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Quote of Note | Tom Hanks on Typewriters

groma“Remingtons from the 1930s go THICK THICK. Midcentury Royals sound like a voice repeating the word CHALK. CHALK. CHALK CHALK. Even the typewriters made for the dawning jet age (small enough to fit on the fold-down trays of the first 707s), like the Smith Corona Skyriter and the design masterpieces by Olivetti, go FITT FITT FITT like bullets from James Bond’s silenced Walther PPK. Composing on a Groma (pictured), exported to the West from a Communist country that no longer exists, is the sound of work, hard work. Close your eyes as you touch-type and you are a blacksmith shaping sentences hot out of the forge of your mind.”

-Tom Hanks, who has channeled his love of manual typewriters into a new iPad app, Hanx Writer

Mediabistro Course

InDesign for Writers and Editors

InDesign for Writers and EditorsStarting September 4, become proficient in InDesign in our hands-on workshop! Nicole Alleyne, a multimedia designer, will give you the knowledge of Adobe InDesign for editing your projects.You'll learn how to use the toolbar and palettes, create and edit style sheets, import images, add colors, change colors, and more. Register now!

Twitter Along with UnBeige

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Famed literary critic Lionel Trilling once described Henry James as a “social twitterer.” Sure, he meant it as an insult, but it makes us feel better about having jumped on the microblogging bandwagon. Look to the official UnBeige Twitter feed, for up-to-the-minute newsbites, event snippets, links of interest, design trivia, and free candy (OK, we’re still working on the physics of that last one). The Mediabistro tech wizards have added to the sidebar at right a handful of our most recent word bursts, but you can sign up to follow all of our twittering here.

So What’s the Deal with 3D Printing?

Put on your rapidly prototyped dress (the one pictured here was created for Dita Von Teese by the architect-designer duo of Francis Bitonti and Michael Schmidt) and get the inside scoop on the technology that Wired editor-turned-robotics entrepreneur Chris Anderson has described as having the world-changing potential of the first desktop publishing tools at the Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo. The two-day confab, set for April 16-17 in Sao Paulo [insert 3D-prototyped Caipirinha here], will explore business opportunities, policy considerations, and the latest 3D printers and services. Learn more and register here.

Getty Follows ‘Open Content’ Program with Virtual Library

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is serious about sharing. The institution, which encompasses the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation, is following its “Open Content” program that set free some 5,000 high-resolution digital images for use, modification, and publishing with a virtual library. Translation: 45 years of art books for free. Among the 250 (and counting) of the Getty’s backlist titles now available to read online or download as PDFs are the 2004 catalogue of the first-ever exhibition of Cézanne’s watercolor still lifes (“a moving examination of this most subtle and luminous of mediums and genres,” according to Getty President and CEO James Cuno), the definitive English translation of Otto Wagner’s Modern Architecture, and books on globe-spanning conservation projects. We suggest igniting your winter reading list with Kevin Salatino‘s Incendiary Art: The Representation of Fireworks in Early Modern Europe.

Marcel Wanders Debuts ‘Milestone’ App

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It’s a milestone year for Marcel Wanders. The Dutch designer’s work is the subject of the first major design exhibition to be presented at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum since its 2012 reopening. The survey, “Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk,” opens Saturday–a date that will surely live in infamy on Wanders’s iPhone, as he has just launched his first app.

Milestone,” free to download through iTunes, is something of an anti-calendar: it allows users to look back fondly by marking and sharing the number of seconds since a major personal event (a first date, when one stopped smoking, the day a museum first acquired a “Snotty Vase”) took place. It’s also possible to countdown to anticipated events, but in a more festive way that the watch that just reminds you how close you are to death. “Measuring special moments in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, or days gives a new perception of time,” says Wanders. “Marking significant occasions becomes a personal experience which you can share with others, and with groups of people through your social networks.”

Quote of Note | William Boyd

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“I have a bit of an obsession with stationery. I am almost fanatical about choice of paper, notebook, writing implements. It’s getting out of hand. You’re always searching for the perfect writing implement and I think I’ve finally found it. It’s the rOtring Tikky Graphic, a German pen. I buy these by the dozen because I am afraid they might stop making them. It’s for me the perfect writing implement.”

-Author William Boyd, whose first James Bond novel will be published tomorrow by HarperCollins, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal

Beautiful Plastic: Creating a Great Designer Toy

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Hold on to your Dunnys and Munnys, design fans, because Kidrobot founder Paul Budnitz is making time in his new life as a maker of beautiful bicycles to guide Smorkin’ Labbit lovers–and anyone else who is interested–through the process of creating a great designer toy. Budnitz has signed on to teach “Beautiful Plastic: Creating a Great Designer Toy,” an online course that launches October 16 through Skillshare.

“The goal of the class is to help artists sketch their own toy,” Budnitz tells us. “I talk about the basic history of designer toys, since it’s important to know the medium in which you’re working. There’s also a discussion about appropriation and juxtaposition, two elements of design that are found in most good art (and toys), and some ideas of how to apply this to your own toy.” And of course, he’ll offer plenty of pointers on how to design and draw a toy, with an eye to getting it off the page and into into production.
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Explore 3D Printed Fashion, Food Next Week in California

3D-printed guitars, food, and fashion will be displayed and discussed at Mediabistro’s Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo next week, September 17-18 in San Jose, California. Join us there and network with leaders in the Silicon Valley tech community.

Design-oriented sessions include “Tools of Creation” and “The Future of Retail and Materials for 3D Printing,” which will be led by Isaac Katz of Electronic Art Boutique and David L. Bourell of Laboratory for Freeform Fabrication.
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Watch Out, Al Roker: Swackett App Offers Visual Weather Report

Helpful as the likes of Weather.com and WeatherBug may be, they rarely offer clear answers to practical climate-related queries: Should you wear a jacket? Bring along a sweater? Take the umbrella? Douse yourself in sunblock? Ditch the text-only forecast in favor of Swackett, a visual weather report peopled with symbols (“peeps”) dressed for the up-to-the-minute conditions—and extended forecasts—in the city of your choice. The cheeky app, available for assorted smartphone platforms as well as the plain ‘ol web, also includes weather photography, radar imagery, and severe weather watches and warnings, so you’ll know whether it’s time to batten down the hatches or grab your sunglasses.

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Seven Questions for Designer Dan Black of Black + Blum

With the megatradeshow NYNOW (formerly NYIGF) bringing mobs of product-seekers to Gotham this week, the hunt is on for the latest and greatest lifestyle and home products. A must-see stop in the cavernous, merch-stuffed Javits Center is the booth of Anglo-Swiss partnership black + blum. Designers Dan Black and Martin Blum joined forces in 1998 as a London-based design consultancy and soon began developing products such as an award-winning anthropomorphic doorstop named James (Black is brandishing one in the photo at right), a no-nonsense tape dispenser, and the “Brrrrr” polar bear ice tray. Black, a veteran of IDEO and Frog Design, paused in his NYNOW preparations to tell us about the personalities behind the products, their latest thirst-quenching hit design, and what the duo is debuting this week.


Punch up your lunch. Colorful sandwich keepers are among the black + blum products launching at NYNOW.

If you had to sum up the black + blum aesthetic/design philosophy in just three words, what would they be?
functional, soulful, and minimal

You’ve described a true black + blum product as “always a joint input of [your] and Martin’s personalities.” What are your personalities like?
We both like the same sort of products, whether they are contemporary new designs or vintage antiques. They will all have the same deep-rooted qualities. Although we have very different personalities, the inputs that we give to each design are actually very similar. Perhaps it is not so much our different personalities, but rather our tastes that influence the design. The most important thing is that it will never be only one of us that works on a design. We always find the final design will be a result of both our inputs and the end result is always better because of this.

What black + blum product has been flying off the shelves this summer?
Our “Eau Good” filter water bottle has been selling really well. The natural active charcoal filter is exposed inside the bottle. This can be a bit daunting for those who don’t what it is, but it becomes a talking point and allows users to proudly show that they are not drinking bottled water and helps spread the word to tell people that there is an alternative which is better for the environment.
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