The Classic Style of Marimekko: In Patterns

Image: Chronicle Books
Image: Chronicle Books

Marimekko is a textile design company based in Helsinki, Finland. Some of their designs, such as Unikko, are quite well known, but there are plenty of more obscure patterns as well. Earlier this year, Unikko celebrated 50 years of being awesome, and the company keeps churning out other inspirational designs.

Marimekko: In Patterns takes us on a behind-the-scenes journey through the process of a Marimekko pattern, start to finish. From sketches to fabric to pattern to color to the final quality check, their style is playful, colorful, and, often, simple. You may look at their patterns and think, “I could design that.” But I challenge you to try. Putting together colors and shapes in a way that will guide style and appeal to the people isn’t an easy task. Not every one of their patterns appeals to me, but that’s part of the beauty of the company: There seems to be something for everyone. Dark, light, colorful, monochromatic, modern, classic, organic, and geometric.

Image: Marimekko
The Unikko pattern. Image: Marimekko

The book also digs deeply into some of their classic patterns and their designers, and it profiles several of Marimekko’s designers individually in more depth. While there is plenty of reading to do in this book, it is mostly filled with the patterns and the art that goes into them. It also shares examples of how the designs are used, in clothes and home decor, and on regular bolts of fabric.

Finally, it goes through its history as a company, from design and fashion in the 1950s until the 2000s, and briefly touches on what they have in store for us in the future.

Marimekko: In Patterns retails for $35 but can be found much cheaper. I recommend it to anyone who has a love of classic style, organic and geometric shapes, or Finnish design. This book will inspire you in your next project, be it painting, sewing, photography, or any other creative pursuit.

GeekMom received a copy of this book for review purposes.

Chrysler Is Giving a $60K Scholarship to an Aspiring Auto Designer

Image: Chrysler

Chrysler is holding its third annual design competition and up for grabs is a $60K scholarship to the College for Creative Studies. The contest is open to aspiring auto designers attending U.S. public high schools in grades 10 through 12 and offers the chance at a scholarship, MacBooks, and summer design courses.

It’s officially called the Detroit Autorama Design Competition 2015 and tasks entrants with creating a next-generation Dodge for 2025. Students will need to submit a 500-word essay on what the Dodge brand means to them along with a hand-drawn image of their future Dodge.

“The purpose of this competition is to expose students early in their education to the possibility of a career in automotive design while allowing us to connect with young talent and help to develop their artistic skills,” said Mark Trostle, Head of SRT, Mopar and Motorsports Design, Chrysler Group LLC. “We’re excited to once again team up with one of the leading design schools in the country, CCS, and the Detroit Autorama to bring the competition to a national level.”

Prizes include:

First place

· $60,000 scholarship to CCS (must meet college entry requirements)

· Apple MacBook Pro (13 inches, 2.5 GHz)

· Three-week summer automotive design course at CCS (includes housing, meals, and field trips)

· Three passes to Detroit Autorama in Detroit

Second place

· Apple MacBook Pro (13 inches, 2.5 GHz)

· Three-week summer automotive design course at CCS (includes housing, meals, and field trips)

· Three passes to Detroit Autorama in Detroit

Third place

· Apple MacBook Air (11 inches, 2 GHz)

· Three-week summer automotive design course at CCS (includes housing, meals, and field trips)

· Three passes to Detroit Autorama in Detroit

Fourth place

· Apple iPad with Retina Display (16 GB)

· Three-week summer automotive design course at CCS (includes housing, meals, and field trips)

· Three passes to Detroit Autorama in Detroit

Winners will be selected by designers from the Chrysler Group Product Design Office, including Ralph Gilles, Senior Vice President – Product Design; Joe Dehner, Head of Dodge and Ram Truck Design; and Mark Trostle, along with industrial design faculty from CCS.

Entries are due by Friday, January 23, 2015, with finalists announced on January 30th and winners revealed on March 6th at Detroit Autorama in the COBO Center in Detroit. Get the full details at the Drive for Design Facebook page and good luck!

Review: Wee Rockets on the iPad and iPod Touch

Photo: Karen Burnham

Our son is 26 months old and a complete native when it comes to touch screen use. We finally broke down and got him his own iPod Touch over the summer so that we could liberate our phones from his cheerfully grasping hands. This has the bonus effect that everything on it (and on an old original iPad) is locked down, in-app purchases disabled, and every app on it is age appropriate. So now the challenge is keeping it up to date with apps that are interesting to him as he masters old ones. Two perennial favorites are Endless Alphabet and BeBop Blox by Originator.

But the latest mega-hit in our household is Wee Rockets by Wee Taps.

Photo: Wee Taps

This is a super simple game with no text or dialog. In the first screen you see an astronaut (human or alien), dreaming of a spaceship. Then you get the spaceship design screen seen in the screenshot to the right. There are five elements in each spaceship (rocket nozzle, fuselage, port hole, nose cone, and astronaut), and four options for each that the child can choose. This can lead to some awesome looking rockets! Then there’s a liftoff screen where the child pushes the button followed by a visual countdown and rocket launch.

There’s a simple space game where the rocket flies through an asteroid field. The object is to avoid the rocks and pick up little alien critters and planets, but there’s no penalty for hitting the rocks and my son loves the “boom” sounds the asteroids make when the rocket hits them, so at the moment he steers for the rocks enthusiastically. When the spaceship crosses the finish line, you get some “Tada!” music and a screen of the passenger alien celebrating all the alien critters and planets that were collected. Then it starts all over.

It’s so simple that I figured my son would get bored with it easily, but it’s been his favorite for over a week. Each screen has different music, and the design screen has guitar music that sounds a bit like the Seinfeld opening. I’ve been hearing it so much that I feel like I’ll never forget it—luckily, I don’t find it annoying. He enjoys it on both the iPad big screen and on the Touch’s small screen.

It is super easy to play, needing almost no parental intervention to get started. And a full round of play is short enough that it’s easy to wait for him to finish before I need him to do something like eat dinner or get dressed. I’m hoping that this will be a good introduction to some of the more sophisticated build-and-design apps that I’m eying for when he gets older. I can’t wait to play watch him play them!

There is also a Wee Subs app from the same developer, and I’m saving that one for when he gets bored with this one. It looks like that might be awhile! All in all I feel like Wee Rockets was $1.99 well spent.