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May 07 2021

Design Roundup

MojoTech Design Roundup week 8



A sweet lil web app using motion tracking and machine learning to teach American Sign Language. I don't have anything profound to say about it—no deep thoughts about linguistics or the nature of learning. It's a delight to explore (the lil 3D hands!!), charming to use, and doesn't anything from you except curiosity.


The Art of Hermann Zapf

Earlier this week, a friend shared with me this wonderful short film featuring the calligrapher and typeface designer Hermann Zapf. It was produced by Hallmark cards in 1967, and has everything a self-respecting 60s documentary should have—sleepy music, a crackly voice over, and Visit to Picasso-esque lettering on glass.

Most interesting is Zapf’s openness to the emerging field of digital type and “computerized composition”. For an expert in such a deeply traditional practice, he appears quite forward-thinking about the future of type design. This open-mindedness is likely what allowed him to create a career that spanned multiple transitions in technology—from metal typesetting, through phototypesetting to digital typesetting—and establish himself as giant of the field.


Don't Call it That, by Eli Altman

This book has been on my radar for a long time, and once I saw the 3rd edition was released I had to stop procrastinating and finally purchase it. Was the awesome slip-cover design a major deciding factor? Absolutely. The book is also filled with wonderful practical advice, and the author is the Creative Director at A Hundred Monkeys which is a studio that specializes in naming. They're behind some of the most recognizeable brands and product names in the world, so you truly are learning from some of the best in the business. Naming things, whether its your company, product, pet or whatever is hard! But this book is filled with guided activities that help you discover and learn what makes a name good or bad. If your interested in that sort of thing this book will definitely satiate your curiousity.


I'm Rachel Lang, the shiny new member of the Mojotech design team.

Collaborating has been one of the tougher parts of remote design work. I've adopted a few tools to try to reduce the hassle of getting and giving feedback.

Loom lets you quickly record a video of your screen and camera. Rather than trying to type up or otherwise compose your context, just talk through it. Then you can grab and share the link.

Bubbles lets you capture a page and pin comments to it without leaving the browser. As someone who takes a ton of screenshots, this saves me all of the steps of composing screenshots into a reviewable format.


Once Monday rolls around I'm on the hunt for Roundup material. It's become a reason to find time throughout the week to read more articles, check out new tools, and seek inspiration. This week however, I didn't need to hunt or look very far. My wife, Amanda, is a Children's Librarian and full of knowledge, and she shared a few resources we all have access to as public library card holders in RI (get a library card, they're free).

EBSCOhost is a collection of databases provided by the Rhode Island Office of Library & Information Services and Ocean State Libraries. You'll have access to magazines, journals, news sources, primary sources, and a variety of media and diverse subject areas.

Flipster Magazine can be found in EBSCO and is a collection of magazines you can read for free. From Computer Arts to Rolling Stone, you can check out the latest issues from a plethora of sources.

Udemy is basically similar to Masterclass, but again, free with your public library card. Get access to video courses that can help with career goals or personal interests/hobbies.

As a designer I can say some of the sites/tools are less than beautiful looking.. but, most honestly do a better job at providing quality, accessible content to all visitors than most large websites.

From RI and need a library card?


Pixel Spirit

Shaders are always something I'll throw together with chunks of code I find online, but I've never really sat down to really learn how to write them myself. Recently I've been going through the excellent Pixel Spirit Cards created by Patricio Gonzalez Vivo. The deck consists of 50 cards that have shader code on the back and the shader output on the front. As you go through the deck functions are reused building up your familiarity with them, and showcasing different applications for said function. As someone that has a lot of difficulty making it through a book, being able to learn with cards has been quite a joy.

Design Team