Week #164-165

Saturday, April 12th, 02014 at 20:02 UTC

It is week #164 and our heads are in the clouds. It has been one of those weeks where not much real-work has been done, but we’ve managed to lots of other things forward. The number 164 is a double astronomy number this week. 164 Eva is a large main belt asteroid about 100km in diameter.  Our other 164 friend is a comet that periodically comes through our solar system, aptly named 164P/Christensen. He does a friend called 165P/LINEAR which is a minor planet that acts like a periodic comet.

Two weeks ago we launched the Analog.is kickstarter project to print a series of Island notebooks. The reception has been amazing, we’ve raised the funding to do the print run and hit all our stretch goals already and we have 10 days left! We will create 7 different notebooks in total. Six of which will be traditional islands, including St. Helena, Christmas Island, Easter Island, Lesbos, Barbados and Tahiti. The 7th are some island structures we found on Mars. It should be an out-of-this-world next few weeks.

We also sent out our quarterly newsletter, if you haven’t signed-up, we encourage you to do so. Every time we write the newsletter, we are very conscious to NOT try and make it too boring and businessy. It shouldn’t be just about us. That’s why we try to highlight other interesting projects, people, ideas, etc. The response to the newsletter has always been great. Our open and click rate are well above the industry average and we want to keep it that way. Rather than having a massive list with very few people caring, our list is smaller and more curated. We want to make you feel special.

We’ve also been working a bit on a re-align, not a redesign, of some of the pages on this site. It should be a small transition, cleaning things up and improving the experience on (optional.is) and giving it a fresher, lighter look.

Week 164 was also Design March here in Iceland. There are lots of events around town featuring designers from Iceland and abroad. Here are some photos from Design March.

A series of drinking glasses

Some stamps for your cookies to add textures and patterns

Taking hints from stone age tools, they have been remade by in colorful ceramic

Five Simple Steps

Week 165 was a hectic and sad week Five Simple Steps closed their doors. We had the great pleasure to work with Five Simple Steps on two different books. Our first was Designing with Data and the second Creating Symbol Fonts. Their parent company has merged with Monotype and they ceased trading as a publisher.

All the authors were given their copyrights back. That means we have our books again and we’ll decide what we’ll do next. The current plan is to update Designing With Data to account for some new thoughts, and ideas here and there. We’ll sell it again online via the website. As for Creating Symbol Fonts, we’ll make that available online as well. Probably free or a pay what you want option. In the next few weeks we’ll go over our options and what we can do.

Internal Projects

We have two or three large internal projects brooding along with several smaller ones being prototyped.

Mosfell is nearing more of a completed stage that we can launch with a few more friends actually using the admin tool.

Virkisfell has been perpetually on hold due to meetings and technical integration problems. It has a rough deadline of 1 month from now, so it will get used in its current form or not at all. We’re trying to make sure we get some usage and feedback, so we’ve been approaching other organizations to test it as well, with mixed success. Meetings scheduled for next week to attempt to unjam these logs.

We spent a few hours this week prototyping some mapping and dashboard work for our connections down in Australia. They have been taking it further in meetings and I’m sure after the holidays we’ll be able to take some next steps to prototypes.

Finally, we’re infatuated with paper and analog these days. If you haven’t seen Dog-Ear, you should check it out. It is a magazine bookmark – a simple and brilliant idea. We’ve taken some of that and are trying to imbue it with the PaperNet. That means lots of paper mockups and prototypes. Do we try 4 folds, 5 or 6? What is static what is dynamic? At the moment this is purely an exploration into some possibilities, but might grow into something bigger at a later date. Right now it is so small without a product owner or customer, it doesn’t even get a code name.


Last summer we spent some time in Japan talking with designers and manufacturers about a few product ideas. We spent some time near Shinjuku Station, the busiest transit hub in world. This is a video simulating people crossing the street while looking at their mobile phones. If you think the amount of people is exaggerated, you can see a time-lapse we took of the same crossing.

Finally, we’ll leave you with this short clip of a machine that automatically folds and deploys paper airplanes.