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.

How Hollywood Nailed The Half-Pipe
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.

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?

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

Gentlemen Prefer Blogs
Watching Annie Duke beat out a half-dozen male competitors in the
World Poker Tournament this week, I experienced an odd case of déjà vu. It wasn't because of some Proustian memory of my own poker prowess — far from it, infact. Rather, what I felt was an odd sort of parallel universe with something I've been ruminating about for some time: namely, my presence here on Design Observer as the sole female contributor, and the scarcity of women who regularly participate in discussions here on this site.

Observed | October 27

At the turn of the century, cartoonist Herbert Crowley was rated with Winsor McCay and exhibited with Pablo Picasso. Virtually unknown for years, today he is on the brink of rediscovery. [MB]

The Baltimore Sun films our favorite Ellen, talking about some of the things she loves. [JH]

Live! Onstage! It’s … three people designing a poster! [JH]

John Maeda on inclusive design as the secret weapon in business and Alissa Walker on inclusive design as an urban paradigm. [JH]

The original set of 176 12 x 12 pixel emojis, developed by Shigetaka Kurita for cell phones in 1999, has been acquired for the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art. [MB]

Will Hudson from “It’s Nice That” introduces “Lecture in Progress”—an educational resource hoping to help next generation of creative people make better career decisions. [JH]

Observed | October 26

Sabrina Fossi’s new watch actually helps you see what time is is. Support her Kickstarter campaign here. [JH]

India’s Prime Minister speaks out in public on design’s importance in industry, economics, and more. [JH]

Google’s head of self-driving-car design (and it’s a woman!) talks about her strategy and why it matters. [JH]

Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin discusses his complicated relationship with Donald Trump. [MB]

Design Week : Mexico! [JH]

Think Wrong, the long-awaited book from the first guest on our new podcast, John Bielenberg, is out. Order here. [MB]

Observed | October 25

An economist explains why you should embrace a disorderly desk. [MB]

British Rail Corporate Identity, 1965–1994. [MB]

House of Wax is a new bar in New York that revives the Victorian art of the Panopticum—in wax. [JH]

Observed | October 24

In Estonia, a one-day design summit stresses the importance of indiscipinarity, teams—and trust. [JH]

“Don’t think that the world of design belongs to designers.” Opening comments from Mark Wigley at the third Istanbul Design Biennial. [JH]

No assigned desks in this new open-plan office created by Clive Wilkinson for the New York office of Publicis. [MB]

“Good design means your phone doesn’t explode.” The New Yorker’s Om Malik weighs in on the Apple Samsung case. [JH]

An entertaining website to launch GT America, a new typeface from Grilli Type. [MB]

Observed | October 21

More on ballot design and its many problems. [JH]

Design is the new currency. [JH]

If Hillary is elected, “’re going to have taco trucks on every corner”, warned Latinos for Trump’s Marco Gutierrez. Lana Rigby designs a citywide fleet of taco trucks that double as voter registration booths. [JH]

“Design is the art and science of improving the interface between human beings and their environment.” A new design incubator at MIT. [JH]

Observed | October 20

“Ignore the fads and go back to the typographic principles of print — keep your type black,” says Kevin Marks. More from Cory Doctorow on the web’s “plague” of grey type. [JH]

The Wall Street Journal on design books as eye candy. [JH]

The New Yorker on urban housing, inequality, density, democracy—and Le Corbusier. [JH]

Observed | October 18

Could bad buildings damage your mental health? [MB]

Dutch Design Week! Here’s the program. [JH]

Observed | October 17

Wine labels—and how their design impacts what we want to buy. [JH]

Jobs | October 27