Monday, December 16, 2013

Google Books: Unconsciously creating art...

Check out this blog, The Art of Google Books, which takes a fresh look at the pages scanned into Google Books. After a lot of scurrying through the numerous scanned pages, they've put together a list of the most common mishaps which occur during the scans and have reframed them in the context of art. They state their mission purpose as follows:

"The diverse, startling adversaria of Google Books merits examination and exhibition. The aim of this project is twofold; to recognize book digitization as rephotography, and to value the signs of use that accompany digitized texts as worthy of documentation and study."

The types of mishaps they've uncovered go from unwitting scans of the hands of the people scanning the pages to burn marks, marginalia, library stamps, distortions and objects left between the pages:

Employee’s hand.
From the front matter of An Account of the Societies For Reformation of Manners, In England and Ireland by Josiah Woodward (1701). Original from the Bavarian State Library. Digitized January 24, 2011.
Reading around (and through) a burn.
From p. 6 of The Long Lost Friend: or, Faithful & Christian Instructions Containing Wonderous and Well-tried Arts & Remedies, for Man as Well as Animals by Johann Georg Hohman (1850). Original from Harvard University. Digitized December 4, 2007. 
Circulation slip with stamps from 1960 to 1987.
From the front matter of English Traditional Songs and Carols edited by Lucy Etheldred Broadwood (1908). Original from Harvard University. Digitized November 6, 2007.
Feeling inspired? Want to start hunting for your own Google Books treasures? You can find a helpful guide to get you started here. And if you'd like to add you findings to the blog, you can submit them here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The ancestor of the animated GIF

Animated GIFs have had a new lease of life and are bursting onto our screens at the moment ever since Facebook has enable them on their software, but did you know that this type of animation had started long before any computers were invented?

155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Nearly 155 years before CompuServe debuted the first animated gif in 1987, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau unveiled an invention called the Phenakistoscope, a device that is largely considered to be the first mechanism for true animation. The simple gadget relied on the persistence of vision principle to display the illusion of images in motion.

155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Via Juxtapoz:

The phenakistoscope used a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the disc’s center were a series of drawings showing phases of the animation, and cut through it were a series of equally spaced radial slits. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from simply blurring together, so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture.

155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

And although Plateau is credited with inventing the device, there were numerous other mathematicians and physicists who were working on similar ideas around the same time, and even they were building on the works of Greek mathematician Euclid and Sir Isaac Newton who had also identified principles behind the phenakistoscope.

155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Feeling dizzy yet? Check out the rest of the original article from Colossal here.

Friday, December 06, 2013

A Fashion blog that's a keeper...

We heart this blog! The Council of Fashion Designers of America keep a gorgeous inspiration blog on Tumblr and what we particularly like is that they match their posts by colour, resulting in some fantastic free associations! Here's just a few we borrwed from the blog:

#cfda #zacposen #mint #gown  #cfda #mint #retro
#cfda #macaroons #mint  #cfda #mint #philliplim

Public School
Designers: Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne
CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists
A/W 2013  Black
Black  Todd Snyder
Fall 2013
CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist

Prabal Gurung
Orange  Orange
Orange  Orange

To find out more about the CFDA, check out their website here. To find their blog, follow this link.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Star Trek Psychedelia

Graphic designer Juan Ortiz set about paying homage to the original 1960s Star Trek series by creating a series of 80 posters, one per episode, with sharp, psychedelic graphics reminiscent of that era. We're not Trekkies, but we think these posters are a beautiful piece of graphic design and we believe that so will you.

The full collection of prints is available in a book called Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz, so if you can make a purchase request if you think the library should get it for its collection.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Creative Commons 4.0

Creative Commons have just issued a new and ambitious edition to their suite of creative licenses, Creative Commons 4.0.

Creative licensing often leaves people confused and uncertain and Creative Commons seeks to address some of these issue by providing clear licence agreements which give the copyright owner control over the licence levels they want to hold over their work, but also giving others clear guidelines on issues of re-use and attribution.

To find out more about the different types of licences available through Creative Commons, follow this link. If you have any other questions about Creative Commons, you can read their comprehensive FAQ here. If you're looking for images to re-use as part of your art practice, you can carry out a search using the Creative Commons databases here.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Everybody loves a bit of Alfred Hitchcock...

And we love him even more when it's free! Open Culture are an online database dedicated to tracking down and cataloguing movie features that fall into the public domain and are therefore free to watch online. Hitchcock's most successful films are mostly still held under copyright law, however some good ones have fallen through the cracks such as The Lady Vanishes, or The 39 Steps. You'll also find listed some of his very first cinema attempts and more obscure movies well worth a watch!

To see the full list, follow this link.

Monday, December 02, 2013

F*** Yeah Cartography!

To start off the week, we have an exciting new Tumblr blog to share with you: F*** Yeah Cartography! This site is a real treasure trove of maps and map-related materials. They have historical maps, scientific maps, maps used in the fashion industry, hurricane defense maps, maps repurposed for artworks and so much more!


A 1779 Italian map of Jamaica by Antonio Zatta
Via a now-dead website
A 1779 Italian map of Jamaica by Antonio Zatta

Lactose Intolerance Map

Cut and Contoured Map Portrait by Ed Fairburn


Signed by George R.R. Martin
Signed by George R.R. Martin

To find out more about this blog, check it out here. All you mapping addicts will love it!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Anchor Line Ltd Posters

The University of Glasgow Library have uploaded onto their flickr pool a whole series of posters originally designed to advertise the services of Anchor Line Ltd, a shipping company which started life in Glasgow in 1838.

These posters offer a wealth of inspiration for Visual Communications and you can find more of them on flickr by following this link. The catalogue for the Anchor Line collection can be found at: For more information about the collection, you can contact the Duty Archivist at Glasgow University, quoting UGD255, on:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A new digital home for Art Nouveau

Since March 2012, 25 partner institutions of the Partage Plus project have been digitizing European Art Nouveau objects, artworks, posters, and buildings to create more than 75.000 items - including 2,000 3D models - of content for access through Europeana, a Europe-wide resource on Art Nouveau. The project is set to run until March 2014 at which point, the digitization process should be complete and the Europeana portal will be open for access. This is a great point of pride for the GSA Library + Archives as our archives curator Peter Trowles has been involved with the project.
It is also a tremendous resource for our student here at GSA as, thanks to this project, you will be able to access digital examples of Art Nouveau artworks, graphic design, furniture and fashion, not only from the UK branch of the movement, but from across the rest of Europe, including Eastern European countries.

Charles Tiffany - 1890's
Charles Tiffany, 1890s

Gustav Klimt - 1910-1911
Gustav Klimt, 1910-1911

Josef Hoffmann - 1907
Josef Hoffmann, 1907

Jan Toorop
Jan Toorop

Gaudí/ i Bardés - c1904-1906
Gaudi/ i Bardes, c 1904-1906

To find out more about this great project, follow this link.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The 25 Best Inventions of 2013

Calling all product designers, Time Tech have produced their yearly Top 25 Best Inventions! Wondering what will make the cut?

First let's see what their criterias are for a "great invention":

'What makes an invention great? Sometimes it solves a problem you didn’t think could be solved. Skyscrapers can’t turn invisible. Pens can’t write in midair. Paraplegics can’t walk. Except now they can. And sometimes an invention solves a problem you didn’t know you had. Maybe you didn’t realize you needed to eat a doughnut and a croissant at the same time, or resurrect an extinct frog, or turn your entire body into a living password. Now you do.'

So let's see the top 5 put together for us this year:

#1. The Driverless (Toy) Car, a $200 game in
which toy cars can drive themselves.

#2. A “lightbox”: a 20-by-10-ft. (6 by 3 m) structure covered with 196 panels of 4,096 LED bulbs each
to simulate the extreme light in outer space, created for the film Gravity.

#3. Alcoholic Coffee
The Sony QX Smart Lens photographing a vase of yellow flowers for the 2013 best inventions package. Photo Credit: Andrew B. Myers for TIME
#4. Sony DSC-QX100, which clips onto your phone
or can work remotely.
#5. The cronut - made of croissant-style pastry that’s fried like a doughnut,
filled with cream and topped with glaze

To find out more about the next 20 inventions on their list, check out the Time Tech blog post here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

MacMag 39 are online!

For anyone who doesn't know, MacMag is the School of architecture's long-running yearly magazine, which is edited every year by a new group of Diploma students, with the end-product counting towards their dissertation. This year's group, working on MacMag 39 are approaching the topic with two clear angles.

First of all, they're taking inspiration from the opening of the new Reid Building and setting their theme this year as "Then and Now", which has led them to delve into the Library's collection of back issues of MacMag, going back to its very beginnings:

Secondly, they're intent on increasing the Magazine's online presence, which is why you can now follow their progress online at, on Twitter as @MacMag39 and on Facebook. give them your support and you'll be rewarded when they publish their shiny new magazine in time for degree show!