The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.

– Neil deGrasse Tyson


Featured artist: Rocio Egio Studio

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 79!

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Our ability to filter, evaluate, and prioritise information is being put to the test and in many cases is reaching a natural limit. It’s important to acknowledge that there has probably never been more competition for our attention than right now.

It’s totally OK and human to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Spending excessive amounts of time online and following the news can be detrimental to our mental health at the best of times. Throw in a pandemic and our anxiety levels go through the roof.

Please keep in mind that you’re not an irresponsible human being just because you missed the latest breaking news announcement about bars closing on the other side of the globe. You don’t need to know the latest number of infections or available ventilators in order to be a responsible, sensible citizen. In fact, you can be most helpful and win back some sense of agency by focusing more on your immediate environment: yourself, your family, your friends, and your neighbours. Leave the rest to the experts.

I intentionally kept the bottom of this newsletter corona-free, but – with the risk of being called a hypocrite – I do want to share just this one article that offers some food for thought while we prepare for lock-down mode:

“We should use the quiet of these suddenly uncrowded days to think a little about how much we’ve allowed social isolation to grow in our society, even without illness as an excuse. (...) If we pay attention, we may value more fully the moment we’re released from our detention, and we may even make some changes in our lives as a result. It will be a relief, above all, when we’re allowed to get back to caring for one another, which is what socially evolved primates do best.”


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Spreadsheet Nerds Unite SPONSOR


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Apps & Sites

Opensource Builders →

Open source alternatives

A searchable, growing directory of open source alternatives to popular commercial apps such as Google Analytics, Slack, Shopify, and more.

Jamm →

‘Lightweight’ video calls

When you work remotely, casual conversations with team members rarely happen. It’s usually a scheduled video call or just text-based messaging. Jamm wants you to engage in more spontaneous conversations: besides the standard range of video-calling capabilities, specific features encourage casual catch-ups between colleagues.

Markup →

Commenting on live sites

Enter the URL of any website and Markup turns it into a live canvas that allows teams to add comments and discuss changes. A handy tool for websites in development.

Glyphfinder →

Easy glyph search

For those working a lot with words and letters, Glyphfinder is a stand-alone app (Mac & Windows) that makes finding and copying special characters fast and easy.


Indie Mag of the Week


Visions →

A science fiction magazine where writers, designers and researchers of the past and present come together to explore the future.

– Latest Issue: 2
– Frequency: 1 issue/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!




Against Creativity →

Everything you have been told about creativity is wrong

“From line managers, corporate CEOs, urban designers, teachers, politicians, mayors, advertisers and even our friends and family, the message is ‘be creative’. Creativity is heralded as the driving force of our contemporary society, celebrated as agile, progressive and liberating. It is the spring of the knowledge economy and shapes the cities we inhabit. It even defines our politics. What could possibly be wrong with this?”


Ryan Putnam Prints →

Limited-edition riso prints

Illustrator and artist Ryan Putnam offers a huge range of limited-edition riso prints that are right up my alley. And the prints are also extremely affordable at around $20 each.


Overheard on Twitter

If you’re going to call every new person of color or white woman a ‘diversity hire’, then you also have to call every new white man a ‘privilege hire’. Don’t blame me, those are just the rules.



Food For Thought

How to Stop Freaking Out and Tackle Climate Change →


One of the most helpful, yet concise advice pieces on climate change action that I’ve read, in line with my recent ruminations in this newsletter: “a five-point plan to manage the psychological toll of living with climate change and to become part of the solution.”

Work Less, Gain More? The 4 Day Working Week →


A great summary of recent research and some real-life case studies that support cutting the work week to four days: “Over the course of an eight-hour workday, the average employee works for about three hours – two hours and 53 minutes, to be more precise. The rest of the time, according to a 2016 survey of 1,989 UK office workers, people spend on a combination of reading the news, browsing social media, eating food, socialising about non-work topics, taking smoke breaks, and searching for new jobs.”

You Can’t Fix Unethical Design by Yourself →


Just like with climate change, individual action isn’t enough in the fight for ethical design and software: “The various people who design and build cars, buildings, roads, and parks don’t need to worry about convincing their boss to make their product safe, because there are laws and regulations they have to follow to ensure safety that are non-negotiable.” [Possible paywall]


Aesthetically Pleasing

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Love the intentions behind the Overview project: “Seeing the Earth from a great distance has been proven to stimulate awe, increase desire to collaborate, and foster long-term thinking. We aim to inspire these feelings — commonly referred to as the Overview Effect — through our imagery, products, and collaborations.” Seen here: The city of Milan (top) and glacial melting in Iceland (bottom).

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One of my escapist ways of dealing with reality: going back to beeple’s dystopian, bizarre art.

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The design of this ‘cabin’ consists of three freestanding units: “Between the two macrocarpa clad boxes is a sheltered semi-outdoor kitchen, lockable storage, and a dining area. The completed cabins are a retreat from city life – providing the minimum level of shelter – somewhere beyond camping, but definitely not a holiday home.”

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Eklektyk (Polish for eclectic) is a quirky display typeface inspired by contemporary type design. Its stencil version is free for personal and commercial use.



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The Week in a GIF


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