Kickstarter

The Iconic NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual Reissued.

By the mid 1960’s the New York subway way finding system was a visual mess. It was a mix of signage and styles with no apparent order to any of it. In 1967, the New York City Transit Authority asked designers Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda to design a uniform identity and way finding system for the subway that would give riders a sense of direction that was easy to follow and use.

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Completed 3 years later in 1970,  was the NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual. This was the way finding system bible that became the face of the subway and is still in use today. Vignelli and Noorda gave us everything from color-coded route discs and line routes to the modernist sans-serif typeface ( the original font was Standard Medium, later switched to Helvetica) This design bible was distributed to designers, sign makers, and anyone else who needed help in designing, styling, and building a piece of the subway’s identity.

This iconic piece of work became a design classic in it’s own right, known to pretty much anyone that has studied or practiced design in the last 40 plus years. The manual was never intended for public distribution or consumption. Over the years as the NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual was updated and revised to meet changing needs and habits, fewer and fewer of the original copies remained. Many of the original copies found their way to a landfill or were lost in locked closets and cabinets within the many NYC Transit Authority offices.

A few years ago, two designers for Pentagram’s New York office, Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed, found a single copy. Knowing the importance of what they had they  digitized the manual, and now they’re reprinting it with the blessing of the MTA for a very limited time. For the next thirty days, you can purchase a copy of the 1970 NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual on Kickstarter. Pretty cool, and yes I’ll be buying one.

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Sense.

When you have a solid idea, and you post it on KickStarter looking for backing, the funding comes rolling in. Case in point “Sense” which raked in $700,000 in less than 48 hours and now sits with more than one million in pledge money.

Sense is a pretty straight forward idea. It is a smart object that monitors your sleep environment and tracks your sleep habits. By monitoring temperature, light, noise, and movement, it provides detailed data analysis of your sleeping patterns and offers up suggested improvements that are pushed to your phone via a dedicated app.

Structure Sensor. A 3D scanner for your iPad.

Structure sensor has been designed from the ground up to be a fully functional 3D scanner for your tablet. Unlike other 3D scanner technology that is designed to work with gaming consoles, or desktop computer systems, Structure sensor is optimized for mobile. The device requires no external power and attaches to the lighting connector on your iPad. It has a mobile optimized range making it ideal for field use. Structure allows the end user to quickly capture objects and the surrounding environment in digital form and export the data to CAD programs for 3D printing or additional modeling and rigging.

Using structured light, the Structure Sensor generates a VGA depth stream at 30 frames per second, where each pixel represents the distance to a real-world point. Structure Sensor’s depth sensing is powered by PrimeSense technology.

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Required Reading. “Helvetica, Objectified, Urbanized: The Complete Interviews”

If you are a designer, there is a pretty solid chance you have seen at least one of Gary Hustwit’s documentaries, HelveticaObjectified and Urbanized. If you haven’t I highly recommend each of them. As with any film, hundreds of hours of footage is shot, but only 1 to 2 hours actually make it into the film. In the case of  Hustwits that means there are hundreds of hours of interview footage that was not seen. The educational value of this footage makes it a real gem, and Hustwit knows this. He has launched a Kickstarter campaign that has surpassed it’s goal in the first nine days it has been up. The project, to bring all of the interviews out as transcripts in a book. Based on who was in the films, count me in on the book.

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“The book will include in-depth discussions with designers and thinkers like Paola Antonelli, Alejandro Aravena, Chris Bangle, Michael Bierut, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Neville Brody, Tim Brown, David Carson, Matthew Carter, Candy Chang, Yung Ho Chang, Noah Chasin, Wim Crouwel, Ellen Dunham-Jones, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Dan Formosa, Sir Norman Foster, Naoto Fukasawa, Jan Gehl, Jonathan Hoefler, Jonathan Ive, Hella Jongerius, Bruce Katz, David Kelley, Rem Koolhaas, Rahul Mehrotra, Bill Moggridge, Marc Newson, Oscar Niemeyer, Enrique Peñalosa, Michael C. Place, Rick Poynor, Dieter Rams, Karim Rashid, Alice Rawsthorn, Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher, Erik Spiekerman, Davin Stowell, Jane Fulton Suri, Massimo Vignelli, Rob Walker, Hermann Zapf, and many more… over 75 of the world’s most creative and innovative people.”

With Tuls, You’re Never a Tool.

This new Kickstarter project from Dave & Calvin Laituri reminds me of my long ago days in graphic design and drafting when we used die cut templates to draw circles, ovals, arcs, curves, lines, boxes, and more. I think that nostalgia might be one of the reasons I like Tuls, but the reality is Tuls is a really nice design solution for people that need small tools which take up little space.

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Tuls are a set of compact, credit card-sized tools designed to solve a range of everyday problems. Tuls are bundled in functionally complimentary sets. They are small and flat enough to fit on your keychain or in your wallet. The thinking behind them is simple. Tuls are there for you in those times when you can’t reach the tool you wish you had. Each laser cut Tul is made from 18 gauge stainless steel or titanium, about as thick and rigid as a US dime; tough, durable and built to last.

True Industrial Design in Watchmaking. A.Manzoni & Fils.

“Design is like a bridge between a company and a consumer which can build a trustworthy and reliable friendship.” that statement marks the thinking behind the relaunch of the Swiss watch brand A. Manzoni and Fills. A kickstarter project being spearheaded by Oliver Ike, and Ikka Suppanen is bringing together the best of Swiss watch making with modern industrial design aesthetics. The result–fantastic looking watches, great packaging, and brand identity. From the photos posted on the Kickstarter page, it looks like Ike and Suppanen are bringing it.

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“The lack of true industrial design in watchmaking gives a new player a brilliant opportunity to fill a market niche.”

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The two chose  to resurect the A. Manzoni and Fills brand because of the storied history of the firm that was originally launched in 1888 in Arogno. A.Manzoni & Fils produced watch movements until closing 1978. Ike has worked with Suppanen for 3 years to develop this series of timepieces.  The product is filled with cultural referencing in detail, sensual shape and interesting mechanical functions. Through this they have recreated the original Swiss craftsmanship that A. Manzoni & Fils became famous for.

For more information and photos click the links above.

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