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Alex Varanese: Alt/1977

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Artist Alex Varanese is a genius. No question. Check out his project ALT/1977

What would you do if you could travel back in time? Assassinate Marilyn Monroe? Go on a date with Hitler? Obviously. But here’s what I’d do after that: grab all the modern technology I could find, take it to the late 70′s, superficially redesign it all to blend in, start a consumer electronics company to unleash it upon the world, then sit back as I rake in billions, trillions, or even millions of dollars.

Insound Classic 10

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Last year our melodic mates at Insound commissioned gifted designer Jason Munn to create the limited edition Insound20 line of posters, hoodies, and tees in tribute to 20 contemporary indie rock stalwarts including the likes of The National, Beirut, and The Decemberists. If last year’s collaboration didn’t do a good enough job convincing us of their good taste in both graphic design and musical arenas, this year’s sequel finished the job and damn near knocked our socks off in the process. Insound has turned to one of our favorite artists, Mike Perry, to create the “Insound 10 Classic” collection. This time the focus has been turned away from the contemporary and towards creating an updated visual representation of influential bands that helped define the genres of punk, post-punk and indie rock between 1977-1997. Included in the visually inspired line of tees, totes, and posters are seminal acts like The Feelies, The Magnetic Fields, and Sleater-Kinney. While the products are slated to arrive in September, pre-order officially launched on Monday at the Insound store, so your time to grab them is already running out. Save a Galaxie 500 Tee for me.

Cisma x Le Sens Propre

I just came across a wonderful short new film by Brazilian director Cisma, the result of the latest commission from Adobe’s very inspiring Adobe Artists project. With the strict rule that everything must be produced using only Adobe products"”Creative Suite 4, in particular"”Le Sens Propre continues successfully in Cisma’s trademark surreal style. We watch a little girl in her room throw dishes into a tidy and unbroken stack, tie her shoes but accidentally knot up her thumbs instead and see bunnies turn into colorful, soft pebbles. It’s a bit Alice in Wonderland meets Candyland; totally charming to the end. Amazingly enough, no 3-D software was employed in the making of the film. According to an interview with Motiongraphics, Cisma wanted “to create strange scenes and weird connections between elements of the story,” giving viewers the chance to be surprised. It’s this aspect that keeps you glued to the computer screen. Check the Adobe Artist site for other gems, including a short by another Brazilian filmmaker, Nando Costa.

Aviary: Online Graphic Design Tools

Not everyone has the talent to be a professional in the arts, but that doesn’t make that itch not worth scratching every once in awhile. While serious types often spend lots of cash on the latest design software, more casual types try our hand at creating without the serious loot. Aviary is a cheaper way to give into your artistic whims. The site that comes off like an online Photoshop, complete with visual laboratory, image editor and color palettes. It allows aspiring artists of all genres — whether they long to be an audio editor or graphic designer — to indulge their imaginative sweet tooth. Go ahead, poke around and see what inspiration comes out.

Kidrobot x Capacity x Cartoon Network

Many toy fans have been closely following Kidrobot‘s evolution from designer toy hub to lifestyle brand and media conglomerate. The latest news falls into the latter category, with Kidrobot essentially curating the redesign of the Cartoon Network. Per motion design studio Capacity‘s press release:

“Using one unifying body shape (designed by urban vinyl legends Kidrobot) we created an interchangeable system of elements that gathered all of CN's characters into one place. These blank figures, called Noods, are the canvases upon which characters of all shapes, sizes, and styles can coexist. The CN logo is also an extension of that vocabulary as the colors and patterns from the characters — their DNA — find their way on to the network's blocky logotype for the first time. The resulting world is a playground of rich colors and unlimited combinations, ownable only by Cartoon Network.”

Or ownable by you? Sources speculate the company that’s responsible for getting Rosie O’Donnell hooked on toys have developed Noods into platform figures, which are inevitably and eventually destined for retail.

Layer Tennis 2009: Now Serving

A little over a week ago we gave you fair warning of the exquisitely spontaneous design event that is this season of Layer Tennis. The 2009 season kicks off this afternoon at 2 p.m. CST with a match between Interactive Designer Brendan Dawes and Threadless’s own Jeffrey Kalmikoff, a graphic designer with a bloodlust for branding. While we can feel the tension building, there are only two ways to watch the drama unfold: follow the action on Twitter, or get a front row seat at the official layer tennis site by investing in some free season tickets. For a preview of today’s match, check out John Gruber’s Match Preview.

Two New Books from MWM

We’ve grown accustomed to the graphic awesomeness from MWM. The Portland-based designer doesn’t disappoint with two new books. Both volumes are the result of a self-described “mega groove” he found himself in the fall of ’08, though the products are vastly different. MWM B/W B:5 is a profoundly, mysterious black and white gaze into the artist’s personality, whereas MWM Alphaphont 3.0 is the third in a series of vibrant, colorful hullabaloos in tribute to the alphabet

Layer Tennis 2009

The Australian Open may have just settled on two winners, but there’s another huge tennis event on the horizon that doesn’t require you work on your half-volley or be a clay court specialist. Layer Tennis 2009 is a season of live online design events presented by Adobe Creative Suite 4 and Coudal Partners, in which two players swap files in a real-time design volley, enhancing each other’s work over a period of 15 minutes while a writer adds insightful play-by-play. Each game contains 10 volleys and allows viewers to vote on the winner when the match reaches its logical conclusion. The first dose of design action gets served up this Friday February 6th at 3p.m. You could have a front row seat to all the excitement by simply becoming a season ticket holder, which makes you eligible to vote on the winners and post comments. The Layer Tennis 2009 season has 43 matches taking place every Friday until May 29th. You can tune into the matches on Twitter or get your season ticket for a better view.

Shane Ermitano

We love to hear from our readers about the various creative endeavors they’ve got themselves into. Shane Ermitano posted a simple note and a link to his site packed full of graphic design beauty. A Filipino raised in Arkansas, he’s now a Chicago resident and has done quite well blending these influences. Have a browse through his collected print and web work, but don’t miss his food blog. Keep up the good work Shane and thanks for sharing.

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