofit Yellow Bird Project, the book is brimming with delightful indie rock inside jokes and comes with a cherry-on-top foreword by YBP band Rilo Kiley.

All proceeds go to Yellow Bird’s charitable mission, so pony up those measly $10, buy yourself some fun, and show your favorite artists some indie camaraderie.

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27 AUGUST, 2009

The Little Album That Could

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Soy, swing and what the Grammys have to do with pop-up books.

The recording industry may be in serious trouble, and the album may have been declared dead, but that’s all the more reason to innovate.

That’s exactly what The Ditty Bops — a California duo who happen to make fantastic swing-era-inspired folksy, jazzy, delightfully eccentric music — did with their Summer Rains EP.

The beautifully engineered pop-out design is a whimsical piece of storytelling, adding a rich new layer to the musical narrative. Unsurprisingly, it received a Grammy nomination for “Best Recording Package.”

The album was designed by LA-based paper engineer Renee Jablow, whom The Ditty Bops found through a UK pop-up collector. (Read an interview with her about the project and the future of the music industry’s relationship with packaging on the wonderful package design blog, The Dieline.)

It’s hard not to love The Ditty Bops — besides the innovative music and aesthetic, they also helped pass America’s first plastic bag ban in San Francisco in 2007. Not coincidentally, the band was committed to making Summer Rains EP completely eco-friendly — the album package was made of 100% recycled paper and printed with soy ink, adding a whole new layer of production challenges to the already ambitious project.

But then again, what’s innovation if not the zest for imagining the impossible and then making it happen?