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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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."

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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. 


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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.

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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.

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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?

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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? 

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Brigette Brown on Umbrellas

Observer Media

Brigette Brown on Umbrellas

By Brigette Brown
Brigette Brown is a 2013 graduate of SVA MFA Design Criticism program who has worked for the Museum of Latin American Art, written for Disegno and Surface, researched for Metropolis, and edited a publication for Domus. On this episode of Insights Per Minute she wonders why, with it's wonderful history, we only consider the umbrella utilitarian.

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Keep Your Stuff Alive

Change Observer

Keep Your Stuff Alive

By John Thackara
What would fashion be like if it was more than a an act of consumption with no meaning beyond the point of sale? What kind of system would improve the quality of our fashion experience without increasing the quantity we consume?

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Data Loss

Observatory

Data Loss

By Adam Harrison Levy
Three years ago I lost everything. My young daughter, my beloved dog, my close friends, even myself. This was not the result of a hurricane, a fire, or even Alzheimer’s. It was the result of data loss.

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Anne Quito on Quiet

Observer Media

Anne Quito on Quiet

By Anne Quito
Anne Quito is the founding director of Design Lab and a guest writer forDesigners and Books. On this episode of Insights Per Minute she explains why being quiet sometimes requires a loud design.

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The World of Tomorrow in 1939 (6)
The Flora of the Future (2)
The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard (2)
Data Loss (3)
How to Visualize Poetry — And How Not to (1)

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