Véronique Vienne has edited, art-directed, and written essays for numerous design publications in the USA and in Europe (House & Garden, Emigré, Communication Arts, Eye, Graphis, Aperture, Metropolis, Etapes, Print, and more). Her latest book, 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, co-authored with Steven Heller, has been translated in 10 languages.


It’s a funny thing: talking about design and writing about it are two totally different exercises. In discussions on topics that are deemed “cultural” I am pretty much incoherent, but I love the challenge of formulating thoughts in writing. On paper or on a screen, in black and white, ideas acquire a graphic dimension — and that’s what appeals to me. 

If you are reading these lines, chances are you are intrigued, as I am, by what happens to opinions once they are laid flat under a thin piece of LCD, and under the magnifying lenses of exacting grammar and syntax.
In this space, I want to explore the transformative power of design criticism as a literary practice. But don’t worry, I am not an intellectual. I am a self-educated observer of all forms of representation, and of the language we use to analyze what we see.

A couple of years ago I moved to France, a country where design issues are politicized, and I have gone native in this respect. Although this point of view might surface from time to time in my comments, I do not intend to go on about it. No. I think of writing for the Design Observer as a graphic design gesture: as putting together words and images to make readers feel smart, entertained, and in the loop.


Rick Poynor
Situationist International
John McPhee
John Berger
Walter Benjamin
Creative Opportunities
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