design

BilletSpin Tops: Navigator by john cheng

I've always loved spinning tops from when I was very young. My first top was a wooden throw top that my dad taught me how to throw. It took a while to get the hang of it, but that memory has stayed with me ever since. Now that I'm older, I still love tops, but my tastes have also gotten older.

In comes the precision metal spinning tops. These suckers might be expensive, but are well worth it. They are tiny pieces of art that you can play with. Yes you could buy another knife to add to your collection of EDC with the amount that you spend, but you can't really play with a knife in the way you could with a top. Plus you can bring it anywhere unlike with a knife. 

That being said, you should check out the Navigator by BilletSpin on Indiegogo. This is the 25th top that they've made and its a beauty of a top. The machine work on this thing is gorgeous. Reminds me of what I imagined the Golden Compass should look like. 

Last bit of information, once this campaign is over, they wont be made again! 


Optimist by john cheng

Great video by Eric Friedensohn on how to look at life with a different perspective. There are things in life that you have no control over, and if we take a step back and look at the silver lining of things, we can live life just a bit happier.

On August 1st, 2014 I left everything behind. I ran for my life out of my apartment as it went up in flames, taking everything I owned with it. This shocking event forced me into unknown territory with only the clothes my back. When the fire department let us back inside, I went in to see what I could salvage. Amongst some small items was a rough sketch I was working on earlier in the week, a lettering piece –­ “Optimist". Taking it as a sign, I held fast to this notion of gratefulness and positivity, looking for the silver lining at each turn. As luck would have it, that positivity came right back around to me. In the following weeks, I received an overwhelming amount of support and love from my friends, family and extended community, and was able to get back on my feet. This story serves as an important reminder to keep moving forward, even under the worst of circumstances. A huge thanks goes out to my brother Josh, my parents, Casey, Gary & Marlene Dworkin for helping through it all. I also want to thank John Langdon, Swayspace Letterpress, MKG, and Perk Kafe. An extra special thanks to the team who put this video together. Director- Matt Figler | Producer - Jess Lee | Editor- Cory McCabe | Music- Blueberry by Jesiah Read the full story – www.efdotstudio.com/blog/august1 Purchase letterpress prints here – www.efdotstudio.com/optimist (100% of proceeds go to disaster victims in need of immediate aid)

Frisk x Murakami by john cheng

We basically bring a piece of art into the pockets of normal consumers
— Jan Heeling

The Frisk Company has partnered with Takashi Murakami to create these awesome mini sculptures that freshen your mouth at the same time! Watch the video about the project below!

You Won't Regret That Tattoo by john cheng

A great documentary that explores the memories behind tattoos of an older generation that really challenges the idea that ink is something we'll regret later down the line. Moreover, the film really takes you to a place of intimacy. You get to hear the stories behind some of the tattoos these people have gotten and the film also forces you to think twice before you judge a book by its cover. There is most likely a reason behind that tattoo, why not take the time to hear the story behind it?

'You Wont Regret That Tattoo' is a short documentary that explores the meanings and memories behind the tattoos of an older generation, and challenges the belief that ink is something we will come to regret. FILM CREDITS Director: Angie Bird Producer: Michelle Woodward Executive Producer: Michelle Woodward Executive Producer: Liane Thomas Executive Producer: Dan Ford Cinematographer: Viktor Cahoj Editor: Izzy Ehrlich Set Designer: Simon Francois Art Director: Angie Bird Post Production: Rooster Post Post Production Executive: Melissa Kahn Colour: Alter Ego Colourist: Tricia Hagoriles Producer: Jane Garrah Executive Producer: Greg Edgar Graphic Design and Post Production Facility: Crush Graphic Designer: Stefan Woronko VFX Artist: Kaelem Cahill Post Producer: Emma Wojick Music Supervisors: Marco DiFelice and Amanda Clemens for Silent Joe Post Audio: The Orange Lounge Mixed by: Spencer Sunshine Music Composed by: Jay Merrow and Christine Stoesser

Pocket Top Kits! by john cheng

I've been working on a personal comic of my own for quite some time and it's proven to be quite a challenge. There have been many ups and downs to the entire process of creating a comic from start to finish, but I have learned and am still learning so much.

I'm no where to being done and during my low points while working on this project, one way I've picked myself up is going on a tangent and making something fun that could potentially be a part of the world that I'm creating. One of such projects is the fake ad above. I wanted to make an ad for a fake emporium selling parts for pocket tops that was also drawing in customers by preparing a meet and greet with the Pro Pocket Top Rider Kriss Neff!

Top riding can sound some what self explanatory but if you don't remember the concept, I've had a few posts in the past of one of my characters riding on a top like the one posted here.

Also just to give a bit more background into the development of the poster ad I made, you can see the sketch I did for it below. I wanted to fill up the page as much as I could without getting too cluttered, but that meant that I needed to generate some content that doesn't yet exist in my fictional world. I also wanted to give off a feeling that this fake store/top company was akin to those of a skate shop. Not sure if I succeeded in that regard, but it sure was fun to make.

While pocket top riding is fictional and honestly not at all an original idea (Totoro and Zelda to name two other places I've seen it), Chris Neff is a real person who plays with tops. Check out some of his tutorials!

3A Toys x Bravest Warriors by john cheng

I don't even know where to start. I've been following WO3A for quite some time and hope to own a toy of theirs in the near future. I haven't made a purchase yet mostly because I don't have the funds to buy one of their amazing toys.

It is definitely getting way more difficult especially with the new release of the Bravest Warriors toys. I mean, just look at them! Beautifully made! You can pre-order them at Bambalandstore May 21st, mark your calendars!

Kickstarter | Penxo by john cheng

Recently I've returned to using 2mm mechanical pencils to get a more organic feel in my sketches. I love the sharp point of a 0.5 mm pencil, but it was just too rigid for me.

But me being me, I search near and far for the writing utensil best suited for me. This also means that form and function must be on the same level. In the case of my everyday carry pen, I searched for about 2 years before landing happily on the Karas Kustoms Retrakt with a Parker Pen fine ball point tip refill. The aesthetics of the pen are beautiful and the function of the Parker refill suit my writing and sketching needs perfectly.

I'm undergoing the same process at the moment with my pencil. Currently I'm using a Staedtler 2mm pencil and functionality wise, it works fine. The aesthetics portion however, are just so so in my opinion. But as always, Kickstarter seems to save the day. I discovered the Penxo today and immediately backed the project! It is such a beautiful and simple writing utensil an the perfect mix of beauty and utility. I just hope that when I receive my very own Penxo, it will hold up to it's presumed glory.

Paige Smith Urban Geode by john cheng

Artist Paige Smith in Los Angeles crafts paper and resin geode crystals and installs them throughout the city. Sometimes I happen to cross paths with one of these and they always put a smile on my face. Such simple forms that produce beautiful results against an urban landscape.

DIY: Industrial Pipe Stools by john cheng

It's Friday! If you have no plans for the weekend, maybe it's time to create a few industrial pipe stools for your home. Love Grows Wild has a great DIY tutorial on how to build these awesome stools, so hurry and gather your supplied to build these before the weekend passes you by.

DIY Mini BB-8 by john cheng

As many should know by now, BB-8 the spherical droid, is not cgi. The droid is an actual physical object that the actors were able to interact with. BB-8 has been developed with the aid of Sphero the company that developed the smartphone controlled RC ball.

Well Christian Poulsen has already hacked said RC ball into a mini BB-8! If you want to build your own little BB-8, Poulsen has a breakdown on how to make one at Make:

Playing catch with my home made BB-8 Droid. Check out more of my work here: http://www.cp3d.us/ And the building process here: http://makezine.com/projects/make-this-mini-star-wars-bb-8-ball-droid-with-a-hacked-sphero/

Tested: Felt Creatures with Woolbuddy by john cheng

Norm from Tested interviews Jackie Huang from "Woolbuddies" at WonderCon 2015. I saw this guy a few years back at Dcon and his kits are amazing. I'm thinking about buying a kit again!

If you're looking for a fun weekend project or a fun DIY gift for someone, this is definitely a fun project to pick up.

At WonderCon, we meet up with Jackie Huang, an artist who sculpts with felt to create fantastic creatures. Jackie's "Woolbuddies" take the form of everything from adorable owls to giant dragons and even an R2-D2 droid. We learn about the felting process and get a quick demo!

How To Turn Styrofoam, Into Solid Aluminum by john cheng

Watch the latest King of Random video that uses Styrofoam to create an aluminum positive. Time to heat up that crucible!

Here's how to turn almost any styrofoam creation you can think up, into solid aluminum. It's almost like magic! :) See more metal casting experiments: http://bit.ly/PopCanMelting Next Video: Coming Soon! Previous Video: Homemade Microwave Popcorn: http://bit.ly/MicrowavePopcorn Subscribe for new videos every 5 days! http://bit.ly/TKoRSubscribe Join my email list!

Man at Arms: Hylian Shield by john cheng

The guys over at Man at Arms: Reforged build the Hylian Shield from scratch. Awesome!

Which weapon will be next? ►► Subscribe! http://bit.ly/AWEsub Every other Monday, our team of blacksmiths and craftsman will be building some of your favorite weapons, and some weapons that you've never seen before. This week, we're recreating Link's Hylian Shield from Zelda!

Michael Bierut: The Primitive Power of Logos by john cheng

Great Design Indaba interview with Michael Bierut on the Primitive power of logos. This is definitely a must watch.

The award-winning graphic designer decodes why the simple shapes of a logo can have such great impact . “Design can be a lonely thing,” says Michael Bierut in the second part of this exclusive Design Indaba interview. “As you acquire that skill [in design] you are actually making yourself less normal than regular people.” Designers are sensitised to things other people don’t even notice, he says – the way the curves of a typeface echo each other, for example, or the subtle changes in a logo. Though the work of the designer is social because it requires the user to make sense of it, there is an element of solitude to the design process. “Because you are always in your head,” says Beirut, “and you don’t know what effect it’s going to have until you do it.” We tend to fixate on the power of logos in today’s hyper-aware consumer culture, which Bierut is quick to disarm. “I don’t want to overemphasise logos in the world. I think that if you act with intelligence and integrity and consistency you’ll develop a brand. Whether you are a person or a non-profit, a small organisation or a giant corporation.” What he does think of as particularly interesting about logos however, is the meaning that gets instilled in them over the course of their usage. “What’s fun about logo design, what makes it so interesting, why it holds so much power for all of us is that there is something very primitive about it,” he says. “Many of them are such simple marks. They are not much further evolved than hieroglyphics, or marks on cave walls from millions of years ago.” What happens with a logo, explains Bierut, takes place only partly in the symbol; the rest we do with our minds as we connect the symbol to all the associations we have with what it means. “What’s interesting, particularly about that kind of telegraphic communication is that it it is inherently participatory.” It is this interactive and social quality of design work that lends the profession what Bierut can only describe as “a kind of magic”. In Part 1 of this interview Michael Bierut talks about the process of writing his new book, How to: Use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, and (every once in a while) change the world, in which he looks back on his life and career in a series of amusing and interesting How to’s.

Square Cash by Square by john cheng

Using mobile devices to make payments will be inevitable, thus all the different companies trying to figure out how to do this correctly especially the peer to peer aspect. Paypal and Venmo are the ones that come to mind. Square cash is a new service created by Square that uses the "$" tag with a handle you create in order go get paid. Watch the video to see how they envision this to work.

Let me put it this way, it'll make payments that much easier at conventions when a customer doesn't have cash or credit card on hand to pay for goods, but has their phone.

Create a $Cashtag to get paid fast. Powered by Square Cash, a $Cashtag is a simple name that you create and can share with anyone, anywhere, online or off. Claim your $Cashtag today.