Disaster Relief


Paul Polak
The SunWater Project: Advanced Solar Technology for Poor Farmers
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 Thackara
‘Beyond Good Intentions’ – The Movie
A new documentary hopes to answer the question "What happens in a disaster area after the initial wave of support?"


John Thackara
From Druids to Biorefineries: Innovation in a Small Nation
Small nations can be flexible in ways that big one cannot.



Mark Lamster
Majority Report
Review of Design with the Other 90%: Cities


John Thackara
Utopia is Here
Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner, made in 1982, portrays a dystopian Los Angeles as it might be in 2019. In just eight years we are due to find out whether or not the film was an accurate prediction.



Ernest Beck
Creative Support for Japan
Creative responses to the crisis in Japan.



Ernest Beck
Mensch at Work
Review of The Power of Pro Bono



Tony Whitfield
Prepared for Haiti
Tony Whitfield meditates on the assistance designers should give in Haiti following the earthquake, and in future catastrophes.



Ernest Beck
State of Shelter
Relief organizations still rely on the same basic options for emergency housing, but new ideas are taking hold.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF and Early Childhood Development
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Early Childhood Development Project proposed a new approach to emergency kits that would be more precisely tuned to young children’s intellectual and emotional needs, as well as outlined a basis for the next AIGA/INDEX: Aspen Design Challenge.



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


Bradford McKee
Float House
Report on a floating house designed by Morphosis and UCLA architecture students for the Make It Right Foundation,



Ernest Beck
Emergency Response Studio
Report on artist Paul Villinski's mobile studio, which he converted from a trailer of the type used by FEMA to house victims of Hurricane Katrina.



Observed | March 28

Hungarian government could ban Heineken‘s red star logo over communism concerns. [MPL]

Annals of material culture: the Bodlean Library at Oxford mounts an exhibit of ledgers revealing what famous people once paid for shoes. [JH]

New one-pound coin in Britain is designed by a 17-year-old! [JH]

Design as tourism : Sweden edition. [JH]


Observed | March 27

The smartphone with a mission to be used less often. [MPL]

Mike Monteiro: Ethics can‘t be a side hustle. (Thanks to Ashleigh Axios.) [MB]

Target is redesigning to take on Amazon. [MPL]


Observed | March 24

A history of the zipper. [MPL]

Designer vs Developer: Google‘s YouTube and podcast series aims to help bridge understanding. [MPL]

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on the early days of design at Apple. [JH]


Observed | March 23

Norway has redesigned its banknotes: here’s a preview. (Via Kevin Hicks.) [JH]

Gurafiku founder Ryan Hageman on Japanese graphic design. [MPL]

How a photo of a tour van became a “lovely graphic tool” in the hands of Harry Pearce. [JH]

The US Supreme Court rules that design elements can be copyrighted ... if you’re a cheerleader, that is. [JH]


Observed | March 22

10 notebooks for designers. (And they‘re not all Moleskines.) [MPL]

All of Frida Kahlo‘s anguish, beauty, and pain in, what else, 160 FridaMoji. [BV]

A collection of East German beer and drink labels. [MB]

"The standards of good design don’t change when designing for doing good.” Why the Resistance doesn’t need another logo. [MB]

“So now is a good moment to think about how protest works and what it can achieve.” An exhibition on the visual history of protest opens tomorrow at the Imperial War Museum in London. [JH]


Observed | March 21

Why Christopher Gray was the witty architectural historian everybody loved. [BV]

The Resistance has a logo. [MB]

Chicago gang business cards from the 70s and 80s. [MB]

Roman Mars ranks government logos. [MPL]

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, artistic expressions of mathematics over seven centuries. [MB]


Observed | March 20

Black + blue + swoosh = space logo. Cosma Schema wants to blast this to outer space. Meanwhile, SpaceX wants to have internet in space. [MPL]

“That is the great learning tool and the great joy of life: this idea that you sit down and out of nothing, you create something.” On the 50th anniversary of his iconic poster for Bob Dylan, an interview with Milton Glaser. [MB]

Trump’s budget is an assault against creativity in America. [MPL]

A mesmerizing data visualization of educational attainment in America. [MB]

Boot, wheelbarrow, thimble: out. Penguin, ducky, Tyrannosaurus rex: in. [MB]


Observed | March 17

Groovy textiles. [MPL]



Jobs | March 28