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Meet The Bearded Brothers of Mast Brothers Chocolate

Mast Brothers Chocolate

Meet Rick and Michael Mast, the bearded brothers behind the famous bean-to-bar Brooklyn chocolate company.

The brothers condense their childlike curiosity and sense of adventure into each bar, and take incredible pride in craftsmanship. “The chocolate itself represents more than just a candy bar… it represents a new way of handcrafting food,” says Rick Mast. “Everything roots back to our love affair with the spirit of craft,” and the brothers list wooden sailboats, old books, and historic buildings as sources of inspiration.

Even the beautifully printed wrapping is designed in-house–a specific pattern for each new flavor–and then deliberately printed on paper that is the weight of old butcher’s paper.

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The brothers have been known to go as far as to sail their beans directly to Brooklyn on a 70ft schooner, the first commercial sailboat to unload at Red Hook since 1939. In addition to aligning with their love of adventure and nautical history, it saves energy. And hey, wind is free!

Rick and Michael consider every last detail, and it shows through the presentation and of course the flavor. Just ask Thomas Keller or Alice Waters, or any of the countless other chefs who swear by their product.

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Learn more about the Mast Brothers and their new chocolate cookbook at mastbrothers.com. 

Cover photo by Jennifer Causey. Other photos by Photos via Geordie Wood/Vogue.

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DODOcase Wants You to Be a Maker Too

“We’ve always wanted our customers to feel a connection to a beautiful craft like bookbinding.”

Patrick Buckley, Chief DODO, explains the intent behind their custom cases (alongside gorgeous footage of DODOcase makers and their production process).

DODOcase specializes in cases for iPads and other modern products, but they also have a bit of a bookish obsession–specifically with saving the art of bookbinding from extinction. Hence the origin of the “DODO” name, referencing the quirky animal known as the posterchild of extinction. DODOcase’s focus is not only protecting your iPad, but also keeping art and craftsmanship alive in the modern age.

DODOcase is also known for its clever marketing. Before the founders even had product ready, they piggy-backed on the first iPad launch–using Craigslist to hire commission-based sales teams in various cities. The grassroots teams handed out flyers to fans (and bloggers) waiting in line for the first iPads, and the company ended up with more than 10,000 orders in the first few months!

These days, DODOcase is actively encouraging its customers to take an active role in the creation process. “It’s almost like the customer is here, looking over our shoulders, feeling the fabrics, picking the colors and patterns that suit their style.” Because of their relationship with Holliston, the last remaining book mill the US, they even feature unique colors that you can’t find anywhere else .

What would your custom DODOcase look like?

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Photo from regalador.com. Top photo from hipvan.com.

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The Story of the Makers of GoPro, the World’s Most Active Camera

The Original GoPro Story

Founder and billionaire Nicholas Woodman tells the story of GoPro: his initial inspiration, the early years, and how he grew it into the world’s hottest camera company:

Woodman recounts his “classic 10-year overnight success story.” In 2002, he wanted to capture action shots on a surf trip, but couldn’t find the right camera to do the trick. He decided to fashion his own with a point-and-shoot on a wrist strap, but only succeeded in breaking each version he made.

At some point a lightbulb went off that other surfers likely have the same problem, so he set out to design the perfect on-the-go camera–visiting trade shows across the country before finding an existing model that he liked. He made a deal with the Chinese manufacturer to modify the camera according to his specifications, and the first GoPro was born.

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Nicholas Woodman. Image via Forbes / GoPro.

However the work was far from over. He and his initial crew spend countless hours peddling the product. They traveled from trade show to trade show, sold to surf shops and even appeared on QVC before the camera took off. “It’s that passion that has made us so successful today.”

HERO3: Meet Today’s Makers

The GoPro design has come a long way since the early days, and a lot of smart minds have contributed to today’s small yet incredibly versatile video camera. The HERO3 won a D&AD Professional Award in Product Design in 2013, with an impressive team including Fred Bould of Bould Design.

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Fred Bould. Image via Core77.

Bould is considered among colleagues to be a quiet genius–lesser known beyond the product design world, but very accomplished with multiple Red Dot, IDEA and D&AD awards under his belt. He worked on both the Nest and Roku, among numerous other products over the past 20+ years. His firm is among countless other industrial design firms who collaborate on products like the GoPro but don’t necessarily get media attention.

Along with Woodman and Bould, here are the faces behind the camera’s most recent design…
[Makers]

These days, the GoPro is used by everyone from the US Military to the Discovery Channel, as well as snowboarders and surfers, as the best way to capture life on the go.

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Image via D&AD Awards.

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Learn more about the PoPro at gopro.com.

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The Modern Discovery of Wise Words from a War Era

Keep Calm and Carry On.

The Making of… 

In the spring of 1938, a war with Germany was imminent. The British government commissioned a series of reassuring propaganda posters according to the following guidelines.

Each poster should:

  • be uniform in style with only two colors.
  • employ a “special and handsome typeface,” which would be difficult to counterfeit.
  • use the crown of King George VI as the only graphic.

Three final posters went into production, but only two were widely distributed. The third was reserved for crisis or invasion, and was never officially issued. It went unseen by the public until a copy turned up over 50 years later in a used book store in northeast England.

Rediscovery / The Modern Story

Stuart and Mary Manley founded Barter Books in what was once a Victorian railway station. In 2000, Stuart found the forgotten poster and Mary liked it so much that she hung it on the shop wall. Customers liked it too, and the Manleys soon began printing and selling copies. Since then, the poster has been “reproduced, parodied and trivialized, and has become a truly iconic image of the 21st Century.”

It’s design is simple and timeless, but the words are enchanting. “Like a voice out of history, it offers a very simple warmhearted message to inspire confidence in others during difficult times.”

[color-button href='http://www.keepcalmhome.com/']Buy a Poster[/color-button]

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The Xbox One, Designed for the Global Living Room

Xbox One: Behind the Scenes at Microsoft.

Video interview with Scott Dallmeyer, senior industrial designer of the Xbox One. (Maker Tip: if you’re looking for design inspiration, Scott shows off his great taste on Pinterest.)

Scott explains that the design concept of the Xbox One is to blend in with the living room. While previous versions were a prominent vertical icon, the new version is meant to be seamless–quietly confident and capable.

This means developing a deliberate and cohesive design language, which included years of prototyping and testing versions of the console, Kinect sensor, and controller. There’s even a testing house in Bellevue, Washington with four distinct rooms–European, Asian, US and US dorm room–to determine whether the Xbox One truly integrates in various scenarios.

The final test: noise. Both the Xbox One and the Kinect were measured for noise emission in Microsoft’s anechoic chamber. The room is completely decoupled from the surrounding building to achieve acoustic isolation, and is one of the quietest places on the planet.

The Xbox One Design Process

The team considered nearly 200 versions of the controller before settling on the final one.
The team considered nearly 200 versions of the controller before settling on the final one.
Some early versions of the Kinect sensor.
Some early versions of the Kinect sensor.

Some early versions of the Kinect sensor.

Countless color studies before determining the final four.
Countless color studies before determining the final four.
Deconstructed. The inside of the new Xbox One.
Deconstructed: inside of the Xbox One.

The new Kinect sensor’s inner workings.

Stress testing.
It takes at least 2 million button presses to break the controller.

It takes at least 2 million button presses to break the controller.

Noise testing in Microsoft's anechoic chamber.
Noise testing in Microsoft’s anechoic chamber.

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Learn more about Xbox One at xbox.com.

 Photos by Ariel Zambelich/Wired.