Publishing

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Butlin’s holiday camp by Edmund Nägele
A sixties vacation in glowing color


The Editors
The New Design Observer
Welcome to the New Design Observer.


Warren Lehrer
The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley
An excerpt and slideshow from Warren Lehrer’s A Life in Books.


Andrew Howard
A Manifesto for Higher Learning
Andrew Howard, MA course director in Communication Design at ESAD — Escola Superior de Artes e Design in Matosinhos, Portugal — shares this with his incoming graduate students each year.


John Bertram
Lolita — The Story of a Cover Girl
Excerpt from Lolita — The Story of a Cover Girl.


Rob Walker
Looking Better, All The Time
Alexandra Horowitz' book On Looking offers a framework, and specific tactics, for smarter seeing.


Leonard Koren
Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing
An except from Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing by Leonard Koren.


Louise Fili
A Life in Letters
An excerpt from Louise Fili's Elegantissima.


Rick Poynor
What Does Critical Writing Look Like?
A report on work by the first graduates from the Royal College of Art’s Critical Writing in Art & Design MA.


Rick Poynor
The Closed Shop of Design Academia
Shouldn’t it be part of a design academic’s brief to communicate more widely with the design profession and public?



William Drenttel, and Jessica Helfand
Late Summer Reading
In the late summer, we share a reading list first published in Frieze magazine, April 2011.



Carl Schoonover
Portraits of the Mind
The book, Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century (Abrams) documents this overlooked dimension over two millennia of obsession with the brain.



Michael Bierut
Eight-and-a-Half by Eleven
An installation of over 10,000 tiled pieces 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper redeems what has often been dismissed as a banal graphic format.



Jessica Helfand
An Instrument of Sufficiently Lucid Cogitation
The legendary French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, who died on Tuesday at his home in the South of France, always carried a sketchbook with him. Today's obituary in The New York Times alleges that he described drawing as meditative, while photography was intuitive: though certainly both activities might have been informed by a relentless need to observe and in a sense, preserve the world around him.



Rick Poynor
Critics and Their Purpose
Pulling a 1960s art magazine from the shelf, I opened it at random to find a long list of thoughts about art criticism assembled in 1966 by students at the Royal College of Art in London. Many of these ideas apply to design.



Observed | September 19

“Real life” Lego House to open in Denmark this month. Hopefully it’s too big to step on. [BV]

In the you-can’t-make-this-up department: scientists once dressed frogs in tiny pants to study reproduction. [BV]

Penguin’s Steinbeck reissues feature Walker Evans Polaroids. [MPL]


Observed | September 18

Paul McNeil‘s six favorite faces. [MPL]

“Segregated Innovation”, or, why the empathy concept is deeply flawed. [JH]

An epic battle erupts between London‘s Science Museum + Natural History Museum during Twitter’s #AskACurator day. [BV]

Meet the font detectives. [MB]


Observed | September 15

Start you Friday right: A brief history of sex on the internet. [BV]


Observed | September 14

Expand your mind, or boggle it. “We are three-dimensional creatures living in a potentially 10-dimensional world.” [BV]

In India’s ‘rape capital,’ designers change how people picture assault. [BE]

Photographs lie. Even great photographs. Especially great photographs. [JH]


Observed | September 13

A look back at the design of the ten-pound note. [JH]

In design as in politics, who decides? [JH]

Design as a learning system, and other insights about where it’s all heading. [JH]


Observed | September 12

Steven Heller discusses the history and power of the swastika: from good to evil. [BV]

Roadways aren’t just the arteries of transportation and commerce, they can be the catalysts for more sustainable design. [BV]

The beautiful master plans of America’s national parks. [MB]

Is the act of standardization through design a subtle gesture of colonization? Skin color-tweaked emojis are only half the battle. Look at this. [JH]


Observed | September 11

The Voynich manuscript, “the world’s most mysterious manuscript”, appears to be some kind of medical encyclopedia, with detailed information on which herbs in what quantities can cure gynecological conditions. [BV]

The Nike hijab. [JH]

A search for the word “design” in google shows what it thinks you really want to ask for, which is “designated survivor”. (Try it.) Same goes for searching stock photos. Here’s what happens when you search for the word “woman”. [JH]

Why you’ve never heard of Gin Wong and what that says about the politics of architectural celebrity. [MB]


Observed | September 08

French artist JR comes up with this idea in a dream, and executes it. [JH]

Design and politics. [JH]

Can graphic design save your life? [JH]

The stories behind every Lucky Peach cover. [MB]


Observed | September 07

You’ve been bombarded with weather maps recently. Have you ever wondered why so many weather maps are rainbow-colored? And should they be? [BV]

The world‘s most unusual displays of neon. [BV]


Observed | September 06

Enjoy these strange and wonderful illustrations from vintage science books. [BV]

11 great art and culture podcast episodes for 2017. [MB]



Jobs | September 19