The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

– Alvin Toffler


Artwork by Jordan Shevell

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 19!

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For a while now I’ve had this idea for a new product floating around my head, speaking to friends and people with expertise in that field. It’s an exciting research and discovery phase of a new thing, but it’s also very easy to get eternally stuck in that phase until the momentum wanes. I’m reminded of my interview with Craig Mod in Offscreen Issue 18 when we talked about the benefit of fast iteration:

One of the biggest threats to any creative project is allowing the potential for the thing to subvert your ability to make it. It’s easy to be seduced by the world of potentiality. A book is always greatest before it’s written. You are intoxicated by what it can be. That’s very dangerous. You want to kill those seductions as quickly as possible, and one way to achieve that is fast iteration. Make known the unknown; murder your fantasies.

The tech world calls this the MVP, the Minimum Viable Product. But releasing an MVP into the world also means potentially exposing yourself to harsh criticism for producing half-arsed work. Today, our expectations for a quality experience are extremely high. (I mean not everyone can afford spending half a year designing a button.)

It’s worth keeping that in mind when encountering a product that may not be perfect. You never know, it could be the result of a side project, an exploration of an idea by someone with no prior experience and just enough courage to let the world know of it. And remember: praise in public, criticise in private. – Kai

Looking for ways to support Dense Discovery? Here are three: (1) Get your company to sponsor an issue, (2) Book a classified ad, (3) Share this issue with friends and colleagues.


The Internet(s) of People


IAM Weekend 19 →

March 21-23, 2019 in Barcelona

Be inspired with fresh perspectives on design, ethics, futures, climate justice, AI, cities, and the internet(s). Join over 400 creative thinkers and some of the world's leading digital innovators for a thought-provoking event in beautiful Barcelona. Launch pricing ending soon! DD readers get a further 10% off with code DD10.


Apps & Sites

Focuster →

Merge your to-do list and calendar

My schedule consists of a mix of to-dos and reminders (in Apple’s Reminders app) and events in my calendar that pop up their own reminder notifications. Focuster is trying to bring more clarity to scheduling by keeping your to-do list in sync with your calendar. →

Listen-to-it later app allows you to listen to any article on your mobile phone. Like most ‘read-it-later’ apps, you can queue up articles on your play list and listen to them at any time – even when offline. (Yes, Pocket has a similar feature.) The maker of this app also offers a service to turn your own articles into audio versions.

Write Together →

A community for writers

My friend Owen Williams just launched Write Together, a new side project that’s trying to help fledgling writers to practice their writing every day through community encouragement, streak tracking and more.

Dimensions.Guide →

Dimensions of everyday objects

I love projects stemming from obsessively collecting and archiving things: ‘Dimensions.Guide is a comprehensive reference database of dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of the everyday objects and spaces that make up our world.’


Idle Knowledge


Icon by StephanCom

The Burning Man Google Doodle

As you probably know, a Google Doodle is a temporary alteration of the logo on Google's homepages that commemorates holidays, events, achievements, and people. The first Google Doodle honoured the Burning Man festival in 1998, and was designed by Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to notify users of their absence in case the servers crashed. (Source)


Goods & Accessories


Satechi Stand →

Monitor stand and hub in one

This elegant aluminium iMac stand incorporates your most often used ports into one sleek design that elevates your monitor. Featuring three USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C data port, micro/SD card slots, and an audio jack.


Bunk →

Wireless battery packs

Bunk are little battery packs that attach magnetically to your phone’s case for easy and quick charging. Smart: keep your Bunk attached while you are charging it to also charge your phone at the same time.


Overheard on Twitter

My wife asked me what machine learning is and I said: remember when we ordered the hot plate for the boat and amazon suggested buying all the equipment needed to make a full meth lab?



Food For Thought

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually. →


Isn’t it bizarre that we‘re constantly asked to prove our humanness online? Turns out much of what props up the digital economy is either generated by bots or is made up by humans. This is a fascinating deep-dive into the fakeness of the internet: from fake analytics, to fake traffic, fake content, fake identities, fake businesses, and fake politics.

Why we need to slow time and scale down →


I love this idea of ‘unscaling’ our lives: ‘Everything is meta sized. Information, choices, inputs, and outcomes. As a result, our biological makeup is being put to test. How long can we live with unending dopamine hits?’

The Purpose of Life Is Right In Front of You →


If you’re having a philosophical moment, this is an enjoyable read to fill the void: ‘At each moment, in every second of life, we are given a choice about how we want to conduct ourselves in this world, and though it might not always seem like it, each of these choices are of consequence. They each interact with culture to give it a new form; a form that we are responsible for creating by either doing what is right or doing what is wrong in that specific moment.’


Aesthetically Pleasing

❏ ❏

Typeverything is a huge archive of type and lettering inspiration.


Peter Li takes stunning indoor panoramas of churches and other architecture.

❏ ❏

This definitive guide to the Fontsmith library of over 500 fonts details each character set and brings each font’s personality to life. And it’s only £15.00.

❏ ❏

Explore the bottomless stream of Noirlac’s pixel art.



Design Tomorrow is a critical but optimistic podcast about design, technology, and being human born from the belief that what we do and think today can create a better tomorrow.

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The Week in a GIF


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