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 | February 28

Reimagining the design of the passport, post-Brexit. [JH]

The design of the envelopes could have been a factor. The envelopes were redesigned this year to feature red paper with gold lettering that specified the award enclosed, rather than gold paper with dark lettering. That could have made the lettering harder to read.” Dimpled chads, revisited. [JH]


Observed | February 27

An amazing job for the right person: Williams College is looking for a design thinker in residence. [JH]

Pointing lasers at each other? Google’s lawsuit against Uber. [MPL]

A brief history of the Oscar statue design. [MPL]

Phaidon’s “500 Designs that Mattered” is an addictive pic-listicle of—you guessed it—design! [JH]

“There‘s something about typography that just is so limitless.” The world discovers Font Sunday. [MB]


Observed | February 25

Triumph of the Will and the cinematic language of propaganda. [MB]


Observed | February 24

The clock that tells time with hair. [MPL]

This just in from the department of life improvement: an app to, sort of, eliminate filler words—like, so! [JH]

Ignacio Pallares-Sevilla’s Instagram feed unites artists from disparate worlds: his double-exposures happen inside the camera, not through Photoshop, and the results are spectacular. [JH]

Yale School of Architecture student Melinda Aaron teams with industrial designer Laura Koven to launch AVA—a simple design system for yoga practitioners. [JH]

16 architects of color speak out about the industry’s race problem: “America has a lot of work to do”. [BV]

Paul Shaw is researching his definitive book on W.A. Dwiggins, and is posting his work in progress, including the origins of the Metro typeface and his work on Harper’s Magazine. [MB]


Observed | February 23

Five designers (including our co-founder Michael Bierut) illustrate global children‘s health stories you should know about. [BV]

Ending this Sunday, By the People: Designing a Better America at the Cooper Hewitt. [BV]

Curbed has an in-depth look at race and architecture, and the profession’s diversity problem. [BV]

Front Page News! NYT Since 1852, Under A Minute. [MPL]


Observed | February 22

Symbols of hate, and why they endure. (Via Christopher Simmons.) [JH]

The depressingly rapid decay of a neglected piece of ambitious modern architecture. [MB]

“One badly kept secret is that hardly any art school graduates go on to become professional artists. If you have decided to be one of them, give yourself a pat on the back. Next, develop a reputation as a team player.” Artists on pain, struggle, and eventual success. Also, um, stamina! [JH]

Iconic furniture = timeless investments? The Evening Standard thinks so! [JH]


Observed | February 21

The alienating personal technology device of the Victorian age: umbrellas. [MB]

Dutch author and illustrator Dickl Bruna, creator of the exquisite series of Miffy books, has died. [JH]

Students in Norway consider the future of prison design. [JH]

Are the decorative arts making a comeback because of 3D printing? [JH]

“Instead of asking what the design should look like, I wish we’d asked, ‘What can we do for you?’” What Robert Hammond learned from the High Line. [MB]

"Design is not an object or thing. Design is not taste.” An interview with Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic. [MB]


Observed | February 20

The Batbot Xtreme takes toy design to another level. [MPL]

Gerald Haltom‘s original 1958 sketches for the peace symbol. [MB]



Jobs | February 28