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 | June 21

This year’s Serpentine Pavillion, designed by the extraordinary Frances Kere. [MB]

How Comic Sans became the world’s most notorious font. (Thanks to Karen Day.) [MB]

Fold your way through Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous buildings. [BV]

A 257-Year-Old coloring book was discovered in St. Louis. [BV]


Observed | June 20

Accidental Wes Anderson locations, a very colorful and surreal subreddit. [BV]

Robots in art class. [MPL]

The internet is for circles. [MB]

Subtle ways to signal wealth: not designer bags anymore. [MPL]

A sociology of the smartphone. [MB]


Observed | June 19

Rob Walker‘s insightful (and beautifully written) assessment of the importance of the logo. [JH]

“In the visual clamor of a bookstore, the important thing is to be different.” From 2005, John Updike on book cover design. [MB]

IKEA’s posters help you cook dinner. (But what about a soup?) [MPL]

Great assessment by Rick Poynor of the enduring relevance of Emigre magazine. [MB]

Animations that reveal the differences between subway maps and their actual geography. [MB]


Observed | June 16

Anti-Tiger mother strategy (helps) lead to brilliant creative student accepted everywhere! [JH]

Was the design of One World Trade Center a rip-off? [JH]


Observed | June 15

Our very own Jessica Helfand want to start conversations—meaningful ones—with you. Listen! [JH]

I personally disagree with most of the visual suggestions here, but the topic itself is fascinating. What does your email signature say about you? [JH]

The Post Office has released a new series of tactile stamps celebrating sports. Better title: “This Takes Balls”. [JH]

“You don’t need to be a scientist to use machine learning as design material.” Design in the age of the algorithm. [MB]


Observed | June 14

On the topic of the future of classroom design, teachers really do know best. [JH]

Etsy find of the week: “Explosive Contemplation” office chair. [JH]

"In a thriving democracy, the need for protest shapes our public realm and vice versa.” [MB]

The concept of “additive” design in manufacturing, given the rise of 3D printing. [JH]

One of the original designers credited with pioneering the birth the personal computers, Charles P. Thacker, dies at 74. [JH]


Observed | June 13

How science and architecture can work together to create living, breathing buildings. [JH]

Vacation planning alert: design and ... Buenos Aires! Or for a smaller budget: design and ... the nightclub! [JH]

When art schools were art schools. (Thanks to Adrian Shaughnessy.) [JH]

Philatelic protest, one President Trump stamp at a time. [JH]

Good design is marketable business. [JH]



Jobs | June 22