Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.



























































































































































11.27.06
How Hollywood Nailed The Half-Pipe
Pixar
and Animal Logic have mastered a particularly persuasive (and as it turns out, rather literal) form of spin that makes Road Runner look like dryer lint.







09.21.06
Death 'N' Stuff
Smoking Kills: The label days it all. Or does it? Once the allegedly chilling skull and crossbones is marketed as a decorative pattern
on a silk bowtie, its credibility as an mark of peril seems, well, somewhat questionable, begging the question: have we become so bored by life that we've inadvertently become inured to death?

































06.22.05
The Adventures of Cynic Boy and Design Mom in 3D
Brainwashed I may be, but I distinctly noted an homage to
Salvador Dalí — with perhaps a gentle nod to René Magritte — last night while sitting through Robert Rodriguez's ludicrous, yet oddly luscious new movie, The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D.




06.10.05
The Cut: When Life Imitates Art (I Mean Design)
CBS Television debuted its new series,
The Cut, (modeled after other reality shows such as NBC's The Apprentice)about "16 aspiring designers."







03.24.05
The Design Police
As unlikely as it sounds:  
Graphic Junkies is a photo blog by  "an active law enforcement officer in the state of Georgia." The photographs are remarkable; the context compelling.






02.18.05
My Friend Flickr
Flickr is a digital photo sharing website and web services suite that was developed by Ludicorp, a Vancouver, Canada company founded in 2002. It's a utopian oddity — a culture enabled by a technology that in turn enables a culture — and it's a brilliant example of socially networked software because it's free, its easy, and it makes sense.




02.16.05
The New Paper Chase: Cyberspace on The Auction Block
On February 23,
Christies in New York will auction more than 1,000 items dating as far back as the early 17th century, all of it tracing the history of cyberspace.














































Observed | March 30

Your afternoon distraction: How TV opening titles got to be so damn good. [BV]

A rabbit hole worth falling down: Archivo Grafica Italiana showcases Italy’s graphic design legacy. More here. [BV]

Congrats to the first ever Latvian design award winners! [BV]


Observed | March 29

Over on Curbed one writer dives into the belly of the assembly-required beast: How 12 hours in the biggest Ikea in the U.S. destroyed my soul. [BV]

How America‘s obsession with hula girls almost wrecked Hawai‘i. [BV]

What author uses the most exclamation points? Or, literature by the numbers. [MB]

Trying to save you from yourself a Dutch town installs traffic lights on the ground for texting pedestrians. “They were looking down there anyway.” [BV]


Observed | March 28

Hungarian government could ban Heineken‘s red star logo over communism concerns. [MPL]

Annals of material culture: the Bodlean Library at Oxford mounts an exhibit of ledgers revealing what famous people once paid for shoes. [JH]

New one-pound coin in Britain is designed by a 17-year-old! [JH]

Design as tourism : Sweden edition. [JH]


Observed | March 27

The smartphone with a mission to be used less often. [MPL]

Mike Monteiro: Ethics can‘t be a side hustle. (Thanks to Ashleigh Axios.) [MB]

Target is redesigning to take on Amazon. [MPL]


Observed | March 24

A history of the zipper. [MPL]

Designer vs Developer: Google‘s YouTube and podcast series aims to help bridge understanding. [MPL]

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on the early days of design at Apple. [JH]


Observed | March 23

Norway has redesigned its banknotes: here’s a preview. (Via Kevin Hicks.) [JH]

Gurafiku founder Ryan Hageman on Japanese graphic design. [MPL]

How a photo of a tour van became a “lovely graphic tool” in the hands of Harry Pearce. [JH]

The US Supreme Court rules that design elements can be copyrighted ... if you’re a cheerleader, that is. [JH]


Observed | March 22

10 notebooks for designers. (And they‘re not all Moleskines.) [MPL]

All of Frida Kahlo‘s anguish, beauty, and pain in, what else, 160 FridaMoji. [BV]

A collection of East German beer and drink labels. [MB]

"The standards of good design don’t change when designing for doing good.” Why the Resistance doesn’t need another logo. [MB]

“So now is a good moment to think about how protest works and what it can achieve.” An exhibition on the visual history of protest opens tomorrow at the Imperial War Museum in London. [JH]


Observed | March 21

Why Christopher Gray was the witty architectural historian everybody loved. [BV]

The Resistance has a logo. [MB]

Chicago gang business cards from the 70s and 80s. [MB]

Roman Mars ranks government logos. [MPL]



Jobs | March 30