Honesty always gets my attention. Not particularly someone who is honest to me, but someone who is honest with themselves.

– Heath Ledger

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Artwork by Paula Rusu

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery
 

Welcome to Issue 24!

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Reading about journalism returning to its roots and Ben Thompson’s thoughts on a more sustainable local news model (great read) made me think, again, about the sustainability of my work. Both Offscreen and Dense Discovery currently rely on sponsors/advertisers – a model that’s slowly fading. While paid subscriptions may work well for digital content, a lot of creative projects still rely on sponsor or advertising dollars to sustain themselves. As hyper-targeted, cost-per-click advertising (a market essentially owned by two companies, Facebook and Google) has become the de facto standard for advertising, it has depreciated the traditional sponsorship concept.

I still believe that, if done well, sponsorships offer benefits that go beyond easy-to-measure performance metrics. While anyone can buy more visits, sponsorships are forged with a mutual understanding that both parties can benefit from each other’s reputation. Conferences, community events, open-source software, and a plethora of creative endeavours (many of which inspire critical thought) only exist because of the generous support by organisations that believe in the value of affiliation. Let’s hope that spirit outlives our obsession with the measurable. – Kai

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Brave New Work

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What’s stopping us from doing the best work of our lives? It’s the way we work. Bureaucracy. Hierarchy. Compliance. Everything that slows us down and makes us feel less human. Our organisations are broken – but we can fix them. In Brave New Work, you’ll learn exactly how to reinvent the way you work, not through top-down mandates, but through a groundswell of autonomy, trust, and transparency. Buy it now.

 

Apps & Sites

Marvin →

Flexible planner/to-do manager

A highly customisable tool that aims to be whatever you want it to be: ‘Marvin is an amazing task manager/to-do list app, but Marvin is also a day planner, time tracker, project management tool, timer, and soon a calendar, habit tracker, and more.’

Formsubmit →

Easy form endpoints

Formsubmit makes building HTML forms easy. Simply point your form to their site – no PHP or JS required. It also takes care of the captcha.

NYT Workout →

The (free) seven-minute workout guide

Struggling to fit in some exercise? Research has shown that a short (roughly seven minutes) workout will give you a lot of the same health benefits that prolonged endurance training can have. As a result there are now loads of seven-minute workout apps available (I actually use Seven myself), but this free guide by the NYT will do the job just as well to get you started.

Visualist →

An app to visualise instructions

Such a simple, smart idea: this iOS app allows you to record step-by-step instruction manuals, for instance on how to operate a machine. It reminds me of how I once tried (and kind of failed) to record an easy-to-follow instruction video for my mum on how to use her printer. An app like Visualist would have been perfect back then.

 

Idle Knowledge

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Icon by Creative Stall

This study will make you cringe

A study analysing 100 million article headlines determined that those containing the three words ‘will make you’ gained, by far, the most Facebook engagement. Unsurprisingly, coupling these word with strong emotions will have the biggest impact. The most popular first word that starts a headline is ‘This’. The second most popular is ‘Trump’. For sharing listicles ‘10’ seems to be the magic number. Personally, I’m allergic to clickbaity headlines and they (mostly) have the opposite effect on me, but the psychology behind it is pretty fascinating, if disheartening.

 

Goods & Accessories

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The Side Kick  →

Collapsible cable winder

Ever since Apple removed those two collapsible plastic hooks from their charger, my charging cable tends to roam free in my backpack. The Side Kick is an adhesive plate that you can stick to the side of your charger and easily ‘pop out’ to wrap your cable around. Neat.

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Hey →

A book about a design studio

Hey is one of my favourite illustration and graphic design studios currently around. (I’m still trying to decide which one of their prints I’m going to order.) The work and accompanying text within this book demonstrate the studio’s versatility and give insight into how ideas are hatched.

 

Overheard on Twitter

The hardest part of being a developer isn’t the code, it’s learning that the entire internet is put together with peanut butter and goblins.

@sarah_edo

 

Food For Thought

In Praise of Extreme Moderation →

Read

With the goal to always improve (and somehow compete with others) we now benchmark everything: from how we eat to how we sleep to how we walk. In this culture of extreme performance anxiety, let’s celebrate being just moderately good at doing a thing. Let us be OK with sucking a little.

The Jobs That Starve Cities →

Read

Amazon’s decision to reverse plans of establishing a new HQ in New York is good news for the city’s low income earners: David Yee succinctly describes why thousands of well-paid tech jobs can have dire consequences for people already struggling with paying their rent.

Technology in deep time: How it evolves alongside us →

Read

‘If we look at technology over very long timescales, our definition of what it is transforms and it also displays a form of evolution entwined with our own.’ A fascinating bird’s-eye view of technological and human evolution raising the question whether we’re able to deflect the path of technology in a way that it serves our own long-term interest.

 

Aesthetically Pleasing

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I’m personally not a big fan of WeWork but the branding and editorial design work by Gretel is lovely.

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Game designer Tyson Ibele makes mesmerising procedural animations.

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The illustration work by Eiko Ojala makes use of shading and textures that mimic paper.

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Orientation is a new stencil typeface by Commercial Type.

 

Classifieds

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The Week in a GIF

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Email us the URL to your favourite GIF and we might feature it here in a future issue.

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