Studo 360 with Kurt Andersen: Life On Mars
25 May, 2010, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Culture, Design, Mars, Media, Politics, Science, Space Exploration

Check out my radio segment for Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen about my experience at the MDRS Martian analog station in Utah. It aired in March of 2010 as part of the PRI Science and Creativity segment of Design for the Real World.  Life On Mars.


klaatu barada nikto: Evil Dead Packaging Review
23 March, 2009, 1:59 pm
Filed under: Branding, Design, Graphic Design, Packaging, Products


The original Necronomicon Ex Mortis, roughly translated the Book of The Dead, of the Evil Dead Series was bound in human flesh and inked in human blood. Inside this book are passages and incantations for evil, death…and demon resurrection. For this special edition dvd it is bound most likely in a playable polyurethane cover and inked in pantone 505. Upon its 80lb stock pages are written chapter selections and “Kandarian” runic script.

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depth charge, maximize
22 March, 2009, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Cartoons, Design, Products, Toys


Depth Charge, a character in the Beast Wars animated series from Mainframe Entertainment, made his action figure debut in 1998 as part of the The Transformers: Beast Wars, Ultra Transmetal Assortment from Hasbro. In his robotic form he was formidable opponent, larger than most of his Maximal (good guy) comrades, while his beast mode was a similarly large but surprisingly graceful metallic manta ray. He stands out as one of the most beautifully designed examples of toy series.
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ready to form voltron
22 March, 2009, 7:19 pm
Filed under: Advertising, Branding, Culture, Design, Graphic Design, Packaging


Voltron: Defender of the Universe is a DVD collection that does everything right with its premium packaging. Collection One: “Blue Lion,” arrived in stores in September of 2006, 20 years after the 1986 cartoon. The first time I saw it I was browsing the DVD selection at a local Best Buy in California. My jaw dropped when I beheld the special molded blue tin on the shelf. Normally I’m not a fan of tin super structures on DVD sets, they add to the cost and are more difficult to shelve, but here the material was intuitively applied to capture the spirit of the show. The roaring lion’s face was sculpted perfectly and the watery metallic blue had an iridescence to it that made it shimmer amongst its neighbors. Its graphics were not excessive; the only type was the Voltron logo, set intuitively on the lion’s crown. The casing set up a hierarcy of teaser like visual stimulus that propelled me into the experience. Blue. Lion. Voltron. The experience was more magical than it deserved to be.

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the happiest signage on earth
14 March, 2009, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Branding, Culture, Design, Graphic Design


Yesterday, on Material Post, Chappell explored with the help of Daveland,  the nostalgia of classic Disneyland signage. In that spirit I thought I’d share some of the signage I saw on my recent visit to Disneyland CA this winter. (yes I realize that, officially, the CA park is no longer “The Happiest Place on Earth,” that is FL now, leaving my beloved original park as “Where the Magic Began.” But that’s marketing BS. Enjoy the magic:

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the **** must flow
10 March, 2009, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Culture, Design, Politics, Products

According to Allen Hershkowitz, we need to rethink they way we use water. Like Dune’s Paul Atreides we need to adapt a more Fremen mode of water consumption. We’re not living in the wastelands of Arrakis yet, but it seems we can’t keep living like we’re in the watery paradise of Caladan either.

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Are waterless urinals the answer? As global warming (if you believe in such things) causes sea levels to rise and increases the scarcity of potable water, do we really need to **** into it?

Even though the idea seems strange at first, it’s nowhere near as far-fetched, or as potentially gross, as the three seashells. The change to urinal design and experience is pretty cosmetic. Really it’s in that so-simple-how-did-we-not-do-it-before category. Clean water really serves very little purpose in our urinary disposal process. Hershkowitz points out that even from a sanitation standpoint, the persistent moisture from the standing water actually encourages the growth of bacteria.


The idea isn’t just for deep desert religious fanatics that high on sand worm sperm either. In a prescient step down the golden path, the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles went waterless with their 176 urinals and now the men are saving $2,350 per month, and just over 7,000,000 gallons a year every time they “go.” This is what design is all about. Ladies?