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Jessica Helfand
Howard Paine: 1929–2014
09.22.14

Remembering Howard Paine, National Geographic art director and stamp designer extraordinaire

Steven Heller
A Memory of Mickey
09.04.14

Steven Heller remembers Mildred Friedman, who passed away late Wednesday.

Elizabeth Guffey
Deborah Sussman: Los Angeles Design Pioneer
08.21.14

Remebering her rise and influence as a woman working in the male-dominated world of postwar design.

Michael Bierut
Massimo Vignelli, 1931-2014
05.27.14

A personal memory of the late designer Massimo Vignelli.

Alexandra Lange
Lucia Eames, 1930-2014
04.08.14

An appreciation of Lucia Eames (1930-2014).

Alexandra Lange
Year of the Women
12.30.13

A year-end wrap-up of my favorite stories. The common theme? Women and the making of design.

Rick Poynor
The Writings of William Drenttel
12.28.13

Essays from the Design Observer archive show the wide scope of William Drenttel's interests and concerns.

The Editors
In Memory of William Drenttel
12.21.13


Rick Poynor
Martin Sharp: From Satire to Psychedelia
Chris Pullman
Remembering Alvin Eisenman
10.24.13

Alvin Eisenman received the AIGA Medal in October, 1991. Chris Pullman, a student in Eisenman's class of 1966 — and a member of the faculty ever since — gave these remarks at the event.

Phil Patton
Niels Diffrient: The Human Factor
Alexandra Lange
Kicked A Building Lately?
Michael Bierut
Positively Michael Patrick Cronan
Jessica Helfand
Bill Moggridge 1943-2012
Observed
Hillman Curtis Celebration Benefit
05.28.12

A Hillman Curtis celebration benefit has been organized by his friends and colleagues.

Debbie Millman
Hillman Curtis, 1961-2012
04.24.12

“I met Hillman Curtis for the first time in February 2006 when I interviewed him for my radio show Design Matters.” Debbie Millman remembers her friend, Hillman Curtis.

Rick Poynor
Richard Hamilton, the Great Decipherer
Rick Poynor
Paul Stiff, the Reader’s Champion
Gerry Shamray
Harvey and Me
07.13.10

A remembrance of comic artist and graphic novelist Harvey Pekar by an illustrator who worked with him throughout his career, fellow Clevelander Gerry Shamray.

Julie Lasky
Protect Me from What I Want
06.09.10

Photo in memory of Tobias Wong.

Owen Edwards
Irving Penn, 1917-2009
10.07.09

Irving Penn, who died on October 7th at the age of 92, marks the end of the great age of glamour in magazines, a remarkable period when brilliant photographers who happened to make their livings in fashion and advertising were finally recognized for the artistry of their eyes.

Michael Bierut
Spoiler Alert! Or, Happy Father's Day
06.21.09

Dad couldn't help it. He was a natural born spoiler.

Michael Bierut
The Four Lessons of Lou Dorfsman
10.23.08

For over 40 years, Lou Dorfsman designed everything at CBS from its advertising to the paper cups in its cafeteria. Getting great work done in giant institution is supposed to be hard. How did he make it look easy?

Adam Harrison Levy
The Inventor of the Cowboy Shirt
09.30.08

A few years ago, I found myself lost inside a shopping mall with Jack A. Weil, better known as Jack A, the man who, in 1946, invented the snap-buttoned cowboy shirt.

Gong Szeto
Lehman's Bankruptcy Statement
09.16.08

I'm just a designer, but it doesn't take a genius to read a bankruptcy statement. Take a look at the Lehman Brothers statement dated Sunday, September 14, 2008. Read the whole thing down to exhibit A and the list of creditors — this is an historical document.

Michael Bierut
David Foster Wallace, Branding Theorist, 1962-2008
09.14.08


Glen Cummings
Athos Bulcão, The Artist of Brasilia
08.11.08

Athos Bulcão was a public artist, interior designer, muralist, furniture and graphic designer who collaborated with Oscar Niemeyer and others to define Brasilia — one of the 20th century’s most radical and controversially received urban experiments. Bulcão died on July 31 at the age of 90, and left behind an astonishing body of work.

Jessica Helfand
Reflections on The Ephemeral World, Part One: Ink
05.30.08

An elegy to the makeready — those sheets of paper, re-fed into a press to get the ink balances up to speed, leaving a series of often random, palimpsest-like, multiple impressions on a single surface — in the digital age.

Michael Bierut
Rest in Peace, Herbert Muschamp
10.09.07

Officially published for the first time as a posthumous tribute: a loving parody of the writing of the late, great architectural critic Herbert Muschamp.

Michael Bierut
Flat, Simple and Funny: The World of Charley Harper
08.16.07

A tribute to the late designer Charley Harper, "the only wildlife artist who has never been compared to Audubon and never will be."

Peter Good
Remembering Sol Lewitt (1928-2007)
07.13.07

I first met Sol Lewitt in 1986, when he and Carol and their young daughters moved to Chester, Connecticut, a small town on the Connecticut River where I have a graphic design studio. We met at an opening at the Chester Gallery...

Steven Heller
Silas H. Rhodes, Founder of SVA
07.02.07

Silas H. Rhodes, chairman of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, died last Thursday at 91. He was a progressive educator who established a uniquely collaborative learning environment that delicately balanced creative independence with academic rigor.

John Corbett
Sun Ra, Street Priest and Father of D.I.Y. Jazz
06.22.07

Before the 1950s, artist-owned record companies were unheard of, but Sun Ra pioneered the idea along with a couple of other musicians and composers. Sun Ra and Alton Abraham helped define the do-it-yourself ethic that came to be a central part of the American independent music industry, designing and in some cases manufacturing the covers themselves. In the process, they maintained a previously unimaginable degree of control over the look and content of their jazz releases.

Steven Heller
Martin Weber in the Third Dimension
06.19.07

You may not have heard of Martin J. Weber, but he was a graphic artist, typographer, art director, and most important, inventor of various photographic techniques that gave two-dimensional surfaces the illusion of being reproduced in three dimensions.

Alissa Walker
War Is Over! If You Want It
12.29.06

When the star of the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon is asked by a reporter what he thinks Nixon should do to end the Vietnam War, Lennon stares incredulously into the camera. "He should declare peace." As if this was the most obvious solution in the world.

Willis Regier
In Remembrance of Richard Eckersley
04.24.06

Richard Eckersley died on April 16, having given the best years of his life to establishing the importance of high-quality book design for university presses. Here, a remembrance by Willis Regier, director of the University of Illinois Press.

Michael Bierut
Wilson Pickett, Design Theorist, 1942 - 2006
01.22.06

Wilson Pickett's advice on hitmaking, "Harmonize, then customize," would make good advice for any designer.

Paula Scher
Remembering Henryk Tomaszewski
09.15.05


Jessica Helfand
Greer Allen: In Memoriam
04.28.05

Designer, critic, pundit and historian, Greer Allen was Senior Critic in Graphic Design at Yale School of Art. He designed publications for The Houghton Library at Harvard, the Beinecke Library at Yale, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and a number of other distinguished cultural institutions around the country. Greer Allen died last week after a short illness. He was 83.

Rick Poynor
Eduardo Paolozzi, 20th Century Image-Maker
04.24.05

If a visual artist created more concentrated, exhilarating images of science, technology and the media realm during the mid-20th century than British artist Eduardo Paolozzi, then I would like to see them. Paolozzi, who died on 22 April aged 81, was first of all a sculptor, but the screenprints he produced in the 1960s rank as masterpieces of the medium.

Michael Bierut
The Best Artist in the World
01.19.05

Alton Tobey, a little-known commercial illustrator, created a body of work in the early sixties that continues to inspire.

William Drenttel
In Remembrance of Susan Sontag
12.29.04

In Remembrance of Susan Sontag: a designer's twenty-five years of interaction with the legandary writer.

Jessica Helfand
An Instrument of Sufficiently Lucid Cogitation
08.05.04

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.

Michael Bierut
Rob Roy Kelly’s Old, Weird America
02.02.04

The late educator and designer Rob Roy Kelly has had a lasting influence on the profession of graphic design, particularly through his landmark book "American Wood Type."

William Drenttel
Paul Rand: Bibliography as Biography
09.02.03

This is bibliography as biography, and a posthumous testament to the considerable scope — and ongoing life — of one designer's mind. A Selected Bibliography of Books from the Collection of Paul Rand


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