Friends, we need your help.
Last week, Gregory Warner and David Kestenbaum reported on the afterlife of American clothes. Lots of t-shirts from used clothes bin in the U.S. eventually make their way to sub-Saharan Africa.
Including the one above. From Jennifer’s bat-mitzvah from November 20, 1993. We want to find Jennifer.
What we Know: Jennifer’s bat mitzvah was on November 20, 1993. The theme may have been cartoons. And there’s a nametag in the shirt labeled Rachel Williams.
That’s all we know. Which is where you come in.
Do you know Rachel? Do you know Jennifer? Help us solve the mystery. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and put “that’s my shirt” in the subject line. And please share this as much as you can. It would be really awesome to find Jennifer and talk to her about her bat mitzvah t-shirt’s journey.
The Toothbrush, Re-designed. Again.
We’ve talked about the modern, angled bristle, fat-handled toothbrush, which was designed to fit users and their habits. Now the toothbrush is undergoing another re-design, to aesthetically harmonize with the room it exists in.
Right now these are only available on an Indiegogo campaign, where you can customize your own handle and subscribe to a monthly toothbrush head delivery plan. If only they could make floss look good.
This cosmonaut suit was actually worn on a Soviet Space Agency mission, and it was recently auctioned off from a collection curated by designers Marc Newson and Jony Ive.
It sold for more than quadruple the estimated price. Cosmonaut suits have been desirable collectibles for a while now.
Hear about how people are making their own space suits, partly inspired by the cosmonauts, in episode 96 of 99% Invisible.
It’s Not About Winning…
It’s about disrupting public space:
The design studio Llobet & Pons have installed this multi-player basketball hoop in Teshima, Japan. The backboard allows up six people (of varying heights and/or skill levels) to shoot at the same time, making it impossible to play defense. The name of this piece? “No One Wins.”
It’s so great when art and design shake up the highly regulated world of sports. Manipulating the standardized design of athletic equipment distracts from the sport’s “purpose” or objective. I imagine that by changing the most important accessory- the goal- these designers have turned a game of basketball into something more like a dance.
The Age of a City
In European city, you can usually tell where the oldest part of town is. It’s most likely at the center, pinpointed by some grand church, with layers of progressively newer buildings spiraling out from it.
This pattern holds true in the Netherlands, according to an interactive map of all 9,866,539 buildings in the entire country. A developer at Amsterdam’s Waag Society, an institute for art, science and technology, built this infographic on top of the CitySDK data distribution platform.
Newer buildings are blue, old buildings are red, and other buildings are gradients in between.
It’s a little harder to approximate the age of building in North America if it doesn’t have a plaque in front.
However! If you live in Brooklyn or Portland, you’re in luck - not just because you live in a great place, but also because you’ve got interactive maps of your cities, arranged by date of construction.
The color schemes and designs of these maps are interesting as well, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
Okay Brooklyn, Portland, and the Netherlands, go out and find the old gems/ unmask the new knockoffs around your neighborhood!
If your town doesn’t have an interactive age map, here’s how to go make one.
In the International Revolving Door Company’s 1952 catalog, the retro typefaces totally out-shine the products.
Why were revolving doors a revolutionary innovation? Listen to the episode here.
Designing A National Brand
The Swedish government recently commissioned branding company Soderhavet to redesign… Sweden.
Sweden’s new visual identity will appear in brochures, logos, websites, and official stationery:
Sweden even has its own specially made typeface, Sweden Sans.
Sweden’s rebranding feels somewhat similar to Canada’s Federal Identity Program (FIP), which developed a logo for the Canadian government and its affiliated programs. Perhaps you’ve seen it rolling in the credits of movies that were shot in Toronto, or on tourism advertisements for Montreal. It’s Canada’s signature, and it looks like this.
According to the website of the Canadian Treasury Board
When a department is clearly and consistently identified, its programs and services are easier to find and use. This is especially important to ensure that government departments are accountable to the public they serve. All information, whether intended for external or internal use, must clearly convey the Government of Canada’s visual identity.
Canada’s logo looks pretty corporate, but you can kind of understand the logic behind it.
The symbolism of a national flag is all-encompassing. It represents the country’s population, landmarks, culture, current mood, cuisine… absolutely everything within its jurisdiction. A democratic government should accurately represent all aspects of its population, but of course this doesn’t always succeed perfectly and there are divides or debates between people and their governments.
Thus, Canada and Sweden have found it appropriate that the government, a country’s official administrative voice, have a slightly different visual identity than the country its self. In both cases, the government’s logo is simply the national flag and the name of the country, but their standard formatting creates a recognizable and unique symbol.
When you google “United States Logo,” a lot of ornate eagle graphics come up. Ugh. When you search “America Logo,” you get a lot of logos for the Club America soccer team. And then, if you scroll down a bit, you find this:
The Captain America logo is actually a compelling design, no? I mean, more than compelling. It’s fantastic. Ahh, if only it were printed on government forms. That would be a Marvel.