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 | July 20

Inside the high-profile Gilded Age resort you never heard of. [BV]

Some science to start your day: your brain doesn‘t contain memories—it is memories. [BV]


Observed | July 19

In the eye of the beholder: 2 photographers shoot radically different portraits of Detroit. [BV]


Observed | July 17

Karrie Jacobs discovered a manhole in the meadow in Prospect Park, a 526 acre park in Brooklyn and America’s premiere example of man-made nature. [BV]

It‘s World Emoji Day. Seriously. So what are the most popular emojis? [BV]

In case you missed it, there’s a woman’s name on the Declaration of Independence: Mary Katharine Goddard. She was the printer. [MB]


Observed | July 14

Rethinking prison design: the rise of the “justice hub”. [JH]

All hail the pepper mill! [JH]

Proving there is indeed no accounting for taste, Paris Hilton brags about her boyfriend’s tattoo “in a Disney font”. [JH]

Alan Kay on Quora: what you probably don’t know about Steve Jobs’s legendary 1979 visit to Xerox PARC. [MB]


Observed | July 13

Invaluable: a commonsense guide to PR and media relations from the brilliant Paul Ford. [MB]


Observed | July 12

The Mayor of London, announces the formation of a new social enterprise, Public Practice, to place talented designers and planners in local authorities for up to a year. [JH]

Just in case you need it: copyright law for balloon artists. [MB]


Observed | July 11

What’s the line between sampling ... and stealing? [JH]

Disability as design outcome. [JH]


Observed | July 10

Revealed at last: the world’s favorite color. [MB]


Observed | July 07

Leaving your footprint in nature, literally. [BV]

The creator of McMansion Hell on a new strain of modern houses for the masses. [BV]

Great piece: in the age of streaming TV, who needs title sequences? [MB]


Observed | July 05

Why do architects design furniture? [MB]

Steven Heller and Gail Anderson talk about their new book, ‘Type Tells Tales,’ a fascinating tour of books in which typefaces plays an active part in visual storytelling. [BV]

Design and exclusion. Full transcript here. [JH]


Observed | July 04

Why does the NRA hate modern architecture? [MB]

I wish Thom Browne had been around when I wore a grey uniform to school in the 1970s. Yikes! [JH]

Daddy, why are airplane windows round? [MB]

The alarmingly beautiful wiring inside the human brain. (Via Peter Lloyd Jones.) [JH]


Observed | July 03

Rethinking design in the age of fake news: how journalism is changing. [JH]

The extraordinary and mesmerizing detail of paper artistry. [JH]

Hats off to Claire Robinson, a design professor in New Zealand who wasn’t afraid to criticize the navy for crowdsourcing a design problem! [JH]

In defense of White House calligraphers. [MB]



Jobs | July 23