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 25

Without a Net: The Digital Divide in America” is a new documentary by Rory Kennedy exploring how access to technology is increasingly shaping every child’s future. [MB]

Data visualization porn. [BV]

After uproar from its customers, General Mills is restoring the artificially lurid colors of Trix. [MB]

The surprising history (and future) of paperweights. [MB]


Observed | September 22

Misaligned type. Inconsistent styling. The iOS 11 release is sloppy. [BV]


Observed | September 21

You need to listen to Change Lab: Conversations on Transformation and Creativity, a new podcast hosted by Lorne Buchman, president of ArtCenter College of Design. [BV]

The Independent Art Book Fair is this weekend, free, and in Brooklyn. And our friend Steve Kroeter, head of Designers and Books, will be featured on the panel discussion. [BV]


Observed | September 20

The toxic history of soda pop: Coca-Cola was viewed as a health drink, “containing the properties of the wonderful Coca plant and the famous Cola nuts.” Sounds uplifting. [BV]

The beauty of Slovakian Socialist Era sterile, geometric, old swimming pools. [BV]

Architectural cakes. Yum! [MPL]


Observed | September 19

“Real life” Lego House to open in Denmark this month. Hopefully it’s too big to step on. [BV]

In the you-can’t-make-this-up department: scientists once dressed frogs in tiny pants to study reproduction. [BV]

Penguin’s Steinbeck reissues feature Walker 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]



Jobs | September 25