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.

Véronique Vienne
Hear a Pin Drop

Ying Gao’s Sensory Threads

Véronique Vienne
When the Soundtrack is the Message

Music supervisor Beth Urdang

Véronique Vienne
The Invention of Desire

Véronique Vienne
Of Grids and Galleys: Designing The Real Thing

Véronique Vienne
The Old Wave?

Feminism: The End of the Show

Véronique Vienne
Coco in the Kitchen

The Many Scents of Sensory Design

Véronique Vienne
Cafés and Cigarettes

Véronique Vienne
Pierre Bernard

France—and the design community at large—loses a guiding light

Véronique Vienne

Korea in France

Véronique Vienne
Reflections on the Page

Why we still read books

Véronique Vienne
Graphique de la Rue

Typographic Splendor as Propaganda

Véronique Vienne
Design Relief

After the storm

Véronique Vienne
Thesis Book Project: How Quickly They Learn

A view from the teacher’s desk

Véronique Vienne
Against Objectification

Leonard Koren’s books

Véronique Vienne
In the Raw

A refreshing act of rebellion

Véronique Vienne
Wild Card

The new Picasso Museum logo

Véronique Vienne
The Cold War Politics of Push Pin

How left was left?

Véronique Vienne
Filmic Collisions

Softening the pixellated blow

Véronique Vienne
Dispatch from the Pastiche Police

The unattributed homage

Véronique Vienne
Radical Menswear

A German graphic design team turns toward fashion

Véronique Vienne
Nick Ace

Famous for being not famous

Véronique Vienne
Unidentified Floating Objects

Mysterious graphics are usurping advertising in France

Véronique Vienne
Taylor Holland’s Scenic Tour

A photograph is at first a document. Crop it, and it becomes a picture. Trim it further into a square and you’ve got a “sign” — a potential icon.

Véronique Vienne
Two Monumental Shows in Paris: One Large, One Small

Véronique Vienne
Image Making, Reclaimed

Etienne Hervy, art director of the International Graphic Design Festival in Chaumont, France, asked a painter, not a graphic designer, to create a pair of posters for this year’s event.

Véronique Vienne
Tell, Don’t Show: Algorithmic Thinking for Beginners

Algorithmic thinking: the ability to state precisely what you only know intuitively.


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