David Bowie releases ‘Blackstar’ to celebrate his 69th birthday

David Bowie - 'Blackstar'

David Bowie enjoys giving presents on his birthday. Today he turns 69, and much like his 66th birthday, he’s released a new album titled Blackstar. Overall I enjoyed the album, especially stand outs like self-titled first track and the album closers “Dollar Days” and “I Can’t Give Everything Away”. You can listen to the full album in the player below.

Kodak resurrects the super 8 camera with help from Yves Behar

Kodak announced today they’d be releasing a new super 8 camera designed by Yves Behar. The camera has the ability to shoot in a digital format as well as traditional super 8 film cartridges which Kodak produces to this day. I feel like Behar has done it again, creating a stunning object that embodies the history of a super 8 camera while giving it a contemporary and perhaps timeless quality. Similarly there’s the K-01 which Marc Newson designed for Pentax which draws comments of admiration when used in public. They feel extremely similar to me, combining strong design with incredible functionality.

Not too be too much of a naysayer, I find it hard to believe that the product will revitalize the 8mm medium. They say the best camera you have is the one that’s always with you, and unfortunately I doubt this beautiful piece of design will be the one.

Kodak Super 8 camera, designed by Yves Behar

Kodak Super 8 camera, designed by Yves Behar

Kodak Super 8 camera, designed by Yves Behar

Kodak Super 8 camera, designed by Yves Behar

Kodak Super 8 camera, designed by Yves Behar

Abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly passes away at age 92

In sad news, artist Ellsworth Kelly has passed away. He was famous for his minimal works of art, lots of boldly colored shapes against barren gallery walls, which for me were extremely tough to understand. How I began to understand and appreciate his work, the way it was described to me, was that his pieces were created to transform spaces, their very existence change how you perceive a wall or a large space. With that in mind it helped me contextualize his work and appreciate it more.

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Radiohead drops unused ‘Spectre’ track as an amazing Christmas gift

Radiohead dropped a mighty Christmas present on the world yesterday, an unused song from the most recent James Bond film, Spectre. I think it’s crazy that they would have used a Sam Smith track over Radiohead though I’m a bit biased. Here’s the official message from the band:

Last year we were asked to write a theme tune for the Bond movie Spectre.
Yes we were. It didn’t work out, but became something of our own, which we love very much.
As the year closes we thought you might like to hear it.
Merry Christmas. May the force be with you.

Below I’ve posted a Soundcloud version of the track (which also allows you to download the song for free) as well as a mashup of the song with the title sequence of Spectre which it was intended for.

Frenchie to Go campaign by Content Design Lab

One of my favorite places to grab a quick bite while I was in Paris was Frenchie to Go, a quick service cafe located in the 2nd arrondissement. The place is a bit quirky with a unique menu (a fantastic breakfast sandwich) so it makes sense to have that unique sense apply to advertising as well. The folks at Content Design Lab created some offbeat graphics and flyers that highlight the unique voice and style of FTG.

Frenchie to Go awareness campaign by Content Design Lab

Frenchie to Go awareness campaign by Content Design Lab

Grand Cru Cold Brew by Stumptown

It feels like “artisanal coffee” has had it’s day in the sun but then another interesting innovation comes along and makes me feel like there’s still more there. This seems to be the case with Stumptown’s new Grand Cru Cold Brew, which is a batch of rare Gesha seeds from Honduras that have been cold brewed which brings out a “bright and clean, with notes of orange blossom, juice of papaya, and a sweet crème brûlée finish.”

Plus look at that bottle! It’s gorgeous! Does anyone know who created the graphics?

Paul Eshelman Ceramic Tea Set

The American Museum of Ceramic Art has some great pieces in their collection (which you can see here) but this tea set by Paul Eshelman really caught me eye. Created in 1985 the slip cast red stoneware has a minimal Memphis vibe which I’m loving. How great would it be to bust this out after a nice dinner party?

Paul Eshelman Tea Set

These Pour Souls pairs cocktails and creativity

Steering the site toward a food and drinks from a design angle, I set up a simple rule: don’t post restaurant reviews or recipes. I’m skirting close to my rules by writing about a site I recently came across called These Pour Souls. The Idaho based site shares drink recipes that are exemplified by some absolutely stunning photos, such as the Blue Moon you see above. Cocktails seem to be posted about a once a week so I’d recommend you follow them on Instagram to keep updated.

Link Harvest

1/ For a while now I’ve believed that a restaurant that focused on vegetables (with no labels like “vegan”) would be amazing. It looks like Alain Passard’s L’Arpège in Paris is proving me right with they incredible veggie-centric meals including their famous 14-course Garden Menu.

2/ Lucky Peach contributor Lucas Peterson has discovered the REAL McDonald’s secret menu and the truth will shock you.

3/ The human race has achieved it’s ultimate accomplishment: send whisky to space. After it’s long journey the blend now tastes like “antiseptic smoke, rubber, smoked fish and a curious, perfumed note,” which not everyone is a fan of.

4/ Looking for an offbeat place to get a drink in London? AnOther magazine has a great list of curious cocktail bars.

5/ Swedish design studio Tomorrowmachine is creating some rather innovating packaging, things like packaging that has a short shelf life (thus it’s easier to compost) or a compressed soup bowl that expands when you fill it with hot water.

6/ A Portugese startup has created an Internet-enabled tool which allows beekeepers to keep track of their bees remotely.

Pablo & Rusty’s coffee branding by Manual

I love a good coffee branding project and the folks at Manual have continued to impress with their work for Sydney based coffee roasters, Pablo & Rusty’s. What I always find impressive is the breadth of the work as Manual has put their stamp on nearly aspect of the business, not just some business cards or a cup design.

We began by taking inspiration from the core of their business—the humble coffee sacks and stencil typography often found printed on them—and reinterpreted this as modern, sophisticated custom-drawn logotype. In our research we discovered that many of their customers and staff referred to them as ‘P&R’ for short, so we recommended building on that brand recognition and created a monogram that would work at small sizes. This duality in naming and branding provided the backbone for all print, packaging, and retail design elements.