Tech Weekly: Chips Ahoy

In the late 1950s, Jack Kilby — an engineer at Texas Instruments who would later dream up the handheld calculator — invented the integrated circuit, or microchip. Since then, true to Moore's Law, we've crammed components onto these chips at an exponential rate, making them smaller and smaller in the process. From an open-source game system the size of a credit card, to a minimalist cell phone the size of a credit card, to an entire computer smaller than a credit card, this week's projects are incredible examples of just how far we've come.

And as always, there are way more modern marvels over in our Technology category.

Read more

This Week in Kickstarter

Every time we do one of these things, we lead off by talking about the weather. If you live in some permanently tropical place, you probably find yourself asking, "why are the people at Kickstarter always talking about how they get to open a door for the first time in months as if they've never been outside before?" The answer is that that is exactly what it felt like after powering through the longest winter there ever was. Um, also, you can now make projects on Kickstarter in Germany and France. You've probably already started, and we can't wait to see what you make.

Our newfound obsession with warm weather explains why the first roundup we did this week explored what kind of flaming hot beach projects are live on the site right now. It includes projects to fend off the sun, fend off the sand, and fend off dead speaker batteries. Also there are coolers. There are always coolers.

In inside news (our apologies for talking about being inside after we got you all excited about being outside), we also explored the wide world of typography, which will soon make it possible for you to write just like Einstein wrote. We can't promise you'll be as smart, or that you'll have as thick a mustache, but you can probably make both happen for yourself if you really try.

Fonts are a key part of design. So key, in fact, that people's hatred of Comic Sans seems to come from the notion that it doesn't look so great with most well-designed products. If you back the McSweeneys publishing project (we recommend that you at least scope out the page—there's a lot of great stuff there if you like books and/or laughing), you can even get a letter from that "beloved" font. 

Anyway! What we were saying about design was that we are smack in the middle of Design Month at Kickstarter. What does that mean? Well, it means that over at our Happening Hub, we're highlighting crucial design stories—like the Thames Bath (keep checking for more on that) and this fascinating process piece about creating a Futurist sculpture—from inside and outside the Kickstarter world. You'll want to stay tuned to that page, because we've invited some notable people to help curate it in the coming weeks.

Letters and their Shapes

Font is an important part of the way that we think about what we're reading — the way we consume the message. Think about all the considerations that designers have when they think about fonts, the wild variety of opinions that people have about Comic Sans, and all the recent talk about what makes a good or bad resume font. There's even a whole documentary about Helvetica. The shapes of letters affect the way we process information.

Typography and font have an iconic history on Kickstarter, too (ha ha, pun intended). Scroll down for an overview of the ways in which people are thinking about design, typeface, and the relationship between the two across the site — some of these projects are live, and some are from Kickstarter's history. 

Read more

A Few Tips for Journalism and Publishing Projects

Creator Basics is a series of short videos featuring creators from categories across Kickstarter. In the videos, creators behind successful projects share some of their best tips for planning, executing, and fulfilling a project. For this part of the series, we talked to four writers and publishers across the worlds of publishing and journalism: Alex Shvartsman of Unidentified Funny Objects, Farai Chideya of One with Farai, Lisa Lucas of Guernica, and Daniel José Older of Long Hidden.

The questions tackled above include how to prepare for your project (having a clear vision and a solid network is important), creating a video (keep it short!), and more. You can find (and subscribe to) all of our Creator Basics posts on our YouTube channel

Talking Shop: Making Art in Public

"It's my contention that artists, and all of us, should be participating in public spaces in order to show the way that we would like these spaces to be used," says Jeff Stark of Nonsense NYC. Last year, Stark produced a site-specific immersive work called The Dreary Coast. Audience members for the show, which was about the boatman on the River Styx, would actually climb aboard a small vessel and be ferried up the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. Stark described the show as "the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at night in the middle of a crumbling industrial neighborhood."

Art in public spaces can be incredibly powerful, and spark conversations within traditional arts institutions and far beyond, reaching communities in a direct and experiential way. We recently invited a few artists with experience in public art to Kickstarter HQ for a conversation about the field. The panel consisted of Stark, Maya Hayuk, Heather Hart, and moderator Leslie Koch. It was a fascinating discussion about social responsibility, aesthetics, and the creative process.

Watch the full panel above, and keep in mind, as Stark says, "Artists have a responsibility to identify new places to work, and identify new places for culture and cultural transformation."

German Projects Are Live!

A few weeks ago we announced that German creators could start building projects, and today they launched them to the world. We’re so excited by the projects that are live already — everything from smart technology to uniquely German films and games. Here are just a few of the first projects to launch from Germany:

Read more

A Day at the Beach

Your sandaled feet sink just a little as you step off the boardwalk and onto the sand, walking towards the water. The sun shines mightily in the wide sky, which is only rivaled in blueness by the undulating ocean before you. You even remembered the sunscreen and towels. Yes, it's the first beach trip of the season, and everything is perfect.

But wouldn't things be even more perfect with the help of these projects?

Read more