All posts in design

Things you should buy!

The first issue of Chicago IRL is available for purchase now! I’ve been working on putting this together for several months now, and I think the final product is pretty great. I look forward to seeing how the project grows in the future.

I’ve been doing some freelance work three upcoming boardgames for Minion Games, all three of which are now available for preorder.

Five Fingered Severance
Five Fingered Severance by Patrick Leder with illustrations by Erik Lervold and graphic design by Topher McCulloch. Pre-order now.

In Severance each player assumes the role of a store employee on their last day at work before corporate closes the convenience store for good. Players can steal items from the store, slack off, or keep performing their work duties. Each activity has risks and rewards. The player scores points after successfully slacking off and after taking their stolen goods to their locker. When a player gets caught (by the boss) doing something wrong they gain heat. Heat also naturally rises during the game. When a player reaches 30 they are fired. The game ends when all of the players but one are fired or the event deck is exhausted.

Venture Forth Board
Venture Forth, whose gameboard and rulesbooks I’m helping with, is also available for pre-order.

In Venture Forth, players have a party of adventurers who each have their own personal ambition. Achieving an ambition allows the player to convert that adventurer’s “will” into points and to possibly level him up. All ambitions require the player to venture forth, which means moving his party from one site to another along a path. One of the main actions in the game is playing an enemy or adventurer card to these path spaces. Once a path is completely filled in, any player can choose to venture forth down it and encounter each card one by one, recruiting adventurers, defeating enemies, and possibly gaining treasure along the way. A combination of resource management, path planning, and timing will help you along the way.


I’ve also done a little bit of work on Kingdom of Solomon, which has a kickstarter to help with funding.

And there you have it! Venture forth into the kingdom of solomon and consume things to support me in Chicago in real life, or else I’ll be forced to sever five of your fingers! Copywriting isn’t always my strength.

Why can’t design be beautiful?

Olivetti poster designed by Giovanni Pintori, 1949. 28 in. x 20 in. Collection SFMOMA.

Before Steve Jobs was a glint in his father’s eye, Olivetti was elevating the design aesthetics of the business machine world through product design and advertising rooted in the Bauhaus and vetted in Italy.

Olivetti placed great importance on its design.

[A] preoccupation with design developed into a comprehensive corporate philosophy, which embraced everything from the shape of a space bar to the color scheme for an advertising poster.

—Jonathan Martin, International Directory of Company Histories

Olivetti’s design aesthetic went beyond its products and advertising, as the company also hired notable architects like Le Corbusier to design its offices and factories. Notable artists, designers and architects contributed in-house to Olivetti’s design brain trust, including Giovanni Pintori and Ettore Sottsass. Sottsass oversaw industrial design for Olivetti’s Elea 9003, Italy’s first mainframe computer, which incidentally predated IBM’s first transistorized computer. Sottsass also designed the Olivetti Valentine. The Valentine was a bright red plastic portable typewriter, which became more of a fashion accessory than a business tool, entering Olivetti in the popular culture.

Olivetti Valentine

Olivetti Valentine (1969) designed by Marcello Nizzoli and Ettore Sottsass. Image from Wikipedia.

Olivetti’s cutting edge design remains timeless, while the competition look ridiculously quaint. Good design that navigates around current trends and instead bases itself on solid, aesthetic principles will endure.  A 2008 Italian advertisement for Apple’s iPhone 3G name dropped company founder Camillo Olivetti in the phone’s contact list. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t answer though, since he’s been dead since 1943. His company’s design legacy, however, lives on.