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 | November 17

Discovering a mid-century design powerhouse through her recipes. [BV]

Vaughan Oliver’s work is a treasure store of rare and precious specimens. Now, there’s a book celebrating it. [BV]

Universal beauty is an old and compelling idea. Our species, however, is marked not by a particular aesthetic preference, but by the multiple paths of creativity itself. [BV]


Observed | November 16

Womens’ anatomy as ... design trend? [JH]

Google’s Ivy Ross on design and intuition. [JH]

Love Design Matters with Debbie Millman? Become a founding member today! [BV]

Good Design for a Bad World. [JH]

This ridiculous flowchart design has to be intentional, right? [BV]


Observed | November 15

Partners in design, at NYU. [JH]

Seventy years of Ferrari. More here. [JH]

The end of civilization as we know it: Israeli branding bots! [JH]

The questions just keep coming: should we teach facial recognition technology about race? [BV]


Observed | November 14

An in-depth look at nation branding. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

Harvard Business Review, yet again, extols the virtues of empathy. Herewith, your friendly community reminder that our understanding of empathy tends to be flawed. [JH]

The blandification of graphic design. (Or, why you should just hire a good designer.) [JH]


Observed | November 13

German graphic design: a new book traces its rich visual, political, and cultural history. [JH]

How does 3D printing connect to real estate in Africa? A visualization of interconnected global issues. [BV]

Picasso bled his women for art. [MPL]

Do cities have colors? (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | November 10

It’s almost five o’clock, right? Judging beer by its cover, an oral history of craft beer label design. [BV]

The lowly pencil: “still much loved amongst the creative heroes of our generation.” [BV]

Book design inspires more than just readers—finding decorating ideas on the cover of a book. [BV]


Observed | November 09

The things we design to make cities more livable also help prevent terror attacks. [BV]

What happens when a designer spends a year channeling his energy–and skill set–into local politics. [BV]

How design can help an aging population through technology and personalization. [BV]


Observed | November 08

Designers and architects have signed the first Montreal Design Declaration, setting out ambitions for tackling world issues. [BV]

The birth, life, and death of old Penn Station. [BV]

Using photography to envisage how people with a rare genetic condition called achromatopsia see the world. [BV]

A look inside the design process with Lynn Buckley, a book cover designer at Penguin Random House. [BV]


Observed | November 07

Could good data design help make sense of the government’s fear of data and the crisis of the times? [BV]



Jobs | November 17