“Respect. Stop Violence against women” by Tomo Tomo.

Also in this week’s Design Diary, our roundup of projects, events, and general design world news, we bring you a challenge for illustrations and animations that’s #2Cute2Fail, an Italian advocacy book on violence against women, and more. For more along these lines (and so many others) you can follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

howtocrit.com by Mitch Goldstein

Mitch Goldstein, Howtocrit.com

Way back in 2018, RIT educator Mitch Goldstein posted a long Twitter thread about design crits. “Critique—both giving and getting—is one of the most difficult aspects of design school, especially for new students,” he wrote, and then proceeded to lay out some tips and ground rules for design crits, in little Tweet-sized bursts. This week, he took the message to Instagram, but this time to let people know that he had expanded the conversation to inhabit its own website, howtocrit.com. The “small website about giving and receiving critique” is about as bare bones as you can get—it’s text only, it’s solely about critique, it’s got a purpose, and it sticks to it. It’s also incredibly valuable, with simple sections explaining the purpose of a crit (“a collaborative activity that takes quite a bit of time to learn”), how to give one, and how to get one. And a resource page with a trove of smart articles about critique and design school.

Pictoplasma, #2cute2fail

It was the cutest of times, it was the darkest of times—and “dark times call for desperate measures,” according to Pictoplasma in its invite to illustrators, designers, and animators to join the #2Cute2Fail challenge. The competition calls for an original artwork portraying one character that is “irresistibly cute,” in a regular headshot perspective against a simple backdrop. It can be a drawing, collage, digital painting, vector illustration, 3D graphics, or an animated gif—the medium doesn’t matter so much. What matters is the message, which in this case is “warm, fuzzy feelings [to activate] even the iciest of hearts… We’re talking bright, shiny eyes, cherubic chubby cheeks, unicorn-escapism, kitten overkill, pug puppies by the truckload, giggling micro piglet explosions and saccharine flare-ups.” You heard them, get making—then enter your cuteness here.

Tomo Tomo, Respect. Stop Violence against women.

Italian studio Tomo Tomo sent over a project it has been working on with the the research statistics institute Censis, along with the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Department for Equal Opportunities. The studio created a book to showcase the research Censis has done on violence against women in the country. The book is designed as three separate sections that can be used as their own books or as part of the whole: “Rspct”, which includes the findings of the institute’s report, followed by two visual sections titled “Bellezze d’Italia” (Beauties of Italy) and one called “Atlante della Misogenia” (Atlas of misogyny). The three different-sized parts are bound together with a metal spiral spine, to striking effect.
Tomo Tomo explains that cutting the book near the ring binding, will produce loose sheets “which, following the instructions at the end of the book, can be placed side by side to compose boards to hang on the wall. In the case of the  ‘Atlante della Misogenia’ you will get 20 large maps of Italian cities, while in the case of  ‘Bellezze d’Italia’ you can compose a long continuous strip or cut the individual characters and arrange them in infinite combinations and relationships.”
The Strange HQ in upstate New York
Spring 2020 Decelerator Program 

The Strange Foundation, a retreat and residency space in West Shokan, NY, has opened applications for its 2020 Decelerator Program. The free, week-long residencies are for individuals or groups of up to three artists, activists, journalists, scientists, designers, organizers, educators, and/or entrepreneurs looking for a restful respite to work on their personal projects. Each residency session (the Spring session runs over April and May) has a theme, and this one is Earth 1.0. “Kepler-452b  is the most Earth-like planet humankind has ever discovered. Liquid water, light, and temperatures suitable for life inspired NASA to name the planet ‘Earth 2.0,’ suggesting the possibility that once our planet has been rendered unliveable, we might simply set off to a brand new world,” the description reads. “For the Spring 2020 Decelerator, we seek applicants who are championing and protecting Earth 1.0 through direct action, awareness campaigns, journalism, entrepreneurial ventures, and other creative tactics.” Send your environmentalist projects via application by February 6.

Philip Jursch and Doğu Kaya, Constants & Variables
And finally, we’ll send you off with this lovely master’s thesis project from German designers Philip Jursch and Doğu Kaya. On the evergreen topic of “the future of design” the designers created a book called Constants & Variables that, in their words, offers “insight into the creative work of today and tomorrow,” through interviews with various designers about how they create now and what they think the future will bring in regards to design work. “We discuss the tools designers use and also talk about AI, processing and creative coding in the interviews,” the pair adds. “Despite all the technical possibilities that designers have, we are both convinced that the most important resource of human designers is empathy.” Beautiful work.