Books


Observer Quarterly

Observer Quarterly

In the winter of 2015, we launched a new publication called Observer Quarterly. The idea is for each themed issue to include original writing, interviews, and photography alongside archival material that draws a narrative between the history and current condition of new and underappreciated aspects of design culture. Our first issue—the Acoustic Issue—covered new ways of looking at sound as part of the design landscape. The second issue examined tagging as a social, cultural, and indexical practice. And our newest issue—following our conference, Taste, which took place in Los Angeles in the spring of 2016—looks at the multiple intersections between design and food.



Observer Quarterly

Design | The Invention of Desire

Advancing a conversation that is unfolding around the globe, Jessica Helfand offers an eye-opening look at how designed things make us feel as well as how—and why—they motivate our behavior.

More books by Jessica Helfand




How To

How to

How to, Michael Bierut’s first career retrospective, is a landmark work in the field. Featuring more than thirty-five of his projects, it reveals his philosophy of graphic design—how to use it to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world. Specially chosen to illustrate the breadth and reach of graphic design today, each entry demonstrates Bierut’s eclectic approach. In his entertaining voice, the artist walks us through each from start to finish, mixing historic images, preliminary drawings (including full-size reproductions of the notebooks he has maintained for more than thirty-five years), working models and rejected alternatives, as well as the finished work. Throughout, he provides insights into the creative process, his working life, his relationship with clients, and the struggles that any design professional faces in bringing innovative ideas to the world. Offering insight and inspiration for artists, designers, students, and anyone interested in how words, images, and ideas can be put together, How to provides insight to the design process of one of this century’s most renowned creative minds.

More books by Michael Bierut




5050

50 Books | 50 Covers Catalog

The ultimate “book of books” to catalog the 2015 winners of the 50 | 50 competition. Publisher, author, and previous 50 Books | 50 Covers recipient Dave Eggers introduces the book. Photographer George Baier IV, who has photographed countless authors and book jacket projects himself, has thoughtfully taken pictures of every book and cover winner. Mohawk generously donated the finest paper. Printed offset, locally, here in the United States. Copies no longer available.



Observer Quarterly

Massimo Vignelli: Collected Writings

Massimo Vignelli (1931–2014) was one of the most influential designers of the twentieth—and twenty-first—centuries. The work he and his wife Lella accomplished at Vignelli Associates is universally admired. While Massimo himself never wrote for Design Observer, he appeared throughout its pages in spirit and as an example for over ten years. This collection of writings about Vignelli from the Design Observer archives—interviews, memories, observations, and critiques—includes selections from the lively comments and discussions that appeared after the original publication of these pieces. Contributors include Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand, Debbie Millman, and Alice Twemlow, among others. Get this book!



Persistence of Vision

Persistence of Vision: Collected Writings of William Drenttel

Designer and publisherWilliam Drenttel (1953–2013) was co-founder and editorial director of Design Observer. Since its inception in 2003, Drenttel contributed to Design Observer almost weekly on all manner of topics, from social change to democracy to his early career on Madison Avenue. We’ve collected two dozen essays—originally published on Design Observer—and an introduction by friend and former literary editor of the New Republic, Leon Wieseltier, and put them into print for the first time, including the lively comments and conversations that followed their original publication. Persistence of Vision is not only a tribute to a greatly missed design leader, but serves as an important addition to the design writing canon. Get this book!



Observed | August 18

A stunning midnight walk through the neon-hued streets of Asian cities. [BV]

The knitted pink pussyhat, a pro-European Union poster campaign, and a lending library of protest banners have been named some of the best designs of the year by the Design Museum in London. [BV]

Did McDonalds leak the iPhone 8 design? [BV]


Observed | August 17

The Midwest visionaries who built the literal Home of Tomorrow in the 1930‘s were brothers. [BV]

Think your commute is bad? Real time schadenfreude: a transit map of the whole world. [BV]

Prince now has his own Pantone color, inspired by his custom-made Yamaha purple piano. [BV]


Observed | August 16

Sure, it’s sponsored content: but it’s in Popular Science! Design hawked as a bundle of mastery. [JH]

A geography Professor maps best eclipse-viewing locations to waffle proximity. For real. More here. [JH]

In Spain, one designer builds a secret studio under a bridge. [JH]


Observed | August 15

Not all cities have a budget for design, but Atlanta’s department of urban planning is showing why they should. [BV]

Hilarious recipe videos in the style of famous directors: Wes Anderson inspired smores, Tarantino inspired spaghetti and meatballs, Michael Bay inspired waffles and more. (via Jason Kottke) [BV]


Observed | August 14

Google’s incendiary diversity memo now has its own website. [JH]

Design = growth strategy: John Madea explains. [JH]

Type lost, type found: a lovely story. [JH]


Observed | August 11

Mary Lund Davis: architect, furniture designer, and champion of modernism in the Pacific Northwest. [BV]

America’s past time is more than just hot dogs and foul balls: Major league baseball has a long but little-known history of rebels, reformers, and radicals. [BV]

More on Calibrigate: Lucas de Groot responds! [MB]


Observed | August 10

Through Don Draper’s eyes: a tour of the Time & Life building of the 1960s. [BV]

MIT developed a fabric that can fold into origami-like shapes when inflated. [BV]

#TBT: The glory days of ‘80s metal magazines. [BV]


Observed | August 09

A European design company tried to make a case for the design appeal of the swastika before it was made infamous by the Nazi party. It failed. [JH]

Jessica Helfand on logo color choices: “If a solution only works in color, then it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t carry its weight.” [BV]

Land Rover’s design head Gerry McGovern hates how many cows have to suffer in order to realize his design goals, so he’s introducing some new alternatives—like wool. [JH]

A neuroscientist becomes a designer. [JH]


Observed | August 08

“History of the Typewriter as Recited by Michael Winslow” traces 88 years of typewriter sounds, from 1895 to 1983. You have to hear this. [BV]

The story of a town moved for New York City’s water system. [BV]

City of sprawl, city of neighborhoods. City of wealth and poverty, celebrity and anonymity. Photographing Los Angeles. [BV]


Observed | August 07

The most popular city in Russia is Santa Barbara. [MB]

For your Monday clicking pleasure: 50 insane grindhouse movie posters. [BV]

Is Dunkin’ Donuts contemplating a name change? [MB]



Jobs | August 19