design thoughts - March 29th 2022


Over the last three months, I have gathered many more items I thought were interesting.


I start off with this wonderful children’s bike.

A cute name and designed to get a child used to the balance required to bike correctly. Beautiful construction from bentwood



Brum Brum wooden balance bike for kids | Oak finish | Candy blue | Wooden Toy


architecture & design magazine


Another design site on the internet. This one covers design and Architecture. From their pages:

  • “stay up to date with all the latest topics to be featured on designboom with our dedicated tag overview. we’ve collated the most recent themes in the worlds of art, architecture, design and technology for your easy reading: from emerging architecture studios to new design trends to relevant events from around the globe”


As you will have figured out by now, I do a lot of reading, and not all of it is web-based. I have a growing pile of real books to augment my ebooks (Apple Books and Kindle) and assorted design websites I cruise regularly


the ‘bookmark-pen’ camouflages as a leaf within your book



So this bookmark, which doubles as a pen, caught my attention




A really interesting article on AI creating imagery

I Asked an AI to Paint 100 Fantasy Landscapes. Here’s What Happened.




And since I found that article, I have found the program Wombo dream and the web site artbreeder


Wombo dream is a tablet-based app that works on the new Apple Silicon desktop and portables. You give it some words and pick from a series of themes to generate the art. Here are three examples I created.



Artbreeder is a web-based AI ap, allowing you to pick a starting point and then use one of a number of generators. This will let you play and save low res versions, but for a monthly fee, you can upload your own images and create higher resolution images that you can save


If you are in the market for a rather pricey home in Central Rome, Italy - here an article on one and a link to an archive of the material in it. A good read



Archivio Boncompagni Ludovisi

The Archivio Boncompagni Ludovisi is an international digital humanities collaboration founded in 2010 by the head of the Boncompagni Ludovisi family, †HSH Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi, Principe di Piombino XI, and his wife HSH Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, Principessa di Piombino XI, and based in their home in Rome


the villa is being sold with an opening bid of €471m (£393m), which would make it one of the world’s most expensive homes.


Apple standards

A website that details a bunch of apple guidelines

  • The iOS Design Guidelines
  • Design great-looking apps for Apple iOS devices.
  • “Designing iOS apps can be difficult sometimes, but finding correct and up-to-date information about all of Apples’ devices shouldn’t be. These design guidelines will help any designer who’s building neat things for iOS get started within seconds.”
  • (

The site is designed by Ivo Mynttinen Design - a german based boutique tech design studio.


Type; Ever been faced with a line of text that goes on so long you lose where you are when you reach the line’s end. Well, there is a correct character length for a line, and when you have a website, this can be a problem. Here is some code that you can use to resolve the problem - neat!



Web site creation

If you don’t want to start from scratch yourself, here is one solution

And CNET has the following article to help you choose from some of the others available

Best website builders compared



Old cameras and related material - If you are a photgrapher and old enough to have started with film, this is a website that is a fantastic resource of old cameras.


If you have read my previous design thought postings, you will know what I this of the Nissan Cube. I found some other material on the web that you might find interesting:

What The Hell Were They Thinking: Nissan Cube

NOV 8, 2014



Because it was just too weird.

  • The Japanese have long been known for having interesting taste in cars, notably small ones. They’re called Kei cars, and they include everything from small passenger cars to micro vans and tiny pickup trucks. Japanese automakers are fully aware this niche won’t work anywhere else but Japan, but at one point they figured it was worth trying similarly styled cars in the US. A somewhat successful effort was the Honda Element. A borderline disaster and now laughing stock effort was the Nissan Cube.



  • Unveiled to the US public in 2008, the Cube went on sale the following year. Despite its fairly sizeable interior and several other convenience features, its exterior design was just too strange for even those who go out of their way to be trendy. Power came from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder producing just 122 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. Most (and there weren’t many) Americans who bought one opted for the optional CVT instead of a manual. Aside from its general cube design, it featured even stranger looking rounded and curved styling cues front and rear as well as the side windows. The bottom line here is that Nissan’s attempt to try something different with a five-door hatch in the US market simply didn’t work. Can’t blame them for trying.


Some online resources you could find interesting and/or useful.


Remove Video Background – Unscreen

OK - so you can remove an object from its background in PhotoShop or your photo editor of choice. Still, it is a bit more difficult when dealing with video. Here is a site that will help you, for a cost. It is not cheap, and the prices are per minute, but as the site says - no green screen is needed.


Pirelli has always been the famous Italian brand that had a calendar and for years a pretty racy one ( note: I am not referring to speed here). Its history is documented in Pirelli Calendar 2022


But apparently, if you prefer coffee to skin, Lavazza has also got a calendar

It is Italian, so there is some skin!


I have always been fascinated with the Olympic logos for various sports. Here is a site that documents some of the posters over the years- Looking Back at 120 Years of Olympic Poster Design [100 Posters]



If you have a project that requires that you match the corporate colour of a particular brand, this website might help you.



About BrandColors.

  • “BrandColors was created by DesignBombs. The goal was to create a helpful reference for the brand colour codes needed most often.
  • It’s been featured by Smashing Magazine, CSS-Tricks, Web Design Depot, Tuts+, and over 2 million page views. There are now over 600 brands with 1600 colours, and the collection is always growing.”
  • BrandColors The biggest collection of official brand colour codes around. Curated by @brandcolors and friends.


I find it interesting that the colours are stated as 6 alphanumeric numbers. Corporate colours are a huge issue and are often chosen by graphic designers without considering how they will be applied to non-printed products. I always thought this was a huge mistake. A colour may not be available in a required material, and/or it may not age well.



I am an absolute sucker for fonts. Have always been. One of the first presentations I ever made to the Design & Graphics SIG of Mugoo was on the subject of raster fonts and vector fonts. That was a long time ago and many font formats since. The multiple axis fonts and the web tools to manipulate them continues to catch my interest.


This site has received a lot of my money over the years. Well worth a look

MyFonts offers the largest selection of professional fonts for any project.

Over 130,000 available fonts and counting.



And free fonts

If you are in the market for free fonts, you might try:

  • 64,023 fonts of which:
  • 23,112 with accents
  • 26,782 with the Euro symbol

  • “Free fonts have met their match. We know how hard it is to find quality freeware that is licensed for commercial work. We’ve done the hard work, hand-selecting these typefaces and presenting them in an easy-to-use format.”



Vocal Remover and Isolation [AI] | Free Online

This site allows you to remove the vocals from a recording. I chose to use Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli singing Perfect Symphony. I started with a youtube clip and saved it as an mp3 audio clip. And then I ran it through the site. Original, just music, just voices - amazing!


And then I tried this site - same sort of idea




from a short clip of a music video I extracted the audio only using normal tools



the voice removed from the sound clip



just the voice from the sound clip




I also love watches: Since my days as a design student, I have always been interested in Rolex and Porsche. My late wife

bought me a Rolex years ago, which I cherish, but the closest I have got to the car is a Porsche design pen. Here are a few watches that have caught my eye recently







I was foolish enough to price this one - forget it - as they say, if you have to ask you cannot afford it.
But a beautiful watch




one that is released just now, at the end of March and quite affordable at less than 300$:



From the website:

  • “All dials feature the OMEGA X SWATCH branding, the iconic Speedmaster logo and the new MoonSwatch logo. A closer look at the glass construction reveals the “hidden” ‘S’ integrated in the centre of the crystal. The circular pattern on the dial’s outer ring and subdials brings a refined touch to the design, complementing the sharp and smooth lugs construction. The hours, minutes, chronograph seconds hands and hour markers sport Super-LumiNova for a perfect glow in the dark.”


I mentioned cars above - here is a new one that has got on the electric bandwagon:

the Arrival Car will be designed to be an affordable, purpose-built electric vehicle for ride-hailing, and will be designed in partnership with Uber drivers.



  • Arrival, the global technology company creating electric vehicles using its game-changing technologies, is partnering with Uber to develop an affordable, purpose-built electric vehicle (EV) for ride-hailing drivers. The Arrival Car is expected to enter production in Q3 2023.



Rolls-Royce unveils a more miniature figurine in a more aerodynamic pose for its bonnets

The luxury carmaker has unveiled a ‘reimagined’ Spirit of Ecstasy for the electrical age, and not everyone is impressed



  • This is not the first time the Spirit of Ecstasy has enjoyed a revamp. In the car maker’s 111 -year history, the mascot has been altered subtly or otherwise around 12 times. This is the smallest version yet, and while it reduces aerodynamic drag, it also helps when it has to shrink back into the bonnet on collision. The smaller, presumably the easier, the Spirit of Ecstasy is to retract.
  • The original Spirit of Ecstasy was designed by Charles Sykes – an artist and sculptor. Originally called The Whisper, the first Spirit of Ecstasy was based on a bronze sculpture Sykes had previously created for Lord Montagu of Beaulieu’s car and which in turn was based on Eleanor Thornton, the aristocrat’s lover.


Needless to say I have more content, but I will save it for the next update - hope you have enjoyed this one - Ross


design thoughts - Mid January 2022


As I have mentioned in the previous iteration of ‘design thoughts,’ I read a lot of design and mac related material.

Two websites I find particularly good are:







Recently from Core77, these caught my eye.


The Cake Ösa: A Workbench-Inspired Utility E-Bike - Core77Ösa-A-Workbench-Inspired-Utility-E-Bik



The e-bike is taking off in a big way, and they are not all converted road bicycles.


Product Designer vs. Graphic Designer’s Approach to Bike Safety Device - Core77


This one is called a Makka. From their website at:


CAKE is a Swedish electric bike company born out of a passion for gravity sports and on a mission to develop high-quality, sustainable performance products. CAKE realizes that the development of electric drivetrains will bring positive change to the future of motorbikes and that our customers appreciate this too.


And some recent student work that has been showcased that caught my eye.


Fantastic Industrial Design Student Work: Sophie Williamson’s Beta Guard for Vineyard Protection - Core77



As I live in the wine-growing part of Italy (some would say, where isn’t), I found this a neat solution.


Fantastic Industrial Design Student Work: Mina Kasirifar’s FLIP Furniture - Core77



This brings back memories - my main project for my undergraduate degree started off being an immersive environment for play and exploration by youngsters. Given its potential to alter a child’s learning experience, I felt the moral implications were beyond what I wanted to tackle, so I decided to create a play furniture system that could lock together and be sat in, sat on and crawled through. My solution was a rotational moulded pierced cube.


A Retractable Rolling Shower Screen - Core77



Well, I guess if you have to have a shower curtain, this is a pretty good solution. They have given the nature of the material some thought. Not sure about soap and shampoo buildup on the inner surface. For me - if you want a tub, get a tub, but a shower is better - especially if it can be done without a door. Those large enough to just have a pane of glass stopping the water from flooding the bathroom are great!


Pencils That Visually Indicate Their Line Weight - Core77



I think this is a neat idea for a non Mechanical Pencil. I never knew they could or did make the graphite cores different diameters. Different hardness, yes!


Silicone Straws that “Unzip” for Easy Cleaning - Core77



Heaven help you if you take your time drinking your drink when it is served with a straw. Yes, the paper straw is green-friendly, but in my case, it usually self-destructs before I get to the bottom of the glass. The Stainless steel reusable I have seen, but the ability to clean this one inside and out - in my estimation, brilliant!


Just Six Feet Wide, Look Inside the Skinniest Building for Sale in London - Core77



Wow! I know the cost of property is high in London, but 6 feet wide! While I attended the Royal College of Art, the ‘digs’ (read apartment) I had were unique. The College owned a row of houses on Evelyn Gardens in South Kensington. The staircase in one was opposite the staircase in the next. The landings were so deep where they turned that they had walled off the six feet in front of the windows and knocked a door through the adjoining wall. This gave me two rooms, mid-floor that were 6 feet wide by about 10 feet long by about 12 feet high, one in each of the two buildings, with access from either. All that single-paned glass (it was London after all) on the long side of each room was not easy to heat. I drank a lot of mugs of hot coffee and tea to keep myself warm through the winter!


This article shows the solution here with floor plans.


Bioceramic sustainable watches | Swatch® USA



Swatch has turned the watch world upside down in my lifetime, and over the years, I have had a few of them. I bought one a few years ago at the Biennale in Venice that had been branded specifically for the event. Here they are exploring the current ‘material de jour’. Don’t worry if white on white is not your thing; there are a lot of other colours and styles available.


Ultra-high-resolution photo



I love it when great museums make their art accessible via the web. If only, when I had been a student. Sure it is not the same as seeing it in reality, and I am lucky to be able to, based in Italy as I am. Here the Rijksmuseum has used technology to allow you to get really close - try to get that close in the museum, and you will get yourself thrown out!


And here are a few more:


The New York Public Library Digital collection


The Vatican Museums online


The State Hermitage Museum


The Library of Congress Photos



Free Interactive 3D Model for Drawing Figures, Dynamic Poses, and More - Online Drawing Mannequin -



You must all be familiar with the pose-able wood figure you can buy in most art shops.

Well, these folks have created a digital version. For 3$ a month, you can get :

• Save your own custom poses

• Access to the detailed model

• Sync your work across all your devices

• Automatically save your work to your account

• Access to all the 166 preset poses

• Access to features like dark mode

But the use of the basic model is free


Jabra Evolve2 30 - Engineered to keep you productive. Lightweight, portable, reliable, comfortable.



If you spend a lot of time talking to others online or talking to your computer and don’t want to bother others, this looks like a nice solution. I might be tempted. Having just checked Amazon, I see that it is a whole series of headsets - the one shown here the evolve 2-30. See for the Canadian Amazon prices where the 75 lists for 450$ CDN and are battery-powered and wireless.


Museum of the World



Another Museum Site with a beautiful interface that illustrates the reòationships of items. Wow


As I mentioned above, Dezeen is another website that is wonderful for design. Here are a couple of links for today:


Twenty-five of the best design weeks and festivals for 2022


A couple of years ago, pre-Covid, I went to Dezeens inaugural Event on the South Bank in London.

Only a day long but well worth the cost of the flight and hotel. They cover so many things in all fields of design. They also now have a virtual showroom.



I found the stools that I have in my kitchen in Italy on it and contacted the company directly in Ljubljana Solvenia, from whom I ordered it directly. They were not cheap, even at designers discount, but they are beautiful and just the touch I needed to finish my kitchen.




mperfection carpet tile by IVC Commercial



In particular settings, I have always thought carpet tiles were a great idea. And here is a nice looking one that has been created from reusable materials


And that is it for this time - Thanks.


design thoughts - Early January 2022


Only one entry here today, that pertains to a vehicle I have discovered while here in the Bahamas. It is the Nissan Cube.  It has got to be, in my opinion, the most ugly vehicle ever!



They drive on the same side of the road here as the UK and Japan and many of the vehicles are brought directly from the latter - With controls in Japanese as well! Yikes. I did actually look up this vehicle in design reviews and it has been around for some time, actually won a car of the year award! and is not uniformly condemned. Each to their own.


ah - another entry



I want to mention an application that an Australian friend (Will Kent) and some collegues (Ivy and Christine) of his have developed. I was lucky enough to be in Australia and able to help them test it as it was being developed, but it has now been released, there in Australia and in Canada and the USA. Unfortunately being based in Italy as I am, it is not available there but that doesn't mean I cannot suggest it to my friends and contacts based elsewhere.


I include the last email here:


Whether you recently signed up, helped us to test the app, or contributed to the launch last night - from the bottom of our hearts…thank-you.


When we set out to create ReciMe over a year ago, we were basically just a bunch of locked-down, bored wannabe sourdough bakers who wanted to show off our bread. Now, we're a bunch of (not so bored) wannabe sourdough bakers who still want to show off our bread, but also have 500 OTHER HOME COOKS  (that's you!) keen to show off their bread (and non-bread meals, thankfully) too!


On a more serious note, we built ReciMe because we wanted home cooks of all levels to feel like they had a safe space to share their cooking journey with their friends and family. We hope it proves to be as fun and inspirational a cooking app for you as it is for us, and we can't wait to see (and ReCreate) everything you have been cooking up.



 We have the lofty aspiration of reaching 1000 users by end of this year (only 500 to go), and with your help, we know we can get there 💪


So if you have any family or friends who you know would love ReciMe, please feel free to share this download link:




Finally, we've outlined a few key tips below on how to get started on ReciMe.