The Design Block

If you're looking for the latest in advertising and marketing, design related technology and lifestyle tips, and art or design highlights then you're in the right place. Find all this and more with the Design Block blog.

Volkswagen’s ad about avoiding advertising bans ironically gets banned

Volkswagen’s “Too powerful for TV“ commercial was, apparently, too powerful for television in Australia. The humorous commercial was banned in the country for breaking advertising codes of conduct and for being “unsafe”.

Norway’s banknotes get pixelated nature-inspired design

Back in 2014, creative agency Snøhetta and Metric Design won a competition to redesign Norway’s banknotes. Finally, all of the country’s paper currency has been redesigned and nearly all entered into circulation.

Up your gaming interior with Sony Playstation furniture

If you’re wondering what to get the gamer in your life for Christmas, how about official PlayStation furniture like a branded bean bag chair? 

Most frequently used typefaces of hundreds of brands

It’s true that people don’t look like their Instagram shots, or they’re not as happy as their Facebook profiles try to convince us. It’s also true that designers don’t use all those trendy font combinations you might think.

13 psychological pricing tips to help boost sales

You’ve likely figured out best practices for mobile marketing, design, and internal communication for your business. It seems like you have a pretty good system in place, but it gets a little tired. You find you and your team are stuck in the monotony of…

How to get more positive online reviews for your business

Positive online reviews can tip the balance in your favour when it comes to consumer decision making. So if you think online reviews get lost in all the Internet noise, think again.

Organ donation ad featuring Jesus at the crucifixion sparks controversy

An Australian group has released a new ad to promote organ donation. And as they point out in the ad, organ donation can save lives. However, the number of people who register for organ donation remains relatively low.

Art Institute of Chicago releases thousands of hi-res artworks for free

A city steeped in art and culture, Chicago boasts one of the oldest and largest museums in the United States: the Art Institute of Chicago. While visiting this historic institution should be on any art lovers’ list, a recent website redesign has made experiencing its collection as simple as a…

Chinese city wants to replace street lights with artificial Moon

The largest and brightest object in the night sky, the Moon has long inspired curiosity and wonder. And landing a man on the Moon is still considered one of humanity’s greatest achievements.

Oreo tries new flavours by debuting seaweed cookies

Oreo keeps trying to create new flavour innovations to entice consumers—which can be both good and bad for cookie lovers.

Write people up for design offences with the Typographic Ticket Book

Is someone using terrible kerning, stretching type or did you get a client brief in the dreaded Comic Sans? Don’t despair. The next time someone commits design offences, you can write them up with this Typographic Ticket Book.

Top 10 winners of the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

Now entering it’s 44th year of celebrating the beauty of a microscopic world, Nikon has announced the winners of its 2018 Small World Photomicrography Competition.

Eco-friendly dog house design boasts impressive features

Showing that eco-friendly building concepts are applicable to even our canine friends, California-based architecture and interior design firm Studio Schicketanz has designed a dog house unlike any other. 

KFC embraces zero waste movement with edible wrappers

3.5 million tons of plastic and other solid waste are generated each day across the world, according to researchers. Yet, there are a growing number of companies and people who are joining the zero waste movement.

Discover surreal 3D graffiti by Sergio Odeith

Graffiti isn’t all tagging and political opinions sprayed on the wall. In fact, today it’s become an acceptable artistic genre that’s increasingly being embraced by the general public as well as institutions.

Are you visually astute? Take the Pantone Colour IQ Test

Do you have a sharp eye for colour? Now you can find out for sure, because Pantone has launched a Colour IQ Test that allows you to discover your level of colour vision.

IHOP surprises fans with pumpkin pancake beer dubbed IHOPS

People seem to get excited at the beginning of fall with all of the pumpkin-flavoured foods and drinks. And The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) tends to fill that demands with their Pumpkin Pancakes. This year, however, they’re trying something different with pumpkin flavours.

A collection of icons, UI kits and mockups, all for free

Everyone loves to get something for free. And if you can’t get enough of freebies, you’re definitely not alone.

LEGO debuts functional wind turbine made from eco-friendly bricks

Playing with Lego just got better for the environment. After announcing its eco-friendly plant-shaped bricks made of sugarcane, LEGO has teamed up with Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas to create a wind turbine model made from sustainable bricks.

Museum of the Moon lunar replica captivates audiences worldwide

While SpaceX prepares to send a Japanese billionaire and eight artists to the Moon for free, UK artist Luke Jerram is bringing the Moon to audiences around the globe.

Photographer discovers his image plagiarized, hanging in an art gallery

A renowned American artist has been accused of plagiarizing an iconic image by a South African photographer.

Burger King’s AI-written ads prove tech can’t substitute great ideas

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize the future of marketing might be a threat to certain jobs, but Burger King isn’t buying into it yet.

IKEA wants to make self-driving cars that double as cafés & offices

IKEA just became the latest company to announce it’s experimenting with self-driving cars. Well, calling them cars isn’t quite right. While the Swedish furniture giant isn’t looking to become the next Tesla, they’re taking an entirely different approach to the concept.

Pantone unveils 2019 Spring/Summer fashion trend report

Every year the team at the Pantone Color Institute comes out with its fashion trend report; an overview of the top colours showcased by fashion designers at New York Fashion Week that’ll be featuring in their collections for the upcoming season.

Dichroic installations reflect a rainbow of colours in the light

A rainbow is a beautiful, natural phenomenon which continues to inspire people in many ways. It has also inspired scientists and artists alike to further explore the nature of colour and light and how they are connected.

Last Blockbuster now has a craft beer brewed in its honour

For those who remember a time before Netflix when watching a new release movie meant getting your hands on a physical VHS or DVD, Blockbuster was the place to go.

SpaceX is sending 8 artists around the Moon for free

A couple days ago, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that Yusaku Maezawa, will be the first private customer to ride around the Moon on the company’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) as early as 2023.

For the love of colour: Now you can put on Pantone socks

Aside from keeping you up-to-date on the latest colour trends and foods inspired by various hues, Pantone has started producing fashion.

Lingerie campaign celebrates models of all sizes and bans airbrushing

UK-based lingerie brand Figleaves has released its latest campaign that includes a cast models of different sizes, shapes and ethnicities. What also makes this campaign special is that Figleaves is the latest brand to ban airbrushing in their ads.

For better fitting chairs, IKEA wants to 3D-print your ass

Finding a comfortable gaming chair can be tough—especially if you’re going to be playing Fortnite for hours on end. If you’ve ever dreamt of having a chair that was perfect for your ass, IKEA is making that dream come true.

Originally a joke, Adobe Product Manager’s Dogecoin is now worth millions

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency that was created in 2013 as a joke by Jackson Palmer, an Adobe Product Manager. However, in the past three months, as other cryptocurrencies have started to crumble, it’s roughly doubled in value.

These lifelike wooden animals are sculpted with a chainsaw

The art of chainsaw sculpting is astonishing to think of when creating with using such an indelicate tool. Both elaborate and exhilarating, it’s also a lengthy process that takes time to perfect. However, if you give Jürgen Lingl-Rebetez a block of wood and a chainsaw, all you have…

Domino’s ends free pizza for life deal with brand tattoo

Apparently, the idea of getting free pizza in Russia is a powerful promotion. In fact, it turned out to be so powerful that Domino’s Pizza had to end their promotion as quickly as it began. Domino’s had offered free pizza for life to anyone who got…

Millennial parents are naming their kids based on available domains

Forget the baby books, there’s a new way to get baby name inspiration. According to a new study, Millennial parents are naming their kids based on available domain names.

How to calculate freelance rates more efficiently

The one question that most freelance designers have trouble answering is, “what is your time really worth?” If you’re a full-time employee at an agency, your salary takes into consideration business costs like healthcare, licensing, taxes, and other business essentials. But when you work for yourself, you’ve…

Scuba Diving Magazine​ unveils underwater ​photo​ contest winners

One of the most fascinating and largely unexplored places in the world also happens to be a place difficult for most people to visit—the depths of the ocean. But, for seasoned scuba divers, this contest is a chance to capture underwater wonders most will never…

Discover the unlikely origins of 6 famous car logos

Having a strong logo can create significant value; and that’s no less true in the automotive industry. In fact, car logos are among the most widely recognized amongst brands across the world. But have you ever wondered about what’s behind the creation and evolution of famous car…

KFC really wants a baby named Harland and is willing to pay

Future parents are getting a chance at US$11,000 to jumpstart on their future baby’s college education this September. The only catch is that they have to brand their child with the name Harland, after KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders.

Nike issues comeback after French Open bans Serena Williams’ catsuit

Officials at the French Open have announced they will ban Serena Williams’ signature black catsuit from future tournaments.

Your computer is vulnerable because of Photoshop CC bugs

If you happen to be using early versions of the 2017 or 2018 Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud, you might want to update your software asap.

Glow-in-the-dark tables display engraved city maps

Woo Designs, a Warsaw-based furniture company, has designed and produced custom oak tables with engraved maps of international cities. What makes them unique isn’t just the laser-cut designs, but the fact that they also glow-in-the-dark.

Over-the-top Toyota ad replaces Chuck Norris with a truck

Chuck Norris is so tough that there’s no chin under his beard, only another fist. But this new commercial by Toyota sees the roundhouse kicking actor being replaced by a truck.

App retention is like dating, so don’t end up a one-night-stand

In today’s mobile-first environment, every company seems to have a mobile app and everyone a genius mobile app idea. This is why it is not surprising that the app store is cluttered with underperforming applications by the millions. What might come as a surprise, however,…

Discover the best aerial photos from the inaugural Drone Awards

After receiving 4,400 submissions from over 101 countries, the inaugural Drone Awards have announced the winners of their competition. The awards, which celebrates the art of drone photography, has allowed photographers to explore new perspectives and communicate an appreciation of our planet.

People aren’t happy with the new Jack in the Box commercial

The burger chain Jack in the Box has recently drawn criticism for its new TV commercial. The ad for the company’s new Teriyaki Bowls riffs off the word “bowls” and features not-so-subtle references to male genitalia.

Expose catfishes by hiring a professional social media stalker

Online dating is at an all-time high. In fact, it’s quickly turned into a billion-dollar industry. And according to at least one poll, it’s the second most common way to find a significant other. But what if you want to know more details about your…

People seem to love the new butt-baring pants that are basically assless chaps

Just when you thought you’d seen the quirkiest fashion trends, like Car Mat Skirts or crotch accentuating pants, people seem to be loving the latest must-have butt-baring item.

Art installations appears like pixelated Photoshop effects

German artists Thomas Granseuer and Tomislav Topic—together known as Quintessenz—have recently created a site-specific art installation as part of the Paxos Contemporary Art Project. Taking place on the island of Paxos in the Adriatic sea, the duo have created colourful displays that look like pixelated Photoshop effects.

Burger brand apologizes for using beheaded photojournalist in ad

Washington DC-based Z-Burger has apologized after causing a stir for its inappropriate use of an image for its marketing.

Tesla debuts surfboard that immediately sells out

Billionaire Elon Musk has created some interesting merchandise to promote his companies over the years: everything from Boring Company hats to a flamethrower. Last week, Tesla debuted a new product: a limited edition US$1,500 surfboard.