Disaster Relief


Paul Polak
The SunWater Project: Advanced Solar Technology for Poor Farmers
Paul Polak on SunWater: a radically affordable solar water pump that will transform small plot agriculture and help bring the world's poorest families out of poverty.


John Thackara
‘Beyond Good Intentions’ – The Movie
A new documentary hopes to answer the question "What happens in a disaster area after the initial wave of support?"


John Thackara
From Druids to Biorefineries: Innovation in a Small Nation
Small nations can be flexible in ways that big one cannot.



Mark Lamster
Majority Report
Review of Design with the Other 90%: Cities


John Thackara
Utopia is Here
Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner, made in 1982, portrays a dystopian Los Angeles as it might be in 2019. In just eight years we are due to find out whether or not the film was an accurate prediction.



Ernest Beck
Creative Support for Japan
Creative responses to the crisis in Japan.



Ernest Beck
Mensch at Work
Review of The Power of Pro Bono



Tony Whitfield
Prepared for Haiti
Tony Whitfield meditates on the assistance designers should give in Haiti following the earthquake, and in future catastrophes.



Ernest Beck
State of Shelter
Relief organizations still rely on the same basic options for emergency housing, but new ideas are taking hold.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF and Early Childhood Development
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Early Childhood Development Project proposed a new approach to emergency kits that would be more precisely tuned to young children’s intellectual and emotional needs, as well as outlined a basis for the next AIGA/INDEX: Aspen Design Challenge.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Initial Report
Initial report on the 2009 Aspen Design Summit, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute.


Bradford McKee
Float House
Report on a floating house designed by Morphosis and UCLA architecture students for the Make It Right Foundation,



Ernest Beck
Emergency Response Studio
Report on artist Paul Villinski's mobile studio, which he converted from a trailer of the type used by FEMA to house victims of Hurricane Katrina.



Observed | October 23

Google and the resurgence of Italian design. [BE]

In Norway, Snøhetta designs Europe’s first underwater restaurant: appropriately called “Under”. (In Norwegian, “under” can also be translated as “wonder”.) [JH]

How the design of bird feeders might have impacted the evolution of bird beak sizes. [JH]


Observed | October 20

It’s Friday. Let’s play! We‘re excited to follow Playtime, a new exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum. [BV]

Scandalous art. [MPL]

Everything you ever wanted to know about storyboarding, but were afraid to ask. [JH]


Observed | October 19

Invision introduces Studio, software for designing on screen. More here. [JH]

“We’re designing relationships now as opposed to designing artifacts.” IDEO sets its sights on AI. [JH]


Observed | October 18

The problem with ‘fast-casual architecture’. [BE]

The race to create the perfect city: the history behind mankind’s need to design ideal urban living. [BV]

Design, dreams—and Blade Runner. [JH]

Design, doodling—and sports. [JH]


Observed | October 17

The current threat level is violet: one nation under cynicism. [BV]

Design and dissent: the reissue. [JH]

Lucienne Roberts: “We’re on a mission to show what graphic design can do.” [MB]

It’s time for companies to let design expand its influence to the core of the business. [JH]


Observed | October 16

It was scary when the graphic designers seized control of the country... [BE]

Does design thinking live up to the hype? Business leaders apparently think so. (Not sure design leaders would agree.) [JH]

Spark Awards: call for entries announced. More here. [JH]


Observed | October 13

Poster Girls! An exhibition of work by forgotten women at the forefront of graphic design. At the London Transport Museum. [JH]

Half the universe’s missing matter has just been finally found. [BV]

Another view of Google, design, and the future. [JH]


Observed | October 12

Rob Walker thinks this is the best headline he’s seen in a while. We agree. [JH]

Can design minimize hate speech? [JH]

Three designers win MacArthur “genius” grants. [JH]


Observed | October 11

Get some advice from your potential future self. [BV]

Three design projects that promote good mental health. [MB]


Observed | October 10

A look at the iconic New York Film Festival poster. [BV]

Do you want to know everything? Oxford has your answer. [BV]

Did you know there are scissors in the MoMA permanent collection? Of course they‘re orange. [BV]



Jobs | October 24