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 | May 23

Reframing contemporary urgencies through the lens of design. An interactive exhibition from SVA Products of Design at NYCxDESIGN [BV]

Can a font be a whole brand? YouTube Sans Medium is meant to be. [BV]


Observed | May 22

When TV logos were objects...plus behind-the-scenes of HBO’s model city [MPL]

Olympic/paralympic mascot design proposals for Tokyo 2020 will be judged by ... children. (Download the creative brief here.) [JH]

Crowdfunding now: Paul Rand’s IBM style guide (with optional French translation). More here. [JH]

The visualization of disappointment: one Tumblr site captures every single tearful moment of bachelorette rejection. [JH]


Observed | May 19

The rise of the designer as life coach. [MB]

Meet Gerhard Steidl, the printer the world’s best photographers trust to produce their books. [MB]

What does design share with comedy? (Don’t quit your day job!) [JH]

Every color of cardigan Mister Rogers wore from 1979–2001. [MB]


Observed | May 18

"Back when I was the captain of Oxford University, I would never have dreamed that I would be influencing the Laws of Cricket.” Studying the finer points of cricket bat design—from an orthopedic surgeon. [JH]

Design “can solve a problem in an elegant way,” notes Dr. Brandon Glen, chief executive of Good Design Australia, noting that “it goes well beyond aesthetically pleasing teapots and kettles”. [JH]


Observed | May 17

Apple’s new headquarters: breathtaking design utopia or anal-retentive indulgence? [MB]

“Pay Trump bribes here.” How an artist pulled off an astonishing design coup at Trump’s DC hotel. [MB]


Observed | May 16

Modeling umbrella design on the very particular wings of one insect. [JH]

Entrepreneurs obsessed with design. [JH]

Girls designing rockets. [JH]


Observed | May 15

A futuristic airport terminal at JFK, built in the 1960s, abandoned for years, and soon to be reopened as a hotel. [BV]

Photos from New York City’s subway system as seen in the 70s and 80s. [BV]

Edible sneakers that combine an artist’s love of footwear and sushi. [BV]


Observed | May 12

If you’ve ever doubted that visualization matters to data analysis, you need to see these images. [BV]

Atlanta’s I-85 highway should have been torn down instead of rebuilt. [BV]

The weird words and phrases type designers use to test their fonts. [BV]


Observed | May 11

Five speculative design ideas for the modern car. [JH]

Uncertainty in design. And why igloos are a good example of unselfconscious design. [JH]

A community-based initiative to bring the iconic book, “Vignelli: From A to Z” back into print. Join in! [BV]

New conductive wallpaper reveals the hidden circuitry embedded in your walls. [JH]


Observed | May 10

From 1962–1971, Ralph Ginzburg and Herb Lubalin developed several iconic publications, including the four volume Eros, now completely digitized. [BV]

Hates does not make great. A 7 second protest. [BV]


Observed | May 09

Maybe you‘ll read them now? The iTunes Terms and Conditions as a graphic novel. [BV]



Jobs | May 24