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Seven Question for Rad and Hungry Founder Hen Chung


Hole reinforcers and pencils from Costa Rica, and Hen Chung in Istanbul.

Around the world in 80 writing utensils? That’s one way to describe Rad and Hungry, which aims to take lovers of interesting office supplies on a “world tour of limited-edition goods with lo-fi style, pushing design through travel and travel through design.” Founded by former graphic designer Hen Chung in collaboration with fellow globetrotters Sam Alston and Laura Dedon Oxford, the online shop assembles an ever-changing selection of country-themed kits stocked with imported pens, pencils, stationery, and other exotic desk goodies, all beautifully packaged. A Rad and Hungry subscription is the perfect gift for the design lover who has everything—except thumbtacks from Lisbon.

“We really try to make each kit speak to our travels in that country–the people we met, food we ate, design we saw,” Chung tells us. “As each layer is unwrapped, people share in our low-down travel. The whole experience transforms the lo-fi, often overlooked daily-diet goods into something sacred. Our ultimate goal is to connect far-flung groups of people who love style, design, and travel as much as we do.” She made time between scouting trips to answer our questions about creating the company, her favorite finds, and what’s currently on her desk.

What led you to create Rad and Hungry?
I was a graphic designer for ten years and it became time for me to move on. I knew I wanted to combine the things I love most—travel and design. One day I was sitting in my library room thinking about what my next move would be. I was staring at a section of shelves that store journals that I collected from my travels. They were all untouched–they were inexpensive journals I picked up in places such as corner shops and pharmacies. Didn’t matter that none of the pages contained any words or images, they were all so sacred to me because they reminded me of each country. And then it hit me—create a company that allows me to travel and share daily-diet design through office supplies.

You travel the globe hunting for new stuff to include in Rad and Hungry kits. What are some of your favorite finds of all time?
Probably my favorite item to date is the Soviet-era notebooks in the Latvia Kit. I love the yellowing pages, the faded mint covers, and the simple rubber-stamped logo. Close seconds are the copper-colored paper clips from our first Germany Kit and the flower-scented pencils from the Portugal Kit. I love the paper clips because they’re so opposite of what people expect of German goods—they’re delicate and not uniform in shape. And the pencils from Portugal are amazing. Their smell is unreal. Super fragrant but not in the cheap perfume sort of way. They’re made by an old pencil factory that’s still in business after all these years. I’m always stoked to discover a company with a lot of history ‘cause I’m a firm believer that old school is best!

You’re packing for a desert island and can only bring one writing utensil. What is it?
Hands down a goldenrod pencil. I figure I’ll be able to create a tool to sharpen it and find something to write on. But I don’t know what I’d do if I need a fire, hurting for wood and have to make the ultimate decision between fighting off the cold or having a trusty number 2 pencil.
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Can Yves Behar Lock Up the Market for Virtual Keys?

The only thing standing between you and your Yves Behar-designed pill cases, condoms, and personal fizzy-lifting-drink maker is your front door. Good news: Behar’s got an app for that, and it may make your keychain obsolete. The designer has teamed up with entrepreneur Jason Johnson on August Smart Lock, which debuted yesterday at the D: All Things Digital conference (watch the demo below, in which the founders emerge on the stage to the strains of “Let My Love Open the Door”).

The system, which installs over an existing deadbolt and makes it possible to open doors with a smartphone, is the latest entry in a nascent smart lock market that includes Lockitron and Unikey. In developing August, which will begin shipping by the end of the year for $199, the goal was to “to make home entry magical, safer than keys or keypads, and something that makes our lives a little better,” according to Behar, who describes both the branding and the app’s user interface as “warm, friendly, and elegant.”
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There’s an App for That: Petting Zoo


Acclaimed illustrator Christoph Niemann (Abstract City, I LEGO N.Y.) gets interactive with Petting Zoo, a new app (for iPhones, iPads and now Android devices) that puts a high-tech twist on hand-drawn animation. Users of all ages can swipe and tap their way through the interactive picture book of 21 unconventional animals, from breakdancing dogs to elastic-limbed rabbits. Says Niemann of each creature in his animated menagerie, “You can slowly approach it, touch it, and it will do something unpredictable, but most likely something fun and adorable.”

Got an app we should know about? Drop us a line at unbeige [at] mediabistro.com

In Creative Cloud Push, Adobe Discontinues Boxed Software


Adobe’s David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager of digital media, speaks at Adobe MAX on Monday in Los Angeles. (Photo: Adobe/David Zentz Photography/Novus Select)

Adobe is bidding adieu to packaged software, the company announced Monday at its Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles. As part of an expansion of the Creative Cloud subscription model launched in May 2012, Adobe will not release any further versions of its CS applications, although it will continue to sell and support CS6. Instead, it’s betting big on the cloud. “We believe that Creative Cloud will have a larger impact on the creative world than anything else we’ve done over the past three decades,” explained David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager of digital media, in a Monday keynote during which he unveiled a more integrated, collaboration-minded line of Adobe “CC” applications.

Many of the new features require access to Creative Cloud. “‘CC’ represents the next generation of Adobe apps,” he said. “Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, and all of the other apps will continue to run on your desktop, whether you’re connected to the Internet or not…but the apps will increasingly be part of a larger creative process centered on Creative Cloud.” The major update will be available in June. Adobe exited the first quarter of 2013 with 479,000 Creative Cloud subscribers and expects to reach 1.25 million by the end of the year.

In Which Letterpress Prints Help to Save Hamilton Wood Type Museum

Wisconsin’s Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production, and printing of wood type. Admission is free, thanks in part to the all-volunteer staff, and the collection includes 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns. In addition to a 145-foot wall of wood type–the world’s largest–the museum even has its own Matthew Carter-designed typeface, Carter Latin Wide. “I’m not a printer, least of all a letterpress printer,” the famed typographer has said of first foray into wood type. “But I tried to think like one and imagine a typeface that allowed me to print something in a way that I could not otherwise do.”

The museum recently moved into a new home in Two Rivers, and the race is on to reopening day, planned for this summer. According to director Jim Moran, Hamilton desperately needs funding–and an army of volunteers–to physically move millions of pieces of type, plates, presses, tools, and raw materials. Enter letterpress-loving Neenah Paper, which has launched a “Help Save Hamilton” campaign that will donate to the museum all money raised from a series of limited-edition prints. First up is “Form & Function” (above), designed by Two Paperdolls. “I scanned the back of some wood type to achieve an authentic texture,” says Jennifer James of the Philadelphia-based studio, “and adorned the letterforms with ornaments you might find in an ‘old school’ letterpress shop.”

‘Tidal Wave of Technology’ Is Transforming Museums

How can technology reinvent and deepen the museum experience? New York’s 92Y recently convened a panel of forward-thinking museum pros to tackle the question, and we sent writer Nancy Lazarus to report back on what the future of museums may look–and sound and feel–like.


A visitor gets in touch with the Cleveland Museum of Art’s “Collection Wall,” a 40-foot, interactive, microtile wall featuring over 3,500 works of art from the permanent collection.

King Tut may finally have met his match: interactive technology. “Digital technology is as much a game-changer now for museums as blockbuster shows” were in the late 1970s, said Cara McCarty, curatorial director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The Metropolitan Museum’s 1976 Tutankhamen exhibit was a pioneer of the blockbuster, and now many of the Met’s ancient treasures are also viewable on interactive touchscreens.

McCarty moderated a recent 92Y panel about technology trends and the future of museums. When she said, “Technology is hitting us all like a tidal wave,” she wasn’t lamenting, but referring to the overwhelming options. The panelists agreed, including Mark Robbins, director of the International Center of Photography. “Nineteenth-century museums were comprised of a privileged set of objects,” he said. “Now museums offer more immersive experiences without walls.”

“Technology is a tool shaping museums’ future,” added Seb Chan, Cooper-Hewitt’s director of digital and emerging media. Interactive options enrich visitors’ experience, especially for storytelling. Chan described the mobile app at Australia’s Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania. It senses where gallery visitors are and delivers custom content, thereby eliminating wall labels. London’s Tate Museum has a similar app, the Magic Tate Ball, which promises, “It’s like having the Tate in your pocket.”

Another proponent of technology’s narrative power is Jake Barton, founder of Local Projects, a firm that designs media installations for museums. One client is New York’s 9/11 Memorial Museum, slated to open next year. He previewed an exhibit where visitors will use interactive maps to pinpoint their locations when they learned of the 9/11 news. Then they record messages about that moment, and their voices will play in the background as visitors view the exhibit.
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Friday Photo: Snowflakes in Freefall

Spring has finally sprung, and so it’s possible to gaze upon snowflakes–or at least images of snowflakes–without shivering. These fine specimens were photographed in 3-D as they fell by a high-speed camera system developed by researchers at the University of Utah and its spinoff company, Fallgatter Technologies. “Until our device, there was no good instrument for automatically photographing the shapes and sizes of snowflakes in freefall,” says Tim Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences. “We are photographing these snowflakes completely untouched by any device, as they exist naturally in the air.” In addition to taking the first automated, high-resolution photos of snowflakes, Fallgatter’s Multi Angle Snowflake Camera measures how fast the flakes fall and according to Garrett, “collects vast amounts of data that can be used to come up with more accurate and more representative characterizations of snow in clouds” for improved weather forecasting.

There’s an App for That: Trace

Get your sketch on with Trace, a simple and beautiful yet incredibly useful iPad app created by the architects of the Morpholio Project. Free to download, the sketch utility allows users to instantly draw on top of imported images or background templates, layering comments or ideas to generate immediate, intelligent sketches that are easy to circulate. “Tracing over something is absolutely the foundation of the app,” says co-creator Toru Hasegawa. “Layers of trace paper are not the same as ‘layers’ in Photoshop or other tools. Here, they are the stacking of ideas, as opposed to the organizing of files.”

Got an app we should know about? Drop us a line at unbeige [at] mediabistro.com

Blick Art Materials Acquires Utrecht Art Supplies

In the artistic arms race of Dick Blick versus Utrecht, we’ve always been partial to the one whose jaunty red palette logo implied a connection to the likes of Theo van Doesburg, Gerrit Rietveld, and Miffy (whose creator, Dick Bruna, is among the Dutch city’s most famous sons), despite its founding in NYC by an artist in search of better canvas. But Mr. Blick is having the last laugh. Galesburg, Illinois-based Blick Art Materials has acquired Utrecht Art Supplies from private equity firm Topspin Partners LBO, which purchased the company in a secondary buyout in 2007.

The deal adds 45 stores to family-owned Blick’s existing network of 39. “The acquisition of Utrecht gives us a tremendous, well-established brand and greater geographic reach for our brick and mortar channel,” said Blick CEO Robert Buchsbaum in a statement issued Monday (and initially straining credulity among April Fool’s Day announcements such as Richard Branson‘s news of Virgin Atlantic’s new glass-bottomed plane). Financial terms were not disclosed, and no word on Blick’s plans for the Utrecht brand or its lines of paints, canvas, and other art products.

Chris Anderson on ‘Liberating’ Force of 3D Printing

This week’s episode of NPR’s On the Media tackles the past, present, and future of ownership, from fan fiction and fair use to the strange tale of who owns “The Happy Birthday Song.” Wired editor-turned-robotics entrepreneur Chris Anderson joined host Bob Garfield to discuss 3D printing, the technology so trendy that it was touted in the most recent State of the Union address. Anderson, author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, compared the current state of 3D printing to that of desktop publishing in 1985. “There was software that would allow you to do things that used to require a typographers’ union. Kind of extraordinary, because it adds the word ‘desktop’ in front of a word that was previously industrial,” he said. “It didn’t change the world by itself, but what it did do was it kind of liberated the concept of publishing from industry and put it in the hands of regular people.” So what does a 3D-printed future look like? According to Anderson, “When professional tools get in the hands of amateurs, they change the world.”

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