36 Abstract Covers of Vintage Psychology, Philosophy & Science Books Come to Life in a Mesmerizing Animation

Animated ebook covers are the wave of the future.

Graphic and motion designer Henning M. Lederer surfs that wave on the most unexpected of boards—a collection of abstract mid-century covers drawn from the Instagram feed of artist Julian Montague, who shares his enthusiasm for vintage minimalism.

Lederer first came to our attention in 2015, when we covered the first installment of what seems destined to become an ongoing project.




His latest effort, above, continues his explorations in the subjects which most frequently traded in these sorts of geometric covers—science, psychotherapy, philosophy and sociology.

No word on what inspired him to toss in the first cover, which features a cheerful, Playmobil-esque mushroom gatherer. It's endearing, but—to quote Sesame Street—is not like the others. Those of us who can’t decipher Cyrillic script get the fun of imagining what sort of text this is—a mycology manual? A children’s tale? A psychological examination—and ultimately rejection—of midcentury publishers’ fascination for spirals, diagonal bars, and other non-narrative graphics?

Whether or not you’d be inclined to pick up any of these titles, you may find yourself wanting to dance to them, compliments of musician Jörg Stierle’s trippy electronics.

Or take your cue from yet another cover  contained therein: I. P. Pavlov’s Essays in Psychology and Psychiatry with a Special Section on Sleep and Hypnosis.

Here’s the one that started it all:

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Take a Free Crash Course in Design Thinking from Stanford’s Design School

If you ask a few of today's youngsters what they want to do when they grow up, the word "design" will almost certainly come up more than once. Ask them what design itself means to them, and you'll get a variety of answers from the vaguely general to the ultra-specialized. The concept of design — and of designing, and of being a designer — clearly holds a strong appeal, but how to define it in a useful way that still applies in as many cases as possible?

One set of answers comes from the 90-minute "Crash Course in Design Thinking" above, a production of Stanford University's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, or d.schoolThe Interaction Design Foundation defines design thinking as "an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions we might have, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding." In a brief history of the subject there, Rikke Dam and Teo Siang write that "business analysts, engineers, scientists and creative individuals have been focused on the methods and processes of innovation for decades."




Stanford comes into the picture in the early 1990s, with the formation of the Design Thinking-oriented firm IDEO and its " design process modelled on the work developed at the Stanford Design School." In other words, someone using design thinking, on the job at IDEO or elsewhere, knows how to approach new, vague, or otherwise tricky problems in various sectors and work step-by-step toward solutions. D.school, with their mission to "build on methods from across the field of design to create learning experiences that help people unlock their creative potential and apply it to the world," aims to instill the principles of design thinking in its students. And this crash course, through an activity called "The Gift-Giving Project," offers a glimpse of how they do it.

You can just watch the video and get a sense of the "design cycle" as d.school teaches it, or you can get hands-on by assembling the simple required materials and a group of your fellow design enthusiasts (make sure you add up to an even number). Youngster or otherwise, you may well emerge from the experience, a mere hour and a half later, with not just new problem-solving habits of mind but a newfound zeal for design, however you define it.

"Crash Course in Design Thinking" will be added to our collection, 1,250 Free Online Courses from Top Universities

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Accidental Wes Anderson: Every Place in the World with a Wes Anderson Aesthetic Gets Documented by Reddit

Wes Anderson's immaculately art-directed, immediately recognizable films may take place in a reality of their own, but that doesn't mean a reality with no connection to ours. To go by their results, the director of The Life Aquatic, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel (to name only three of his most visually distinctive pictures) and his collaborators have clearly immersed themselves in the very real history of the West in the twentieth century, drinking deeply of its fashion, its architecture, and its industrial and graphic design.

So no matter how fanciful his constructed settings — The Royal Tenenbaums' dream of New York City, The Darjeeling Limited's train crossing India in quirky old-school splendor, The Grand Budapest Hotel's unspecific Alpine mitteleuropa — Anderson always assembles them from precedented elements.




And so the habitués of a subreddit called Accidental Anderson have set out to post pictures of his sources, or places that might well pass for his sources, all over not just Europe, of course — where they found the Viennese cafe at the top of the post and the Berliner delivery van with wagon just above — but America, Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

Much of a location's accidental Andersonian potential comes down to its geometry and its colors: deep reds, bright yellows, and especially pale pinks and greens. Many of Anderson's preferred hues appear in the Gold Crest Resort Motel just above, which may strike a fan as having come right out of an Anderson picture even more so than the motel he actually used in his debut feature Bottle Rocket. The director has since moved on to much finer hostelries, which thus form a strong thread among Accidental Anderson's popular postings: Florida's Don CeSar Hotel (known as the "Pink Lady"), Cuba's Hotel Saratoga, Switzerland's Hotel Belvédère, Italy's Grand Hotel Misurnia.

Berlin's humbler Ostel, a themed tribute to the design sensibilities of the former East Germany, might also resonate with the ever-deepening historical consciousness of Anderson's movies. (Remember The Grand Budapest Hotel's titular building, sadly redone in a utilitarian, faintly Soviet avocado-and-ochre during the film's 1960s passages.)

To think that Anderson came from a place no less impossibly distant from the realm of midcentury Europe than Texas, home of the Dallas music store pictured below. Given his increasing popularity, it's hardly a surprise to see his signature aesthetic being not just reflected but adopted around the world. If life continues to imitate art, Accidental Anderson's contributors will long have their work cut out for them. Pay a visit to Accidental Anderson here.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Miyazaki Meets Warhol in Campbell’s Soup Cans Reimagined by Designer Hyo Taek Kim

M'm! M'm! Good! M'm! M'm! Good!,

That's what Warhol Campbell’s Soup Cans reconceived as Miyazaki films are,

M'm! M'm! Good! 

Brazilian-Korean designer Hyo Taek Kim has found a continuing font of inspiration in his childhood love of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films.

He has deconstructed them into a series of Pantone of color palettes and captured several favorite moments through the lens of VHS tape glitches.




Miyazaki–Special Soup Series, his latest exploratory journey into the enchanted world of the revered master animator and director–finds him reducing each film to a couple of essential flavors.

One can imagine Mom calling the kids in from an afternoon of sledding for a warm, Cream of Tomato-ish bowl of Totoro.

Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle are slightly more sophisticated flavors, that may involve leafy greens.

Princess Mononoke and Porco Rosso are Grandpa’s favorites–real stick to your ribs fare.

The subtle iconography brings added dimension to the stark product design Warhol duplicated to such acclaim.

As Kim told the Creators Project:

Simple design that works is always so much harder to create than you might expect. It’s just very fun to marry two ideas, artists and/or concepts into one big image. Andy Warhol changed the world of physical arts. Hayao Miyazaki changed the world of animated arts.

This is not Kim’s first go at Campbell’s. His earlier Supersoup Series reduced superheroes to consommé and cream ofs. Don’t forget the oyster crackers.

Posters and t-shirts of Hyo Taek Kim’s Miyazaki Special Soup and Soupersoup Series can be purchased here.

View more of Kim's soup cans online at the Creators Project.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Watch the World’s Oldest Violin in Action: Marco Rizzi Performs Schumann’s Sonata No. 2 on a 1566 Amati Violin

Most of us are acquainted with the sorrowful sound of the world’s smallest violin, but what of the world’s oldest?

The instrument in the video above dates back to 1566.

Meaning, if it were the patriarch of a human family, siring musical sons every 20 to 25 years, it would take more than 10 generations to get to composer Robert Schumann, born in 1810.

And then another 31 years for Schumann to compose Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano in D minor, Op . 121, the piece violinist Marco Rizzi–age unknown–coaxes from this lovely piece of wood.




Were you to peek at the back, you’d see traces of King Charles IX of France’s coat of arms. The Latin motto Pietate et Justitia–piety and justice–still lingers on its rib.

It was constructed by the master creator, Andrea Amati, as part of a large set of stringed instruments, of which it is one of four survivors of its size and class.

After leaving Charles’ court, the violin spent time in the Henry Hottinger collection, which was eventually acquired by the Wurlitzer Company in New York. In 1966, it was donated to Cremona, Italy, Amati’s birthplace and home to an international school of violin making.

Venerable unto the point of pricelessness, from time to time it is taken out and played–to wondrous effect–by world class violinists. It’s tempting to keep anthropomorphizing, so as to wonder if it might not prefer a forever home with a gifted young musician who would take it out and play it every day. I know what a children's author would say on that subject.

You can view Amati’s Charles IX violin in more detail here, but why stop there, when you can also like it on Facebook!

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine - issue 58 is hot off the press. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

The Splendid Book Design of the 1946 Edition of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

decline of roman empire

In 1929, the book publisher George Macy founded The Limited Editions Club (LEC), an imprint tasked with publishing finely illustrated limited editions of classic books. In the years to come, Macy worked with artists like Matisse and Picasso, and photographers like Edward Weston, to produce books with artistic illustrations on their inner pages. And sometimes The Limited Editions Club even turned its design focus to other parts of the book. Take for example this 1946 edition of Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and its pretty amazing spine design.

Created by Clarence P. Hornung, the design captures the essence of Gibbon's classic, showing Roman pillars progressively crumbling as your eyes move from Volume 1 to Volume 7. George Macy later called the collection, which also features illustrations by the great 18th-century printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi, “the most herculean labor of our career.”

Find more information about this 1946 edition here, or even buy a copy here. Also feel free to download a different edition of Gibbon's classic from our Free eBooks and Free Audio Books collections.

Note: an earlier version of this post appeared on our site in June 2015.

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Browse a Collection of Over 83,500 Vintage Sewing Patterns

My costume design professor at Northwestern University, Virgil Johnson, delighted students with his formula for period clothing. I have forgotten some of the mathematic and semantic particulars—does dressing someone five years behind the times a “frumpy” character make? Or is it merely one?

I do recall some anxious hours, preparing for the school’s main stage production of the incestuous Jacobean revenge tragedy, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore. The societal corruption of the play was underscored by having the supporting characters slouch around, snorting mimed cocaine in cutting edge, mid-80s Vogue Patterns … those big unstructured jackets were very a la mode, but they gobbled up a lot of high-budget fabric, and I didn’t want to be the one to make a costly sewing mistake.

What sticks in my mind most clearly is that 20 years was the sweet spot, the appropriate amount of elapsed time to ensure that one would not appear dumpy, dowdy, or oblivious, but rather prudent and discerning. Donning a garment that was 15 years out of fashion might be daringly “retro,” but another five and that same garment could be heralded as “vintage.”

The collaborative Vintage Pattern Wiki puts the magic number at 25, requesting that contributors make sure the patterns they post are from 1992 or earlier, and also out-of-print.

The browsable collection of over 83,500 patterns runs the gamut from Dynasty-inspired pussy bow power suits to Betty Draper-esque frocks featuring models in white gloves to an 1895 boys' Reefer Suit with fly-free short trousers.

Visitors can narrow their search to focus on a particular garment, designer or decade. If you click these links, you can see patterns from the following decades: 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s1970s, and 1980s.

The movie star collection is particularly fun. (Flattering or no, I’ve always wanted a pair of Katharine Hepburn pants…)

And it goes without saying that the dog days of summer are the perfect time to get a jump on your Halloween costume.

Those who are itching to get sewing should check the links below each pattern envelope cover for vendors who have the pattern in stock and photos and posts by community members who have made that same garment.

The prices and handwritten jottings of the original owners will also put you in a vintage mood.

The hunt starts here.

via Metafilter

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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