31 March 2014

Wikipedia To Unveil A Subtle Redesign

We previously featured design company 1910 Design & Communication’s proposed cleaner and readable layout of Wikipedia. Now the online encyclopaedia is unveiling a redesign of its own.

The changes will affect 32,533,899 pages in 287 languages and are set to roll out on 3 April, Thursday. These include a larger font size, an old media serif typeface for section headers and a streamlined sans-serif typeface for body copy.

However, they might be too subtle for most to notice and this is due to Wikipedia’s open source nature, according to Wikimedia’s Director of User Experience Jared Zimmerman in an interview with Fast Company.

Being 100% open source means there isn’t a free and open typeface that translates into all of the languages in the world. Users are thus bound to the licensed operating systems installed on their computers. Since Wikipedia asks for a sans-serif typeface to render pages, this leads to consistency problems in its look and layout across different browsers and operating systems.

The redesign aims to change the way text appears by requesting two open-source sets; for Mac users, the combination is Georgia for headers and Helvetica for body copy, while the combination for PC users swaps Helvetica for Arial.

With this update, Wikipedia wants to offer a more uniform and streamlined experience through the use of certain fonts. However it also raises the question: “Why isn’t there a universal open source type language free for all to use?”

What do you think of Wikipedia’s planned redesign?

When requesting your browser for body copy, Wikipedia uses the open source fonts Arimo and Liberation Sans first, before settling for Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Arial, and a generic sans-serif, respectively

[via Fast Company, images by Wikipedia]

Google Teams Up With Nintendo, Releases Pokémon In Google Maps

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Always wanted to become a ‘Pokémon Master’? Well, now you can be one thanks to Google’s April Fools’ prank.

Teaming up with Nintendo, the search engine giant released a video advertising for an augmented reality Pokémon game that takes place in Google Maps. In Google’s version, 150 of your favorite Pokémon characters have been released into the world, and it’s your job to catch ‘em all.

To play, simply get the latest version of Google Maps on iPhone or Android, and tap the search bar. See the tiny Pokéball icon and ‘press start’? Press that, and your quest will begin.

The main goal is to fill up your Pokédex with all 150 Pokémon. They are hidden all over the world, so you’ll have to zoom into certain areas to spot and catch them. You can also view your progress by opening your Pokédex, which will show you all the Pokémon you have caught thus far.

Will you become the next Pokémon Master?

Check out Google Map’s promotional video below:

Ads That Show How Gambling Can Reduce You From Royalty To Nothing

Brazillian ad agency Revolution has created some gorgeous ads for their client, Quatro Estações.

Instituto Quatro Estações is institute for the treatment of psychiatric disorders in Brazil.

In these beautifully art directed ads, it shows the damages that gambling can do to you, reducing you from being a King, or Queen, to being haggard and out of energy.

[via Ads Of The World]

Poignant Portraits Of Black Dogs Who Are Often Overlooked For Adoption

Massachusetts-based photographer Fred Levy has recently launched the Black Dogs Project, a portrait series of black dogs that highlights their difficulty in getting adopted.

By photographing black dogs against a black background, Levy aims to shed light on the problem of black dogs being treated differently than other dogs.

His project came to be as he spoke to workers from the pet industry and at animal shelters. Their observation was that black dogs and are often overlooked by adopters.

There seems to be a certain stereotype against dark-colored animals. It is known as “Black Dog Syndrome” or "Black Dog Bias", something that was probably ingrained through depictions of black dogs as evil dogs in movies and books.

Levy wanted to fight against that. According to him, “I thought this project would be a good graphic challenge and everyone has a really great story to tell, I want to bring awareness to this issue and remind people who are searching for the perfect dog that black dogs have great personalities too."

To read more about these dogs and the Black Dogs Project, click here.

[via Huffington Post]

The US Government Can Save Up To $400M A Year Just By Changing The Font It Uses

[Click here to view the video in this article]

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani’s science fair project has discovered that the US Government could save nearly $400 million dollars a year if they just switched the font on all their documents.

He proposes that instead of standard Times New Roman, all government documents be printed in Garamond instead.

Mirchandani’s research began when he was a sixth-grader at Dorseyville Middle School, where he realized that he was getting a lot of paper handouts from his teachers.

Taking a new approach, he applied computer science to the problem of environmental sustainability. His aim was to cut waste and save money for his school.

However, instead of focusing on reducing paper, he focused on reducing ink.

“Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume," says Mirchandani.

Through his methodology, he printed four different typefaces on cardstock paper and graphed the ink usage. His discovery found that Garamond, with its thinner strokes, his school district could reduce ink consumption by 24%, saving up to $21,000 annually.

Many steps later, he eventually applied the project to a larger scale: the federal government.

Mirchandani remains hopeful of the government adopting his plan. He says, “I recognize it's difficult to change someone's behavior. That's the most difficult part. I definitely would love to see some actual changes and I'd be happy to go as far as possible to make that change possible."

Watch his interview with CNN below:

[via CNN.com]

Artist Makes A Vehicle That Prints Propaganda Phrases On The Ground As It Moves

[Click here to view the video in this article]

French Canadian media artist Nicholas Hanna, while living in Beijing, noticed that elderly calligraphy artists who would paint words with water on the sidewalks in the parks. That inspired him to create his own Water Calligraphy Device.

Converting a tricycle to his special water calligraphy vehicle, he digitally ‘painted’ Chinese characters onto the sidewalk as he travelled.

The characters form eight different propaganda phrases in the district of Dongcheng in Beijing.

This project was first shown at Beijing Design Week in 2011.

Watch these two videos filmed by Jonah Kessel to get an idea of what this vehicle does.

水书法器 Water Calligraphy Device - BJDW Clip from Nicholas Hanna on Vimeo.

Just Because: Tricycle Calligraphy 水书法器 from Jonah Kessel on Vimeo.

[via The Kids Should See This]

Powerful Ads Highlight The Difficult, Complex Decisions Police Officers Make

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Brain Candy Films and Tinker Taylor TV have unveiled a trio of powerful, hard-hitting short films that highlight the difficult and complex situations police officers often face, and the tough decisions they have to make in their line of work.

Created for the Scottish Police Federation, each ad centers around a different scenario: domestic violence, a car accident and a pub assault. Brilliantly directed and acted, each ad draws you in as it unfurls, before ending on a cliffhanger with a voice asking you what you would do in that situation.

Watch the gripping ads below.

[via Creative Review, videos via Scottish Police Federation]

Mother Invents Clever Device That Helps Disabled Children Experience Walking

[Click here to view the video in this article]

An Israeli mother, Debby Elnatan, whose son has cerebral palsy, has come up with a clever device called an ‘Upsee’ that will enable children who have movement disabilities to ‘walk’ together with their parents and loved ones.

It features a full body harness and special sandals that secures the child to the parent in an upright position, so that they can walk together and perform simple movements, like gently kicking a ball.

Debby said, “The Upsee means so much to us as a family, it’s given us the opportunity to do things that we would never have the chance to do.”

The Upsee will be available from the 7th of April at Firefly.

[via Bored Panda]

Photographer Captures The Primitive Weapons Used By Ukrainian Protesters

‘The DIY Weapons Of Maidan’ is an eye-opening photo series by London-based photographer Tom Jamieson, in which he captures the primitive weapons crafted by the protesters in Ukraine.

According to Feature Shoot, Jamieson was initially frustrated that he wasn’t “contributing anything new to the coverage” of the Maidan Square protest. He then decided to turn his attention to the weapons used by the protesters.

He said, “It was actually in the last two days of the protests that I decided to focus purely on the weapons and completely remove them from the chaotic background of what was going on around Maiden Square.”

With the help of an assistant, they set up a makeshift studio, and captured the menacing weapons against a black backdrop, as their owners held onto them.

Some images depict weapons like bats and pitchforks, while others appear more sinister, like a club with rusty crooked nails sticking out from its head, and a baton affixed with jagged blades.

[via Feature Shoot, images via Tom Jamieson]

Vintage Photographs Of Paris Blended With Present-Day Scenes

Porte St Denis.

The team at Golem 13 has come up with this cool series that blends vintage photographs of Paris with present-day scenes.

These vintage photographs were taken during the 1900s, and this mash-up is meant to show how the city has changed within a century—we see that the monuments retain their majesty, even as the styles of Parisians and the types of vehicles allowed on the road have changed with the passing years.

View some of the more intriguing images below, or check out the entire series here—isn’t it fascinating to see how a city has evolved?

Place du Palais Royal (Louvre).

The statue of La Place de la République.

Notre Dame de Paris.

Place de République.

Quai des Grand- Augustins, during the flood of 1910.

Place de l’Opéra.

Place de la Bourse.

Rue du Faubourg du Temple.

Le Moulin Rouge.

[via Golem 13]