Debbie Millman
Design Matters From the Archive: Louise Fili

Debbie talks to Louise Fili about designing book covers, designing for restaurants, about why she prefers working for small businesses, and about the importance of sketching.

Debbie Millman
Design Matters From The Archive: Marian Bantjes

Debbie talks to Marian Bantjes about her daring typography and her highly ornamental designs.

Adrian Shaughnessy
Typographic Tipping Point

Have we reached peak typeface?

Ava Kofman
The Printer’s Progress

The (book) art of ideals

Rick Poynor
Posters by Hans Hillmann for Jean-Luc Godard’s Films

The work of a master of cinematic graphic design

Erik Spiekermann
Should Architects Understand Type?

The relationship between architecture and graphic design has deep roots.

Jessica Helfand

For Paul Rand, a modern mark was a simple mark, and the secret to making things last lay in keeping them simple.

Rob Walker
“Kern Your Enthusiasm”
Jason Santa Maria
On Web Typography: Smart Quotes

Punctuation is a system.

Rick Poynor
The Mysteries of France:
A Gothic Guidebook

Guide de la France mystérieuse, illustrated by Roman Cieslewicz, is a surreal beast of a travel book.

The Editors
Parametric Posters from MuirMcNeil
Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: Text as Textile
Debbie Millman
Gary Hustwit

Gary Hustwit is an independent filmmaker who has produced six feature documentaries, including Helvetica.

A Neue Font We Don't Need

Last week saw the wide publication of Comic Neue — an updated version of the much maligned Comic Sans.

Bryn Smith
De Vinne at the Grolier Club in New York

A review of the Grolier Club’s quiet, yet noteworthy exhibition, “The Dean of American Printers: Theodore Low De Vinne and The Art Preservative of All Arts”.

Chris Pullman
How Can One (Re)make Swiss Typography?

Chris Pullman on the 1970's covers of Typografische Monatsblätter, a monthly journal serving the Swiss printing and typography industry.


Typolitic is a new website that presents some of the best typographic student work from undergraduate design courses around the world.

Alexandra Lange
Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories

A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.

The A to Z Project

Bierut, Doyle, Gill, Haze + 40 more...all in the A to Z Project for FreeArtsNYC.

Alexandra Lange
Art On Campus

A review of the renovated Blaffer Art Museum and James Turrell's latest skyspace, "Twilight Epiphany."

Steven Heller
Lettering Large

An excerpt and gallery from Steven Heller and Mirko Ilić's new book: Lettering Large: Art and Design of Monumental Typography.

Letterforms + Birthdays 2014 Calendar

Rob Saunders, Curator of the Letterform Archive has designed a 2014 calendar with each month featuring a rare masterwork from the Letterform Archive, exquisitely reproduced in high fidelity and full color.

Alexandra Lange
L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman

A Kickstarter for an upcming exhibition on the wotk of Deborah Sussman in Los Angeles.

Debbie Millman
Oded Ezer

Typographer Oded Ezer talks about the idea of a universal language — and how his limitations as a musican and poet led to his extraordinary typography.

John Foster
Asemic Writing: Open to Interpretation

Michael Jacobson’s Gallery of Asemic Writing is a website repository for international artists, writers, readers and viewers.

Sean Adams
Sean Adams on Typography
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.

Roshanak Keyghobadi
Composing in Space: Tactile Poetry of Farhad Fozouni

A review of work by Iranian graphic designer Farhad Fozouni.

The Beauty of Letterpress

Neenh Paper has released the Beauty of Letterpress, Issue 4, designed by Mikey Burton.

The Strange Paragraph Symbol

In his book, Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks, software engineer and writer Keith Houston looks into punctuation, symbols and other typographical marks.

Alexandra Lange
That Personal Touch
John Foster
Enjoying TypeToy
Modern Pictograms

Modern Pictograms is an icon typeface for interface designers by John Caserta, a project of The Design Office.

Debbie Millman
Jennifer Sterling

Jennifer Sterling on her process, how money should be designed, and the way teaching has influenced her career.

John Foster
The Proper Art of Writing in 1655

Accidental Mysteries for March 03, 2013 focuses on the proper art of writing in 1655.

Debbie Millman
Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich

Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich discusses growing up in Brazi, the role of art versus design, and why it is so important to be witty.

Introducing Ductus

Introducing Ductus, a new typeface from Thomas Jockin.

Rob Walker
Let’s Make A Mark
John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Debbie Millman
Jason Kottke

In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Jason Kottke talks about blogging for over fourteen years and what it means to be "old" online.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Peter Vogel's mysterious aging techniques are highly guarded, and for good reason.: as works of art, his handmade signs are nothing short of spectacular. 

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Rick Poynor
Dom Sylvester Houédard’s Cosmic Typewriter
Debbie Millman
Louise Fili

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

Rick Poynor
Herbert Spencer and the Decisive Detail
Alexandra Lange
3rd Annual Holiday Card Review
Louise Fili
A Life in Letters

An excerpt from Louise Fili's Elegantissima.

Michael Bierut
The Typeface of Truth

What are the implications when Errol Morris declares the typeface most likely to induce credulity is Baskerville?

Arial vs Helvetica: War is Hell

The type world just isn't big enough for the both Arial and Helvetica. So what happens when they go to war?

Alexandra Lange
Obama’s New Fonts
Bill Moran
Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum

The Hamilton Wood Type Foundry museum, a living monument.

Rick Poynor
Studio Culture: The Materialism of Matter

Studio, print shop, dance club and store: a photographic essay on Matter's design HQ in Denver.

Rick Poynor
The Enduring Influence of Richard Hollis

An exhibition of Richard Hollis’s work provides the first public opportunity to assess the entire shape of his output.

Michael Erard
The Elements – Molecules, Atoms and Quarks – of Style
Rick Poynor
Typographic Stories of the City Streets

Characters, a new book by Stephen Banham, investigates the stories behind Melbourne’s street signs.

Rick Poynor
Motif Magazine: The World Made Visible

Motif magazine, founded in 1958, anticipated a new way of seeing, documenting and appreciating the “visible world.”

Pat Kirkham
Reassessing the Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock Collaboration

The evidence, scholarship and debates: Saul Bass and the famous shower scene in “Psycho.”

Rick Poynor
Saul Leiter and the Typographic Fragment
Alexandra Lange
What Makes Architecture Useful?
Rick Poynor
Richard Hamilton, the Great Decipherer

The artist Richard Hamilton, who died this week, was an acute observer of design and the contemporary world.

Rick Poynor
Paul Stiff, the Reader’s Champion
Paul Shaw
Standard Deviations: Types and Families in Contemporary Design

When the Museum of Modern Art decided, at the beginning of this year, to expand its purview and include typefaces, it was a moment of celebration. However, the feeling of elation quickly gave way to puzzlement.

Erik Spiekermann
Erik Spiekermann - Putting Back the Face into Typeface

In this video, Erik Spiekermann discusses his process and methods for designing type.

Andy Chen
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Cub

Is design strictly a set of rules?

Michael Bierut
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mentor, Or, Why Modernist Designers Are Superior
Jessica Helfand
Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones but Print Can Never Hurt Me: A Letter to Fiona on First Reading "The End of Print"

In 2000, Jessica Helfand wrote a letter to her daughter Fiona, giving her a primer on graphic design.

Alexandra Lange
Sans Serif Seasons Greetings

The market in "modern" holiday cards grows every year, but the choices--Helvetica, brown and baby blue, color blocks--still seem dated.

Rick Poynor
Rethinking Conceptual Type Design
Michael Bierut
Michael Bierut on Typography

In a video interview with The Atlantic, Michael Bierut talks about typography.

Meena Kadri
Two Rupees Worth

Now that the dust has settled on India's launch of their rupee symbol we are starting to see its application beyond the initial fanfare.

Ken Botnick, and Ira Raja
The Subtle Technology of Indian Artisanship

How India's craftsmen offer lessons in design thinking.

James Merrill
"b o d y"

A poem by James Merrill.

Eric J. Herboth
Eames the Typeface

A look at the new Eames Century Modern typeface, designed by Erik van Blokland, and developed by House Industries in collaboration with the Eames Office.

Dirk Wachowiak
Peter Bilak & Satya Rajpurohit: Interview on Typography

Dirk Wachowiak interviews Peter Bilak and Satya Rajpurohit on their recent collaboration, the Hindi version of Bilak’s Fedra.

Alexandra Lange
Where Have All the Type Geeks Gone?

Set in Helvetica, the title for Up In the Air looks plain wrong.

Mark Lamster
Belgium: A Note on the Type

When you think about national schools of typography, Belgium isn't the first country that comes to mind.

Sebastian Carter
Jan Tschichold — Master Typographer

Jan Tschichold was one of the most distinguished typographers of the last century, and has had many admirers, among whom he himself was not the least. Jan Tschichold — Master Typographer is, as its title suggests, intended as a tribute to it's subject, but it is one which would have displeased him greatly.

Ars Libri Ltd
Writing & Calligraphy

This remarkable collection of Writing & Calligraphy from the noted connoisseur and bibliophile Peter Arms Wick.

Alexandra Lange
Numbers Game

In an attempt to skirt around the Landmakrs Preservation Commission, modernists in my neighborhood are declaring their taste through their house numbers.

Jonathan Barnbrook
New Year's Greeting

A New Year's greeting from Jonathan Barnbrook, with a quote from George W. Bush.

Steven Heller
Charles Peignot: Man Behind the Faces

This is but one example of Charles Peignot’s influence on type and typography, which made his professional life so important to the history of design...

Steven Heller
Vanity Fair Type: 1930 Style

Paola Antonelli
The Typographer’s Guide to the Galaxy

Before Oded decided to mix chemistry and typography, his work already explored the inner soul of letters by letting them channel the personality of a poet’s or a musician’s work.

Matthew Peterson
The Cuckoo Bird and the Keyboard

Designers are famously nauseated by novices' use of neutral quotes — or dumb quoes — in place of true quotes. Why do we care so much? Should we?

Jessica Helfand
Type Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

Designers make choices about the appropriateness of type based on any number of criteria, and "liking it" is indeed one of them. But is that enough?

William Drenttel
Stephen Doyle: A Few Words

Stephen Doyle is a graphic wordsmith.

William Drenttel
Wood That We Could

Remember back in the late 1980s, when Minneapolis was a hotbed of creative energy? Back when brochures were tied together with braid and twigs? Minnesota was making a play for the next big thing: the North Woods look. Well, it's back...

Rob Giampietro
The Fonts of Summer

Why not summer fonts? I can't think of a good reason why not. Like all things summer, a summer font need only follow a few simple rules. Be catchy. Be simple. Be happy. And be gone soon enough to belong to a single summer only. It's the Summer of Grouch. ITC Grouch, that is.

Adrian Shaughnessy
Barnbrook Bible: A Graphic Autobiography

Jonathan Barnbrook's new book, Barnbrook Bible, ranks amongst the most ambitious personal projects undertaken by any graphic designer...

Jessica Helfand
Harry Potter and The Enchanted Letterforms

The most recent theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix includes a paradigm shift that warrants particular recognition, for the simple reason that this may be the first film in which mere letterforms, once the purview of the production designer, break free and actually join the cast.

Jessica Helfand
Why Is This Font Different From All Other Fonts?

Earlier this spring, our local art-supply store closed its doors. The promise of discount art supplies looms large, so off I went. There was a paltry selection of picked-over goods, until a chipboard assortment of "birthday letters" caught my eye. Birthday letters? I think not. This is Faux Hebrew.

Michael Bierut
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Typeface

Why choose a particular typeface for a particular situation? Here are thirteen reasons.

Michael Bierut
Our Little Secret

The documentary Helvetica premieres in a world where everyone knows how to do something that once only very few did: how to set type.

Dmitri Siegel
The New New Typography

French design duo Vier5 make new typography. The author raises questions about modernism and typography.

Debbie Millman
Doyald Young

Master typographer Doyald Young is also the author of The Art of the Letter, Logotypes, and Letterforms: Handlettered Logotypes and Other Typographic Considerations.

Jessica Helfand
The Not-So-Golden Age of Zero Tolerance

When I was a student, the assignments and their expected outcomes were intentionally conceived as chore-like, specific and frankly, narrow. This was the age of zero tolerance: deviation from a designated format was neither an approved approach nor an acceptable method. Today, the opposite is more likely to be true: a student who does not expand his or her approach to a project is strongly encouraged to do so.

William Drenttel
Silk Road Typography

"This is the Silk Road at its worst: a kind of PC 1990s where each and every interest has to be fairly represented — a letter for every voice. The result is Babel, seven discordant voices singing in the wind." Commentary on new European Union 50th anniversary logo, and a look back at the 100th anniversary logo for the New York Public Library.

Michael Bierut
The Golden Age of American Commercialism

The encroachment of commercialism into everyday life seems like a peculiarly modern phenomenon. Yet around one hundred years ago, America began a romance with salesmanship that today seems almost delirious. A 1922 business directory shows how great crass commercialism used to look.

Jessica Helfand
The Global Curse of Comic Sans

In this coastal region slung just below the Pyrenees, one might expect to see evidence of the enduring cultural tensions between Spain and Catalonia — different kinds of signs or symbols, for instance â€" but on the surface at least, no such rift is exposed. Instead, Catalonia clings to a visual language that celebrates the goofy: this is a country awash in Comic Sans.

William Drenttel
Move It Down . . . A Little to the Right

That some years ago, some poor sign installer went to put the first letter of the name of the museum up on the wall, and someone screamed, "No, you idiot! Lower! Much Lower! Get it down close to the edge. And a quarter-inch to the right." That the building is the Guggenheim Museum, and that the architect was Frank Lloyd Wright, makes this photographic detail especially interesting.

Rob Giampietro
Kafka & Typography

For many, including myself, "The Trees" is about typography, and, in its first sentence, Kafka lets letters speak directly to the reader themselves: "we are like tree trunks in the snow." Picture a field after a recent snowfall. Think of the straight, almost runic lines of the fallen boughs. Approaching them, they seem like characters from an unused alphabet.

Debbie Millman
Ed Fella

Ed Fella is an artist, graphic designer and educator whose work has had a critical influence on contemporary typography in the United States and in Europe. 

Michael Bierut
Variations on a Theme: New York's High Priorities

A half-page weekly feature in New York magazine has become a showcase for some of the world's best graphic designers.

Jessica Helfand
Freedom of Speech or Filching of Style? The New Law of Eminent Lo-Mein

DIY design invading typography terrain: culture-jamming in the domains of freedom of speech, pharmaceutics, and pop-culture.

Debbie Millman
Jonathan Hoefler + Tobias Frere-Jones

Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones are partners in their own eponymous type foundry where they developing and digitize original typefaces.

Adrian Shaughnessy
"Can you make the type bigger?"

Rick Poynor
The Guardian’s New European Look

The Guardian's choice of the "Berliner" format, half-way between broadsheet and tabloid, is an inspired alternative. The paper is the first British title to adopt this European page size. Elegant, well-proportioned pages make its tabloid rivals look like poor relations.

Debbie Millman
Marian Bantjes, Alexander Gelman + Michael Surtees

An interview with Marian Bantjes, Alexander Gelman and Michael Surtees of DesignNotes.

Jessica Helfand
Our Bodies, Our Fonts

Body markings — piercings, tattoos and so forth — have recently evolved into a kind of marginalized form of graphic expression, yet one that sheds an unusual light on some of the more mainstream ways in which design often reveals itself.

Michael Bierut
I Hate ITC Garamond

ITC Garamond, a popular typeface designed in 1975, is quite simply ugly, and I hate it.

William Drenttel
Font Forensics, Or Whether George W. Bush Is Hiding Something

William Drenttel
Penmanship: The Voice of A Future Designer

Michael Bierut
The Bodoni Conspiracy

Eerie parallels between the cover designs of the reports of the 9/11 Commission and the Monicagate investigator Kenneth Starr suggest a conspiracy that can be traced back to sixteenth-century type designer Giambattista Bodoni.

Jessica Helfand
Ask Not What Your Typeface Can Do For You: Ask What You Can Do For Your Typeface

"Manhattan-based architect Frederic Schwarz's memorial 'Empty Sky' WILL USE Times New Roman..."

Michael Bierut
Stanley Kubrick and the Future of Graphic Design

Stanley Kubrick's attention to the nuances of graphic design, typography, and branding went far beyond his well-documented obsession with Futura Extra Bold. 2001: A Space Odyssey in particular projects a perfectly designed vision of the future that has never been topped.

Jessica Helfand
Annals of Typographic Oddity No. 2: Spaceship Gothic

Jessica Helfand
Blanket Statements

Jessica Helfand
The DNA of AND: Ampersand as Myth and Metaphor

Jessica Helfand
Annals of Typographic Oddity: Mourning Becomes Helvetica

William Drenttel
Typography and Diplomacy

Michael Bierut
Rob Roy Kelly’s Old, Weird America

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."

Rick Poynor
Notes on Experimental Jetset

Experimental Jetset’s argument that design should have a certain autonomy and an inner logic separate from tastes and trends makes sense, but as a rationale for defaulting to Helvetica, is it convincing?

Jessica Helfand
Sign Language: Endangered Species or Utopian Uprising?

At turns provocative and peculiar, photographs of a new building in Birmingham, England, hint at a utopian uprising: No angles. No signs. In other words: no branding?

Rick Poynor
Unnecessary Revival

As a first-time enthusiast for American Typewriter, I was happy to see it pass into history. Resurrecting the typeface now that the typewriter has given way to digital technology is just nostalgia ― soft at the core.

Rick Poynor
Those Inward-looking Europeans

Three American design teachers visit London and the Netherlands. European designers, they say, are not paying attention to design history. Maybe the visitors are missing local factors and broader global issues.

William Drenttel
Information Archaeology

Russ Kick is "a self-described 'information archaeologist...'" The revealing of state secrets through deconstructing a PDF.

Jessica Helfand
Color Me Kurt

Having seen Schwarzenegger as a black man before he was elected Governor, one can only imagine what's next for Colors under Kurt Andersen.

Michael Bierut
The New York Times: Apocalypse Now, Page A1

Michael Bierut on the typographic redesign of the New York Times, October 2003.

William Drenttel
VAS: An Opera in Flatland

VAS: An Opera in Flatland is the first full-length novel by Steve Tomasula and Stephen Farrell.

William Drenttel
Twin (Cities) Type in Flux

A new typeface commissioned for the City of Minneapolis moves when the wind blows. Is this what Gutenberg imagined when he invented movable type?

Jessica Helfand
The Real Declaration

William Drenttel
Paul Rand: Bibliography as Biography

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

Creative Opportunities
  • Twitter Facebook Google+
    Tumblr Pinterest RSS

    Design Observer
    social media à la carte
  • Newsletter signup