London-based graphic designer/video game fanatic Ashley Browning took on the challenge of picturing famous video game characters with the least visual cues possible: This is an exploration of how a few key shapes from well-loved characters are instantly recognisable even when reduced to these simple forms. Check out the full set on Flickr – also available as t-shirts! Personally I am not a gamer at all, so I have big trouble identifying the characters. Can you?
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Pentago is a game that is both simple and challenging – exactly the elements of a great game. Since its birth in 2004, it has already won multiple awards. Now, designer Deven Stephens has added his part to the success story. Stephens, who just recently graduated from Brigham Young University, re-styled the entire game: from the choice of wood up to the weight of the marbles – and the packaging. The result is a game which is pleasing to the eye, touch and the mind.
Annaleena Leino-Karlsson – @annaleenashem – is a Finnish interior stylist/designer currently residing in southern Sweden, but who will soon be moving to Stockholm. She works with her own label, Annaleena and runs the blog annaleenas hem. Below is an insight into her beautifully captured Instagram: What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? I have always searched inspiration for my work from nature and music. There is a clear rhythm in both two and I need to feel that my products are strong and well balanced in that way. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? Very much. It can be a little sad sometimes that I need so much space to create and think. But it does not mean that a loud city would hinder me to be creative, just the opposite, it can be a positive environment that inspires to something new. When and how do you decide to take a photo? When the spirit moves and when I see something that I like. Like the perfect shade or the angle of the seat. I can not always control when I take a photo but that’s part of the game. What is your favourite quote on minimalism?...
Minimalism sometimes relies on deconstructing and reinterpreting of classic designs to form contemporary iterations. Fascinated and inspired by negative spaces, these custom chess-sets by American industrial designer Stefan Gougherty challenges the way we look at the traditional game of chess. Using the method of carving, voids were extracted out of transparent acrylic cubes and then painted to create the modern silhouettes of the standards. The hollow centers also allow these pieces to be strung together for storage. While the new images might seem offensive to a chess player due to the abstraction of forms, they do indicate the forward movement of design and make us rethink about the normality of everyday life. I completely love this idea of taking things out of contexts to reform the thoughts of their users. What is chess without some thoughts, right?
Dots is a really lovely gaming app developed by New York based organization, Betaworks, and its task is very simple; connect as many same-colored dots as you can using only vertical and horizontal lines. Dots has three different game modes; connect as many dots as you can in 60 seconds, another one using only 30 movements and a new endless mode, without any limitation. Its interface is incredibly clean and simple and you can compete with your friends by connecting via Twitter and Facebook. Dots has already been awarded the number one mobile game in twenty countries.
Letterpress – a simple word game for iPhone and iPad by Loren Brichter of Atebits. OK. We probably all know about this one by now, but this game came up in conversation with a friend this morning over coffee in regards to its innovate UI design and I’d like to reiterate here how delightful I’ve found this game since it was released late last year. As John Gruber summarised over at Daring Fireball: [Letterpress is] a cross between a word game like Scrabble or Boggle and a real estate strategy game like Risk or Go. It’s addictive. If you haven’t already given this one a go – I’d highly recommend it. For those of you who have, I encourage you to share your experiences.
BANK is minimalist money box made of elastic rubber by BIG-GAME design studio. We have featured the Lausanne based studio before. I just love their outspoken, minimalist and colorful products. And like many of their other products BANK has a playfull touch. The usage is simple: slip coins in the slit, press it and turn it upside down to get the coins back. The only downside I see, compared to a ‘traditional’ piggy bank, is that one can retrieve the money back a bit too easily ;). BANK is produced by Praxis, Hong Kong.
This chess set by hat-trick design is simply adorable. Based in the UK, hat-trick design is a fun studio whose designs range from games to graphic design to small objects. Their incredibly creative designs always put a smile on my face, and this chess set is no exception. Called the type(chess) set, this design simplifies the pieces of a chess set to their most basic identifying elements: their names. Each piece of the set is a laser-cut acrylic letter. The typeface is a version of Champion (Lightweight) by Hoefler Frere Jones. Similar to traditional chess sets, the size of the pieces vary based on their power in the game. As a lover of chess and design, I am always on the lookout for stylish and unique chess sets. And the type(chess) set is the best design I’ve seen yet! I love how hat-trick design applied a sleek and modern aesthetic (and not to mention minimal) to a classic game. The chess set is available for sale here, but hurry, the set is in a limited edition of 50.
A simple yet elegant infographics project titled oceaniaeuropeamericasafricaasia by advertising creative Gustavo Sousa embodies more than just the intention of spreading awareness on global issues. It challenges our own knowledge of current affairs and assumptions of design and colors. Using the Olympic symbol of the 5 colored circles aptly in time with the 2012 summer games in London, Gustavo chose to depict current social concerns in a short video while categorizing a color in relation to each of the continents. As he mentioned in an interview: The rings represent healthy competition and union, but we know the world isn’t perfect. Maybe understanding the differences is the first step to try to make things more equal. What was most interesting about the project in addition to its minimalist style of presentation was that there was deliberately no graphics key given to which color represented which continent, which I saw as a test of the viewer’s own personal knowledge of the issues pertaining to each continent and was surprised by which ones I guessed right or wrong. Even though there has been some criticism about the accuracy of the statistics, the actual scale of the circles as it changes with each issue does not...
And now, for a bit of minimalistic art history fun! The graphic designers from Polish studio re:design have recently published the first of three installments of a series entitled Iconic Painters to Guess. The premise is quite simple: choose a famous painter and decode them into three symbolic elements. Some are quite clear and immediately recognizable, like the ubiquitous Andy Warhol, Mondrian and Jackson Pollock, others less so. My favorite is a tie between Vermeer and Van Gogh (I still can’t believe how long it took me to figure that one out!). In the current blogging sphere where a lot of people are quite tired of badly done minimalistic movie posters and book covers, this little game seems like a breath of fresh air. If it were developed into a card game I’d definitely try to get my little hands on one!
Baooab is a children’s toy designed by Sergio Guijarro and Miriam Tochijara. This simple toy is designed to encourage imaginative and creative playtime. According to Guijarro: A child’s power of imaginations has no limits. Baooab is a new game concept which combines construction, creativity and interaction with all the elements of play. Six pieces, infinite possibilities, offering a form of entertainment wich returns to the sensory, emotional, and, above all, to the appreciation of ingenuity. I love how the simple wooden shapes can change and adapt during play. Check out this video to see Baooab in action. Baooab can become an infinite number of creatures: a turtle, giraffe, or sea monster! Or maybe this toy is train, a swirling river, or a patch of flowers. And because it is based on creativity, this toy can be enjoyed by all ages. Anything is possible with Baooab. All you need is your imagination.
Considered to be one of the most promising young designers in Berlin and a master of deconstruction according to Zeit, Bulgarian designer Vladimir Karaleev has his own, unconventional approach to designing procedure and to fashion itself. I’m too impatient. I work with the original fabric on the doll. All my clothes arise in the work process on the mannequin. I have some idea of the silhouette, but nothing more. If I do not like something, I cut and sew until it is good, to make it smaller or shorter in order to get to the final form. Complex Overlay is the name of Vladimir Karaleev’s new Autumn-Winter 2012/13, recently showed at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin. Asymmetrical drapery, open seams, slim dresses and superposition of different fabrics and details determine Karaleev’s latest collection. His minimal, graphic cuts and experimental forms do not fail to create elongated proportions and an unpretentious elegance. What describes his work best is what he says about it. It’s the game with the forms. Well, I can see a lot of them in my wardrobe.