Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.

– William S. Burroughs


Featured illustrator: Denny Saurio

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 70!

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I’m writing this from a café near my home and the two minutes it took me to walk here made my throat hurt. Smoke levels in Melbourne are hazardous today.

While Australia has mostly disappeared from international front pages, hundreds of fires continue to burn. (12 hours ago, there were still 105 active fires in one state alone.) However, milder conditions have slowed the fires, enough to get a better picture of the extent of the destruction.

It’s been widely reported that over a billion animals were killed in these fires, and as scientists get a grasp of the situation, the outlook is dire: Australia’s unique biodiversity is under threat, several species could have been pushed to (the brink of) extinction. And just like that, the Extinction Rebellion movement doesn’t seem so alarmist anymore.

I apologise for opening DD with such dark thoughts, but I think me and many of my friends are slowly coming out of a state of shock, experiencing ecological grief and of course anger about our cowardly government.

As mentioned in my previous intro, if you’d like to help I think the best things to do is to speak up and stand up, and to focus on climate change action in your own country. Make sure your local climate advocacy groups have the resources they need to spread the message that urgent action is crucial and ‘business as usual’ is over. – Kai

(The subject line of today’s issue refers to the first article in the ‘Food for Thought’ section below which I highly recommend you read.)

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Journal for Mindfulness SPONSOR


Cactus →

Guided self-reflection to improve mind and health

Sharpen your memory, boost your mood, and strengthen your emotional and physical health. Cactus guides you through self reflection and provides a private journal for your thoughts. And it’s free.


Apps & Sites

Habit →

Simple Habit & Goal Tracker

A beautiful, simple habit and goal tracker for your iPhone. What I like: black and white design, fancy statistics and visualisations, but best of all: no ‘in-app purchases’.

Library Extension →

Instantly check your library’s catalogue

A fantastic Chrome/Firefox extension: as you browse books and e-books online, the Library Extension can check your library’s online catalogue and display the availability of that item on the same page. (Works with lots of international libraries, including my local one here in Melbourne.)

Topicbox →

Shared email inbox

Topicbox makes it possible to share one email address between many team members, which might come in handy for low-volume customer support comms or projects with internal and external stakeholders.

Easy Data Transform  →

Automate data processing

Do you frequently wrangle large amounts of data? This Mac/Windows app gives you powerful data processing features that require little to no technical knowledge: merge, clean, dedupe, and reformat data with a few clicks.


Indie Mag of the Week


Market Cafe Magazine →

Market Cafe Magazine is the world’s first independent magazine about data visualisation, founded in 2017 by information designers Tiziana Alocci and Piero Zagami.

– Latest Issue: 5
– Frequency: 2 issues/year
– Formats: print
– Origin: UK

Every week we’re giving away five copies to randomly selected DD readers. Keep an eye on your inbox to find out if you’re among them!




Ethical Design Handbook →

Practical ethics for digital design

A book with practical guidelines on how to make ethical decisions to influence positive change without hurting the bottom line. “People are increasingly getting fed up with being tracked, manipulated and downright tricked. There is a growing expectation of transparency, fairness and respect. And the failure to meet these expectations is punished by the law, the press and the people. So now is a good time to shift to ethical design.” [Pre-Release]


2020 Type Diary →

Elegant flatlay diary

A flatlay diary with bold sans typography, made in the Netherlands. “The binding is supreme, and the layout includes a unique hour by hour breakdown of each day. There is also a substantial notes section.”


Overheard on Twitter

Don’t ask me to back up my opinions with data, this is Twitter. I didn’t even read the article we’re talking about.



Food For Thought

The great paradox of our time: everything is both better and worse than ever before →


Excellent read on how far we’ve come as a species and why that is a problem for our continued survival. Some ‘mildly optimistic’ thoughts towards the end. “The source of our progress has become the source of our downfall. Things are too good for us to change it all, yet too bad for us to leave anything as it is.”

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed →


Must read. I’m really interested in what shapes my/our consumer mentality. This article speaks to many of the well-paid tech workers that spend because they can. “As technologies and methods advanced, workers in all industries became able to produce much more value in a shorter amount of time. You’d think this would lead to shorter workdays. But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (...) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.”

Google and Amazon are now in the oil business →


Big tech’s machine learning capabilities help make oil exploration and extraction more efficient, potentially so much that fossil fuels may be able to compete with quickly falling renewable energy prices. “Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have been very vocal about their efforts to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. But as The Wall Street Journal and Gizmodo have reported, these same companies are currently teaming up with fossil fuel industry to help them squeeze as much oil and gas out of the ground as possible.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

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rkrkrk’s photography of Asian landscapes and urban structures is rich in contrast and expressive in colours.

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Author and artist José Naranja meticulously documents every detail of his year-round travels across the globe in his travel journals.

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The use of ‘loops’ in the design of some letters, together with the contrast and humanist style, give (the variable font) TT Trailers a slight retro touch and remind us of the cinema posters of the ‘60s.

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The photo and print series Interior Design reveals the ‘structural exquisiteness and the subtle and passionate arrays of colours’ hiding inside golf balls.



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The Week in a GIF


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