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Sara Jamshidi
Black Hand: Iranian Banksy?
07.31.14

Black Hand is one of the numerous underground artists in Iran and his exhibition is neither the first nor the last underground exhibition.

Observed
Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award
06.02.14

Sylvia Harris is widely recognized as a pioneer, a generous mentor and a vital inspiration to the field of social impact design. In that spirit, the Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award has been established to honor her legacy by supporting other vanguards dedicated to public design.

Adam Harrison Levy
The Last Unknown Place in New York
The Editors
A Mother’s Work is Never Done
05.11.14

This year, for Mother's Day, Design Observer collected photos of women designers and their offspring in varying forms: we received entries in the form of then-and-now contemporary photos, of generational divides, of mothers as children (next to their children, as — no surprise —children) and even, because we're impatient and couldn't wait, one father and his lovely brood.

John Thackara
Presence and Encounter — How We Meet Is As Important As Why
05.07.14

I’m not suggesting that we abandon social media — just that we cultivate a hybrid approach so whenever someone says “online” someone else says, “and what about offline?”. Or when we find ourselves inside, someone else says: “and when do we go outside?”

Alex Knowlton
Miami Nice
04.30.14

Alex Knowlton reviews this year's ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design in Miami Beach.

Observed
Charity Ball
04.30.14

A short film about Ethan King, a 15 year old from Michigan whose dream is to give soccer balls to kids all over the world.

David Morris
The Public Library
Observed
Bistrophobie Poster
04.03.14

Can a poster shut people up? Locals in a bistro-dense corner of Paris would like to think so.

Anne Quito
Anne Quito on Quiet
John Foster
The Greenville, NC Daily Reflector: 1948 to 1967
Observed
Deventer
03.24.14

In Deventer, the Netherlands, a routine real estate deal and demolition became the site of innovation and new intelligence in urban design.

Rob Walker
Boris, Subverted
03.12.14

The Neighborhood Watch symbol Boris The Burglar is powerfully familiar; what does that mean when it's subverted?

Observed
Very Cool Playgrounds
02.18.14

Over on Wired, Liz Stinson profiles Monstrum, a Danish design studio that specializes in fantastic wooden playgrounds.
Liz Gerber
The Trifecta of Feedback
12.19.13

The value of feedback and a proposal for the best ways to receive it.

John Thackara
Dementia: Care Before Cure
John Foster
Extraordinary Spanish Art Environments
11.10.13

Jo Farb Hernández spent close to fourteen years surveying the elaborate fanciful worlds, idiosyncratic sculptures and unique visionary creations of 45 self-taught Spanish artists.

Observed
Feeding Young Brains
11.05.13

AIGA Portland and The Right Brain Inititative have partnered on a new project to encourage kids to think creaively.

An Open Letter to AIGA
Status Quo or Transformation? A False Choice
10.23.13

An open letter to AIGA.

Alexandra Lange
Where We Work
10.21.13

A Kickstarter for co-working space Makeshift Society points to the light, space and tools creative freelancers need to be productive.

Natalie Foster
Natalie Foster on Sharing
09.19.13

On this episode of Insights Per Minute, Natalie Foster explains sharing.

John Thackara
Speed? What Speed? The Belly-Dance Drummer, by Matthias Rieger
John Thackara
Between Sorrel And Supertanker
08.22.13

John Thackara reviews the recent Doors of Perception xskool.

Observed
From Dance Hall to Design Studio to Dance Hall
08.21.13

Jeremy M. Lange photographs the inaugural dance held in the restored barn that used to be his grandfather's design studio.

Alexandra Lange
Rural Vacation | Urban Questions
08.20.13

Driving Vermont's rural routes I began to wonder: Why does this town get a brand-new energy-efficient supermarket, and that one a minimart-slash-video store-slash-bank?

Manisha Sharma
Gendered Arrangements: India
07.16.13

Girls are considered a burden in Indian society, the issue is popularly known as the “missing girls” phenomenon.

Observed
A Book for Two
Rick Poynor
Inkahoots and Socially Concerned Design: Part 2
Rick Poynor
Inkahoots and Socially Concerned Design: Part 1
06.26.13

The Australian design team Inkahoots is a model of community-based graphic design practice.

Alexandra Lange
Every Little Thing
06.21.13

Cranbrook: A campus where the designers have thought of everything.

Observed
Be an AIGA Design Star
05.29.13

Command X — the AIGA live design reality show that happens on stage at the biennial design conference — is back for its fourth season.

John Thackara
Cycle Commerce As An Ecosystem
05.21.13

John Thackara reviews new products, services and ingredients needed to help a cycle commerce ecosystem flourish in India’s cities, towns and villages.

Paul Polak
The SunWater Project: Advanced Solar Technology for Poor Farmers
05.16.13

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 Foster
The Imagination of Playgrounds
04.14.13

A look back at the playgrounds of our youth, as captured by artists and photographers — and ourselves.

Alexandra Lange
What It Costs (to Buy a Bench, to Extend a Curb)
04.09.13

Participatory budgeting lets communities put their own urban priorities in order.

Observed
Free Desk Here
03.20.13

Free Desk Here is a collaboration initiative set up by Nick Couch to encourage collaboration between design professionals.

Observed
Atrocity Prevention Challenge
03.08.13

USAID, Humanity United and OpenIDEO have partnered to pursue ways to prevent mass atrocities – that is, deliberate mass violence against civilians.

Observed
A Campaign to Save The Post Office
02.14.13

Tucker Nichols is campaigning to save the Post Office.

Observed
One World Futbol
11.09.12

For children in impoverished countries, where soccer balls donated by relief agencies often rip and quickly deflate, Tim Jahnigen has developed a ball that can last for decades.

Mark Lamster
High (Line) Anxiety
10.22.12

Is the High Line above criticism?

Observed
Design Indaba Online FilmFest
10.20.12

Design Indaba's online film festival features 10 of the Focus Forward short films.

Observed
Public Works
10.18.12

PUBLIC WORKS is a poster exhibition created by PUBLIC, a design based bicycle company with a mission to improve the quality and character of our cities and public spaces.

Rick Poynor
Demonstrations, Democracy and Design
Rick Poynor
Why the Activist Poster is Here to Stay
Scott Boylston
Designing Design into Society
09.11.12

A report on the Design Ethos 2012 DO-ference.

William Drenttel, and OBlog
Update: Design For Change Goes Global
05.18.12

Design For Change, the international design project that gives young people a chance to make a design contribution in their villages and cities has now reached 34 countries, launched a new website and conference, as well as school and communities challenges.

Observed
The Hypothetical Development Organization
05.17.12

The Hypothetical Development Organization will be included in the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale.

Andrew Shea
Flies in Urinals: The Value of Design Disruptions
05.01.12

How a disruption in routine (potentially by design) can alter the environment.

John Thackara
Istanbul: City of Seeds
Observed
Flyover Farm
04.18.12

A Kickstarter Project: Flyover Farm is a food project in Mumbai, India by Fresh & Local to transform an unused rooftop into a thriving urban farm and community space.

William Drenttel
Designing for Social Change
03.20.12

Designing for Social Change is a toolkit of strategies, case studies, and stories, offering new opportunities for approaching social design in our communities.

John Thackara
Navy Yard, GradComD, Brown Bag, Hard Hat
Michael Erard
What I Didn’t Write About When I Wrote About Quitting Facebook
11.23.11

The author writes about the genre you could call the Social Media Exile essay.

Photo by Iain McKell
The New Gypsies
09.16.11

Photographer Iain McKell documents England's romantic travelers

John Foster
DART St. Louis
06.24.11

On DART St. Louis, a charitable photo project that brings overlooked neighborhoods to life.

Jane Margolies
How to Start a Movement
06.13.11

Interview with movement entrepreneur Jeremy Heimans, founder of Purpose.com.

Maria Popova
A Voice for LGBTQ in the Middle East
06.01.11

Interview with Esra'a Al Shafei, founder of Ahwaa, a portal for LGBTQ issues in the Middle East

Joanne Chew
China: Brooms, Mops and Chairs
05.26.11

Considering everyday objects like mops and brooms within China's broader historical context reframes the relationship between Chinese people and their streets and is, for that matter, a testament to their communal living habits.

Gavin Browning
Community Hero: Queens Museum of Art
05.03.11

Queens Museum of Art, a model for community service, breaks ground on new addition.

Maria Popova
D-Build
02.28.11

A streamlined approach to dismantling and recycling buildings.

John Thackara
Africa: Where Events Are King
02.20.11

John Thackara interviews Mugendi M’Rithaa.

Julie Lasky
DesigNYC, Round 2
02.18.11

Report on second round of pro bono design initiatives fostered by DesigNYC.

Ernest Beck
BOOM
02.11.11

Report on a visionary residential complex for aging gay boomers.

Alexandra Lange
Whatever Happened to the Dinner Party?
Jonathan Schultz
Give a Minute
01.31.11

Report on Local Projects' Give a Minute initiative to improve urban life.

Maria Popova
The Age of Coworking: Collaborative Consumption for the Creative Community
01.24.11

Report on the new (golden) age of coworking.

Maria Popova
Helping People Help Their Narratives
12.20.10

Interview with Andrew McGregor, founder of The Tiziano Project

Constantin Boym
Out of Sight: Qatari Workers' Housing
12.14.10

Constantin Boym reports on efforts to improve the living conditions of Qatar's migrant workers.

Jonathan Schultz
Solo Kota Kita
10.28.10

Report on a design-oriented sysem for providing information about community resources in Indonesia as an aid for budgeting.

James Lapides
Graphic Intervention
10.14.10

A slideshow containing images from Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010, now on view at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Update 09.25.10
09.25.10

Dateline Aspen. An on-going report on progress on the six projects developed at the Aspen Design Summit in November 2009.

Jade Dressler
Degrees of Temporary
09.22.10

Interview with Claudia Zanfi, co-founder of the cultural organization aMAZElab in Milan.

Jane Margolies
Renewing the Riverfront
09.20.10

Report on an exhibition showcasing efforts to revitalize a derelict patch of Brattleboro, Vermont.

Photo by Teun Voeten
Hell Under Wheels
09.02.10

Photo from Teun Voeten's newly reissued book on New York's Tunnel People.

William Underhill
Somali Documentary Project
08.25.10

Report on the Somali Documentary Project.

Photo by Greg Constantine
Nubians Then and Now
08.05.10

Image of Nubian homes in the Kibera area of Nairobi by Greg Constantine.

Michael Erard
The Dream Job Project Part II
07.19.10

How do you conceive of the future work to shoot for, and how you'll do it? The results of these questions, part II.

Vera Sacchetti
"But Teacher! That’s Not Design!"
07.08.10

Interview with Portuguese communication designer Barbara Alves about teaching in Mozambique.

Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson
New Visions of Home
06.30.10

Report on new housing models for the elderly.

Michael Erard
The Dream Job Project
04.08.10

How do you conceive of the future work to shoot for, and how you'll do it? I invite you to weigh in.

Ernest Beck
Es Tiempo
03.22.10

Report on Es Tiempo, a campaign designed to encourage Hispanic women in Southern California to seek annual screenings for cervical cancer.

Justin Kemerling
The Volunteer Design Chronicles (Lincoln, NE)
02.22.10

Community-focused pro-bono design activities in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Julie Lasky
DesigNYC
02.01.10

DesigNYC is the latest grass-roots organization to match socially minded designers with nonprofits.

Rachel Berger
A Makeover for the BART Map
01.08.10

Unlike the notorious 1972 Massimo Vignelli redesign of the New York City subway map, the new BART map didn't make much of a splash in graphic design circles.

Jennifer Ehrenberg
Chicago Welcomes You
12.03.09

On designing a resettlement process for Burmese immigrants in Chicago.

Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: Sustainable Food and Childhood Obesity
11.24.09

At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the Sustainable Food Project focused on accelerating the shift from a global, abstract food system to a regional, real food system via a robust portfolio of activities — including a grand challenge and a series of youth-engagement programs.

Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: CDC and Healthy Aging
11.23.09

At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the CDC Healthy Aging Project began with the initial premise to enhance the ability of public health entities to determine whether adults 50 and over have received recommended preventive health services. The Project developed a “5 over 50” concept and brand name, and a new goal: to double the current number of people who are “up to date” with these preventive measures.

Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: Hale County Rural Poverty Project
11.23.09

At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the Hale County Rural Poverty Project conceived of a socio-economic model of resource allocation through an online platform for accelerated regional development in the Black Belt counties of rural Alabama.

Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Initial Report
11.20.09

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

Jonathan Schultz
DESIS
John Thackara
John Thackara Answers Your Questions
09.23.09

John Thackara answers questions from the readers of DESIGN 21.

Kerry William Purcell
The Art of Psychographics
09.10.09

Each and every graphic design signifies a memory. A familiar sign, map or poster can often trigger a set of associations in the viewer, a series of thoughts and feelings that have their own unique trajectory. 

Allison Arieff
WeCommune
09.03.09

WeCommune offers a technology platform for people who want to share resources and build community within particular subcultures.

Julie Lasky
Pizza Farm
09.02.09

Report on Project M at Winterhouse's Pizza Farm event in rural Connecticut in August 2009.

John Thackara
Get Out of Your Tents!
08.17.09

In an interview with OK Do, John Thackara urges us to do real things in the real world.

John Thackara
Doctors with iPhones
05.08.09

The neighborhood doctor is back — and this time, he has an iPhone.

Mark Lamster
Practice Does Not Make Perfect
12.25.08

The J-E-T-S spent $75 million this year on a state-of-the-art new training facility designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, but they may still miss the playoffs.

John Thackara
Design for (Im)mobility: Interview with Domus
07.15.07

John Thackera defines and explains the importance of ethnoecology.

Mark Lamster
Seeing Red
01.01.06

Red Bogart blamed technology and changing attitudes for the reason he sold Camp Tomahawk, but Mark Lamster knew there was something more to the story.


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