Design Observer

Archive
Books + Store
Job Board
Email Archive
Comments
About
Contact
Log In
Register



Observatory

Resources
Submissions
About
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker



Places

About
Journal Archive
Partner Schools
Foundation
Submissions
Call for Articles
Contact



Change Observer

Resources
Submissions
About
Contact



Observer Media

Submissions
About
Contact



OBlog

Submit a Tip
Contact


From the American West to West Berlin

Places

From the American West to West Berlin

By Nicole Huber, Ralph Stern
Born in Germany in 1945, just months after the end of World War II, the film director Wim Wenders sought to make sense of the "ruin landscapes" of the nation's cities through personal and professional exploration of the wide-open landscapes of the American West. As Nicole Huber and Ralph Stern write, "The American West — and the American Western — served a specific and telling purpose for the postwar German West: to envision both traumatic upheaval and utopian projection."

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
A Michelangelo, at 100 mph Plus

Observatory

A Michelangelo, at 100 mph Plus

By Owen Edwards
The recent death of Italy’s Massimo Tamburini, at 70, from lung cancer, brought to an end the glittering career of perhaps the greatest motorcycle designer ever, but also — in my opinion — one of the greatest industrial designers of recent decades.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Maria Giudice

Observer Media

Maria Giudice

By Debbie Millman
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to Maria Giudice about learning to communicate better with clients, the early days of design on the internet, and what it's like to work for Facebook. "Just like a college campus, and then you go into the courtyard and people are bicycling and tricycling, and everything is free, and the sun is always shining, and people always look so happy outside."

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Records for Life: Rethinking the Immunization Card

Observatory

Records for Life: Rethinking the Immunization Card

By The Editors
In conjunction with World Immunization Week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation challenged the global health and design communities to reconsider the immunization card, classically one of the principal barriers to vaccination.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
The Flora of the Future

Places

The Flora of the Future

By Peter Del Tredici
The native plants movement has got it all wrong, says botanist Peter Del Tredici: “Landscape architects — and anyone else who works directly with vegetation — need to acknowledge that a wide variety of novel or emergent ecosystems are developing before our eyes.” In an engaging photo survey of ecological niches in the city, Del Tredici makes the case for spontaneous urban plants as flora of the future.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS (2)
The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard

Observatory

The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard

By Rick Poynor
From 1967 to 1970, the British author J.G. Ballard published a series of disturbing conceptual advertisements in several publications at his own expense. While the ads are well known to his admirers and scholars, there has been little attempt to place them in a broader context in relation to design and advertising. Ballard’s project anticipated the emergence of culture jamming, subvertising, design fiction and speculative design.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS (2)
Critical Graphic Design: Critical of What?

Observatory

Critical Graphic Design: Critical of What?

By Francisco Laranjo
Critical graphic design is a vague and subjective term. The meaning of the word “critical” in relation to graphic design remains unclear, resulting in an overuse and misuse in design magazines, books and websites. And in recent years there has been disenchantment and even skepticism toward graphic design work that is labeled as critical.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies

Places

Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies

Chris Reed & Nina-Marie Lister
The word “ecology” has been co-opted so widely that it has lost real meaning, yet ecological thinking remains a powerful lens for understanding complex adaptive systems. In this rigorous overview of the term's origins and evolution, Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister explain how contemporary ecological models of “open-endedness, flexibility, resilience and adaptation” can inform design thinking.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Michael Donovan & Nancye Green

Observer Media

Michael Donovan & Nancye Green

By Debbie Millman
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks to Michael Donovan & Nancye Green about their partnership in marragie and design, about how good business is good design, and about what it's like to work for yourself.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
The Focused Obsession of Photographer Rob Amberg

Observatory

The Focused Obsession of Photographer Rob Amberg

By John Foster
In 1973 photographer Rob Amberg moved to Madison County, NC and became a documentary photographer. Though other great documentary photographers in the past have simply  “dropped in,” taken their images and left (take the WPA photographers, for example), Amberg and his wife live on a small farm in the same county he photographs. His subjects have been neighbors and acquaintances, friends of friends and strangers he has met.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
How to Visualize Poetry — And How Not to

Observatory

How to Visualize Poetry — And How Not to

By Adam Plunkett
Having known next to nothing about visual poetry when I picked up an anthology of it this past year, I thought that I’d find one of two things in it: poems with drawings on them in the old tradition of illuminated books; or elaborate graphic representations of poems, backward ekphrases of, I don’t know, the river Acheron in Rothko paint.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS (1)
Sandra Nuut on Fashion

Observer Media

Sandra Nuut on Fashion

By Sandra Nuut
Sandra Nuut is investigating spaces for contemporary fashion curation inside and beyond the museum, and is analyzing the collision between culture and commerce. On this episode of Insights Per Minute she ponders the love/hate relationship she has with a coat.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Dear Bonnie: Frustrated in Florida

Observatory

Dear Bonnie: Frustrated in Florida

By Bonnie Siegler
This week's advice from Dear Bonnie focuses on how to handle on those people who think graphic design is as easy as a 1-2-3 click. "We understand the importance of visualizing emotional connections: this, in turn, can influence and enlighten people. People who understand and truly care about these kinds of solutions will always understand the importance and necessity of working with a trained professional."

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS (2)
Hala A. Malak on Lomo

Observer Media

Hala A. Malak on Lomo

By Hala Abdul Malak
Hala A. Malak is a design critic, curator, branding consultant, and Middle East expert with her own particular view of the world. On this episode of Insights Per Minute she rediscovers the joy of film photography.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Good Night

Places

Good Night

By Sandy Isenstadt
A century ago, electric light revolutionized the experience of city life. Today the development of remarkable new technologies, from solid-state LEDs to sophisticated controls, is producing nothing less than another renaissance of urban lighting. As Sandy Isenstadt says, "The past two decades have seen staggering innovations in lighting design and technology — entirely new ways of thinking about cities at night. The Edison bulb remained nearly unchanged for more than a century; today new sources and new controls appear one after another."

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Frederico Duarte on Boarding Passes

Observer Media

Frederico Duarte on Boarding Passes

By Frederico Duarte
Frederico Duarte teaches at ESAD Caldas da Rainha and the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon. On this episode of Insights Per Minute he gives us 60 seconds on how a well designed boarding pass can lead to a better flight. 


READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Lucia Eames, 1930-2014

Observatory

Lucia Eames, 1930-2014

By Alexandra Lange
Lucia Eames, the only child of Charles Eames and his first wife, Catherine Woermann, died on April 1. An artist and designer herself, after Ray Eames’s death in 1988 Lucia Eames took on the not inconsiderable task of preserving the Eames legacy. The 1976 film “The Chase,” starring Lucia, shows a freedom about the Eames House, a freedom translated into the branching ways the Eames legacy will come down to future generations of designers. Lucia Eames was the first generation to learn from them; thanks to her she will not be the last.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS (1)
The Public Library

Observatory

The Public Library

By David Morris
The public library is a singularly American invention. Europeans had subscription libraries for one hundred years before the United States was born. But on a chilly day in April 1833, the good citizens of Peterborough, New Hampshire, created a radical new concept ― a truly public library. All town residents, regardless of income, had the right to freely share the community’s stored knowledge.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Fast Thinking

OBlog

Fast Thinking

Is this a slapstick fall captured as a slow-motion sideshow? Or an example of how accelerated exposure times tell a different story?

READ MORE
Bryn Smith on Designer Dogs

Observer Media

Bryn Smith on Designer Dogs

By Bryn Smith
Bryn Smith is a writer, graphic designer, and critic based in Brooklyn. On this episode of Insights Per Minute she gives us her thoughts on designing our dog's lives. What makes up your dog? Is it his DNA, or something more? 

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Debra Bishop

Observer Media

Debra Bishop

By Debbie Millman
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks to Debra Bishop, Design Director of More Magazine, about her career designing for magazines, including her years working for Martha Stewart, and the tension between designers and editors. "To me design is content, design and visuals, photographs, that is content. And that's something I struggle with every day when I work with editors, because that's my belief."

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
2014 Porto Summer Editorial Design Course

OBlog

2014 Porto Summer Editorial Design Course

Twelve people. Four critics. One remarkable city. Add spectacular typography, extraordinary food, affordable wine and a climate that most people simply dream about. There's a city and an ocean, a famous bridge, an exquisite train station, and a chance to think about nothing but your own development as a visual thinker and maker.

READ MORE
Angela Riechers on Banks

Observer Media

Angela Riechers on Banks

By Angela Riechers
Angela Riechers is a Brooklyn-based art director and writer specializing in design, media, and visual culture. On this episode of Insights Per Minute she longs for the days when we took banking seriously.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS
Found, Cut, and Rearranged: The Art of John Stezaker

Observatory

Found, Cut, and Rearranged: The Art of John Stezaker

By John Foster
For almost four decades, the artist John Stezaker has steadfastly been appropriating “found” press photographs, film stills, imagery from books, old postcards, and the like, to create a strikingly new way of seeing photography. One can tell that the artist is profoundly infatuated with images, whether he is subtracting from them (by cutting parts of them out) or adding them to another source.

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS (2)
Inalienable Rights, Wolfsonian-Style

Observatory

Inalienable Rights, Wolfsonian-Style

By Samantha García
Steven Heller kicked off the inaugural "Power of Design" ideas festival in Miami Beach at an altar of Art Deco palm fronds. MC’ed by inimitable writer Kurt Andersen, this year’s festival theme was “Complaints.” Participants had the mandate to drive “dissatisfaction to action” and “action to innovation” over four days at the Wolfsonian Museum. 

READ MORE   |  COMMENTS

Other Recent Posts


Places: Joint masters program on sustainability
Observer Media: Brigette Brown on Umbrellas
Observatory: Data Loss
Observer Media: Anne Quito on Quiet
Observer Media: Anna Marie Smith on “Apples to Apples”
Places: The Social Project
Observatory: De Vinne at the Grolier Club in New York
Change Observer: Keep Your Stuff Alive
Change Observer: An Open Letter to Larry Page
Observatory: How Can One (Re)make Swiss Typography?
Observer Media: Joe Marianek
Observatory: The Greenville, NC Daily Reflector: 1948 to 1967
Observatory: An Aposiopesis of Black Honey: or Variations on Dürer's Melancholia I
Change Observer: Cloud Commuting
Observer Media: Jonathan Harris
Places: The Night-Side of Hospitals
Observatory: The World of Tomorrow in 1939
Observatory: The Astrodome and the Challenges of Preservation
Observatory: The Filmic Page: Chris Marker's Commentaires
Observatory: Open Source Politics/Open Source Design

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS





RECENT COMMENTS

The Nabokov Collection (57)
The World of Tomorrow in 1939 (6)
The Flora of the Future (2)
The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard (2)
Data Loss (3)

Email Newsletters
Subscribe to RSS Be a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Audio: Design Matters

Audio: Design Matters



Listen >>
Design Matters Archive >>

Recommended Books

Book
Just Enough: Lessons In Living Green From Traditional Japan
Azby Brown
Stories and sketches, depictions of vanished ways of life, told from the point of view of a contemporary observer. It tells how people lived in Japan some 200 years ago during the late Edo period, when traditional technology and culture were at the peak of development, just before the country opened itself to the West and joined the ranks of the industrialized nations. “Just Enough” is about a mentality that once pervaded Japanese society and tcan serve as a beacon for our own efforts to achieve sustainability today.  [JT]
Buy This Book >>
More Books >>



Book
A Women's Berlin: Building the Modern City
Despina Stratigakos
At the turn of the 20th century, as Berlin emerged as a modern metropolis, the city became the setting for a thriving network of women architects, artists, journalists, activists, and reformers. An elegantly written study of a neglected chapter in the city’s history that ended, like much else, with the rise to power of the Nazis. [NL]
Buy This Book >>
More Books >>



Book
Space & Psyche
Elizabeth Danze, Stephen Sonnenberg, Editors
The latest volume from the Center for American Architecture and Design is an anthology that explores the relationship between buildings and psychoanalysis. As the editors argue: "Buildings are inert objects, but our experience of them transcends the physical realm and extends into our deepest consciousness." [NL]
Buy This Book >>
More Books >>



Book
Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?
Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher, author of the K-punk blog, is one of the sharpest, most versatile, and readable of pop culture theorists. This concise, passionate essay about capitalism’s claims to be the only realistic political and economic system – in a fine polemical series from Zero Books – packs a hefty rhetorical punch. Fisher is especially trenchant on the management culture’s contradictory demands of education, where he has experience as a teacher. Critical designers need theoretical tools. Capitalist Realism delivers. [RP]
Buy This Book >>
More Books >>



Book
"Have You Seen . . . ?": A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
David Thomson
At first I thought this massive book was slapdash. But I find myself returning to it even more frequently than to Thomson’s indispensable Biographical Dictionary of Film. Time after time he trains his crosshairs on the essential qualities that make films great — or flawed. And so often it's a phrase, a gesture, a mood that I’ve missed. Bravura criticism from a master. [AS]
Buy This Book >>
More Books >>




Books + Store: Books Received

Collaborative Media: Production, Consumption, and Design Interventions
Jonas Löwgren and Bo Reimer

The Petropolis of Tomorrow
Neeraj Bhatia and Mary Casper

Oitoemponto: Architecture & intérieurs
Marie Vendittelli

After You Left / They Took it Apart: Demolished Paul Rudolph Homes
Chris Mottalini

Chicagoisms: The City as Catalyst for Architectural Speculation
Alexander Eisenschmidt with Jonathan Mekinda (eds.)

The Houses of Louis Kahn
by George H. Marcus and William Whitaker

Common Pavilions: The National Pavilions in the Giardini of the Venice Biennale in Essays and Photographs
Edited by Diener & Diener Architects and Gabriele Basilico

Archidoodle: The Architect’s Activity Book
by Steve Bowkett

Sustainable Urban Metabolism
By Paulo Ferrão and John E. Fernández

A Life In Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley
Warren Lehrer

Why Photography Matters
Jerry L. Thompson

Five Conversations on Graphic Design and Creative Writing
Maura Frana, Leigh Mignogna, Liz Seibert

A Logo for London
David Lawrence

Logo Creed: The Mystery, Magic, and Method Behind Designing Great Logos
Bill Gardner and Catharine Fishel

ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book about Color
Jude Stewart

The Purpose Economy: Lessons from the Front Lines of the New Economy
Aaron Hurst

The Generosity Network: New Transformational Tools for Successful Fund-Raising
Jeff Walker and Jennifer McCrea

Postage Stamps by AIGA Medalists
Michael Russem

A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps
Chris West

Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations
Isabel Meirelles

More Books Received >>