As reported by the Washington Post, six teams have been chosen as finalists to design the Black History Museum which will be on the mall in Washington, DC near the Washington Monument. Of 22 applicants, these were the six finalists:

- Devrouax & Purnell, the Washington firm that did the Washington Nationals Park, and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, a joint venture.
Previous designs: East Building of the National Gallery and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

- Foster and Partners/URS, a joint venture
Previous designs: Kogod Courtyard of the Smithsonian's Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture

- Freelon Adjaye Bond in association with the SmithGroup
Previous designs: Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore

Diller Scofidio and Renfro in association with KlingStubbins
Previous designs: Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the renovation of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York

Moshe Safdie and Associates, in association with Sultan Campbell Britt & Associates
Previous designs: Institute of Peace headquarters, now being built in Washington

Moody Nolan, in association with Antoine Predock Architect
Previous designs: Moody Nolan and Predock designed the Ohio State University Recreation and Physical Activity Center

Photo: ABC News

Popping up around Manhattan are these fantastic typeface designs for the upcoming Grammy Awards. Its a refreshing change from traditional advertising to see typeface stretched to something different, imaginary almost ethereal. Typeface by nature is full of gorgeous lines but rarely do we see them joined together to create a unified design. What do you think? What other organizations are using typeface design?

Here’s a neat way to keep your bottles cold while still creating a great ambiance for a get together at your place! The Design Blog showcases the ‘Drink Light Bottle Cooler’ by Jorge Nàjera that not only illuminates dark settings with an energy saving bulb, but it also works as a bottle container keeping your bottles of champagnes and other beverages chilled.
Trek Bikes opened a new design center in Waterloo, Wisconsin last week. Thing One will be a center for everything involving bike design.

The 20,000 sq ft studio is the new home for 55 designers working in environmental, retail, and industrial design alongside interactive, packaging, product graphic, and visual design teams. Also within the ‘Thing One’ environment is a world-class photo studio, retail merchandising areas, fabrication shop, and most importantly, a pro barista, only steps away.

Read more here.
The arts and non-profit sectors have seen a dramatic decrease in funding because of the recession, yet it has gone relatively unnoticed as the nation's attention has been fixated on other industries-specifically manufacturing and finance. Now many are calling for a piece of the Obama stimulus package to keep arts funding from disappearing completely. Sunday's New York Times outlines the goals that those in the art world are seeking to survive during this economic climate. Take a look and deduce your own thoughts on what President Obama should do with culture and arts in the United States. What do you think? Have you seen the economic climate effecting arts in your area? In your business? Do share your thoughts with us.

I came across this interesting futuristic design for a unique structure for GQ Bank in Central Tokyo in this post in The Design Blog. This design comes from CIA Tokyo in conjunction with Neil M. Denari Architects. The design model includes public lounges as well as private offices and meetings rooms.

What do you think of their latest design ideas?
Over at The Dieline, they recently examined the new line of kids juices by Honest Tea. Not only is this drink healthy, but also teaches children the importance of saving the environment, as they've partnered with Terracycle to donate $.02 per packaging to the organization of the recyclers choice.

The White House has officially launched a new revamped website yesterday, Barack Obama’s first official day as the president of the United States. There are tons of features including videos, RSS feeds from the Whitehouse blog, and easy to use navigation. What do you think of the design of the new website?

This post on Design Blog highlights an interesting concept for all the diehard Apple fans out there! Imagine a keyboard where users can dock and revitalize their iPods and iPhones. Users will also be able to connect their iPhones and use the screen as a control surface. Interesting concept or does Apple need new innovative ideas?
Check out this design for the Mini Media Center PC. This computer shows off the entertainment value from the outside. Find out more here at Dvice.

If you've been to The National Mall in Washington, D.C. surely you've been stirred with emotion at the varying memorials. Each memorial seems to embody a different aspect of American culture from the seemingly elite Vietnam Memorial, the heavy handed WWII memorial and the stoic Lincoln Memorial. In yesterday's New York Times, Nicolai Ouroussoff discussed the varying clash of design, tradition and modernity within The National Mall. As the Mall will take center stage on Tuesday inauguration, I encourage you to check out the mall--see what it evokes in you and discuss with us here or on Twitter your thoughts.

Graphic designer Jacob Cass recently discussed issues with copyright in logo design on Just Creative Design. It’s very important to know exactly what you can and can’t do legally, especially when dealing with fonts. Take a quick look at the post as I’m sure you’ll find it quite informative.

Tired of having separate trash bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable garbage? The Design Blog highlights the Tri3 in this post, which is an innovative trashcan that can collect and categorize garbage. The Tri3 features three separate containers in a single unit. The top can has a bag dispenser for common garbage, the middle container stores plastic and packaging discarding, and the bottom container stores bottles and glass waste. Getting rid of your garbage has been made that much simpler!
In the United States, its fairly common to emblazon currency with Presidents or historical figures; but England has reserved its currency primarily for royals, until today. Announcing the official rules this afternoon on BBC 1, children ages 6-12 can submit their designs for a 50p that will commemorate the Olympics and paraolympics in 2012. The winner of the competition will be the first child to have their work featured on a UK coin in circulation. Share your thoughts or designs with us here, we'd love to see what YOU would come up with!
I came across Scion’s new design campaign for its tC line in this post on BrandNoise. The Scion hits home for the Gen Y demographic because of the full line of customizable options including paint color, wheels, suspension, spoilers, body kits, sound systems, and many other performance upgrades. As this picture shows, it is possible that the newer generation favors design that best caters to their specific needs and interest. Either way, Toyota Motors has done a great job of allowing consumers to choose their own design features in automobiles.
In an effort to reach out to the female audience playing Guitar Hero, and designed a new pink guitar for the girl gamers. YPulse puts their spin on the new guitar here.

Although there are plenty of girls out there playing Guitar Hero, was this the right design? What do you think?
Who knew fabric designing could be as easy as "click and send"? Check out Spoonflower, a great service that let's you design your own fabric, email it to the North Carolina offices and in just a few weeks you've got your own fabulous fabric design. How fantastic is that? We'll keep an eye on this movement towards tactile vs. digital designs.

So what do you think?
Are more "click and send DIY" services in store?

Check out the NYT article on Spoonflower.

Hundreds of leading design and innovation experts will gather in Monte Carlo 26-28 January for a world class information exchange focused on driving innovation forward. Through real life case studies, they will showcase practical strategies and techniques to guide you in developing a profitable ecosystem for innovation.

Attending companies include: Shell International, Volkswagen, Nokia, P&G, Swarovski, Bombardier Aerospace, BBC, Best Buy, Cadbury Schweppes, Cisco Systems, Coloplast, Eli Lilly & Company, Halliburton, IDEO, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, LEGO, Philips, Siemens, Nestle, Whirlpool and many more.

Space is still available. Visit for more information and to reserve your spot.

Mention code XM2150LQA and save 15% off the onsite rate. Feel free to pass this discount along to any colleagues who would be interested.

Register for the Event

Objectified, the new independent documentary about consumers, mass products and their designers, will be out this spring. As Business Week shares, this film has interviews different designers including with Marc Newsom, Jonathan Ive, and Karim Rashid. Find out more here. Watch the trailer below or at YouTube.

Saturday's NYTimes covered a fascinating theory that the best design occurs from the hardest financial times; think Ray Eames, who brought simplicity to a post-depression era world. The article points out that the frivolity of design in the past years could stand to be pared down a bit as we enter into volatile financial times where function reigns.
How will designers, how will you cope with the changing financial times? Have your designs changed--will they change? Read the article here and get back to us.

Old Abe turns 200 next month and in celebration, the Illinois government conducted a state-wide contest to find a great design for the celebratory envelopes. The winner's were announced today and the artwork can be viewed by clicking here.

I love these old-timey contest that look for great unseen talent on the local level. Do you think that we may see more of these contests in the future? Do you have any links to pass along of great contests in you area? Pass them along!


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