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 | August 21

Peter Saville’s iconic album covers. [BV]

“Conservatives, broadly speaking, are incapable of communicating visually.” [MB]

How Richard Florida’s Creative Class has failed to deliver. More here. [MB]


Observed | August 18

A stunning midnight walk through the neon-hued streets of Asian cities. [BV]

The knitted pink pussyhat, a pro-European Union poster campaign, and a lending library of protest banners have been named some of the best designs of the year by the Design Museum in London. [BV]

Did McDonalds leak the iPhone 8 design? [BV]


Observed | August 17

The Midwest visionaries who built the literal Home of Tomorrow in the 1930‘s were brothers. [BV]

Think your commute is bad? Real time schadenfreude: a transit map of the whole world. [BV]

Prince now has his own Pantone color, inspired by his custom-made Yamaha purple piano. [BV]


Observed | August 16

Sure, it’s sponsored content: but it’s in Popular Science! Design hawked as a bundle of mastery. [JH]

A geography Professor maps best eclipse-viewing locations to waffle proximity. For real. More here. [JH]

In Spain, one designer builds a secret studio under a bridge. [JH]


Observed | August 15

Not all cities have a budget for design, but Atlanta’s department of urban planning is showing why they should. [BV]

Hilarious recipe videos in the style of famous directors: Wes Anderson inspired smores, Tarantino inspired spaghetti and meatballs, Michael Bay inspired waffles and more. (via Jason Kottke) [BV]


Observed | August 14

Google’s incendiary diversity memo now has its own website. [JH]

Design = growth strategy: John Madea explains. [JH]

Type lost, type found: a lovely story. [JH]


Observed | August 11

Mary Lund Davis: architect, furniture designer, and champion of modernism in the Pacific Northwest. [BV]

America’s past time is more than just hot dogs and foul balls: Major league baseball has a long but little-known history of rebels, reformers, and radicals. [BV]

More on Calibrigate: Lucas de Groot responds! [MB]


Observed | August 10

Through Don Draper’s eyes: a tour of the Time & Life building of the 1960s. [BV]

MIT developed a fabric that can fold into origami-like shapes when inflated. [BV]

#TBT: The glory days of ‘80s metal magazines. [BV]


Observed | August 09

A European design company tried to make a case for the design appeal of the swastika before it was made infamous by the Nazi party. It failed. [JH]

Jessica Helfand on logo color choices: “If a solution only works in color, then it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t carry its weight.” [BV]

Land Rover’s design head Gerry McGovern hates how many cows have to suffer in order to realize his design goals, so he’s introducing some new alternatives—like wool. [JH]

A neuroscientist becomes a designer. [JH]


Observed | August 08

“History of the Typewriter as Recited by Michael Winslow” traces 88 years of typewriter sounds, from 1895 to 1983. You have to hear this. [BV]

The story of a town moved for New York City’s water system. [BV]

City of sprawl, city of neighborhoods. City of wealth and poverty, celebrity and anonymity. Photographing Los Angeles. [BV]



Jobs | August 21