Jessica Helfand | Observer Quarterly

Tonight’s Specials



Observed | August 30

License plate redesign fail in Oklahoma: their state bird—the scissor-tailed flycatcher—has a symbolic role in Native American culture, but here, looks more like the Twitter logo. [JH]

It’s the start of design festival season: in London, Istanbul—and Anchorage! [JH]

Relatives of late president Dwight D. Eisenhower think that Frank Gehry’s proposed memorial design is too extravagant. A design stalemate between a family, the US House Appropriations Committee, and now—Congress. [JH]

Tactical urbanism: coming soon to a city near you. [MB]

Proving that they are brave as well as brilliant, who better than the Italians to redesign, um, cow poop? [JH]


Observed | August 29

3D printed garments at the U of Hertfordshire + a dress literally worth its weight in salt. [JH]

British artist Sarah Crake looks at the intersection of the biological and the bibliographic, excavating (and visualizing) the bacteria on a 1735 copy of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. [JH]

In Greenville, designers are linked directly with manufacturers and suppliers in real time, in what General Electric calls a “digital thread.” This means they can collaborate in ways that have changed the work process while making it more likely that problems or defects are spotted sooner. [JH]

"Sitting up: a brief history of chairs", by Witold Rybczynski. [MB]

"Stanford Business School will offer a two-week class in 2017 co-taught by media personality Tyra Banks focused on “building and protecting a personal brand.” [MB]

"I decided that that was where I wanted to be: this is modern, this is new, this is everything.” Jane Thompson, the writer and design theorist who brought modernism to American shopping, has died at 89. [MB]


Observed | August 26

Two conferences on design and health: the Transform Conference, at the Mayo Clinic and this October at Cornell, a symposium on Hospitality, Health and Design. [JH]

New museum explores the relationship of possession to loss, the madness inherent in love, and the undeniable importance of the individual’s voice in recording and interpreting history and its sweep. [JH]

Design first. Act later. [JH]

Smart design in The Hague leads to an actual conviction. Maybe design can save the world after all? [JH]


Observed | August 25

Great discoveries in the annals of UI: boosting empathy through Botox? (Yes, you read that right.) [JH]

In Washington, Federal agencies are starting to use design thinking to creatively address mission objectives and improve processes. (Not sure whether this is a good thing.) [JH]

Open to any resident of one of the 16 UNESCO “Cities of Design”a design competition focused on eliminating homelessness. [JH]

Design as a synonym for feelings? Forbes India says so. [JH]

The Rational Dress Society introduces Jumpsuit, an ungendered, multi-use monogarment for everyday wear. [MB]

Sci-fi typography obsessives, look no further! [JH]


Observed | August 24

177 film critics from around the world pick the 100 greatest films of the 21st century (so far). [MB]

Collage is cool again. (Was it ever not?) A new book from Thames and Hudson tells us why. [JH]

The amazing Anne Trubek on handwriting, and why it matters. [JH]

Susan Gardner started "gluing things" to the front of her Cobble Hill home as a therapeutic exercise after 9/11. Fifteen years later, it’s a Brooklyn landmark. [MB]

Boston’s Museum of Science announces a design competition launched by the U.S. Department of Defense. [JH]

Looking for something meaningful in these last, dog days of summer? Help San Francisco design its future transit system! [JH]

A visit with Jennifer Kinon, design director of Hillary for America. [MB]

When bad design leads to bad things. [JH]


Observed | August 23

Engineers at Princeton University have designed a scalable microchip that promises to boost efficiency and slash energy consumption. [JH]



Jobs | August 31