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kottke.org posts about design

1982 DC Comics Style Guide

color palettes of DC superheroes

Wonder Woman from three different angles

Batman from three different angles

Standards Manual is gearing up for a new release: a reproduction of the DC Comics Style Guide from 1982.

Reproduced from a rare original copy, the book features over 165 highly-detailed scans of the legendary art by José Luis García-López, with an introduction by Paul Levitz, former president of DC Comics.

First issued in 1982, the Style Guide aimed to assist licensees in delivering a consistent look for DC’s Super Heroes. The reissue is based on the original copy held by Standards Manual, containing an amalgam of pages added by the owners of the original from ‘82 to ‘85.

Comics nerds, get in there.

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Download Free Coloring Books From Museums and Libraries

a halfway colored-in illustration of a man with long curly hair

an illustration of a man in old timey clothes getting on a bicycle

various black and white illustrations of how a ship's rigging works

A Child's Map of the Ancient World

Hosted by the New York Academy of Medicine, #ColorOurCollections is a yearly assemblage of coloring books sourced from the collections of museums and libraries. You can download this year’s coloring books (as well as those from past years) for free from the website. (via open culture)

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The Colorful Fire Hydrant Directory

a grid of colorful fire hydrants

The Hydrant Directory is a collection of colorful fire hydrants where “each hydrant has been processed into color palettes for free use by artists and designers”. I love stuff like this. (via @presentandcorrect)

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Fabric & Letterforms

patterns for cross stitched letters

patterns for cross stitched letters

patterns for cross stitched letters

patterns for cross stitched letters

I loved looking at some of the items from the Letterform Archive related to the representation of letters with fabric (knitting, cross-stitch, weaving, etc.) Also, I did not know this re: the word “text”:

The word “text” originated from the Latin word “textus,” which means “a weaving” or “a fabric.” In ancient times, textus referred specifically to the process of weaving fabric. Over time, the meaning of the word expanded to include written or printed material, reflecting the idea of words being woven together to create a coherent written work. This metaphorical extension continues today with words and phrases such as seamless, threadbare, unraveled, looming, frayed, tangled, and spinning a yarn, highlighting the connection between the physical act of weaving fabric and the intellectual act of composing written language, both of which involve the interlacing of individual elements to create a unified whole. In this installment of For Your Reference, we revisit the Archive’s stacks for books and other items that build a tangible connection between threads and letterforms.

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Data Visualization of the Most Common PIN Numbers

Based on an analysis of leaked PIN numbers by Nick Berry, Information is Beautiful made this visualization of the most common PINs.

Data Visualization of the Most Common PIN Numbers

According to the analysis, just 20 4-digit numbers account for 27% of all PINs: 1234, 0000, 7777, 2000, 2222, 9999, 5555, 1122, 8888, 2001, 1111, 1212, 1004, 4444, 6969 (nice), 3333, 6666, 1313, 4321, 1010. The diagonal line is people using repeated pairs of digits (e.g. 2727 or 8888) while the horizontal line near the bottom is people who are presumably using their (19xx) birth year as a PIN. (You can see the beginning of a 20xx line on the left side.)

The best causally unguessable PINs would seem to be unrepeated pairs of numbers greater than 50 — so 8957, 7064, 9653, etc. Choose wisely.

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Slow Publishing With Arion Press

San Francisco’s Arion Press still uses decades-old machines to make beautiful books by hand. They’re one of the few remaining presses in the world that do everything from start to finish — they even cast their own type.

Arion dwells in an almost extinct corner of the book world: Call it Slow Publishing. It produces only three books a year, each a unique art object reproduced in editions of less than 300. Art is so important, in fact, that the illustrators-art-world luminaries-drive the title selection process.

“We learned that the projects went a lot more smoothly when we said to the artist, ‘What do you want to do?’” Blythe said.

Anthony Bourdain visited Arion in 2015 for a online series called Raw Craft — it’s a great look at how and why they produce books this way:

Business Insider’s Still Standing series recently profiled Arion as well:

(thx, stephen)

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The Lost Typeface Recovered From the Thames River

This is such a wild story. Two men, Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson & Emery Walker, founded the Doves Press in London in 1900. They made a typeface called Doves Roman:

During its short life early last century, the Doves Press printed and bound some of the finest books ever produced in England and its approach to typography and printing subsequently exerted a major influence over book design in Europe and the United States. Many of Cobden-Sanderson’s ideas would, decades later, find expression or adaptation in both Traditionalist and Modernist circles respectively.

The partnership busted up and Cobden-Sanderson eventually took all of the lead type and dumped it in the Thames River. No more typeface.

The thought of ‘his’ typeface being used by anyone else, and in a manner beyond his control, prompted Cobden-Sanderson’s now infamous course of action. Only the Doves Press, run exclusively by him, could be bestowed the honour of printing his type. And so the mission to destroy it, beginning with the punches and matrices on Good Friday 1913, began. On an almost nightly basis from August 1916 the ailing septuagenarian dumped the type into the Thames, wrapped in paper parcels and tied with string; “bequeathed to the river” as he put it in his personal diary. Every piece of this beautiful typeface, more than a ton of metal, was destroyed in a prolonged ritual sacrifice.

Type designer Robert Green, working from printed materials, made a digital facsimile font of Doves Roman. In a bid to improve the font, he set out to find the lead type dumped in the river, aided by Cobden-Sanderson’s diary entries of the type-destroying mission. He found a few of the metal sorts (i.e. pieces of lead type) and with assistance from the Port of London Authority’s diving team, ended up retrieving 151 metal sorts in all, “out of a possible 500,000”.

a collection of metal sorts from a typeface that's been at the bottom of a river for over a century

Here’s a short film about the recovery of the type:

You can testdrive and buy the text and headline typefaces that Green created using the recovered sorts. (via colossal)

a letter printed in Doves Type

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The Flashlight Gun Is Peak WTF America

An officer “accidentally” fired his weapon during an NYPD raid on a student-occupied building at Columbia University on Tuesday. Apparently, he mistook his gun for a flashlight. You may be wondering: how could this happen? Well, like this. From a 2014 article in the Denver Post:

an illustration of a gun with a flashlight mounted on it, showing a second trigger for the light right under the first trigger

Ronny Flanagan took pride in his record as a police officer in Plano, Texas. He had an incident-free career. He took safety training regularly. He was known at the range as a very good shot.

Yet he killed a man when he was simply trying to press a flashlight switch mounted beneath the trigger on his pistol.

In a deposition, Flanagan expressed his remorse and made a prediction.

“I don’t want anyone to ever sit in a chair I’m in right now,” he said. “Think about the officers that aren’t as well trained, officers that don’t take it as seriously, and you put them in a pressure situation, another accident will happen. Not if, but will.”

Jeeeeesus Christ this is the most American shit ever. First of all: guns, guns, guns!! We love ‘em! Don’t forget the complete militarization of the police (they’ve got tanks!), which happens in tinpot countries where leaders fear the citizenry. Those gun flashlights were initially developed for the Navy SEALs and now city cops wield them around students.

And then. And then! There’s the completely genius idea of PUTTING A SECOND TRIGGER ON A GUN — I wish I had letters more uppercase than uppercase for this next part — RIGHT BELOW THE FIRST TRIGGER!!!!!!! 1
You know, the one that propels a projectile out of the weapon at deadly speeds!?

You’re familiar with those doors where the handle makes it seem like a pull but you actually have to push it? They’re called Norman doors, the canonical example of bad design. These flashlight guns are like Norman doors that kill people. W T Actual Fuck. (via @ygalanter.bsky.social)

  1. I know I’m gonna get email about this so I’ll stop you right there Johnny Gmail: I am sure “not all guns” 🥴 with flashlights are designed like this. I am positive that putting yet another switch on a firearm that’s designed to be used when the gun is pointed at something or someone is a Bad Idea. And anyway, this whole thing about being an “accident” is BS anyway…there is nothing accidental about where that officer was with the gear that he had, doing what he was doing. It is all perfectly predictable that guns are fired by militarized police in Gun Land USA.

Vintage Japanese Train Tickets

vintage Japan train ticket

vintage Japan train ticket

vintage Japan train ticket

vintage Japan train ticket

vintage Japan train ticket

vintage Japan train ticket

vintage Japan train ticket

vintage Japan train ticket

vintage Japan train ticket

Oh, these old Japanese train tickets, sourced from this collector, are wonderful. So much design inspiration. You can find more at Present and Correct.

See also Vintage Weekly Bus Passes.

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Papyrus 2: A Bold New Look for Avatar

Ryan Gosling was on Saturday Night Live this weekend and they did a sequel to one of my favorite SNL sketches (which is completely dorky in a design nerd sort of way) ever: Papyrus. Behold, Papyrus 2:

Avatar spawned worlds, right? Every little leaf of every little flower, every little eyelash of every little creature: thoroughly thought out. But the logo: it’s Papyrus, in bold. Nobody cares. Does James Cameron care? I don’t think so.

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The Function of Colour in Factories, Schools & Hospitals (1930)

An illustration of a tidy classroom with aqua-colored desks, each with a red chair and an open book, lit by natural light from large windows and overhead lights.

A warmly lit dining hall featuring wooden tables and chairs on a checkered floor, flanked by an orange wainscot and decorated with framed artwork.

A serene office space with mint green walls, furnished with a desk, chair, and medical equipment, illuminated by pendant lights and daylight from a large window.

A clean and functional restroom corridor with a series of sinks and stall doors in salmon pink, contrasted with a cool blue floor and natural light filtering through the windows.

If you’re looking for some color palette inspiration, check out these scans from The Function of Colour in Factories, Schools & Hospitals (1930). Which is presumably a book? Whatever…the precision and colors of these illustrations are marvelous.

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Dawn Baillie: The Art of the Movie Poster

the movie poster for Silence of the Lambs

I love a good movie poster and Dawn Baillie designed one of the best ones ever: the iconic poster for The Silence of the Lambs. Her other work includes posters for Dirty Dancing, Little Miss Sunshine, Zoolander, The Truman Show, and The Royal Tenenbaums. A show of her work opens soon at Poster House in NYC. Some of Baillie’s original posters are for sale at Posteritati.

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Kottke.org Redesigns With 2024 Vibes

a screenshot of the new kottke.org redesign for 2024

Well. Finally. I’m unbelievably pleased, relieved, and exhausted to launch the long-awaited (by me) redesign of kottke.org today. Let’s dive right into what has changed and why.

{ Important: If the “logo” on the left/top is not circles and is squares/diamonds instead, you can update your browser to the latest version to see it how I intended. (Will be looking for a fix for this…) }

(Justified and) Ancient. The last time I redesigned the site, a guy named Barack Obama was still President. Since then, I’ve launched the membership program, integrated the Quick Links more fully into the mix, (more recently) opened comments for members, and tweaked about a million different things about how the site works and looks. But it was overdue for a full overhaul to better accommodate all of those incremental changes and, more importantly, to provide a solid design platform for where the site is headed. Also, I was just getting tired of the old design.

Back to the Future. In my post introducing the new comments system, I wrote about the potential for smaller sites like mine to connect people and ideas in a different way:

The timing feels right. Twitter has imploded and social sites/services like Threads, Bluesky, and Mastodon are jockeying to replace it (for various definitions of “replace”). People are re-thinking what they want out of social media on the internet and I believe there’s an opportunity for sites like kottke.org to provide a different and perhaps even better experience for sharing and discussing information. Shit, maybe I’m wrong but it’s definitely worth a try.

Before Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat came along and centralized social activity & output on the web, blogs (along with online diaries, message boards, and online forums) were social media. Those sites borrowed heavily from blogging — in the early years, there wasn’t much that those sites added in terms of features that blogs hadn’t done first. With the comments and now this redesign, I’m borrowing some shit back from the behemoths.

A social media design language has evolved, intelligible to anyone who’s used Twitter or Facebook in the past decade. Literally billions of people can draw what a social media post looks like on a napkin, show it to someone else from the other side of the world, and they’d say, “oh, that’s a post”. In thinking about how I wanted kottke.org to look and, more importantly, feel going forward, I wanted more social media energy than blog energy — one could also say “more old school blog energy than contemporary blog energy”. Blogs now either look like Substack/Medium or Snow Fall and I didn’t want to pattern kottke.org after either of those things. I don’t want to write articles — I want to blog.

Practically speaking, “social media energy” means the design is more compact, the type is smaller,1 the addition of preview cards for Quick Links, and the reply/share/???? buttons at the bottom of each post. But, it also still looks like a personal (old school) blog rather than a full-blown Twitter clone (I hope). I think this emphasis will become clearer as time goes on.

So What’s Different? I mean, you can probably tell for yourself what’s changed, but I’ll direct your eye to a few things. 1. Member login + easy account access for members on the top of every page. kottke.org has always been very much my site…but now it’s just a little bit more our site. 2. No more top bar (on desktop), so the content starts much higher on the page. 3. Most Quick Links have a preview card (also called an unfurl) that shows the title, a short description, and often an image from the link in question — the same as you’d get if someone sent you a link via text or on WhatsApp. 4. We’ve bid a fond farewell to the Whitney typeface and welcomed Neue Haas Unica into the fold. 5. IMO, the design is cleaner but also more information dense, reflecting the type of blogging I’d like to do more of. 6. Dark mode! There’s no toggle but it’ll follow your OS settings.

Billions and Billions. kottke.org has (famously?) never had a logo. I’ve never wanted one thing to represent the site — in part because the site itself is all over the place and also because it’s fun to switch things up every once in awhile. Instead, I’ve always gone for a distinctive color or gradient that lets readers know where they are. This time, I’ve opted for a series of circles — a friend calls them “the planets” — but with a twist. There are 32 images, each with 4 different hues and 8 different rotations, that can slot into the 4 available spaces…and no repeats. By my calculations (corrections welcome!), there are over 900 billion different permutations that can be generated, making it extremely unlikely that you’ll ever see the same exact combo twice. Even if, like last time, this design lasts for almost eight years.

Gimme the Goods. The tiny collection of kottke.org t-shirts has its own page on the site now. The Hypertext Tee based on the previous design will be offered only for another few weeks and then probably be retired forever. To be replaced with…TBD. 😉

Winnowing Down. Last time I redesigned, I went back and modified the template of every page on the site, even stuff from the late 90s and early 00s that no one actually remembers. This time around, I’m focusing only on the core site: blog posts from 1998-present, tag pages, membership, and the few pages you can get to from the right sidebar. The rest of the site, mostly pages deep in the archive that see very little (if any) traffic, are going to stick with the old design, effectively archived, frozen in digital amber. We wish those old pages well in their retirement.

So yeah, that’s kind of it for now. There is so much left to do though! The comments need some lovin’, some social media things need tightening up, the about page could use some tuning, the newsletter needs a visual refresh, a few other small things need doing — and then it’s on to the next project (which I haven’t actually decided on, but there are several options).

I’m happy to hear what you think in the comments, on social media, or via email — feedback, critique, and bug reports are welcome. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have not taken a full day off from the site since late December (including weekends), so I’m going to go collapse into a little puddle and sleep for about a week.

  1. If you’d like the text bigger, you can adjust the size using your browser’s zoom controls (cmd + & cmd -). This is what I do for viewing Instagram on my desktop web browser — 150% is the way to go…the photos are teensy otherwise. (I adjust Daring Fireball and Threads too.) The browser even remembers your settings for a site between visits…you only have to adjust it once.
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USPS to Release Ansel Adams Stamps

a sheet of stamps from the US Postal Service featuring Ansel Adams photographs

The US Postal Service is set to release a sheet of 16 stamps featuring the legendary photography of Ansel Adams.

Ansel Adams made a career of crafting photographs in exquisitely sharp focus and nearly infinite tonality and detail. His ability to consistently visualize a subject — not how it looked in reality but how it felt to him emotionally — led to some of the most famous images of America’s natural treasures including Half Dome in California’s Yosemite Valley, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, and Denali in Alaska, the highest peak in the United States.

No pre-order links yet, but the stamps will be available on May 15. (via @anseladams)

P.S. I was just poking around the official Ansel Adams site and ran across this photo I’d never seen before of a woman behind a screen door. Really wonderful.

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Lego Letterpress Lobster

a letterpress print of a lobster

Check out this letterpress print of a lobster made by Eunice Chiong with Lego pieces as the stamps (watch a short video of her printing process). Chiong has been working with Legos and letterpress for many months now…check out more of her creations on Instagram and in her portfolio.

See also Letterpress Prints of Birds Printed Using Lego Bricks.

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Love Stamps? Love Stamps!

Love Stamps

A day late, but there’s room for love every day here at kottke.org: from the Portland Stamp Company, a history of LOVE stamps issued by the US Postal Service from 1973 to the present.

There are some heavy hitters amongst the designers of these stamps, including Robert Indiana, Sister Corita Kent, Jessica Hische, and Louise Fili. In looking at the designs over the years, it seems like things got noticeably pinker and redder over the past 10-12 years…I wonder what that’s about?

Also, “Chief Perforation Officer”. 😂

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Vintage Typologies

Lost Found Art is a design company that “specializes in sculptural installations and assemblages using antique and vintage pieces”. Their collections are fun to browse through and remind me of the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher.

a collection vintage mirrors

a collection of vintage cook stove grates

a collection of vintage shooting gallery targets

a collection of vintage bike gears

a collection of vintage cook stove grates

a collection of vintage baseball mitts

(via present & correct)

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FAA Aviation Maps

FAA map of Chicago O'Hare airport

FAA map of an airport in Alaska

FAA map of the Houston airport

On Beautiful Public Data, Jon Keegan highlights the extremely information-rich flight maps produced by the Federal Aviation Administration that pilots use to find their way around the skies.

Among all of the visual information published by the U.S. government, there may be no product with a higher information density than the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) aviation maps. Intended for pilots, the FAA publishes free detailed maps of the entire U.S. airspace, and detailed maps of airports and their surroundings and updates them frequently. The density of the critical information layered on these maps is staggering, and it is a miracle that pilots can easily decipher these maps’ at a glance.

Oh wow, this takes me back. My dad was a pilot when I was a kid and he had a bunch of FAA maps in the house, in his planes, and even on the walls of his office. I remember finding these maps both oddly beautiful and almost completely inscrutable. What a treat to be able to finally figure out how to read them, at least a little bit. And the waypoint names are fun too:

Orlando, FL has many Disney themed waypoints such as JAFAR, PIGLT, JAZMN, TTIGR, MINEE, HKUNA and MTATA. Flying into Orlando, your plane might use the SNFLD arrival path, taking you past NOOMN, FORYU, SNFLD, JRRYY and GTOUT.

Based on the waypoints near Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, this airport must be home to some of the nerdiest air traffic controllers. There’s a crazy number of Lord of the Rings waypoints: HOBTT, SHYRE, FRDDO, BLLBO, BGGNS, NZGUL, RAETH, ORRKK, GOLLM, ROHUN, GONDR, GIMLY, STRDR, SMAWG and GNDLF.

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Letraset Fill Patterns

a grid of letraset patterns

a grid of letraset patterns

I never did any print design — I went straight to digital via a copy of Aldus PhotoStyler that I got who knows where — but these Letraset fill patterns make me feel some kinda way. Especially the dotted patterns. 😍

See also How to Apply Letraset Dry Rub-Down Transfers and Retroset. (via present & correct)

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Vintage Space Age Playing Cards (1964)

six of diamonds playing card with GO and NO GO printed on it

jack of clubs playing card with a space monkey eating a banana on it

two of spades playing card with a red hot air balloon on it

joker playing card with a picture of Superman

queen of hearts playing card with Amelia Earhart on it

nine of diamonds playing card with a Earth/Moon diagram on it

The General Dynamics Astronautics Space Cards were printed up in 1964 to celebrate the American space program. This Flickr account has scans of every card in the deck, including both jokers. Each suit corresponds to a different aspect of the program:

These space cards tell a story — the story of America’s man-in-space programs. The hearts deal with the human element, the clubs portray the sciences, the spades show products, and the diamonds depict modern aerospace management without which the other three elements could not be successful…

If you’d like your own factory-sealed deck, you can buy one on eBay for $249. (thx, mark)

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The Best Movie Posters of 2023

movie poster for Barbenheimer

movie poster for John Wick 4

movie poster for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

movie poster for Asteroid City

movie poster for They Cloned Tyrone

movie poster for Poor Things

movie poster for John Wick 4

I am not in the habit of buying movie posters, but I bought one this year — for a movie that doesn’t even exist. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to snag one of Sean Longmore’s Barbenheimer posters. It’s still in the shipping canister, but I’m gonna get it framed and find a spot for it on my wall soon.

As for the rest of my favorite movie posters of 2023, I’ve included a few above that caught my eye. For more excellent picks, check out Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s Movie posters of the year 2023, Mubi’s The Best Movie Posters of 2023, First Showing’s 10 Favorite Movie Posters from 2023, The Playlist’s The 20 Best Film Posters Of 2023, and IndieWire’s The Best Film and TV Posters of 2023.

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The Best Book Cover Designs of 2023

Book cover for Fire Rush

Book cover for The Nursery

Book cover for Yellowface

Book cover for Big Swiss

Book cover for Kairos

Book cover for The Employees

Book cover for Good Men

I love a good book cover design. As I wrote last year:

The book cover is one of my all-time favorite design objects and a big part of the reason I love going to bookstores is to visually feast on new covers. I don’t keep an explicit list of my favorites from those trips, but there are definitely those that stick in my mind, covers that I’ll instantly recognize from across the room on subsequent trips.

I used those bookshop trips and several year-end lists to compile my list of favorites, pictured above and listed here, along with their designers:

Fire Rush (French edition) by Jacqueline Crooks, designed by Jodi Hunt.
The Nursery by Szilvia Molnar, designed by Linda Huang.
Yellowface by R. F Kuang (couldn’t find the designer’s name).
Big Swiss by Jen Beagin, designed by Jaya Miceli.
Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck, designed by John Gall.
The Employees by Olga Ravn, designed by Paul Sahre.
Good Men by Arnon Grunberg, designed by Anna Jordan.

Do you have a particular favorite cover? Let me know in the comments!

The lists I consulted are Literary Hub’s The 139 Best Book Covers of 2023 (don’t be dissuaded by that big number…this is the best list bc they consult actual cover designers), The Casual Optimist’s Notable Book Covers of 2023 (always a great list from an indie site), the NY Times’ The Best Book Covers of 2023, The Book Designer’s 2023 Coolest Book Covers (that bucked the year’s trends), Print’s 50 of the Best Book Covers of 2023, Book covers designs of the year 2023 from Creative Review, and Spine’s 2023 Book Covers We Loved.

It’s fun to see how cover design changes throughout the years — here are my lists from 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2015, 2014, and 2013.

Note: When you buy through links on kottke.org, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for supporting the site!

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A Perfectly Designed Climate Report Cover

This is the cover to the just-released United Nations Environment Programme Emissions Gap Report 2023 (full report here). Perfect title, perfect graphic, perfect subheadline. No notes.

the cover of a report on the climate crisis entitled 'Broken Record'

Amazing that an official UN climate report has this much biting personality. You can just sense the no-fucks-givenness of the people who put this together. After all:

Humanity is breaking all the wrong records when it comes to climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions reached a new high in 2022. In September 2023, global average temperatures were 1.8°C above pre-industrial levels. When this year is over, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, it is almost certain to be the warmest year on record.

The 2023 edition of the Emissions Gap Report tells us that the world must change track, or we will be saying the same thing next year — and the year after, and the year after, like a broken record. The report finds that fully implementing and continuing mitigation efforts of unconditional nationally determined contributions (NDCs) made under the Paris Agreement for 2030 would put the world on course for limiting temperature rise to 2.9°C this century. Fully implementing conditional NDCs would lower this to 2.5°C. Given the intense climate impacts we are already seeing, neither outcome is desirable.

The report credits Beverley McDonald with the cover design — her website is here.

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The World’s Writing Systems

a grid of letters from different written languages

a grid of letters from different written languages

a grid of letters from different written languages

A simple and beautiful listing of the World’s Writing Systems. You can sort by time (proto-cuneiform to Toto), region, name (Adlam to Zou), and whether the scripts are living or historical.

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The Bird Migration Explorer

a map of North and South Americas with thinly drawn lines representing the migratory patterns of hundreds of species of birds

I loved playing around with the National Audubon Society’s Bird Migration Explorer, which is a beautifully designed interactive map of the Western hemisphere that shows the seasonal migration patterns of more than 450 species of birds. What a resource…so much information to explore here. (via marco c. in the comments)

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Project Primrose: Interactive Digital Fashion

At their recent creativity conference, Adobe showed off Project Primrose, in the form of a dress that changes colors and patterns at the click of a button. The garment could also display animations, including ones that respond to the wearer’s movements. From The Kid Should See This:

Created with small scales or petals that are programmed with Adobe software, the futuristic ‘fabric’ can be used for clothing, handbags, curtains, furniture, and endless other surfaces.

Research Scientist Christine Dierk and her team designed and programmed everything about it. Dierk also stitched it together.


Name Sans

sample text at different type sizes for a typeface called Name Sans

a sample of the mosaic tile lettering found in NYC subway stations. This one reads 'Fulton St'.

Name Sans is a typeface based on the tile mosaic lettering found in NYC subway stations.

The architects and craftworkers who designed & laid these tiles used a letter construction that was part geometric and part grotesque, with typographic optical corrections often either exaggerated or totally missing. Name Sans interprets these ideas into an extensive type system that is at once anonymous and full of personality, useful for everything from branding to wayfinding to digital interfaces.

Lovely. I like this a lot.


Some of the Most Interesting and Weird Manuals in the Internet Archive

manual for an IBM typewriter featuring a woman sitting on the corncer of a desk with a typewriter on it

a line-up style photo of the inhabitants of McDonaldland

book cover for 'The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock'

a heavily marker-up cover for the CIA's Simple Sabotage Field Manual

cover for the NJ Transit Graphics Standards Manual

One could spend several hours delving into the Manuals Showcase over at the Internet Archive. Among the collection of handbooks, manuals, and guides, you’ll find gems like the IBM Model B Electric Typewriter User Manual 1954, The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock, CIA Simple Sabotage Field Manual, NJ Transit Graphics Standards Manual, and the McDonalds McDonaldland Specification Manual (1975).

I’ve written about the CIA Simple Sabotage Field Manual before — “some of these things are practically best practices in American business, not against enemies but against their employees, customers, and themselves”.


A Family of Humming-Birds

a poster depicting hundreds of hummingbirds in a swarm

Wow, Nicholas Rougeux has restored John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds, which was published between 1848 & 1887 and contains hand-colored lithographic depictions of almost every single hummingbird species known to exist at the time.

a pair of hummingbirds fly amongst flowers

two hummingbirds perch on a plant

three hummingbirds perch on a flowering plant

From Rougeux’s page about the project:

The monograph is considered one of the finest examples of ornithological illustration ever produced, as well as a scientific masterpiece. Gould’s passion for hummingbirds led him to travel to various parts of the world, such as North America, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, to observe and collect specimens. He also received many specimens from other naturalists and collectors.

The image at the top of the post is the gorgeous poster that Rougeux created from the drawings in Gould’s monograph…you can order some for your walls and read a making-of.

See also other projects by Rougeux that I’ve posted about.


An Update on the Squiggle Shirts

a black t-shirt with a white squiggle pattern on it

Hey folks. Just wanted to check in with how The Process Tee is going. We’ve sold quite of a few of them so far, and I’ve just sent off the first of hopefully many donations to the National Network of Abortion Funds to the tune of $1288 to support their mission of working towards a world “where all reproductive options, including abortion, are valued and free of coercion”.

Thanks so much to everyone who has bought a shirt so far! If you’d like to purchase one of your own, you can check out the original post for more information and the ordering links.