Steal these ideas

It's not where you take things from, it's where you take them to.
Jean-Luc Godard

Jun 6

Style guide generator

(Cards my design company did for a client)

As a designer it’s a pain in the - excuse my language - ass to provide every client with a separately designed style guide, logo sets, email signatures, logos etc.

How cool would it be to have a web app that would allow designers to drag and drop vector logos and that would automatically generate different shapes to download for your clients in a very user. Also pick colors that immediately generate easy to export color sets that can be imported in all apps: iWork, Office etc.

Ways to download typography, to easily make the style guide database accessible for the entreprise’s employees, to generate quickly a letterhead, new business cards,… 

To design something what pressdoc is for pressreleases a styleguide app for style guides. What you think? Anything out there?

Oct 3

A more cluttered inbox to make you more focussed.

[What if your mails were displayed as letters on a table]

The general inbox is basically a list of subjects and senders marked in bold when unread, but most emails aren’t equal and aren’t that important as they are marked. I also miss a sort of visually different appearance in emails that will allow me to quickly skim through to what is important.

In the very old days people would receive letters from friends and corporate mails with great stamps from the very institutions. Honestly I believe we can be much more clear headed when we would bring that back. Going back to just two mail man bringing in letters a day. A slower web basically where you first sort out letters before you reply them.

Virtual letters on a stack, yes it’s going to be more cluttered. But why? So many bloggers opt for an empty inbox, teach you how to avoid reading emails and stay focussed. My favorite ‘guru’ is Leo Babauta who wrote even an online book about it.

[Einstein’s Desk]

A recent research done at the Rijksunversiteit in Groningen (The Netherlands) shows us people actually think clearer with cluttered desks!

Let’s get Mail Man of the ground: letters with stamps, envelopes falling into one box: your computer. You divide first, you open, read carefully and then you reply. Yes it’s better.

Jul 25

Portable energy station with yeast as a source

In biology class we learned we could make champagne with yeast and orange juice. I realized that because of the yeasting process the bottle would be full of pressure. Especially when you would shake it.

Then I wondered: how can we use the pressure to get energy out of it. There has to be an option right? Anyone can make this happen? Or is it not even possible? Good stuff to think about though. Is it then free energy? Hola mola!

Nov 25

The Bauhaus in Kinshasa (Congo DR)

I hate how our western media often pictures developing countries completely wrong. Donating money is the only option and it’s based on this now-i-dont-feel-guilty-anymore-thing. But we don’t seem to understand there’s a enormous amount of opportunity for everyone. Me, as a designer in particular. Using your creative brains can make hundreds, maybe thousands of people change and move forward.

A country like the Congo is total chaos: carte blanche I would say: do what you want, people will appreciate everything that will move them forward. We can reinvent societies make a better urban sustainable environment from scratch.

That idea is extremely exciting. It’s not that you can make a terrible amount of money, but it’s just way more fun than working as a lawyer or a banker for the sake of buying more products you know you don’t need.

Here’s what I am thinking of:

I want a new Bauhaus, not in London, Tokyo or NYC. No in the Congo (DR) (could be anywhere a long as the country is devastated).

It’s should to be the best school of design, fashion and architecture in the world. Every designer from any developed country wants this school on his/her CV. Why: because it’s simply the best: we fly in the best designers/architects from all over the world. They’ll want to teach for free because it’s in a devastated country and it’s good for their image and experience. They both teach young spoiled design nerds (like me) flew in from Japan, Denmark, US, etc. and local design students. The school makes its own money: since foreign students pay a certain tuition fee + collaboration with huge creative corporates that like to be associated with this project. The other local students pay a smaller fee (I don’t believe in making it completely free, it needs to require some effort to join).

The school works as a platform: it doesn’t only pours out extremely creative students, it also functions as an incubator where new local creative businesses can flourish run by the most creative young people in the world, who will rather make you feel eager to invest in their ideas instead of having that now-i-dont-feel-guilty-anymore-thing.

Any suggestions? What type of building? Other categories? Please comment.

Nov 11

A wind-up bike

The best store in NYC city is the Pearl River Market store in Soho. The thirty year old store sells everything, from toilet paper to kimono’s. But I fell in love with their tin wind-up toys and since the technology is so wonderful I was wondering if we could integrate it with our today’s bikes and if so: would we go faster? Who wants to make one with me?

PS: This was my favorite wind-up toy in the store: its name was Sparklz

Jun 16

Bringing the Berlin Photoautomat to Amsterdam or any city alike

Me in Berlin passed month (shot by Alexander Bakkes)

I don’t know what it is, but Berlin has the best photobooths out there, their photos are have an amazingly high quality. I think there would be a great market for them when you would place them in Amsterdam or a city alike such as NYC or Barcelona. Who starts the business? I know Alexander was in?

These pictures where by the way token with the photoautomat above :)

Jun 15

The Surprise Airport

Radical thinking is sometimes good. When my good friend and personal hero Daniel Knoop messaged me saying he wanted to buy the Dutch Railways, as a joke of course, he said you could make something cool out of it. I started thinking of another idea I had a while ago: rethinking the Airport. Yeah sounds crazy, but hell, I hate airports, while going somewhere else can be a lot of fun.

So what’s up with the idea? Suppose we design a Surprise Airport. A place where you go, relax and just fly to some other random place! Sharing your thoughts and explaining that you have this weekend off and that you have 200-400 euros to spend. Guess what: one of the lovely ladies at the ‘surpirse desk’ will figure something out that would be a wonderful trip. Maybe she’ll google you up, and find some people that are wandering around at the airport, that would match you. Well who knows?

Without knowing your final destination, she’ll give you a full ticket (including a hotel and the flight, a map in a secret envelope). Finally you will end up somewhere unprepared but ready to rumble. Maybe you’ll get  a set of clothes and you dress up like if it were a Bal Masqué! What ya think?

Jun 13

Bring the minimalist text editor to the cloud

Picture is a screenshot of Byword

They’re plenty of them: those minimalist writers to just do one thing: focus on your text and write. Leo Babauta the online zen-master himself, made a nice list of good writers both for mac and windows including some other tools you might enjoy to beat distraction.

Anyhow, my idea: bring the simple writer app online, just that. And make it possible to link/sync it either with Google Docs, Evernote and/or your Dropbox. Sure plenty of people will use it. I use Ommwriter a lot though, and I bet an online writer would do. And how to make a little money: wallpapers delivered by Nalden and his friends to make some profit in the long run.

Jun 6

Curated events in your neighborhood

When Thijs Niks tipped me Dave Pell's extremely simple Kindle curated article delivery site: delivereads, I was blown away by it’s simplicity. Yes it works, and I love it. Finally a website that doesn’t search for your ‘scrobbled' articles or whatever you might like. Just personal suggestions by - as Dave calls himselve - an internet superhero. McSweeney’s on my Kindle, I forgot thinking about that. How lovely.

Ok this was such a good idea that I thought you could apply it to almost anything. But what if the guys of (Amsterdam Event blog) started a similar website. Just basic events about what you can do today in - in this case - Amsterdam (just one event a day, no choice).

And way to subscribe with mail (once a week) and iCal, RSS. It’s that simple. What do you think. Would love to do the design on this :)

Jun 4

Selling ebook codes with books in offline bookstores and more

Bargain Books

When reading Wiebe’s [Dutch expert in the future of books] tweets and blogposts [Dutch] about the deplorable situation of bookstores in the Netherlands, I started to think of a solution on how these bookstores could survive.

Suppose we set up a licensing website that makes it possible for bookstores to:

  • Make an account and have their own branded online bookstore connected with their twitter, facebook account a bit like Shopify but then pure focus on books;
  • Give away a code to customers when they buy a book, that enables them to download digital versions of the book;
  • Give the customer the option to buy only the digital version of the book, while still enjoying the rich atmosphere of a good oll’ bookstore;
  • Have open accounts for their visitors where they can share the books [like we’re working on with] they have to refine their own book supply to their visitors;
  • Do home delivery as well;
  • Work on personal interaction: nothing beats the book store owner telling you which book is lovely to read;
  • Serve tea and cookies at the store, engage with customers, get them too know each others taste and let them share their bookshelves;

This is a cheaper solution for each bookstore instead of having each store building a complete basic new bookstore with an expensive developer, they can just set-up an account and they’re done.

Let me know what you think.


  • Alper tweets: @justusbruns @wdejager Looks doable/interesting if you can secure the digital rights at a suitable price point which is always the problem.
  • Alper refers in a second tweet to the book The Filter Bubble, an older but similar idea;
  • @NatasjaO refers to a Dutch website ‘Krasboek’, which is a little bit a similar idea.

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