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 | July 20

Inside the high-profile Gilded Age resort you never heard of. [BV]

Some science to start your day: your brain doesn‘t contain memories—it is memories. [BV]


Observed | July 19

In the eye of the beholder: 2 photographers shoot radically different portraits of Detroit. [BV]


Observed | July 17

Karrie Jacobs discovered a manhole in the meadow in Prospect Park, a 526 acre park in Brooklyn and America’s premiere example of man-made nature. [BV]

It‘s World Emoji Day. Seriously. So what are the most popular emojis? [BV]

In case you missed it, there’s a woman’s name on the Declaration of Independence: Mary Katharine Goddard. She was the printer. [MB]


Observed | July 14

Rethinking prison design: the rise of the “justice hub”. [JH]

All hail the pepper mill! [JH]

Proving there is indeed no accounting for taste, Paris Hilton brags about her boyfriend’s tattoo “in a Disney font”. [JH]

Alan Kay on Quora: what you probably don’t know about Steve Jobs’s legendary 1979 visit to Xerox PARC. [MB]


Observed | July 13

Invaluable: a commonsense guide to PR and media relations from the brilliant Paul Ford. [MB]


Observed | July 12

The Mayor of London, announces the formation of a new social enterprise, Public Practice, to place talented designers and planners in local authorities for up to a year. [JH]

Just in case you need it: copyright law for balloon artists. [MB]


Observed | July 11

What’s the line between sampling ... and stealing? [JH]

Disability as design outcome. [JH]


Observed | July 10

Revealed at last: the world’s favorite color. [MB]


Observed | July 07

Leaving your footprint in nature, literally. [BV]

The creator of McMansion Hell on a new strain of modern houses for the masses. [BV]

Great piece: in the age of streaming TV, who needs title sequences? [MB]


Observed | July 05

Why do architects design furniture? [MB]

Steven Heller and Gail Anderson talk about their new book, ‘Type Tells Tales,’ a fascinating tour of books in which typefaces plays an active part in visual storytelling. [BV]

Design and exclusion. Full transcript here. [JH]


Observed | July 04

Why does the NRA hate modern architecture? [MB]

I wish Thom Browne had been around when I wore a grey uniform to school in the 1970s. Yikes! [JH]

Daddy, why are airplane windows round? [MB]

The alarmingly beautiful wiring inside the human brain. (Via Peter Lloyd Jones.) [JH]


Observed | July 03

Rethinking design in the age of fake news: how journalism is changing. [JH]

The extraordinary and mesmerizing detail of paper artistry. [JH]

Hats off to Claire Robinson, a design professor in New Zealand who wasn’t afraid to criticize the navy for crowdsourcing a design problem! [JH]

In defense of White House calligraphers. [MB]



Jobs | July 23