Jessica Helfand
Where food is concerned, the relationship between what things look like and how we respond exists at its most primal level: what is a gut reaction, after all, if not something that attacks your gut?

William Drenttel
Design Matters Wins People’s Choice Design Award
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum announced the People's Choice Design Award — and Design Observer's own Debbie Millman, the creator of the popular Design Matters series of podcast interviews, was the surprise winner.

William Drenttel
National Design Award Trophy
In October 2011, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum unveiled a new trophy for the National Design Awards. Originally designed as an asterisk in silicon carbide by Winterhouse in 2000, the new glass trophy is by Corning GlassLab.

The Editors
Announcement: Rob Walker Joins Design Observer
We are pleased to announce that Rob Walker is joining Design Observer as a contributing writer — and as the newest blogger in our Observers Room.

Gail Anderson
Gail Anderson’s Collection of Salt and Pepper Shakers
Gail Anderson shares her collection of Salt and Pepper Shakers.

William Drenttel
Best of DOG 2010
Hardly exhaustive, here are some of the highlights of essays and blog posts on the Design Observer Group during 2010.

William Drenttel
Dogs and Their Designers
Design Observer posted an open call for designers to submit photos of themselves with their canine companions. These are the results...

Jessica Helfand
Cats and Their Designers
Behold: our collection of feline wonders, and the designers who named them.

Dmitri Siegel
Paper, Plastic, or Canvas?
Dmitri Siegel explores the explosive popularity of canvas totes and the history of the plastic bags they aim to replace. From Anya Hindmarch to Ireland's PlasTax, Siegel examines the role of design in sustainability.

The Editors
10 Reasons to Buy a Design Observer T-Shirt
Buy the Design Observer T-Shirt for a holiday gift.

The Editors
Design Observer T-Shirt
Design Observer offers a T-shirt through Artefacture.

The Editors
People's Design Awards
The People's Design Awards are happening as we speak — with public voting open until October 21st. Design Observer welcomes the support of our readers: VOTE TODAY.

The Editors
Design Observer's Aniversary Party: 11.05
Design Observer 5th Anniversary Party. NYC. 11.05.08.

William Drenttel
Hurricane Watch: Gustav Emergency Relief

Becky Neiman
Taking Things Seriously XIII

Paul Maliszewski
Taking Things Seriously XI

Julie Lasky
Cranbrook Commencement Address
"I come to you, like all commencement speakers, as an emissary from the future." The commencement address delivered by Julie Lasky at the Cranbrook Academy of Art on May 9, 2008.

Rosamond W. Purcell
Taking Things Seriously XII

The Editors
Slide Shows on Design Observer

Allan Chochinov
"Ode To My Toaster"
Ode To My Toaster, a poem by Allan Chochinov.

Luc Sante
Taking Things Seriously X

Joshua Glenn
Taking Things Seriously IX

John Keen
Taking Things Seriously VIII

Chika Azuma
Chika Azuma: Taking Things Seriously VII

Beth Daniels
Beth Daniels: Taking Things Seriously VI

Thomas Frank
Taking Things Seriously V

Carol Hayes
Taking Things Seriously IV

Greg Klee
Taking Things Seriously III

Steven Heller
It's Easy to Criticize. . . Not
Convention was disrupted last Thursday night in New York City at Designism 2:0 when the sometimes "self-congratulatory" nature of the Art Director Club's social conscience-raising event was upended by Vanity Fair media critic Michael Wolff's unforgiving critique of design's do-goodery.

Dmitri Siegel
Taking Things Seriously II

William Drenttel
Taking Things Seriously I

Rob Kimmel
Coney Island Bin Laden
In 2004, the paper targets at the Coney Island shooting gallery featured a hand-drawn Osama Bin Laden.

Steven Heller
The Designer As Gumshoe
The aim in this essay is not to raise mass consciousness about gum pollution. Over the past year, I've been something of a gumshoe, investigating and documenting patterns of gum goop, and talking to perpetrators and victims alike. Now I'm ready to share my findings.

William Drenttel
Project M
It is clear that in the last decade, the rural poor in America have gotten poorer. But having safe water is not something most of us think of as a problem in our country. If you'd like to help, Buy A Meter.

Jessica Helfand
My Dirty Little Secret
Gardening is its own infuriating design challenge. You fret and you rethink and you second-guess yourself constantly, and then for one delirious, thrilling moment something blooms and you feel utterly triumphant. And then it dies and you are back where you started.

Jessica Helfand
I'm Not Ready to Make Nice

Jessica Helfand
How Hollywood Nailed The Half-Pipe
and Animal Logic have mastered a particularly persuasive (and as it turns out, rather literal) form of spin that makes Road Runner look like dryer lint.

William Drenttel
Polling Place Photo Project
Polling Place Photo Project seeks to advance innovation in citizen journalism by documenting local voter experiences during the U.S. midterm elections on Tuesday, November 7...

William Drenttel
Winterhouse Awards for Design Writing
In partnership with AIGA, we launched the Winterhouse Writing Awards for Design and Criticism, an initiative to increase the appreciation of design — by recognizing new voices in design criticism and commentary. Here are the 2006 recipients.

William Drenttel
Threat Advisory Pandemic Alert System (TAPAS)
How do we measure the danger level from the Avian Influenza A (H5N1) virus? What we lack is that one Tom Ridge-like bit of inspiration that would lend clarity to these confusing times. We took our cue from a certain John James Audubon. Herewith, one option for Homeland Security. Yes, we know: it's for the birds.

Adrian Shaughnessy
Living Without The Internet
The "community" that I find on the internet is the communality of shared enthusiasms for marginalised subjects.

William Drenttel
Dangerous Beauty: The Art of the Shiv
A shiv is a weapon crafted from the limited resources of a prisoner's closed world. Crudely constructed from such things as spoons, shoelaces and upholstery tacks, shivs are about masked utility: it's an innocuous object with improbably toxic intent (whether used to attack others or to protect oneself...).

Jessica Helfand
The Right Stuff
Prada is yet another in a long line of stories in which posessions loom large, at once shining beacons of material success and wagging fingers of moral turpitude. When will we have enough stuff?

Jessica Helfand
"Oui, Oui, Oui" All The Way Home
On a sweltering day last August, my daughter and I embarked with a friend on a 6-day tour of Paris: Kid Paris, the Paris of candy stores and carousels and more than a few weird new ice cream flavors.

William Drenttel
Weather Report: 53 Degrees F. Heavy Snowfall Predicted
The weather is fucked up. "Science is a way of making sense of the world. Design is a way of making the world make sense."

Jessica Helfand
Design Gone Mad

Jessica Helfand
A Blog Poem, Part I

Observed | October 25

House of Wax is a new bar in New York that revives the Victorian art of the Panopticum—in wax. [JH]

Observed | October 24

In Estonia, a one-day design summit stresses the importance of indiscipinarity, teams—and trust. [JH]

“Don’t think that the world of design belongs to designers.” Opening comments from Mark Wigley at the third Istanbul Design Biennial. [JH]

No assigned desks in this new open-plan office created by Clive Wilkinson for the New York office of Publicis. [MB]

“Good design means your phone doesn’t explode.” The New Yorker’s Om Malik weighs in on the Apple Samsung case. [JH]

An entertaining website to launch GT America, a new typeface from Grilli Type. [MB]

Observed | October 21

More on ballot design and its many problems. [JH]

Design is the new currency. [JH]

If Hillary is elected, “...you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner”, warned Latinos for Trump’s Marco Gutierrez. Lana Rigby designs a citywide fleet of taco trucks that double as voter registration booths. [JH]

“Design is the art and science of improving the interface between human beings and their environment.” A new design incubator at MIT. [JH]

Observed | October 20

“Ignore the fads and go back to the typographic principles of print — keep your type black,” says Kevin Marks. More from Cory Doctorow on the web’s “plague” of grey type. [JH]

The Wall Street Journal on design books as eye candy. [JH]

The New Yorker on urban housing, inequality, density, democracy—and Le Corbusier. [JH]

Observed | October 18

Could bad buildings damage your mental health? [MB]

Dutch Design Week! Here’s the program. [JH]

Observed | October 17

Wine labels—and how their design impacts what we want to buy. [JH]

From India, a story on design mistakes for startups. [JH]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Zur Farbenlehre (“Theory of Colors”), 1810. [MB]

A call to action for design justice. [JH]

The eerie secret apartments of the New York Public Library system [MB]

“Not knowing what you’re doing is a skill you can’t teach.” An interview with Richard Turley (ex-Businessweek, ex-MTV) on his move to Wieden+Kennedy. [MB]

Observed | October 14

“How do you approach an art empty of figures and evident narratives?,” asks New York Times art critic Holland Cotter, writing about the late minimalist painter Agnes Martin. "How do you find out what, if anything, is in it for you? What do you do to make it your own?” To which Martin herself was known to reply: “You go there and sit and look.” A retrospective of Martin’s work is on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York through early January. [JH]

Magenta debuts! A new online source for design, cultural criticism, and more. [JH]

David Bowie had a vast collection of Memphis furniture. [MB]

Observed | October 13

Non-car designer designs non-car. [JH]

Democratic design—between cultures. [JH]

A day in the life of Tobias Frere-Jones. [MB]

Louise Fili, Goddess of typographic splendor! [JH]

Observed | October 12

Ice cream! Complimentary slippers! And design awards for a check-in counter! Highlights of service design for those traveling to (and from) Japan. [JH]

Philanthropists donate 8.1 billion for a new design center at Colorado State University. [JH]

Jobs | October 25