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 | September 19

Penguin’s Steinbeck reissues feature Walter Evans Polaroids. [MPL]


Observed | September 18

Paul McNeil‘s six favorite faces. [MPL]

“Segregated Innovation”, or, why the empathy concept is deeply flawed. [JH]

An epic battle erupts between London‘s Science Museum + Natural History Museum during Twitter’s #AskACurator day. [BV]

Meet the font detectives. [MB]


Observed | September 15

Start you Friday right: A brief history of sex on the internet. [BV]


Observed | September 14

Expand your mind, or boggle it. “We are three-dimensional creatures living in a potentially 10-dimensional world.” [BV]

In India’s ‘rape capital,’ designers change how people picture assault. [BE]

Photographs lie. Even great photographs. Especially great photographs. [JH]


Observed | September 13

A look back at the design of the ten-pound note. [JH]

In design as in politics, who decides? [JH]

Design as a learning system, and other insights about where it’s all heading. [JH]


Observed | September 12

Steven Heller discusses the history and power of the swastika: from good to evil. [BV]

Roadways aren’t just the arteries of transportation and commerce, they can be the catalysts for more sustainable design. [BV]

The beautiful master plans of America’s national parks. [MB]

Is the act of standardization through design a subtle gesture of colonization? Skin color-tweaked emojis are only half the battle. Look at this. [JH]


Observed | September 11

The Voynich manuscript, “the world’s most mysterious manuscript”, appears to be some kind of medical encyclopedia, with detailed information on which herbs in what quantities can cure gynecological conditions. [BV]

The Nike hijab. [JH]

A search for the word “design” in google shows what it thinks you really want to ask for, which is “designated survivor”. (Try it.) Same goes for searching stock photos. Here’s what happens when you search for the word “woman”. [JH]

Why you’ve never heard of Gin Wong and what that says about the politics of architectural celebrity. [MB]


Observed | September 08

French artist JR comes up with this idea in a dream, and executes it. [JH]

Design and politics. [JH]

Can graphic design save your life? [JH]

The stories behind every Lucky Peach cover. [MB]


Observed | September 07

You’ve been bombarded with weather maps recently. Have you ever wondered why so many weather maps are rainbow-colored? And should they be? [BV]

The world‘s most unusual displays of neon. [BV]


Observed | September 06

Enjoy these strange and wonderful illustrations from vintage science books. [BV]

11 great art and culture podcast episodes for 2017. [MB]


Observed | September 05

What are your plans this fall? Ours include the SVA Products of Design lecture series. (Especially the one with Jessica Helfand!) [BV]

What makes a French film noir? [BV]



Jobs | September 19