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Updated: 3 hours 44 min ago

Try This Crazy Hard Color Test

3 hours 44 min ago

This game is fun and frustrating at the same time. It's a color test developed by a company called X-Rite Photo & Video, and was designed to determine how accurately you can detect hue differences. Basically they show you this…

…and you then have to drag-and-drop the tiles to get it to look like this (this shot is of my best effort):

Click here to try the test.

What did you get? I got a measly 8 (and a slight headache). It's interesting that they show you (see image below) what range of colors you're weak at distinguishing.

Design Job: Want to Design in Paradise? Maui Divers Jewelry Is Seeking a CAD Designer in Honolulu

3 hours 44 min ago

This is an exciting, well-compensated position for an experienced CAD professional, who is looking to grow in the highly competitive international jewelry manufacturing industry. There is an immediate opening for an advanced CAD modeler to join our outstanding design team full-time at our Honolulu

View the full design job here

Yea or Nay? The Parkis Automatic Vertical Bicycle Rack

3 hours 44 min ago

Apartment-dwelling cyclists: How and where do you store your bike?

I'm a Citibike user so have never had to deal with storage. If I did, I think I'd go with an overhead bike hoist; as narrow as bicycles are, they seem to take up a disproportionate amount of floor space to me, and I'd rather get the thing completely overhead.

For those wishing to minimize their stored bicycle's footprint, this Parkis system was invented:

What do the hardcore cyclists among you think of this system? I ask because while it looks nifty, it almost seems like it takes up more space to me. (I'm aware that that's a perceptive issue to do with the intrusion of the handlebars at torso height.) I suspect that bike storage solutions are as specific to the user as the bikes themselves, and I'm curious to hear about the range of solutions you readers use.

Volkswagen's Trailer Assist System Makes Backing Up That Caravan Easier

3 hours 44 min ago

Europe has so many neat things that aren't offered in the 'States: Beer at McDonald's, constitutional monarchies, Volkswagen's Trailer Assist system. On the recommendation of reader Jeremy Mears, I looked up the latter to see what it's all about.

Backing up a trailer is like parallel parking set at difficulty level Expert. Imagine steering your front wheels in an effort to aim the rear two corners of your caravan, which might be more than an entire car length behind you, trickily pivoting around a point just aft of your rear bumper. It's such an oddly specific task that there's probably a videogame about it in Japan.

Volkswagen's engineers have thus developed software that works out the trajectories for you. By providing visual aids on a screen, adding user input knobs on the door and allowing the software to do the steering for you, their Trailer Assist system makes the process virtually foolproof.

I realize it's not a terribly sexy video, but the feature is one of those going-the-extra-mile (er, kilometer) UX improvements that manufacturers ought be lauded for. If I ever ran into the engineers who devised Trailer Assist, I'd buy them a round of McBeers.

Amble Offers a New Type of Sabbatical for Designers that Includes Freelance Work 

3 hours 44 min ago

Often times during vacations and sabbaticals we feel this compulsive itch to keep working, which is why Amble's business model is so intriguing. The new program is offering designers the chance to lodge in exclusive properties otherwise not available to the public in exchange for the completion of a design project—like a break from work, except not really. Amble partners with nonprofits, conservancies, and small towns to provide the design briefs as well as discounted upscale lodging in return.

Image via Amble

The program recently launched online with a pilot program happening this November in Yosemite National Park. The first program's lodging options include a private or shared cabin located in the Wawona neighborhood in the heart of the park and a 340 acre old ranch property in Mariposa, located less than one hour away from the park. Amble plans to start small with the Yosemite program with future plans to expand to more locations in the US.

Image via Amble

Amble is currently seeking professionals in many areas, including more design-centric ones like visual designers, UX designers, photographers and videographers.

Image via Amble

The main catch we're stumped by is the pricing structure, as designers are still required to pay a fee for lodging, and they are not compensated for food and travel. So essentially, participating designers would be paying to work while on sabbatical. We reached out to Amble Co-Founder Ilyssa Kyu to get some clarity on the costs:

"As far as the exchange of skills/time for lodging, Amble provides an affordable, reduced rate for 1-month of lodging. We do not cover meals or transportation at this time. Lodging in this area at market rate would cost you around $7,000 for one month. We are offering lodging in Wawona at $1,800 for a private room (in a shared cabin) or $2,200 for a private cabin. These are also accommodations otherwise unavailable to the public—you can really only stay in Wawona by camping or by hotel otherwise, so it's a unique and exclusive opportunity. In a nutshell, the work on a project with our community hosts (who provide the lodging) help offset the costs of lodging."

If you were participating in the program, would you feel as though the discounted cost of lodging evens out with the design work you'd be doing? Would you participate in this program? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

Applications are open until July 27th, so if you're interested in the experience, apply here. Overall, we think Amble is on to something, but it is still a new program with some kinks to work out.

Design Job: Contribute to All Stages of Home Decor Development as a Product Design Intern at Lumiscource

3 hours 44 min ago

LumiSource, LLC is a leading national distributor of stylish home decor at affordable prices. We supply to the nation's top retail chains as well as independent and online retailers. Our product lines range from contemporary furniture to lighting and accessories. Our inspiration mostly derives from industrial, modern, and mid-century modern

View the full design job here

Disillusioned Industrial Designer Turns Her Disassembly Hobby Into Animations

3 hours 44 min ago

Dina Amin is an industrial designer who has encountered the paradox many of us face: "I realized that I am not very fond of a huge part of Industrial Design," she writes, "the part where we consume insane amount of resources and energy to design things that eventually people throw away."

In search of a new creative outlet, Amin took her hobby of disassembling items and turned them into stop-motion animations, revealing to viewers the sheer amount of crap that goes into your average gewgaw:

I love disassembling products to learn more about how they work, how all the pieces come together, it's like a puzzle to me! It all started with just a casual exploration of parts and then I started rearranging the dismantled product pieces into new characters, objects and stories. I've made over 30 videos so far.Most of the products you see are old broken products that others decided to throw away. We consume too many things to the point that we forgot the amount of work that was put into bringing even the tiniest pieces of things! We rarely see what's inside each product thus treat it as one whole part; not as a plastic cover, with buttons, vibrator motor, mic and so on.

You can see more of Amin's stuff here.

Super Easy DIY Minimalist Monitor-Mount Headphone Hook

3 hours 44 min ago

A few bucks on Amazon will get you a plastic headphone hook that sticks to your monitor. But I am liking this quick, less-obtrusive solution far better:

A three-pack of Sugru strips goes for under ten bucks, and you get the satisfaction of shaping it yourself.

Kikkerland's Screen Shelf Turns Dead Space Into Small Storage

3 hours 44 min ago

I lament the aesthetics of this object even as I admire its utility. The Bobino Screen Shelf, designed by Kikkerland, lets you wring some storage area out of the otherwise dead space atop and behind your monitor:

Rubberized dots aside, I probably wouldn't place a hot cup of coffee, or anything taller than it is wide up there, but this'd be a great place for me to drop that crucial notepad that always seems to get buried under papers on my desk.

If this thing wasn't so darned unattractive, I'd buy one.

Reader Submitted: Here's What It Looks Like to Use Only Your Body to Make Furniture—No Machines or Tools Allowed

3 hours 44 min ago

It takes an entire civilization to build a simple wood stool. I found this out the hard way by attempting to build furniture completely from scratch just using my body. From felling a tree with my bare hands to carving the wood using any means necessary, I realized that perhaps we as a culture are too reliant on our interconnected society.

This stool is made entirely by chewing, scratching and chipping at found natural materials.The bottom details of the stool in which no screws, glue or shimming were used.Felling the treeA typical stool bought onlineThe pieces of the stool made from scratchTesting the different woodsView the full project here

A Designer Buying a Car, Part 5: Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Aesthetics and Practical Considerations

3 hours 44 min ago

Volkswagen offers two types of AWD stickshift station wagons: The Golf SportWagen S with 4Motion, and the Golf Alltrack (in three trim levels). Both are identical except the Alltrack has a marginally higher ride height.

I narrowed it down to the Alltrack for a practical reason: The SportWagen S offers only cloth seats, whereas leatherette comes standard in the Alltrack (below). I own two dogs and am moving to a farm where the animals outnumber the humans by a factor of 50. I am going to get dirty. The interior of the car is going to get dirty. And cleaning cloth seats is a bitch.

For exterior automotive design I like clean, simple lines with a minimum of fuss. I don't like arbitrary bulges, flares and surface changes. With this criteria in mind, compared to the other two contenders, the Mini Clubman and the Subaru Forester, the Golf Alltrack is clearly the hands-down aesthetic winner.

The Alltrack's designers used restraint and discipline. There are no extraneous lines nor, in the details, any meandering stylistic paths to nowhere. There are no chicanes, switchbacks or stupid Z-curves. This car looks, to me, like it was the subject of a rigorous design review led by a single individual with an authoritative sense of aesthetic simplicity.

The interior is Teutonic, rational and no-nonsense.

Image by Car & Driver

The steering wheel does look a little complicated to this automotive Luddite--the steering wheel of the last car I owned featured only a horn--and I suspect I'll ignore its functionality altogether.

I double-checked that the car met all of my earlier requirements--high crash test ratings, quickness, reliability--then started the process of purchasing a 2018 Golf Alltrack.

For Research I Used:

- Car & Driver, my favorite of the car magazines. Of the majors, their sensibility aligns most with mine and their coverage is top-notch. I gleaned more useful information about the car and its trim levels on C&D than I found on Volkswagen's website.

- YouTube, where there are countless video reviews of any car you can think of. You do have to sift through them a bit, but the good ones you'll find are very informative.

- My own history. The last car I owned was a 2001 Volkswagen Golf, which I had from 2001 until 2005. Fantastic car, reliable, built at the same plant in Mexico where the Alltracks are now built.

How I Acquired One:

I was after the base trim level, the Alltrack S, because I don't need fancy features.

The first thing I learned is that stickshifts are hard to come by. Nobody wants them anymore, so it's a miracle VW still offers them. Local dealerships did not have a single stickshift Alltrack S in their inventories, and could not find one within a 500-mile radius of New York City.

One dealership eventually called back and said they found one they could have transported to New York. They quoted me roughly $28,000.

I then caught wind of a website called Autonation.com. After plugging in my search criteria, it instantly revealed four stickshift Alltracks around the country. None were in the S trim level I desired--yet all were priced lower than the estimate I got from the dealer in New York.

In the end, I contacted one of the dealerships through Autonation. Last week I signed the papers on an Alltrack SE which, even with the delivery charge and higher trim level, was far less than the other quote. I don't need a moonroof nor push-button engine starting but I'll take it. Sadly I couldn't get the interior/exterior colors that I wanted, but that's life.

At press time the car had been delivered to a local dealership, and I should be picking it up sometime this weekend. At some point I'll write an in-depth review.

Your Take on the Car Buying Process

Designers among you, what criteria do you employ when acquiring a car? Are you extra-picky about things like design and interior UX?

A Designer Buying a Car, Part 4: Subaru Forester, Aesthetics and Practical Considerations

3 hours 44 min ago

In contrast to the Mini Clubman, the interior of Subaru's Forester looks sober and utilitarian. Nothing here screams for your attention, which is what I prefer.

However, the exterior loses me right away. 

The designers have repeated the sin committed by everyone producing a crossover these days, which is to introduce an arbitrary angle into the rearmost side window to make it "interesting." 

In this case it's a jump ramp at the end of the beltline. This interrupts and ruins what should be the longest and most eye-pleasing line of the car.

The designers' lack of restraint can also be seen in the headlights, taillights and even rearview mirror. It's as if nothing is permitted to have a clean, honest shape, but must at all costs be interrupted by random angles, notches and half-hearted curves.

The surface changes across the hood are distressing. It's as if someone asked "Should the hood be concave or convex?" and the designers screamed "BOTH!"

Here's a fine example of visual chaos where none of the lines relate to each other.

Let's extend them and see how they intersect:

It's busy, random and distracting. The car practically looks like it was designed during a game of "Exquisite Corpse."

Subaru probably can't be beat for practicality. The company has a great reputation for reliability and AWD prowess. Two friends of mine are part of Subaru's cult following and rave about how fantastic the cars are to drive and how hardy they are. But there's just no way I could own a car that looked like this.


Up Next: The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

A Designer Buying a Car, Part 3: Mini Clubman, Aesthetics and Practical Considerations

3 hours 44 min ago

An architect choosing a house to buy, a fashion designer shopping for a shirt, an industrial designer buying a car: We are extra picky within these categories because we've spent time studying them, and we know how the sausage is made.

It's important to me, when selecting a car, that the design makes sense. I don't care what it looks like to others, or what image it projects; I mean that when I look at the exterior, the lines cannot be jarring or scream CAD. The interior design has to be clean, with the controls laid out sensibly and ergonomically.

My hunt for an AWD stickshift station wagon has resulted in just three viable choices: The Mini Clubman, the Subaru Forester and the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. I'll go over each in order.

Mini Clubman

I narrowed my Mini choices down to their Clubman over their similar Countryman because the former has marginally more cargo space.

The exterior design of the Clubman looks "honest." By that I mean it looks as if it was designed by sculpting clay, rather than by some CAD monkey arbitrarily pulling splines around their screen.

It also looks great in silver, my favorite color for a car.

I like the clamshell rear doors and would be curious to see how they differ from a conventional hatch during long-term usage.

Moving on to the interior, I like what the designers have done with the speedometer and tach:

Image by Car and Driver

However, this shot swiftly knocked this car off of the list for me:

What the hell is that in the center of the dashboard, a time machine?

Having a large centered circle makes no sense. It visually competes with the steering wheel. And for a circle to contain a roughly rectangular screen makes even less sense.

Image by Car and Driver

The Start/Stop switch looks like it would be fun to press…

Image by Car and Driver

…but the overall shininess of the center console, and the bright colors, say "manufactured fun!" to me.

Image by Car and Driver

Overall the interior is too garish for me, so this one's a pass.

In reality a lot more went into this decision--chief among them, my brother recently bought a Mini and the reliability has been terrible--but I wanted to offer my take on these cars' designs (and at the end, solicit yours).


Up Next: The Forester.

Design Job: Gelcomm Is Seeking a Packaging Designer for Fun Youth and Family Products 

3 hours 44 min ago

Gelcomm is an award-winning design agency, based in Downtown Los Angeles. We are seeking freelance and fulltime packaging designers with consumer packaged goods experience. We design from an informed point of view. Market research, rigorous insight, and dialog with brand/client stakeholders inform how we develop

View the full design job here

Design Challenge: Please Design the Logo for Trump's "Space Force"

Wed, 2018-06-20 09:06

Trump just announced plans to create a military presence in space effective immediately:

Based on the very minimal information we have been given, your brief is simple: Go forth and design a logo for "Space Force". The logo has to be as good as the Air Force logo, but different. You know, separate but equal. If you're worried about funding for the Space Force, don't be. Mars will pay for it.

Please email your best sketches to emily@core77.com. Any emails that go on political rants will be ignored. We only want to know how you envision the "Space Force" logo. 

"Quickstarter" Encourages Creators to Crowdfund their Small-Scale Passion Projects

Wed, 2018-06-20 09:06

Kickstarter has taken note of Oscar Lhermitte's clever "Quickstarter" model, recognizing it's positive message of showing that designers can learn just as much thinking on a smaller scale as they can thinking on a larger one. The crowdfunding platform just announced a landing page within their site called Quickstarter that invites designers, makers and creators to think small and launch their own Quickstarter projects based on Lhermitte's original model.

Tape Stickers was the first project in designer Oscar Lhermitte's "Quickstarter" series, in which he decided to launch a series of quick, one-off experiments on Kickstarter.

The rules are almost the same as Lhermitte's initial Quickstarter rules, but the updated ones reign participating campaigns in even more:

1. Plan it in 3 months or less

2. Keep the campaign under 20 days 

3. The funding goal should be under $1,000

4. Offer rewards under $50

5. Shoot the video in one day

6. No PR or media outreach (unless contacted) (Editor's Note: We love to break rules)

7. No paid ads on social media

8. No stretch goals

9. Include "Quickstarter" in your campaign name

For its launch, Lhermitte and Kickstarter reached out to a few designers to create campaigns that would get everyone's creative juices flowing. Here are a few of our favorites from the initial set:

Dog-Eared Shelf is a small shelf inspired by books with curled dog-eared corners by Ella Merriman.

No Commercial Value Zine #1: A zine created by Creighton Berman, the mind behind one of our favorite Instagram accounts, @no_commercial_value.

Wall Flower Coat Hook is a clever 2-in-one hook designed by Cemal Okten.

The Lazy Postcard by Audrey Julien is an easy way to avoid writing heartfelt messages on postcards. The message area is obstructed with cutouts in various patterns, so it's the thought of mailing something that counts with these.

Oscar Lhermitte's second Quickstarter project is Studio Offcuts - Tangrams, a series of puzzles he created using offcuts from his studio.

Up for the Quickstarter challenge? Get started with your campaign here.

A Look Inside Instagram's New NYC Office

Wed, 2018-06-20 09:06

About one month ago, Instagram opened a new office housed in what used to be Manhattan's Wanamaker department store showroom. In their short time of existence, the expanding social media platform has come a long way since their very first office space, which was a few rented desks inside the incubator Dogpatch Labs. From Dogpatch Labs, Instagram moved into a space in San Francisco's South Park neighborhood before moving in next to Facebook in Menlo Park after Facebook purchased the company in 2012.

The new Manhattan office's sprawling warehouse build naturally lends itself to an open concept layout, with desks neatly arranged along the perimeter in attempts to hug the natural lighting. 

What we find most interesting about this space is the way Instagram went about creating quiet corners for employees who need a break from all the real life social interaction with coworkers. Besides an array of cleverly named conference rooms and a private photo room, the quietest corner of them all is the "library", a small space completely shut off from the hub of desks but still in close proximity to natural lighting. Closely following the "library" is the above corner, which hosts a single chair and table under a staircase.

The "library"

There are a few other areas meant for chilling out, however most still feel like social spaces, due to the layout of furniture:

Instagram definitely has their employees covered when it comes to food. The office not only includes a fully-stocked kitchen—think a fridge filled with the entire rainbow of La Croix flavors—but also a hybrid juice and gelato bar. 

Gelato and juice bar

Another cool office feature is a variety of small installations, which are presumably there to create instagrammable moments for both staff and visitors.

An example of an installation

And finally, our favorite feature, a tech vending machine that we're assuming is free for Instagram employees (apologies for the blurry phone photos):

Dongle replacements, anyone?

Overall, the new Instagram headquarters is exactly what we hoped it would be. The space is trendy enough to attract young employees but refreshingly tame compared to many other trendy tech offices, which overwhelmingly aim to be the apartment, office and hangout space for millennials all in one. 

Reader Submitted: Bee Hospital Investigates the Global Decline of the Bee Population

Wed, 2018-06-20 09:06

This speculative design project sets out to investigate the global decline of the bee population, focusing particularly on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is a phenomenon that leads to the majority of worker bees leaving the hive and eventually disappearing. This project is set in 2030; since many scientists say that if we don't change the way humans live; we won't be able to figure it out a solution for CCD and the time with which to fix it will have passed.

View the full project here

Cutting Open Adidas' Updated Telstar 18 Soccer Ball to See What's Inside

Wed, 2018-06-20 09:06

It wouldn't be the World Cup without Adidas designing a new soccer ball that the players can complain about. For 2018's Cup they've introduced the Telstar 18, a graphic update on the classic, black-and-white-TV-friendly Telstar from 1970. (Thus far goalies reportedly hate it, finding the ball unpredictable and slippery.)

Adidas' designers opted to place an NFC chip inside of the ball. Why? Beats the hell out of me--in this interview with one of the designers, his explanation is wildly unsatisfying:

There's a YouTube channel called What's Inside that, well, looks inside of things. In this one they cut a Telstar 18 open, then an original Telstar to see the difference:

Thus far one, possibly two of the Telstar 18s have burst during match play, during the France-Australia game. It remains to be seen whether this is an anomaly, or will turn into a consistent disaster on the level of the Jabulani.