Product Design

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Domestic Interior by Nicole Bachmann
Design for everyday life?



Debbie Millman
Robin Petravic + Catherine Bailey
Debbie talks with Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey about running Heath Ceramics.



John Foster
Mechanical Mysteries
Drawing widgets in the sixties


John Foster
Ingrained
Redefining Hand Crafted Furniture


Debbie Millman
Ben Watson
On this episode Debbie Millman talks to Herman Miller’s Ben Watson about how design affects people who never even think about design.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
The Observatory: Such Watch
On this episode of The Observatory, Michael and Jessica talk about Jonathan Ive, the rollout of the Apple Watch, and Michael Graves


Steven Heller
User-Friendly Paul Rand
Paul Rand did not coin the term “user-friendly.” He would have hated its trendy sound.


Adam Harrison Levy
Geek Stories
Adam Harrison Levy attended Kill Screen’s Two5Six conference on video gaming. His intention, as someone who cares about visual culture, but knows nothing about gaming, was to see what he could divine from this emerging form. 


Rob Walker
Object Vs. Object
The Re Made Plunger satirizes the Best Made axe — a great example of object-as-critique.


Manuela Aguirre
Design for Care
A review of Design for Care: Innovating Healthcare Experience, a new book by Peter H. Jones. 


Owen Edwards
A Michelangelo, at 100 mph Plus
The recent death of Italy’s Massimo Tamburini brought to an end the glittering career of perhaps the greatest motorcycle designer ever and one of the greatest industrial designers of recent decades.


Debbie Millman
Maria Giudice
Maria Giudice talks with Debbie Milliman about the early days of design on the internet, and what it's like to work for Facebook.


Alexandra Lange
Lucia Eames, 1930-2014
An appreciation of Lucia Eames (1930-2014).


Angela Riechers
Angela Riechers on Banks
Angela Riechers is a Brooklyn-based art director and writer specializing in design, media, and visual culture.



Observed
Shape: A Film About Design
Shape is a short film that is part of MakeShapeChange , a project aimed at young people to get them thinking about how the world is made around them and where design fits in.



Observed
The Hilda Stories
In a new video series from Herman Miller, Hilda Longinotti, George Nelson’s longtime aide-de-camp, recounts some of the greatest anecdotes from her 21-year run at the legendary New York City design atelier.


Observed
Very Cool Playgrounds
Over on Wired, Liz Stinson profiles Monstrum, a Danish design studio that specializes in fantastic wooden playgrounds.


Owen Edwards
The Quickest Fix
A suggestion for an easy & quick design tweak that could help reduce concussions in the NFL.


Alexandra Lange
Playing With Design: Fredun Shapur
Add Fredun Shapur to the pantheon of modern designers making winning and sculptural objects for children.


Owen Edwards
For Better or Worse, This Design Endures
Owen Edwards on the enduring qualities of the AK-47.


Jeff Miller
Jeff Miller on Timing
Jeff Miller is a leading industrial designer and the Vice President of Design at Poppin. On this episode of Insights Per Minute, he speaks about timing.



Observed
Red Tractors
Red Tractors: 1958-2013 is new book by Lee Klancher from Octane Press.


Krista Donaldson
Krista Donaldson on Users
Krista Donaldson, PhD, is a mechanical and design engineer based in San Francisco who focuses on development in less industrialized economies as CEO of the nonprofit firm D-Rev (Design Revolution).


Alexandra Lange
MoMA’s Modern Women
The Museum of Modern Art's new installation, "Designing Modern Women," could have made a bolder statement about the transformative role of women in 20th century design and architecture.


Alexandra Lange
Learning New Tricks
Harvard doesn't have any design courses, but I've found new friends in "material culture." What it's like for a critic to go back to school.


Rob Walker
No. 1 Object
A brief appreciation of a perfectly absurd object: The Number One Hand


Alexandra Lange
Nevermind the Masterpiece
What's your "Masterpiece of Everyday New York"? A broken umbrella? A shirtwaist? Discarded gum?


Alexandra Lange
How To Unforget
The straightforward logic of “A Handbook of California Design” makes it the first step in unforgetting two generations of makers.


Phil Patton
Niels Diffrient: The Human Factor
Phil Patton remembers Niels Diffrient. Photographs by Dorothy Kresz.



Observed
Guns and Design
Firearms are culturally significant objects and complex tools of meaning that can, perhaps, provide insight into the interconnection of people, objects, and society.


Alexandra Lange
Home Improvement
The Sweethome, where Consumer Reports and Amazon product reviews meet.


Alexandra Lange
The Fork and the World: Design 101
If you had to explain design to the uninitiated, where would you start?



Observed
Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America
Michigan was an epicenter of modern design in postwar America, this summer the story will be told through a symposium at the Cranbrook Educational Community and an exhibition at the Cranbrook Art Museum.


Rob Walker
Bill for a Bowl
Considering dollar value as one of many things a bowl might contain.


Kate Cullinane
The Original Paradox
The value of creating new designs, rather than being "original".


Alexandra Lange
After the Museum: The Tumblr
To create metamuseum.tumblr.com, a multi-museum, multi-curator Tumblr @MADMuseum, I saw it as a kind of curatorial game: Show Me What You’ve Got.


Alexandra Lange
George Nelson in Two Dimensions
Ignore the Coconuts and Marshmallows, admire George Nelson's modular graphics.



Debbie Millman
Louise Fili
Louise Fili discusses the importance of sketching, her obsession with typography and why she prefers working with small organizations.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Once you use time, it is gone forever. Maybe that’s why we spend so much time looking at clocks.  



Observed
The Square
A new water bottle from Clean Bottle.


Rob Walker
De-weaponization by Design
Riffing on their weird resonance of a violent object: brass knuckles.



Observed
Live/Work Contest Winner
Amanda Ip 's Innermix Desk design is the winner of Dwell on Design and Design Within Reach's Live/Work Contest.


Alexandra Lange
The Charismatic Megafauna of Design
Identifying the "charismatic megafauna" of design and the critical uses of their popularity.


Nancy Levinson
Design Indaba 2012
Design Indaba 2012 gathered creative people from graphic and product design, architecture and landscape, film and video, not to mention Danish gastronomy and Bollywood movies.


Alexandra Lange
Round Thermostats and Crystal Lanterns, Revisited
Old designs, new tricks: updates on lawsuits filed against the new Nest thermometer, and on behalf of midcentury masterpiece Manufacturers Hanover.



Debbie Millman
Malcolm Gladwell
A live episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman withe special guest Malcolm Gladwell.


Alexandra Lange
Married at Moss
Farewell to Moss, the Soho design shop that let buy (if not touch) our museum-quality dreams.


Alexandra Lange
Girard the Magnificent
Is it enough to be gorgeous? If so, Todd Oldham and Keira Coffee's 15-pound Alexander Girard wins Book of the Year.


Alexandra Lange
Reinventing the Thermostat
What the designer of the new Nest thermostat didn't learn from Henry Dreyfuss.



Eugenia Bell
Eliot Noyes
Eliot Noyes' under-recognized reputation deserves appreciation.


Alexandra Lange
When Modernists Get Crafty
The Museum of Arts and Design's Crafting Modernism makes a good case for bringing back macrame.



Debbie Millman
Andrew Gibbs
In this podcast interview with Debbie Millman, Andrew Gibbs discusses his love of packaging, the role brands play in people's lives and his blog, The Dieline.


Alexandra Lange
Cooking with the Eameses
A new book chronicles one family's life with nine pieces of Eames.



Phil Patton
Audi Urban Future Summit 2011
Report on one of the latest conferences to take on the global theme of the city



Julie Lasky
Faraday Utility Bike
IDEO and Rock Lobster Cycles win people's choice award for utility bike prototype



Julie Lasky
Media Design Matters
Art Center offers a new graduate track in social design that combines communications and technologies strategies with field work.



The Editors
Yves Béhar Wins Second INDEX Award
Yves Béhar Wins Second INDEX Award for VerBien (See Better to Learn Better).



Phil Patton
The Green Dashboard
The design of instrument panels reflects the new technologies of hybrid and electric vehicles


Julie Lasky
Happy Birthday, Handsome
Getting tired of praise for the IBM Selectric? What else do you expect from writers?


Alexandra Lange
The Uses of Cranks
Maybe comedy isn't Larry David's calling.


Alexandra Lange
Making Dieter Rams
Why is Braun still the best?



William Underhill
Transensing: Glassware for the Blind
Award-winning glassware for the visually impaired.



Julie Lasky
Ringing in the New Air
Nendo's Bell-Orgel collection for Tokyo's Isetan department store.



Alexandra Lange
On GOOD: Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
If you want parents to use public transportation, first you have to fix the car seat.



By Alexia
My Studio H Experience
Adventures in design crits: A high school junior recounts her Studio H year working with onerous classmates and power tools.


Alexandra Lange
Vicarious Thrifting, via Twitter
On the lively, effective and erudite thrifting community on Twitter.



Julie Lasky
Chandigarh to Create Inventory of Corbu/Jeanneret Furniture
A committee convened by the government of Chandigarh, India, is assessing the value of site-specific furniture pieces designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret a half-century ago.



Phil Patton
Another Wrong Turn for Chris Paine
Review of the documentary film Revenge of the Electric Car.




Phil Patton
Sustainable Gold
Phil Patton on the conference “Gold: Substance, Symbol and Significance."



Debbie Millman
Steve Frykholm, Herman Miller
After a 40-year career with Herman Miller, Steve Frykholm discusses life inside this iconic, National Design Award-winning furniture company.



Alexandra Lange
All That Glitters (and Swoops)
What reviews of aberrant design and Van Cleef diamonds have in common: the death of the design show.




Phil Patton
On the Shoulders of Rebels
On the rocket-propelled grenade: one of the most successful designs on the planet.



Constantin Boym
True East
Meditations on the Middle Eastern incense burner.



Julie Lasky
Chandigarh on the Block
Furnishings designed for Corbusier's urban masterpiece are being sold at auction. How outraged should we be?



Phil Patton
Just My Typewriter
Commemorating the IBM Selectric, which turns 50 this year.



Julie Lasky
Design Indaba 2011
Review of Design Indaba 2011 conference in Cape Town, South Africa



Chaz Maviyane-Davies
Déjà Vu
Designer Chaz Maviyane-Davies on the reappearance of an old invention.



Ernest Beck
GlobalTap Update
GlobalTap water station update.


Alexandra Lange
Objects Fall From the Sky
What's more important: crediting a designer or the designer credited?



Edited by Julie Lasky
Social Design in Three Dimensions: Four Examples
A business-school case study inspires MFA design students.



Julie Lasky
Bushpunk and the Future of Africa
Why Maker Faire Africa is a model for economic development



Alexandra Lange
Is No the Answer?
Bag bans, yes. But why is no plastic the answer?



Julie Lasky
Index Names Design Challenge Finalists
Among the seven projects dedicated to schoolchildren are educational games, classroom furniture and products that support comfort and hygiene.




Phil Patton
Charging Double
Comparing two new electric-car chargers: Blink and WattStation



Maria Popova
Rise of the Micro-Medici
On the value of microfunding creative ideas that stem from a single mind.


Nancy Levinson
Pillow Culture
Beyond sleep: the exhibition Pillow Culture looks at the pillow as designed object and technological artifact.



Debbie Millman
Alexandra Lange + Jane Thompson
Alexandra Lange and Jane Thompson discuss the power of imagination, Marimekko, Sir Lady Jane and Benjamin Thompson.


Alexandra Lange
Little Boxes
AMAC Plastic Boxes are back at the Container Store: a rainbow classic sold at Design Research, part of the MoMA design collection, and starting at $0.39.



Julie Lasky
Bigshot Camera Update
Reporting the status of an innovative children's camera in development



Phil Patton
Keith Richards and His Amazing Portable Cassette Recorder
With the recent announcement that Sony has discontinued the Walkman, Phil Patton meditates on the powerful influence of portable music technology.


Alexandra Lange
You Have to Pay for the Public Design
Does a preference for design for private consumption threaten our public space?


Alexandra Lange
GourmetLive: The Architecture of Food
Now that we know we produce too much waste, now that aesthetics are suspect, now that we must compost or perish, how do design and architecture retool themselves for less, or better, or tastier consumption?



Alexandra Lange
What I Would Have Bought in Sweden
While the Swedish modern architecture we saw ran to blank surfaces of stone, glass and stucco, every store was bursting with color and pattern.



Ernest Beck
Safe Agua
The first collaboration between Designmatters at Art Center College of Design and Chile’s Un Techo para mi País creates fresh ideas for water usage in a Santiago slum.



Phil Patton
The Meek Shall Inherit the Market
Phil Patton writes in praise of frugal engineering, and not just for developing markets.



Alexandra Lange
In T: The Zootopian
In early August I had the pleasure of traveling (by plane, train, local train and subway) to Sonneberg, Germany to interview toy designer Renate Müller.


Mark Lamster
Dishing on Design Research
As a kid in 70s-era New York, I wasn’t especially attuned to home decor. But there was one thing I did notice: virtually all of my friends’ parents had the same tableware.



Kaomi Goetz
The Utility Collective
Report on the Utility Collective, a furniture business that emphasizes local materials and production.



Steven Heller
Heller on Heller
Vignelli Celebration: Steven Heller talks about the redemptive qualities of having the same name as Vignelli's Hellerware.



Alexandra Lange
In Dwell: Hands Off the Icons
In the 
October 2010 issue of Dwell, which celebrates the magazine’s tenth anniversary by revisiting its own (generally happy) homeowners, I offer the following Argument.



Phil Patton
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car
Review of Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car.



Peter Wolf
Pet Projects
Essay on design as an underutilized force for the humane treatment of animals.



Meena Kadri
Tinkers, Hackers, Farmers, Crafters
Interview with Emeka Okafor, founder of Maker Faire Africa.



Phil Patton
Murray T.25 City Car
Report on Gordon Murray's conversion from revolutionary race car designer to creator of one of the greenest city cars ever.



Alexandra Lange
Fix the Car Seat
Having just returned from a vacation where the logistics of the car seat were a primary part of trip planning, I have a plea on behalf of all parents, and a challenge for industrial and car designers: FIX THE CAR SEAT.



William Underhill
D-Rev Blue Star Jaundice Treatment
Report on Blue Star, D-Rev's affordable jaundice treatment for newborn babies in the developing world.



Krista Donaldson
The Real Cost of Free
Do you give the poor farmer a pump if you know it will transform her crops and move her family from just scraping by into the middle class? It’s hard to say no, isn’t it? But you should.



Ernest Beck
New Meaning at ICFF
A review of the 2010 International Contemporary Furniture Fair.



Alexandra Lange
On Fast Company: Why Do Designer Toys Suck?
Spare me the good-looking trophy toys. I’ll take an operational plastic garbage truck any day.



Alexandra Lange
Why do Most Designer Toys Suck so Badly?
Though they exude an organized playfullness, designer toys are rarely as practical as they look.



Alexandra Lange
On Archpaper: Saccharine Design
My review of
Marcel Wanders’ exhibition Daydreams at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for The Architect’s Newspaper just went online and let’s just say I was not impressed.






Alexandra Lange
Fischer Price Airport
I bought this from Ebay for my son for Christmas — the toy my friend had that I always wanted to take home with me.



Amanda Hurley
Hold Your Sawhorses!
Brazilian architecture firm StudioMK27 creates a controversial furniture collection based on the designs of construction workers.



Jonathan Schultz
One World Futbol
Report on One World Futbol produced by Hope Is a Game-Changer.



Phil Patton
One Car Per Family
Report on Yves Béhar's design for a new "people's car."



Julie Lasky
Superbeauty
Essay on the revival of beauty in 21st-century design.



Alexandra Lange
The Mysteries of Retail
I don’t spend more than $100 easily and certainly not for something breakable, without function, or something for my kid that costs more than anything I own.



Ernest Beck
GlobalTap
Report on prototype for GlobalTap water refilling stations.



Alexandra Lange
Inappropriation
This Urchin Pouf is an expensive contemporary design object I truly adore, hence my shock at seeing an extremely cheap version in the new CB2 catalog.



Mark Lamster
Ralph Rapson: Forgotten Hero of Design Merch
If you're familiar with Cambridge, or just Harvard Square, you probably know Ben Thompson's wonderful Design Research building, now celebrating its 40th anniversary.



Rick Landesberg
The Bleating Edge
Rick Landesberg's photo of an innovative design in Haiti for keeping goats in their place.



Julie Lasky
Bigshot Camera
Report on a camera that children assemble to learn about science and engineering principles.



Jane Withers
In Praise of Shadows
Essay adapted from "In Praise of Shadows: New European Lighting Design," presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, September 19–October 18, 2009.



Alexandra Lange
Making Kids Modern: Or is it Their Moms?
An informal experiement aims to determine whether or not kids have an interest in the likes of Alexander Calder or Alexander Girard.



Alexandra Lange
White Knight
With the opening of Less and More, the new exhibition of Dieter Rams' work, I'm reminded of how frustrating it is that his past work is not in production.



The Editors
And Speaking of Sustainability...
Proceedings of a 2003 seminar about Timeship, a visionary project designed by Stephen Valentine for storing the frozen remains of people awaiting reanimation.



Andrea Codrington
Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor
Report on the Freeplay fetal heart rate monitor, which won the 2009 INDEX award in the Body category.



Ernest Beck
Peepoobag
Report on Peepoobag, a new self-sanitizing, single-use, biodegradable container for human waste.



Dmitri Siegel
Lost In the Supermarket
Dmitri Siegel gets lost in the Supermarket and encounters incredibly grippy toothbushes, spouts, nozzles, Thorstein Veblen and Adolf Loos.



Jane Margolies
Pig 05049
Report on Pig 05049, a book cataloging all of the products made from a single pig, which won the 2009 INDEX award in the Playful Learning category



Ernest Beck
Chulha Stove

Report on the Chulha stove designed by Philips to reduce indoor air pollution in developing countries.





Bryan Mealer, and William Kamkwamba
The Doers Club
Design prodigy William Kamkwamba recalls building a windmill to generate electricity for his village in Malawi, Africa.


Phil Patton
Triple-Digit Inflation
Phil Patton questions GM's sustainability claims for its Chevrolet Volt electric car.



Alec Appelbaum
FLAP Bag
Report on the FLAP bag, a multipurpose messenger bag for developing-world populations.



Alexandra Lange
Sitting Pretty
Design Within Reach is selling a reissue of a Jens Risom chair for $1100.



Ernest Beck
Olive Drab: BKLYN DESIGNS 2009
Ernest Beck reviews Brooklyn Designs 2009.



Julie Lasky
Back to the Garden
Report by Julie Lasky about the 2009 International Furniture Fair in Milan.



Debbie Millman
Daniel Formosa
Daniel Formosa, a founder of Smart Design, is a member of the design team that developed IBM’s first personal computer, the OXO Good Grips kitchen tools and XM Satellite Radio. 



Murray Moss
Design Hates a Depression
"Design tends to thrive in hard times," says The New York Times's Michael Cannell. No, it doesn't. It tends to suffer.



Andrew Blauvelt
Towards Relational Design
Is there any overarching philosophy or connective thread that joins so many of today’s most interesting and increasingly diverse designs from the fields of architecture, graphic, and product design? I believe we are in the a third major phase in modern design history, moving towards an era dominated by relationally-based design activities.



Adam Harrison Levy
The Inventor of the Cowboy Shirt
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.



Randy Nakamura
Steampunk'd, Or Humbug by Design
In this time of cultural recycling, Humbug is a word perhaps best used to describe Steampunk, a subculture supposedly born out of a mash-up of DIY (do-it-yourself), Victoriana, punk, science fiction, Japanese anime and the urge to re-skin one’s computer as 19th century bric-a-brac. If the number of recent articles in the mainstream press is any reliable barometer, Steampunk is the next big thing.



Ettore Sottsass
When I Was a Very Small Boy
Ettore Sottsass: "Everything we did was entirely absorbed in the act of doing it, in wanting to do it, and everything we did stayed ultimately inside a single extraordinary sphere of life. The design was life itself, it was the day from dawn till dusk, it was the waiting during the night..."



Michael Bierut
Fitting
Charles Brannock only invented one thing in his life: that metal thing in shoe stores that the salesman uses to measure your feet. Is it the most perfect invention of the 20th century?



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



Rob Walker
Timeless Object
What makes a useless-seeming watch potentially more valuable — in identity terms — than, say, regular jewelry?



Alice Twemlow
Design Criticism's Winding Road
To what extent does design criticism inspire a reaction; to whom is criticism addressed and what happens as a result of it being read? This article discusses the way in which an excerpt from a review of a 1955 Buick unexpectedly inspired a painting by one of the world's best-known Pop artists, Richard Hamilton.



Jessica Helfand
Another Myth Brilliantly Debunked
The Folding Paper Box Association of America would influence more than just packaging regulations: a half century before the Poynter Institute would claim authorship for its revolutionary Eye-Trac research, the FPBAA was already tracking viewers' visual responses to packaging...



David Stairs
Why Design Won't Save the World
After ten months in Africa, I recently visited the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum to see Design for the Other 90%. Here, I thought, was an exhibition I could enthusiastically embrace. Unfortunately...



Thomas de Monchaux
What If Apple Is Bad for Design?
Every commentary on the ubiquity of the iPod, or on the divertingly near prospect of the Apple iPhone, seems to emphasize that what distinguishes Apple is something called "Design." Design, or a particular understanding of it, has been good for Apple. But is Apple good for design? What if the answer is no?



Jessica Helfand
Art Director Ken
Art Director Ken is is a charmed, if mildly cautionary tale, for it brings to mind the potentially superficial nature in which we judge a person, an identity — indeed, an entire profession.



Jessica Helfand
My Cup Holder Runneth Over
When we're not hiding behind our nail-technician-primed hands, drinking our barrista-blended beverages, IMing, text-messaging, and push-button withdrawing more money from the ATM to pay for all of these things, who are we?



David Stairs
Charles Eames Among the Bullrushes
What interests me is the tendency for even uneducated Ugandans to observe and learn from their surrounding world, a fundamental hallmark of design thinking.



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
Crafting All The Way To The Bank
Craft is a tricky word. When we feel ourselves pulled in by the unforgiving vortex of digitized everything, we plead for craft, throwing it out like a life preserver — a desperate appeal to the forgotten soul. In those moments, it becomes a metaphor for a kind of imperiled humanity. But what about craft, we ask?



Jessica Helfand
Separated at Birth: Method? Or Madness?
Karim Rashid's method© cleaner is strikingly similar to that of a discount depot: coincidental congruousness?



Michael Bierut
Innovation is the New Black
Innovation is the latest buzzword to overtake the design profession. What does it mean?



Alexandra Lange
Married with Tchotchkes
For many design-obsessed couples registering at Moss requires more strategy than playing the stock market.



Rick Poynor
In Memoriam: My Manual Typewriter
The fully evolved typewriter is a 20th-century industrial archetype. It feels inevitable, almost elemental, like one of those object types, such as a chair or a fork, that simply had to exist in this universe of forms.



Adrian Shaughnessy
The Designer as Buffoon
The "Designer as Buffoon" phenomenon can be seen in two big-budget, prime-time advertising campaigns currently showing on British television. Both Ford and Ikea are promoting their respective products by offering us pumped-up caricatures of designers and inviting us to guffaw at them.



Michael Bierut
Homage to the Squares
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's exhibition Design is not Art provides a useful contrast to an simultaneous exhibition of the work of Josef and Anni Albers, and demonstrates differences between art and design.



Rick Poynor
The Ikea Riot: Unsatisfied Excess?
When Ikea threw open the doors of a new store in London, the result was mayhem as customers stampeded. Evidence of social breakdown, or a sign that the utopian argument for low-cost modernist design has been won?



Jessica Helfand
Code (PMS) Blue
Hospital rooms are architectural oddities: they're all function with no form. To the extent that, in matters of critical care, timing is everything, why should it matter? Then again, why shouldn't it?



Rick Poynor
Fear and Loathing at the Design Museum
James Dyson has accused the Design Museum in London of ruining its reputation with frivolous exhibitions. For many bemused onlookers, his complaints were out of touch with evolving public perceptions of design.




Michael Bierut
To Hell with the Simple Paper Clip
Answering the question "What's your favorite designed object?" with something humble and anonymous may be a tiresome cliche, but it's one that resonates with editors of the New York Times Magazine and curators at the Museum of Modern Art.



Observed | August 24

177 film critics from around the world pick the 100 greatest films of the 21st century (so far). [MB]

Collage is cool again. (Was it ever not?) A new book from Thames and Hudson tells us why. [JH]

The amazing Anne Trubek on handwriting, and why it matters. [JH]

Susan Gardner started "gluing things" to the front of her Cobble Hill home as a therapeutic exercise after 9/11. Fifteen years later, it’s a Brooklyn landmark. [MB]

Boston’s Museum of Science announces a design competition launched by the U.S. Department of Defense. [JH]

Looking for something meaningful in these last, dog days of summer? Help San Francisco design its future transit system! [JH]

A visit with Jennifer Kinon, design director of Hillary for America. [MB]

When bad design leads to bad things. [JH]


Observed | August 23

Engineers at Princeton University have designed a scalable microchip that promises to boost efficiency and slash energy consumption. [JH]

Forget 3D Printing: at MIT’s aptly-named Self Assembly Lab, they’re onto the fourth dimension. [JH]

The Huffington Post alerts the public to the value of white space in design. Cue the modernists! [JH]

True to form, Mozilla is (sort of) open sourcing their new brand identity, inviting the world to comment on seven possible directions developed by Michael Johnson of Johnson Banks. [MB]

While in NYC, Pratt gathers kids from low-income neighborhoods to tackle tough, current issues through design. [JH]


Observed | August 22

This is the last week to see Beatriz Colomina and Pep Aviles’s Playboy Architecture: 1953-1979 at the Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House at the Elmhurst Art Museum, a mere 18 miles from the original Playboy Building. [MB]

Shocker: T.G.I. Friday’s, the most over-decorated restaurant chain in the world, goes minimalist. What will become of all that clutter? [MB]

Back to School! University of Nebraska-Lincoln adds graphic design major to compete with the “big ten”. [JH]

This is a book, but it screams to be a movie. Who doesn’t want to watch the scene where 40 of the world’s most famous architects are sequestered in a Stanford White hotel, only to be interrogated (about their creative genius) by a group of brainiac psychologists? CUT TO: the war room at the US Department of Defense—who funded part of the study. Unbelievable—but true. [JH]

"Now, everyone at MoMA PS1 probably has more to think about than a couch, but this couch is very important.” [MB]


Observed | August 20

Northeast Ohio is built like New England because it used to be owned by Connecticut. [MB]

Modernism goes to the movies: director Kogonada is currently shooting “Columbus,” a film inspired by the Indiana town’s modern architecture and starring Parker Posey and John Cho. [MB]

Design doesn’t scale. [BE]

The IBM Think Pad duly recognized in an exquisite cover from the new Phaidon book on industrial designer Richard Sapper. [JH]


Observed | August 19

From AIA, initial resources for architects and designers to respond to the flooding in Baton Rouge. [MB]

Ivanka Trump’s unpaid intern explains how to survive as an unpaid intern. Really. [MB]

Instagram photos and depression. [BE]

In the UK, studies show that more University-level students are studying design. [JH]

Former MIT Media Lab guru, RISD President and the first design partner at Kleiner Perkins, the latest chapter in John Maeda’s excellent adventure. [JH]

Why thinking different might be thinking wrong. [JH]


Observed | August 18

A guided tour of the typographic history of the New Yorker, led by the magazine’s creative director Nicholas Blechman. [MB]

Three stories in the news today about innovation through design education, beginning with a new partnership from the Eastman Innovation Lab []



Jobs | August 24