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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: JUNE 13, 2013


The Whitney Identity: Responding to W(hat)?

FEATURED THIS WEEK : FRANCISCO LARANJO

The Whitney Identity: Responding to W(hat)?

Immediately after the release of the new visual identity for the Whitney, social media rapidly reacted. “Great,” “bold,” “sweet,” “I'm really excited,” “I’m jealous” or simply “Love it!” were some of the initial glowing endorsements of the work designed by Experimental Jetset (EJ). However, what has been largely overlooked is EJ’s description and rationale for the project, which is a masterclass of ambiguity and ambivalence, one that builds upon gratuitous justifications, inconsequential buzzwords and the studio’s recurrently sought refuges.
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OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE

That Personal Touch

After a 20th century of logos made with geometric symbols and shiny gradients, scripts are supposed to signal nostalgia, personal connection, with-love-from-me-to-you. Just look a recent attempts by News Corp., Instagram and Felt. But when anyone can make their handwriting into a font, has script lost its meaning?
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PLACES : ERIC W. SANDERSON

Roads to Rails

Eric W. Sanderson investigates the physics of human transport (speed and energy cost) and argues that streetcars are the best way to travel. “I know what you’re thinking,” he writes. “Why didn’t they succeed the first time around?” After looking at historical models, he lays out his plan for a modern streetcar revival, supported by municipal investment in urban rail and short-term concession agreements.
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NEWS FROM DESIGN OBSERVER GROUP SPONSORS

The MFA in Design for Social Innovation prepares students to apply the principles and ethics of social innovation as filters for understanding and as a discipline for engaging with and improving the world through design.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Alaska Yukon Gold Rush Era Photo Album

Between the years of 1896 and 1899, over 100,000 prospectors flooded the Alaska Yukon region in what many then called “the Last Great Gold Rush.” Books and movies have told of the mass hysteria that hit the region during that time. When it was all over, very few struck it rich, with only about 4,000 prospectors finding any gold at all.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA

Trust Is Not An Algorithm

By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years. This impressive if unprovable fact has got many people wondering: what to do with it? The opportunities afforded by Big Data are real enough — but they also contain a danger: that we become be so focused on numbers that we lose sight of other opportunities.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey is a designer and illustrator and author of Supply and Demand: The Art of Shepard Fairey.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Benefit Corporations

The B Corp designation ensures that companies adhere to triple-bottom-line standards.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2001

Village Vices: The Contradiction of New Urbanism and Sustainability

A critique of New Urbanism focusing not on its traditionalism but on the unsustainability of its planning models.
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Punk: Chaos to CouturePunk: Chaos to Couture
Andrew Bolton and Richard Hell

Alone in the ForestAlone in the Forest
By Gita Wolf and Andrea Anastasio; Illustrated by Bhajju Shyam

Facts are SacredFacts are Sacred
Simon Rogers

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