1. Air Safety Cards are Pretty/Make a Water Landing Seem Plausibly Survivable

    While typically the law-abiding sort, I am only a human, meaning that I am a twitching bundle of nerves and idea juice that leaps and shivers in reaction to the stimulation that comes beaming in my sensory portholes.  As such, I find myself unable to be anything less than a criminal when confronted with an airline safety card.  Something about their bland universalism, firm guiding arrows and t-square born graphic design makes my palms itch, my hairline sweat and my zipper lower.  On my in-flight carry-on, that is.

    In accordance with it’s primary purpose, the internet is there to let me know that I’m not alone in my criminal deviation.  Even outside of the aviation memorabilia/ex-pilot nostalgia parts of town, there’s plenty of straight up freaks for airline safety cards.

    • All Safety Cards has about 30 safety cards from European and Russian airlines.  Some good variety in the design there but certain universal elements (blank stares at disaster, a minimum of decoration or detail) remain.  The scans are a little small so don’t expect to be able to read the text or use these for your dirty little Photoshopping binges.
    • Cabin Safety International actually makes the cards and offers collectors the opportunity to buy them legitimately.  They have a pretty extensive sample section on their site and a request page for ordering.
    • Planespotter’s archive has over 16,000 scans in their collection with contributors worldwide keeping it current.  However, the scans seem to be mostly small and of medium quality, giving you the look and feel but none of that close up daily drama of burning plane land.
    • If you’re looking for a big ball of analog safety card pleasures, can’t go wrong with Design for Impact: Fifty Years of Airline Safety Cards, a look at the design elements of the genre in a standard art book format.  Currently selling for as little as six bucks used over at Amazon.
    • And there’s the obligatory Yahoo group for airline card collectors.  You’ve got to join to see any of the good stuff, unfortunately.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention something about Airtoons, a webcomic that tacks the necessary captions on to the graphics we know and love.


  2. Every Japanese Corporate Mascot

    Working as a nice little followup to our post on Brands of the World, Pink Tentacle has the scoop on the Japanese Figure Trademark Database.

    As you may or may not know, it’s damn near a requirement for any company operating in Japan to have some kind of cute cartoon mascot to front the business and appeal tot he inner six year old girl in all of us.  On occasion, these mascots may actually have something to do with the business’ method of acquiring black ink but often it’s just a weird-ass concoction from the witches brew of the company president’s sympathies, popular trends at the founding of the company and whatever acid is still floating around the heads of the marketing department.

    I myself spent a year and a half working for the company with the pink rabbit with the cape and the duck’s beak.  (The beak stood for embezzlement, maybe?)

    At any rate, if you’re looking for inspiration for the next Twitter bird, you could do a lot worse than browsing through the 99 at Pink Tentacle or braving the arcane search process at the Japanese Figure Trademark Database.


  3. Brands of the World

    Wonder no more where you will be getting that vector image of BP’s logo.  Or Wal-Mart’s.  Or the Army of the 12 Monkeys.    Brands of the World has you covered.

    While by no means exhaustive, Brands of the World does provide a nice sampling of logos, mascots and trademarks from around the world.  It’s a good starting place for browsing around when you’re looking for branding inspiration or fodder for your next anti-corporate art action.  Files are provided in EPS or AI.  There’s a little trick to downloading though: it makes you click through the terms and conditions approval screen twice before you get to an actual download link.

    Go forth and détourne, you gangsters of Photoshop.


  4. People in Paper Houses Shouldn’t Throw Molotovs

    paper house, rockport, mass.

    Those gentle souls at Atlas Obscura reminded me about this here paper house that Elis F. Stenman built back in the 1920s.  Yes, paper.  Specifically, newspapers.

    The Rockport Paper House’s walls, doors, and furniture are made of varnished newspapers—roughly 100,000 of them. 215 layers of paper were stuck together with a homemade glue of flour, water, and apple peels to make 1-inch-thick panels for the walls.

    Apple peels?  Well, while I couldn’t find a glue recipe (not even among wheatpasters, the most opinionated of DIY glue makers) it makes a bit of sense, as that peels would have some amount of pectin in them, a fiber, gelling agent and occasional adhesive used to seal cigars.

    While the idea of paper as a building material is not uncommon–see China and Japan–this all-recycled newspaper approach is definitely inspiring to a materials scavenger like myself.  I’m reminded of the newspaper wood by designer Mieke Meijer I saw a few months back or architect Li Xianggang’s Paper-Brick House.  Guess I’ll start raiding more Village Voice boxes towards the end of the month and saving my apple peels.

    More photos and description here.

    photos via Atlas Obscura.


  5. Space Shuttle Crew Operation Manual

    The Space Shuttle Crew Operations Manual is available to anyone who wants to read. With the shuttle program retiring it you made need it if you are lucky to beat Space Center Houston, Seattle Museum, or numerous states vying for the Space Shuttle you might need this. Some of the pages are beautiful and you can download the PDF (41.2mb) or look at some samples below. It’s not the most interesting read at hundreds of pages, but some of the diagrams are beautiful.

    Space Shuttle Crew Operation Manual PDF


  6. Zazzle Steps Up: Fully Custom Keds

    Good ol’ Make magazine’s blog tipped me off to a new development in design your own (DYO?).   Zazzle–they of the slap your design on nearly anything and sell it business model–have partnered with Keds to let you have free reign in designing a pair of sneakers.  Slip-ons, high-tops, low-tops… all ready to be splashed with your keen Photoshop skills.  Unlimited, images, unlimited text… sounds pretty great, right?

    Yeah, it’s exciting and neat to think about but I’m not going to do it.  Why?

    A: I don’t pay $65 for footwear I can’t hike in. (But that’s just my flinty Yankee cheapness)

    B: While it’s cool looking, this isn’t that impressive.

    The bar for ‘impressive’ is fairly low but the possibilities are very high.  3-D printers aren’t magic, people.  While it’s all well and good to let any old jerk upload Bill Nye’s face onto a pair of high tops and rock those at the mall, this new way of doing business doesn’t change very much.

    Drop a kiosk for making these in every third Payless storefront, then I’ll perk my ears up.  Rope in a local site of production, then I’ll start buying.  Call me a pointlessly provincial, but rather than have teenagers sewing my sneakers in Dongguan, I’d rather have the couple that run the cobbler shop down the street sewing together my sneakers.  They could have the sides freshly printed off their fabric printer that’s hooked up to that shoe design kiosk at the Payless or to the website I’m looking at right now.  Pair them up with a stock sole or one that’s been stamped with a specialty printer/router combo to get that fancy edging or the lyrics to “Regulate” carved in it and we’re in business.

    It’s the future, let’s start acting like it.  Everybody buddy up and let’s make things awesome.  That means you, Payless, Keds, Zazzle and Kim’s Shoe Repair.

    photo from zazzle.com