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 | October 17

Lucienne Roberts: “We’re on a mission to show what graphic design can do.” [MB]

It’s time for companies to let design expand its influence to the core of the business. [JH]


Observed | October 16

It was scary when the graphic designers seized control of the country... [BE]

Does design thinking live up to the hype? Business leaders apparently think so. (Not sure design leaders would agree.) [JH]

Spark Awards: call for entries announced. More here. [JH]


Observed | October 13

Poster Girls! An exhibition of work by forgotten women at the forefront of graphic design. At the London Transport Museum. [JH]

Half the universe’s missing matter has just been finally found. [BV]

Another view of Google, design, and the future. [JH]


Observed | October 12

Rob Walker thinks this is the best headline he’s seen in a while. We agree. [JH]

Can design minimize hate speech? [JH]

Three designers win MacArthur “genius” grants. [JH]


Observed | October 11

Get some advice from your potential future self. [BV]

Three design projects that promote good mental health. [MB]


Observed | October 10

A look at the iconic New York Film Festival poster. [BV]

Do you want to know everything? Oxford has your answer. [BV]

Did you know there are scissors in the MoMA permanent collection? Of course they‘re orange. [BV]


Observed | October 09

School buses: A massive mass transit system in need of a tech upgrade. [BV]

How to train an algorithm to understand a hurricane. [BE]

So long, cubicles: introducing “palettes of places”. [JH]


Observed | October 06

See some of the entries in National Geographic’s 2017 Nature Photographer of the Year contest. [BV]

Changing the math on gerrymandering: a visual guide to redistricting shows what a proper Congressional district might look like. [BV]

“This guy is the best”: best-selling Instagram poet Rupi Kaur wants Peter Mendelsund to design her next book. [BE]


Observed | October 05

In 1930, Alexander Calder became a married man. In 1931, he became an abstract artist. These were the foundations on which he would build for the rest of his life. (via Arts and Letters Daily) [BV]

From book critiques to music choices, computation is changing aesthetics. Does increasingly average perfection lie ahead? [BV]

One hundred and fifty seven shades of grey. [JH]


Observed | October 04

A celebration of the human brain, consciousness, and failure or: How to build a self-conscious machine. [BV]

“Verbs like ‘hacking’, ‘hustling’, and ‘disrupting’ are particularly galling, as they absolve their practitioners of the obligation to build skills and understand systems before performing design.” One student’s reflection on The Next Stage. [BV]

How the Russian Revolution spurred mid-century design. [BV]


Observed | October 03

The incredible beauty of nature, exposed in macro photos of peacock feathers. [BV]

An appeal to abolish the term “human-centered design”. Who is the human? [JH]



Jobs | October 17