The Marginalian
The Marginalian

Design Makeovers of Mundane Communication Items

Good design has a universal capacity for improving quality of life — from smart industrial design that literally changes lives in the developing world, to the small everyday design touches that make us smile amidst mundanity. Today, we look at three delightfully inspired design efforts that wink at the mundane, transforming it into aesthetic amusement with wonderful wit and superb art direction.


For the past year, Sophie Blackall has been capturing Craigslist missed connections in her distinct and delightful illustrations, brimming with charm, romanticism and soft whimsy.

Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I’m trying to pin a few of them down.” – Sophie Blackall

We love the simplicity and childlike wonder of Blackwell’s aesthetic sensibility. There’s something incredibly powerful and heartwarming about this imaginative reverse-engineering of serendipity, otherwise left to wither in the barren landscape of plain digital text.

So wonderful is the project that it captured Babelgum’s attention last year, resulting in this wonderful short documentary about the project.

Each illustration is more delightful than the next, so we strongly encourage you to explore the entire Missed Connections site. Needless to say, we’d love to see Sophie join our ranks of blog-turned-book success stories.


We featured designer Cardon Webb‘s ingenious Cardon Copy project a few months ago to an overwhelmingly positive response. Which is no surprise, because the effort is pure urban guerrilla genius — web hijacks the communication dinosaurs that are neighborhood flyers, redesigning and replacing them with artfully revamped versions.

Part neighborhood Banksy, part Pixelator, part utterly original, the project is pure conceptual genius.

See all the hijacked flyers for even more goodness.


Simon Attwater turns lost shopping lists into typographical treats. From ham to Helvetica, sardines to serifs, he’s got it all covered in his Shopping Losts.

To have your very own shopping list turned into a design statement, email it to Simon and gush at the kerning of your Krispy Kremes.

Published March 26, 2010




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