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Launched in 1995, Core77 serves a devoted global audience of design professionals, corporations, students, enthusiasts and fans.
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    In June we told you about the WantedDesign's Design School Workshop results from this past year's NYCxDesign, and now we're introducing you to the members of the winning team!

    The winning team at the 2019 workshop results ceremony (Photo Credit: Sandrine Charvet)

    The team who took home the win created a project titled "This Is Stairs", a simple street installation on a barren street near Industry City where the workshop took place. The design is meant to visually entice pedestrians while also encourage new ways of navigating the urban space.

    The "This is Stairs" installation


    Duncan Bonar

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I'm an industrial designer, in my final year of study at ArtCenter College of Design with a focus on branding, soft goods, color/material, and informed innovation. Besides all that fun stuff I restore and modify vintage motorcycles, photograph plenty of things on film, and breakfast is the best meal.

    Which school are you part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

    ArtCenter College of Design. The opportunity to participate in a Wanted Design Workshop is a nice honor to have your school select you to participate. It's a tremendous opportunity to uproot everything you know, throw it in an easy bake oven, and plug that bad boy into a 220v industrial socket and see what happens. That's what an accelerated design workshop environment should be and Wanted delivered just that.

    What is your perception of the notion of Open Space for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your every day life?

    The notion of Open Space for Well Being is easily overlooked and misunderstood. An open space is the environment around us that we pass through on a daily basis without even realizing, nor considering it as an opportunity for more. Reflecting on Well Being, we may consider that as change, a change in routine or perspective. Something we can peak in that pass through space we experience on a repetitive basis, day after day. In a general gesture we'd consider an open space as a space for reflection, solitude, and peace - but that's not at hand for many of us along our paths.

    How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

    The area surrounded by our project offers a lot. It's diverse, embodying a healthy amount of old with a splendid allotment of new. It felt authentic but that may easily be questioned. Our project focused on the idea of passing through a space, thus allowing the concept to be readily implemented in many locations with simple twists in execution. It's a pop up, made on the spot, with a few simple rules.

    What is for you the best outcome of the the workshop experience?

    Participation, collaboration. and shifting perspective. The pleasure to work with an internationally rooted, multi-disciplinary team on a topic we all understood in our ways - yet, worked together and delivered work we are all confident to stand behind.

    Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

    The world of design is a big one within a much much larger world. I'm currently interning at Steelcase in Michigan as a Surface Material Designer. I have a tremendous interest in material and applying the right resources and materials to design to create unique experiences. Beyond that my goal is to open a concept consultancy with a number of focuses to be discussed at a later time.

    7. Where can we learn more about your work? (website/portfolio/social media?)

    @d_u_n_c_

    www.duncwerks.com

    Tianlan Deng

    Tell us a bit about yourself

    My name is Tianlan Deng (AKA: Tillian). I'm a traditional Chinese painter, installation artist, instructor and currently practice as an interior designer. I've come from Shanghai and have been studying and practicing design in the United States for several years.

    Which school are you part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

    I'm a graduate student who studies interior design at Pratt Institute. For me, participating in the workshop WantedDesign means to join a bigger design community, learning and getting inspired by people with different backgrounds and culture, and establishing new connections.

    What is your perception of the notion of Open Form for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your every day life?

    I live in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, NY. I believe this notion there's still so much potential for development here. Based on some of the social activities in Clinton Hill such as block parties, if their theme becomes more abstract or ambiguous, people will start to wonder and explore more, therefore these activities will become more vivid. [This concept] has also affected my daily life in some ways.

    "Shadow Writing" mini diorama by Tianlan Deng

    How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

    Sunset Park has a rich history and increasing diverse population. For me, an area like Industry City is full of potential and opportunities, but also has problems like the infrastructure, which [if resolved could] benefit to the communities' daily life. I believe our team found one of these problems, and developed a simple but effective way to solve it. By using tape to create simple and abstract shape, our project resonates with the "open form " idea. It brings enjoyment to the local children, so I believe our project contributes to the true happiness (well-being) of this community.

    What is for you the best outcome of the workshop experience?

    For me, the best experience was the five day journey of not only learning and practicing to cooperate with different people with various backgrounds, but also being able to see and understand myself better.

    Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

    Although I've been an artist and instructor for several years, the design world is still new to me. I see myself as a passionate young designer, who looks forward to transforming my knowledge and experience to design in order to contribute something to the society. For future, I wish to have my own studio to produce works, which can gather people together with surprise, joy and at the same time raise awareness of social or environmental issues.

    Where can we learn more about your work? (website/portfolio/social media?)

    My website has most of my design and art work:

    tianlandeng.com

    KAREN DENISSE CARCAMO ORDONEZ

    1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I'm Denisse and i'm 23 years old. I'm a design strategist and big daydreamer. My passion is to have meaningful conversations with family, friends or even strangers.

    Which school are you part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

    I'm in my last year of Strategic Design at Escuela de Comunicación Mónica Herrera in El Salvador and what it means to me is that I'm representing Salvadoran designers and Latin American designers in an intercultural and international design event.

    What is your perception of the notion of Open Space for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your everyday life?

    [What the workshop taught me is] the Open Form for Well-Being concept can incorporate small changes for big effect, it's all about making the user feel something. It can be through a pattern in the sidewalk, just opening a window so natural light can come in or putting a cactus on a desk in an office.

    How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

    The place that we got is a very boring site, it's a double wide sidewalk that was just for that: walking, getting from point A to point B. We didn't want to interrupt that interaction, but shift instead the perspective of the pedestrians while walking thru that sidewalk. Our implementation was a distilled maze in which the path is all up to the pedestrian and at no point were blocked. I think it resonated so well for the jurys because we had the opportunity to witness— and film—kids having an interaction with our installation when we had not finished the installation yet. The kids were scootering, jumping, walking along the lines or avoiding the lines.

    What is for you the best outcome of the the workshop experience?

    It is an honor to be the first design student from Mónica Herrera that is part of the Best Team because now students of other years are asking what to do to represent the Escuela when the time comes for them. In a certain way I'm showing that Salvadoran designers have all the skills needed to be the part of the best team in an international design workshop.

    Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

    In a few years I see myself in a company that focuses on young women, that inspires, entertains, and empower its audience through the design of experiences and storytelling. In a couple of years I see myself in the field of design education.

    But definitely, I see myself providing complex, complete and long lasting design solutions that help others.

    7. Where can we learn more about your work? (website/portfolio/social media?)

    @denissecarcamo

    Behance

    LinkedIn

    Stina Ruusuvuori

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I consider myself being an open, positive, and most importantly curious about life in general. I always tend to find myself in situations I never could've imagined being in. I do seek for adrenaline, especially on my spare time. Depending on where I am it could be underwater, on top of a mountain or on my bike riding. So, I guess you could call me very outdoorsy and I do appreciate the nature we are surrounded by, both in Finland and overseas. I believe this can be seen in my work and how I see design and how it should be thought of. I have lived in a few different countries in my adult years, searching for those experiences and nurturing my curiosity. I find it easy to adapt to new cultures, places and habits, in the end us humans we are all the same. I am a big fan of good wine, great conversations and yes, I do love the sauna. In my work, I like to focus on the balance between the user and the space, and how we act in particular spaces. I have found lighting design being a very interesting tool to work with for creating emotions and experiences, without one even noticing the tricks used.

    Which school are you part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

    From Aalto University. It was a great opportunity to participate in the workshop on behalf of Aalto and our Interior Architecture department. I've always enjoyed the collaborations that Aalto has with other schools and partners overseas since they bring so much more to the regular curriculum and you can always bring something new to the table afterwards. Obviously, the chance to work with a wide range of cultures, and especially in a place like NYC, the experience was very eye-opening and I am sure I'll benefit from the new perspectives in the future, too.

    Interior concept by Stina Ruusuvuori

    What is your perception of the notion of Open Space for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your everyday life?

    I do consider it as a valuable asset in our local community, yet I don't think it has been thoroughly executed. Helsinki has a wide variety of community based projects ranging from urban gardening to public saunas that run by volunteers, yet the full capacity of theory could be developed in our region, too. As I live in a very vibrant neighbourhood of Helsinki, close to the downtown core, the effects of the theory can be seen in smaller things such as murals, library bikes or continuous events that fill out our parks and plazas frequently. Also, the fact that Helsinki is surrounded by woods, beaches and great trails the wellbeing aspect is usually something we don't even consider as a separate "tool" hence our great accessibility to peaceful surroundings. You can always find a place where you can be all alone, and it's quiet.

    How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

    As an area, the Sunset Park region brought out the vivid colours of the strong Hispanic culture to our project. The joyful way of life in the area definitely was pictured in our project through the playfulness, colour selection and the size of project. We wanted to combine the great cultural atmosphere on to the project and give something to the community whilst considering all ages and abilities.

    What is for you the best outcome of the the workshop experience?

    The experience as a whole offered a wide look into the working methods and design drivers of other nationalities, and cultures. I've always found it interesting how we all work in so many various ways and see things very differently depending on our educational backgrounds and cultural heritages. But somehow in the end you always get something new out of it and end up finishing a project, crazy huh?

    Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

    I am aiming to focus more on lighting design towards my Master Degree Thesis and gain more knowledge in sustainable interiors through research projects in the near future. My dream job would combine these two, and focus on integrating a more sustainable approach to design through lighting and providing experiences to the public. I strongly believe that design doesn't need words, it's only emotions and how we as humans reflect the spaces around us.

    Where can we learn more about your work? (website/portfolio/social media?)

    I don't have an online portfolio at the moment, but you can always reach out to me via LinkedIn.

    Olson Van der Vorst

    Tell us about yourself.

    My name is Olson van der Vorst, I am from the small town of Spruce Pine, located in Western North Carolina. I grew up in the mountains and have always been in love with my surroundings. From a young age I grew a passion for working with my hands and thinking outside of the box. Naturally, Industrial Design attracted me as it combines creativity and engineering into a wide and deep subject matter.

    Which schools are you a part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

    I go to Appalachian State University, where I will be starting my Senior year (fourth and final) study Industrial Design with a concentration in Furniture Design. It was a great honor to be selected ot attend the Wanted Design School Workshop as I knew it would be an outstanding opportunity to explore design with a wide range of schools and creative thinkers.

    What is your perception of the notion of Open Space for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your everyday life?

    Growing up in a rural area, and going to University in a relatively uncompressed town, open space was never hard to come by. However, using open space a as a form of well being was something I seldom thought of. However, having given the prompt for the workshop, it was easy to connect that open space has such a great potential to affect one's wellbeing.

    How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

    The area around Industry City in Brooklyn has a social environment that is quite impactful to a passerby. It has such a rhythm, in good ways and in bad, that as a team we wanted to challenge. Our "place", a very wide sidewalk with an architecturally Brutalist sidewalk sort of exemplified our view of this area of Brooklyn. It had little character and most people wouldn't give it a second look. We wanted to change that by possibly changing one's path as they made their way down the sidewalk. I think what affected the jury the most is that we achieved this in the simplest way possible using tape and simple shapes. The beauty of our outcome is that it could be implemented in other places, maybe not exactly, but using the same design process we went through.

    What is for you the best outcome of the workshop experience?

    The most important thing I took home form the workshop was the opportunity to work with a large multinational group. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with that many people—each from a different background—and come up with something that truly affected the community.

    Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

    I really enjoy creating things from start to finihs, and going through the design process of failing and succeeding. My dream career is to start a design and fabrication studio, where I can design for change.

    Where can we learn more about your work?

    @OlsonvdVdesign

    Online portfolio




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    Calling all designers—the Core77 Design Awards will be returning and open for entry starting on Tuesday, January 7, 2020! After 10 years of awarding excellent design work, the Core77 Design Awards continues to champion the principles of inclusivity, innovation, and excellence. Our annual collection of awarded projects have solidified the awards as a showcase of groundbreaking design over the years, granting awards to successful products such as the Google Pixel Buds, Nest Thermostat, the Biolite Stove, the Oculus Rift VR Headset and much more.

    In recognition of the broad spectrum of the design field, our Awards program offers 19 distinct categories, each further broken into dedicated sections for professionals and students. Each category is judged by esteemed Jury Captains and their chosen team members, which grants designers the opportunity to present their work to the best of the best in their respective fields. Past Core77 Design Awards Jury Captains have included industry leaders such as Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, OCD co-founder & 2016 Hillary for America Design Director Jennifer Kinon, Project H founder Emily Pilloton, and LAYER design lead Benjamin Hubert.

    Here are just a few of the projects that took home awards last year:

    A Device That Helps You Learn Chinese Characters Through Kinesthetic Learning

    Voiceblox, a device designed by Royal College of Art student Yang Gao was awarded in several categories this year, and took home the Student win in the Interaction category. This program cleverly takes into account the challenges of learning words using the four tones int the Chinese language, and allows users to memorize tones associated with different words using a device that mimics the shape of the four tones.

    A Piece of Furniture Designed to Flat Pack In a Clever Way

    Designer and student at Massey University College of Creative Arts Wellington took home the Student Winner awards in the Furniture & Lighting category for CLICK-, a chair designed for people living mobile lifestyles. The design uses a simple click-in system to attach the legs and backrest, making for even easier assembly and disassembly.

    A Government Form Redesigned to be Easier for Citizens to Complete

    Service design firm Civilla partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Services on this project, called "Project Re:Form", that ultimately won them the Professional Winner award in the Service Design category. These two organizations' work together help reform a previously 40 page government service document—the longest of it's kind in America—to a version 80% shorter and more user friendly using design research.

    A Vision of How We May Consume "Fruit" in a Food Scarce Future


    Meydan Levy's "Neo Fruit" project was a Speculative Design Student Winner for its novel approach to addressing future food scarcity while allowing these synthetic foods to maintain a archaic, poetic form we can continue to recognize even when precious produce may no longer be available.

    A Full Service Gym System for the Home

    The Peleton Tread took home the Professional win in our brand new category as of last year, Sports & Recreation. Peleton's system stood out for its envisioning of the treadmill as a motivational community activity and the design of its accessories that allow for a full body workout.

    2020 Core77 Design Awards Schedule

    Design Awards Open for Entry: January 7, 2020

    Early Bird Deadline: January 31

    Regular Deadline: March 9

    Final Deadline: April 1

    Winners Announced: June 11

    Have any questions before January 7th? Feel free to email us at awards@core77.com.

    Want to stay up to date on awards news, discounts, and deadlines? Subscribe to our newsletter via our homepage sidebar.



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    WillowTree is an award-winning digital product agency driven by innovation and grounded in strategy and user-centered design. We create long-term partnerships with the world’s leading brands to design and build digital flagship products crucial to their core business. Through a recent partnership acquisition with Dynamit in Columbus, Ohio, WillowTree is continuing to grow and thrive as the largest independent agency in the US. Some of our clients include HBO, National Geographic, Anheuser-Busch,

    View the full design job here

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    For years now, savvy retailers and restauranteurs have known that if you make your interior Instagrammable, you'll increase business. As one example of an eye-catching interior, check out 2D Cafe, located in Tokyo's Shinjuku district:

    Some of the interior elements are indeed flat and drawn, like the curtains and the banquette pillows. The tables and chairs, on the other hand, are 3D, but it looks like someone went over all of the edges with a Sharpie to make them look, well, "sketchy."

    As expected, patrons are posting shots of themselves on Instagram:

    Within Shinjuku, the café is located in the Shin-Okubo area, where Tokyo's Koreatown is located. And I also see that there's a nearly identical-looking 2D Cafe in Seoul, Korea:


    Furthermore there's a 2D Bubble Tea Cafe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:


    If they're all affiliated, there's no mention on any of their sites. Perhaps one of them is the original, and the others are knockoffs? Actually, in my book they're all knock-offs--of a popular '80s music video.


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    Here's a ridiculous ritual: When you go to a fancy restaurant, and a server lurks behind you as you sit, trying to correctly time when to push your chair forward for you. I do this weird crouch and turn my head over my shoulder to indicate it's go-time. After I sit, I feel ridiculous that another human being helped me get there.

    Image credit: Jay Wennington on Unsplash

    When we're on our own, we belly up to the table by grabbing the sides of the chair and scooting. I never thought about how weird and inelegant this act is, until I saw this photo:

    Image credit: Thoteman

    Image credit: Thoteman

    That's clearly a DIY fix that doesn't integrate well into the design, but I'm guessing it's functionally perfect.

    So, yea or nay: Ought all dining chairs be designed with this aspect of their use in mind? Surely there's an elegant, unobtrusive way to do this.


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    I came across this photo of the evolution of Google's smartphone designs over the years:

    Image credit: DemanKing3003

    It reminded me of an early industrial design gig I had, where I worked under a micromanaging supervisor. I'd produce on-screen drawings while he stood behind me, telling me to slant this line a bit more, adjust this radius, soften this edge; it was so bad that my co-workers and I called him "The Millimeter" behind his back, as he was always saying "Just move that line a millimeter to the left."

    He was also flighty, indecisive and easily distracted. So the Google photo made me think of what each of his notes would've been, if this was a single design project I was working on while he was standing behind me:

    Speaking of micromanaging, I had a design buddy at a different gig who told me his boss would put his hand on my buddy's hand to steer the mouse while making CAD adjustments. Top that.


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    The Recycled Island Foundation is taking a smart, proactive, and circular approach to the issue of marine plastic pollution (h/t Inhabitat). The Rotterdam-based organization has devised a passive litter trap design that collects plastic debris in local waterways before they reach the sea. The collected plastic is then sorted and recycled to create floating parks, wildlife habitats, and other products.

    "Considering that most of the plastics in our oceans actually come there via rivers, we found the potential to retrieve plastic from our own local river and to prevent these plastics from entering the sea," founder Ramon Knoester said in an interview. "Retrieving marine litter in rivers is much easier than trying to take the plastic from the open sea or even the ocean. We're now retrieving the plastic close to the source, which also helps to ensure that the quality of the material is still very good."

    Initially a local solution, the litter traps (which are themselves made of recycled plastic) have gotten global traction and are currently installed in Belgium and Indonesia with plans in the works for Vietnam, France, the Philippines, and Brazil. According to Inhabitat, each trap in Belgium is emptied twice a week and collects an average of 1.5 cubic meters of waste each month.

    Last summer the foundation opened its first floating park prototype in Rotterdam, which is currently open to visitors. The park is composed of 28 hexagonal blocks made out of plastic picked up by the litter traps in nearby Meuse River. Together they cover a total area of about 1,500 square feet. "Through the park runs a small canal about half a meter deep, where birds, fish and micro-organisms find food, breeding ground, and shelter," the company explains on their website.

    They've also begun partnering with other companies to develop different types of products from the plastic materials. They currently offer a series of 3D-printed outdoor sofas and are partnering with Unibrick to develop a durable plastic brick to be used as an affordable, easy-to-assemble housing material.





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    The Bauhaus centennial is coming to an end but the iconic design school's influence isn't going anywhere. Google Arts & Culture has just released a comprehensive online exhibition that explores the history of the movement and all the ways in which "traces" of its spirit still influence design today. Aptly titled Bauhaus Everywhere, the platform brings the school to life for anyone with an internet connection.

    The collection was developed in collaboration with Bauhaus Dessau, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the IIT Institute of Design, among others. Altogether the project has digitized over 10,000 objects, 400 artworks and created several virtual tours of iconic buildings.

    There's a series of animated videos covering Bauhaus basics and photo essays answering questions like "What Was It Like To Study In the Coolest School Around?" and "How to Decorate your House, Bauhaus-Style." You can explore 3D models of unbuilt projects or how the Bauhaus influence reached countries like Japan, India, and Brazil.

    All that is merely scratching the surface, dive into the site at your leisure here.


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    This person found a surprise in their snack food bag and snapped a photo, captioning it "My Goldfish are still attached to each other."

    Image credit: Darth Philious

    Looks to me like the Pepperidge Farm factory needs to touch up their stamping dies. Beyond that, one thing that jumped out at me is how wasteful the amount of flashing is--that's a lot of wasted cheddar, both literally and metaphorically; it's not as if that already-seasoned, already-baked flashing can be ground up and re-used.

    I dug up a video showing how Goldfish crackers are manufactured, hoping to see at which point they're die-cut into their individual shapes.

    While the die cutting step can't be seen in the video (presumably because it takes place inside the machine), we do see the sheets of roller-flattened cheddar rolling into a machine…

    …while individual Goldfish come out of the other end. (Note that they're swimming the wrong way. Shame on you, production line designer.)

    Since all of the baking, seasoning and oiling steps happen after the cutting, the spacing of the flashing makes sense. What we're not seeing on camera is that the flashing is undoubtedly being separated after the cutting step and fed back into the rollers to produce a fresh sheet. I'm not surprised Pepperidge Farm wouldn't want that part of the process shown, as a consumer unfamiliar with manufacturing might assume they're re-using "waste" in their products.

    As the sheets roll into the cutting machine, we can see that they're overlapped by at least three layers:

    My guess with the defect above is that that was cut from a bottom layer as the die wore out.

    One thing I couldn't grasp in the video: What the heck is this shot below depicting?

    I know at least a few of you reading this design for CPG in this space, and can explain what we're seeing.



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    The holidays can be stressful, and sometimes it's hard to know how you can contribute to making December that much more merry (and manageable!) This year, I'm prompting you—and sure, let the kids join in—to take up one important task: holiday cookie decorating. As a Core77 reader, it's likely you have a high design acumen—so what better way to celebrate the holidays than applying your own skills to making a holiday tradition that much better?

    So here are a few design friendly methods you can use to elevate your holiday cookies, turn some heads, and of course, please the palette.

    Gradient dough for cookies

    Photo credit: Tastemade

    Gradients have been on a design high the past couple of years, so why not impress your designer friends with these eye-catching cookies? These require a little bit of planning, but the effect is undeniably awesome. Tastemade has a great tutorial that shows you the easy way to get the effect. All you have to is swap the Valentine's color palette with something like white and blue for Hanukkah or green and red for Christmas, cut it into an appropriate shape, and you're ready to rock.

    Make your own cookie molds

    Dinara Kasko's amazing cake creations are made using custom molds

    Feeling ambitious this year? Then go ahead and utilize your mold making skills to create your own cookie molds!

    You can create a cookie mold using food-safe Composimold (this mold should not go in the oven, just use it to shape your cookie dough before placing in oven). Simply create a shape for the cookies using modeling clay that's been set in the oven, and pour the Composimold in a container with the modeling clay piece for it to set. Here's a good tutorial:

    Also a good gift idea: get someone you know who is an aspiring baker a silicone baking mold by pastry chef & former architect Dinara Kasko, who makes amazing cakes and desserts using custom designed molds.

    Make high design icebox cookies

    Confetti cookies via Story of a Kitchen

    For any designer with their hand in ceramics, this icebox cookie (aka something like the Pillsbury variety you find in the grocery store) technique that incorporates a graphic center may seem familiar, and is sure to wow. You can even add different flavors into one cookie!

    This technique reminds us of the work of designer Cody Hoyt! 

    There are several recipes out there to get you started with trying out the technique, like these rainbow cookies, or this psychedelic "quilted" design. Once you get the idea from these instructions, you can freestyle with your own design ideas!

    Airbrushing

    Did you know you can airbrush food? Well, now you do! Make yourself a basic sugar cookie recipe with some royal icing and you've got yourself an airbrush canvas. There are some pretty wild effects you can achieve if you let yourself dream a little bit, like the clouds shown in the video above.

    Pro tip: don't even try to recycle your art airbrush kit for this task, for food safety reasons. There are plenty of reasonably priced kits online meant for airbrushing food dyes, like this one.

    Pro tip: use a toothpick to smooth out icing

    We're only sort of including this tip as an excuse to include one of many addictive cookie decorating videos you can find on Instagram nowadays. But these videos also illuminate an important decorating tip when it comes to royal icing, and that is the use of a pick (something like a toothpick or a scribe tool) to smooth on the icing. Something as easy as that can turn something from looking homemade to totally professional—but remember, you have to do it fast!

    Look to social media for decoration design inspiration

    A psychedelic cake by Alana Jones Mann

    Want some fun ideas for how to take these techniques and make them unique? There are tons of fun artists out there who you can look to for inspiration. Here are a few places to get you started:

    - Alana Jones Mann, a baker known for her "shag rug cakes"

    - Bon Appetit is a great place to find cookie recipes that look great and taste even better

    - Funny Face Bakery, for great celebrity caricature cookie decorating

    - Just explore the #cookiedecoratingvideos hashtag on Instagram, and be prepared to block out a few hours in your schedule...you're going to get lost in it.






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    In a galaxy far, far away, the most lucrative contract a military supplier can get is producing helmets. The Empire and the First Order field millions of troops with a wide variety of helmet design needs, ensuring steady business for eons.

    In our galaxy, faithful (and licensed) Stormtrooper replica helmets are produced by manufacturer ANOVOS. The sheer variety they offer can be bewildering, so here our resident design expert Rain Noe explains the highly specific functions that make each design unique.

    Imperial Stormtrooper Helmet - Base model

    Snowtrooper Helmet - For hipster Stormtroopers (helmet design does not interfere with elaborate beards)

    Sandtrooper Helmet - Pre-worn/patina edition

    AT-AT Driver Helmet - For Stormtroopers with sleep apnea, features C-PAP machine hookup

    Incinerator Stormtrooper Helmet - Limited Edition Crossover, by Doc Martens

    First Order Flametrooper Helmet - Features dual EZ-Touch breath release valves, for Stormtroopers with halitosis

    First Order Snowtrooper Helmet - Helmet topper, when removed and inverted, doubles as stylish flowerpot to brighten up any office

    Sabine Wren Helmet - Features detachable selfie stick

    Imperial Royal Guard Helmet - Wearer can be shifted to welding duty without needing to change helmets

    Elite Praetorian Guard Helmet - Limited Edition Crossover, by Alessi

    Death Trooper Helmet - Now with built-in vaping cartridges (green color indicates menthol flavor)

    Death Trooper Specialist Helmet - Built-in vaping cartridges glow green, for nighttime visibility

    Commander Gree Clone Trooper Helmet - Limited Edition Crossover, by Bathing Ape

    AT-ACT Driver Helmet - Remote garage door opener, plus backup remote garage door opener, sticks to helmet face via magnets

    Kylo Ren Helmet - Antenna strips provide crystal-clear 5G connectivity

    First Order Stormtrooper Executioner Premier Helmet - Limited Edition Crossover, by Marc Newson



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    Read more about the rules before entering

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    For dual sliding doors without a mortised lock, you'll often see people chaining the handles together, and fastening the chains tight with a padlock. That solution is somewhat effective, but inelegant and janky; you've got to take all of the slack out of the chain each time you lock it to ensure a good seal, and when unlocked, the chain hangs sloppily off of the handle.

    Here's a better-looking and -functioning solution I came across. You still need the padlock, but you can do away with the chain, plus ensure the doors are sealed shut:

    I was unable to find the original source, so if any of you know whether this is off-the-shelf or DIY, please drop a line as I'd love to credit the inventor.


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    Are you tired of the corporate grind or of working in dull product categories? Do you want to work in a fun and energetic environment that is laid back and non-corporate? Lifestyledesign offers all this in one of the most beautiful places is the world. (Sunset Magazine named it the "Best Beach Town" in its inaugural travel awards.)

    View the full design job here

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    I'm not sure that folks who never attended design school even know what this is:

    That's an eraser shield, and it was an indispensible piece of kit introduced at our first drafting class. After you made a drafting error, the shield was used to cover the lines you wanted to preserve and expose the lines or segments you wanted to wipe away with your gummy eraser. It enabled precision erasing, and the row of repeating dots was handy for quickly erasing portions of a line to make it dotted.

    With regular ol' laypeople's erasers, the rub (pardon the pun) is that you can never see what you're erasing. But now Japanese stationary company Seed has fixed that; for the past five years they've been trying to develop a see-through eraser, and now they've succeeded. Here's their Clear Radar eraser:

    What I'd like them to invent next: A transparent prosthetic finger, so I can actually see what I'm typing on my smartphone.

    via Spoon & Tamago

    See Also:

    Japanese Over-Design FTW: A Highlighter With a See-Through Tip

    Japanese Over-Design FTW: The Beetle 3-Way Highlighter

    Japanese Over-Design FTW: Five Innovative Notebook Features

    Japanese Over-Design FTW: The Kadomaru Pro Corner Cutter

    Japanese Over-Design FTW: This Dual-Spring Mechanical Pencil Tip Prevents You From Accidentally Breaking Leads