Adrian Shaughnessy is a graphic designer and writer based in London. He is a senior tutor in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art and a founding partner in Unit Editions a publishing company producing books on design and visual culture. Scratching the Surface, a collection of his journalism, has recently been published.






















































12.19.05
Charles Dickens and The BBC
Who would have guessed that a
BBC costume drama would provide us with Exhibit-A in the defense's case — that a mass audience can be engaged without pandering to base instincts?







Observed | April 28

In London, the Victoria and Albert Museum sets its sighs on the future of design education. [JH]

Announcing the winners of the 2017 D&AD Awards. And Fast Company’s World Changnging Ideas. [JH]

Cormac McCarthy on the unconscious, language, and (toward the end) visual communication. (via Blake Eskin) [JH]

More Newton, Less Putin! Sign highlights from last week‘s March for Science. [JH]


Observed | April 27

"Business would like to see a product generate crazy amounts of money, tech wants it to function flawlessly, while the design discipline wants to create a product that is so desirable that people lose their minds over it.” Using Design thinking to fix ... design thinking? [JH]

At the National Institute of Design in India, students make useful products from recycled currency. [JH]

The end of mirrors and common sense? Amazon’s new Echo Look recommends, among other things, what to wear. [JH]

Iconic? Ironic? Or just misguided and overpriced? Why April was a bad month for brands. [JH]


Observed | April 26

Curated by retired sanitation worker Nelson Molina, this is New York’s Museum of Trash. [MB]

“Who would you want to see on a new banknote?” “Thomas Pynchon.” Peter Eisenman answers Archinect’s Proust Questionnaire. [MB]

A building that uses emoji cast in concrete as modern gargoyles. [MB]


Observed | April 25

Designers at NASA explore the idea of an inflatable greenhouse tube for sustainable nutrition in—you guessed it—space! [JH]

Fyrkantig! Dagstorp! Malm! Every Ikea catalog cover since 1951! [JH]

Now you can design your own 3D-printed, biodegradable ... shoes? [JH]


Observed | April 24

The brilliant simplicity of New York’s new Times Square. [BV]

20 years later, costume designer Mona May looks back on her over-the-top work for “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.” [MB]


Observed | April 21

“This is what we do. This is what we don’t do.“ [MB]

W. A. Dwiggins was among the most influential and innovative designers of the early twentieth century, but you‘ve never seen a book about him, until now. [BV]

Operation Vandelay Industries: man is charged with impersonating an architect. [MB]

Sony World Photography Awards. [JH]


Observed | April 20

Apple’s new campus will have more parking spaces than office space. Oh, and guess what it’s called? Apple Park. [BV]

Why destroy a book’s prose to the point of it being unreadable? It‘s all about ownership. [BV]

Congratulations to Todd Eberle, the latest recipient of the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography award. [BV]


Observed | April 19

Three simple words frame one young man’s perspective on how to address the design needs of an audience of billions: understand, identify, execute. [JH]

How design and advertising collaborations can lead to better campaign experiences. [JH]

Does Adidas own the rights to three black stripes? [MB]


Observed | April 18

Glass bongs as high art. [MB]

The result of a nine-day design competition, Belgrade‘s Pionir Hall "could be described as a hybrid between Brutalism, High Tech / Structural Expressionism and Postmodernism.” [MB]

“Design is a way to solve problems that people care about.” Ayse Birsel talks to design-centered companies. [MB]


Observed | April 17

The most important page in your portfolio, and how to make the most of it. [MB]



Jobs | April 30