Category Archives: Design

Free Circuit Board Gift Tags!

So my store Fractalspin has been carrying these cool Circuit Board Ornaments for a while, and there’s now a quantity discount if you buy 10 or more.

We learned from some of our customers that they were using them as gift tags for presents, and we were buying quite a few at a time, but unfortunately last year we ran out of stock to get them out by Christmas. This year we’re starting the promotion early enough for larger quantity orders in time for holiday madness.

I also designed some free gift tag templates you can print out and attach to gifts, right away, for free!

fractalspin-gifttags-star-300wfractalspin-gifttags-dreidel300w

[Download Stars Gift Tags PDF]
[Download Dreidels Gift Tags PDF]

If you want smaller tags for smaller gifts, just print them out at 50% or whatever size, instead.

Hope you find them useful!

New art site! Also, you can support pit bull rescue by buying an art print

charlottemarker-web

I’ve finally gotten together my visual art portfolio site (lizmcleanknight.com) and figured it would be great to launch it with a campaign that supports Pit Bull Awareness Month (October).

Buy an art print and support pit bull rescue!
This marker drawing is of Charlotte, an insanely sweet pit bull terrier whom I adopted from Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue in 2011.

From now until the end of 2013, I will donate 10% of the proceeds from sales of the archival art prints of Charlotte through Society6 to Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue. [Read More]

{Buy an art print from Society6}

The smallest size (8″ x 10″) starts at just $19, and you can choose from larger sizes as well. We’re getting close to the gifty season, and it would be nice to support an animal welfare group as well as give a fellow animal lover a meaningful gift.

I also make interesting visual art, as it turns out
I realize I’m more well known as a Chicago electronic musician and the impetus behind the online geek-chic boutique, Fractalspin, but I also am a visual artist who formally studied art history. At California Institute of the Arts, I got to refine my work from within a contemporary fine arts perspective, and that’s been a part of what I do ever since. Check it out:

Well, feel free to explore, and you can start a public converstation with me on Google+ Twitter, or Facebook, and if you just want to send a personal message, here’s an easy way to do just that.
 

 

Spelling out why the WWII “Enigma” machines were considered to be unbreakable… presented by an awkwarldy adorable mathematician

While working on technical things at the ‘puter or offline-within-speaker-range, I like to throw on some audio stories about random subjects that are interesting. It makes me feel like I have a chatty knowledgeable companion in the room who doesn’t mind that I don’t add to the conversation because I’m just so engrossed in work, and they’re totally OK with that.

In a Youtube-lecture-suggested-clickfest, I found a neat one on cryptography that I found particularly creatively explained. Mathematician (and, um, unfortunately employed by the NSA at vid-post time) David Perry explains some of the history and the mathematics behind the Enigma’s cryptology approach, all while awkwardly holding his tie clip to his mouth (and all the technical cringes in effect) but he still manages to keep the crowd at ease and engaged [nerd-alert-aside: this is why we soundcheck!].

Despite these technicalities, he spells out the basic concepts, and lets his audience throw their thoughts his way while he cruises though his points, even admitting that many popular puzzles presented to the public are just not funny and jokes that he uses them as punishment for not paying attention in class (sounds like a tall tale, but yeah, we get it– the puns become easier because of repetition and lazy cryptography, which he does circle back around towards).

It’s light stuff, but I like his conversational and approachable style. He also dug up some interesting rotor diagrams for the Enigma, which are worth a look, especially if you are in wayfinding, design, or engineering–lots of overlaps there.

If you loved this lecture, what are some other online lectures you’ve found that are particularly well done in terms of approachability? Or, are there some neat ones on cryptography worth sharing?

Megacities!

Here is a playlist of National Geographic’s “Megacities” series. I was poking around to find some architecture documentaries and ran across these. I grouped them first by cities and then by themes that they made episodes around. It starts out in North America with New York, checks in on Las Vegas (yeah, it’s basically a city in a desert… totally a lot of work to create a modern city there), pops down to South America, and then crosses the Atlantic to look at some European cities (London and Paris), and then jumps over to Asia, starting with Mumbai and then checking in on Hong Kong and Taipai. I’ve also found a Jakarta documentary, but the resolution is so low it would be an embarrassing addition to the playlist.

History of industrial design lectures by Matthew Bird at RISD

Here are some selected Industrial Design lectures by Matthew Bird from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has a self-deprecating sense of humor, which you can really see in “Bauhaus to Broadway” (below).

The first one, above, is “Josiah Wedgwood for Industrial Designers”:

Josiah Wedgwood was a tireless innovator who introduced and employed many important components of what designers still do. Or SHOULD do. This is an overview of Josiah Wedgwood’s work, with a focus on how it shows evidence of early Industrial Design thinking and process. And the first Chia Pet!

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