show

Jeff Scher
Lost Thoughts
Rick Poynor
Posters by Hans Hillmann for Jean-Luc Godard’s Films
09.16.14

Rick Poynor looks at the work of a master of cinematic graphic design

Jan Almquist
Perceiving Deeply
07.10.14

On Teaching to See, A film by Andrei Severny; produced by Edward Tufte.

Debbie Millman
Gary Hustwit
07.01.14

Gary Hustwit is an independent filmmaker who has produced six feature documentaries, including Helvetica.

Adam Harrison Levy
Jeff Koons’s Studio: An ER Room for Art
06.27.14

Walking into Jeff Koons’s studio is like entering a medical laboratory crossed with an open plan office. It’s an ER room for art.

John Foster
Our Shared Past
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.

Observed
Mysteries of the Vernacular
04.15.14

Mysteries of Vernacular is a video series from Myriapod Productions that contains 26 etymological installments, one for each letter of the alphabet.

Alexandra Lange
Lucia Eames, 1930-2014
Observed
Shape: A Film About Design
04.04.14

Shape is a short film that is part of MakeShapeChange , a project aimed at young people to get them thinking about how the world is made around them and where design fits in.

Observed
Inge Druckrey + Sister Corita Kent on Film
Observed
The Hilda Stories
03.25.14

In a new video series from Herman Miller, Hilda Longinotti, George Nelson’s longtime aide-de-camp, recounts some of the greatest anecdotes from her 21-year run at the legendary New York City design atelier.

Rick Poynor
The Filmic Page: Chris Marker’s Commentaires
Observed
50 Years of Cuban Film Posters
01.23.14

The Danish Film Institute has posted their collection of Cuban Film Posters from the past 50 years or more on Flickr.

John Foster
Horror Movie Posters
11.03.13

Accidental Mysteries for November 3, 2012 highlights vintage horror movie posters.

Observed
Happy Halloween!
10.31.13

To celebrate the creepy and the spooky, a short list of films for your Halloween viewing pleasure.

Observed
Architecture & Design Film Festival in NYC
10.15.13

The Architecture & Design Film Festival is the nation's largest film festival celebrating architecture and design.

Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Brian Eno, Artist of Light
Teddy Blanks, and Andrew Sloat
Design Observer: Ten Years
Observed
Design Is One
10.08.13

Opening Friday at the IFC center: Design is One — Lella and Massimo Vignelli.

Observed
Sukkah City Documentary to Premiere in Union Square Park
09.20.13

Sukkah City documentary to premiere in Union Square Park on September 22.

Observed
Let's Talk Movie Posters
09.19.13

Movie poster for the upcoming drama The Gambler.

Observed
Iron Man 3 Titles
07.11.13

An interesting look at the design process for the Iron Man 3 title screens.

Observed
Jan van Toorn
07.09.13

A video profile of Jan van Toorn, from the series "Dutch Profiles: Design, Fashion, Architecture".

John Foster
An Archive of Czech Film Posters
Rick Poynor
The Irresistible Attraction of Self Storage
06.02.13

Self storage centers are places of private and public fascination and I always knew that one day I would succumb.

Observed
Jaws
05.24.13

In honor of Monday's unofficial beginning of summer, a brief history of Roger Kastel's movie poster for Jaws.

Observed
Saul Bass Google Doodle
05.08.13

Google celebreates Saul Bass with a Doodle.

Observed
FILMography
05.01.13

FILMography, a blog dedicated to matching scenes from movies with their real life locations

Observed
Bringing Data and Storytelling Together
04.15.13

In a guest post on the Tribeca Film Institute blog, Ingrid Kopp, the U.S. Director of Shooting People, explores the reltionship between data ans storytelling.

Observed
Ann Weber Dumpster Dives in Rome
03.28.13

A film by Nick Heller about Ann Weber, a California-based artist who currently works primarily in cardboard.

Rob Walker
Google Image Search Results, Abstracted and Animated
03.25.13

Rob Walker has created a video of his image abstraction Tumblr.

Debbie Millman
ON! at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati
03.22.13

In this special Design Matters video episode, Debbie Millman gives you on a preview the new exhibit ON! at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati.

Observed
Flickr Collection of the Week: Bladerunner Magazines
03.20.13

The world of Bladerunner showcases some of the most elaborate production design in film history, all the way down to its magazine covers.

Observed
Educate Girls and Change the World
03.14.13

Girl Rising — a new documentary from Oscar nominated filmmaker Richard E. Robbins — consists of nine different girl’s stories of how education factored into her life circumstances.

Observed
SVA/BBC Design Film Festival
03.12.13

Overview of the second annual SVA/BBC Design Film Festival.

Observed
The Artist is Present
03.11.13

Marina Abramović and Ulay

Observed
Movie Title Stills Collection
03.06.13

A roundup of movie related things for a dreary Wednsday.

Observed
The Me Bird
03.05.13

The Me Bird: Brazilian Design Studio, 18bis, Reinterprets Neruda Poem

Observed
A Million Times
02.28.13

'A million times' by Stockholm based studio Humans since 1982.

Observed
Dual Perspective Videos
02.25.13

Two videos that show two stories happening simultaneously in different places to different people.

Observed
Vivian Maier: The Movie
02.22.13

A documentary is being made about John Maloofs discovery of Vivian Maier's street photographs.

Rick Poynor
The Experiential Thrill of Driving in Films
02.22.13

A new book, Drive, shows how the car scenes in movies help us understand the experience of modernity.

Observed
Filming Love in Times Square
02.15.13

From 11:57pm on February 13th until 12am February 14th British artist Tracey Emin turned Times Square into a big Valentine's Day card.

Observed
Voice Over
01.29.13

Voice Over: A short film directed by Martin Rosete.

Observed
A Two-Minute Walk Through The Louvre
01.17.13

A Two-Minute Walk Through the Louvre

Observed
Poster Design with Saul Bass and Stanley Kubrick
01.07.13

Saul Bass designed the movie poster for The Shining, but not without plenty of comments from Stanley Kubrick.

Alexandra Lange
George Nelson in Two Dimensions
Rick Poynor
On My Screen: Shooting the Past
Alexandra Lange
Bad Taste True Confessions: Erté
12.19.12

True confessions about my own bad taste. I loved Erté. Did you?

Observed
Visualizing Mass Transit
12.03.12

Andrew Walker has visualized the mass-transit systems of major cities.

Observed
The Cheetah at 1200 Frames per Second
11.27.12

The Cheetah at 1200 Frames per Second

Observed
Clearing Landmines with Windpower
11.21.12

Clearing Landmines with Windpower

Alexandra Lange
Knolling Your Polling Place
11.13.12

Knolling your polling place: for the next election, a little spatial organization would go a long way.

Observed
Climate of Doubt
10.29.12

A documentary on the remarkable — and sometimes bizarre — debate over global warming and climate change that has gone on since 2008.

Observed
They Go To Die
10.25.12

They Go to Die is a documentary film-in-progress investigating the life of four former migrant gold mineworkers in South Africa and Swaziland who have contracted drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) and HIV while working at the gold mine.
Rick Poynor
True Stories: A Film about People Like Us
Observed
Design Indaba Online FilmFest
10.20.12

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

Observed
NYC Architecture Design Film Festival
10.17.12

Now in its fourth season, the Architecture Design Film Festival will offer more than 25 films from around the world and panel discussions with design leaders and filmmakers.

Observed
Selling the Sixties
10.08.12

Like Mad Men? Then you'll have to see Selling the Sixties from filmmaker and Design Observer contributor Adam Harrison Levy. Screening October 9, followed by a discussion between the filmmaker and Jessica Helfand.

Rick Poynor
John Stezaker: Images from a Lost World
Rick Poynor
It’s Smart to Use a Crash Test Dummy
Observed
Design Film Festival at Venice Biennale
08.24.12

Attendees of the upcoming 2012 Venice Biennale will have the chance to catch the first-ever Design Onscreen Film Festival.

Observed
A Bathroom Mirror
07.27.12

Le Miroir is a remarkable piece of mini-cinema, employing masterful filmic artistry to encapsulate one man's life, from childhood to old age, through the lens of his bathroom mirror.

Observed
Arial vs Helvetica: War is Hell
07.18.12

The type world just isn't big enough for the both Arial and Helvetica. So what happens when they go to war?

Rick Poynor
Design a Cover for Eno’s Music for Films
07.06.12

LA architect John Bertram has set a competition to design an alternative sleeve for Music for Films by Brian Eno.

Observed
A Public Service Announcement: Collecting Air
06.20.12

A public service spot for the American Lung Association, “Alvin Grimes, Air Collector,” features him with his collection.

Observed
31,000 Flights Over Holland
06.08.12

Mind Design in Amsterdam recently visualized Dutch air traffic in a short animated film.

Michael Bierut
I Love the 80s
06.04.12

Miami Vice: the quintessential postmodern design artifact, in all its glory and all its disgrace.

Observed
Hillman Curtis Celebration Benefit
05.28.12

A Hillman Curtis celebration benefit has been organized by his friends and colleagues.

Rob Walker
The Theater of Making
05.18.12

What videos depicting the story of stuff-being-made are really about.

Observed
The Visual Language of Herbert Matter
05.02.12

Known as a quintessential designer's designer, Swiss born Herbert Matter is largely credited with expanding the use of photography as a design tool and bringing the semantics of fine art into the realm of applied arts.

Observed
James Victore's Q&A Tuesday
04.16.12

James Victore is presenting a weekly YouTube series – Q+A Tuesday – in which he addresses a questions about working in a creative industry.

John Thackara
‘Beyond Good Intentions’ – The Movie
Alexandra Lange
Frank Lloyd Wright + Katniss Everdeen
04.05.12

On photographing architecture as sculpture and telling stories via architecture.

Laura Weiss
Woody Allen, Creative Management Genius
Debbie Millman
Malcolm Gladwell
01.27.12

A live episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman withe special guest Malcolm Gladwell.

Pat Kirkham
Reassessing the Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock Collaboration
01.11.12

The evidence, scholarship and debates: Saul Bass and the famous shower scene in “Psycho.”

Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: Jean-Luc Godard Anthologized
Rick Poynor
How We Learned to Live with Zombies
Rick Poynor
Literary Horror from the Chapman Brothers
11.10.11

British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman have created an image of sublime horror for the cover of Granta magazine.

Alexandra Lange
Tell Me a Story, ‘Urbanized’
William Drenttel
National Design Award Trophy
Mark Lamster
Watching Movies about Architecture (and Design)
10.20.11

What makes a good film about architecture and design?

Rick Poynor
Did We Ever Stop Being Postmodern?
Rick Poynor
Jan Svankmajer and the Graphic Uncanny
Jane Margolies
My Block NYC
07.18.11

My Block NYC, a new video-mapping website, invites residents, tourists and videographers to upload clips they’ve taken on the streets of New York.

William Drenttel
William Drenttel at Design Indaba
07.13.11


Adam Harrison Levy
Jump Cut: Thoughts on Editing
07.07.11

What can designers, architects and writers learn from the art of film editing?

Josh Berta
Cars: Pixar Falls for Intelligent Design
06.23.11

Cars: Pixar's greatest misstep in design, and perhaps film in general.

Alexandra Lange
Jane Austen, Architect?
Stephen Doyle
Infrastructure
06.21.11

A stop-animation film with 2,933 still photos created by Doyle Partners for Green Building Council's conference, Greenbuild Next.

Rick Poynor
Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?
Andrew Sloat
Winterhouse: A Video
05.30.11

A short film about Winterhouse, the studio of William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand. It was made for the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 2010. Film written and directed by Andrew Sloat.

Michael Bierut
Designing, Writing, Teaching: Not My Real Job
Rick Poynor
On My Screen: The Back of Beyond
04.28.11

John Heyer’s The Back of Beyond, made for Shell Australia in 1954, is one of the country’s finest films.

Rick Poynor
Wim Wenders’ Strange and Quiet Places
Hugh Dubberly
892 Unique Ways to Partition A 3x4 Grid
04.21.11

A 100-second Animation Inspired by Patent No. 7124360.

John Thackara
From Bankster HQ to Start-up Central in Iceland
03.21.11

The Start-Up Kids is a documentary about young entrepreneurs who have founded web and media startups in the US and Europe.

Erik Spiekermann
Erik Spiekermann - Putting Back the Face into Typeface
03.18.11

In this video, Erik Spiekermann discusses his process and methods for designing type.

Alexandra Lange
Neat Freaks
Mark Lamster
An Empire State of Mind
02.18.11

Join in a running commentary on Andy Warhol's film "Empire," at MoMA.

Michael Bierut
Five Years of 100 Days
Michael Bierut
Michael Bierut on Clients
01.21.11

A video of Michael Bierut giving a talk on the subject of clients.

Alexandra Lange
Bring Back Braids
01.12.11

The True Grit of hairstyles: braids.

Michael Bierut
At the Movies with Javier Mariscal
12.10.10

Chico & Rita is a new animated film by Spanish designer Javier Mariscal and director Fernando Trueba.

Alexandra Lange
No Rest at the Last Supper
12.08.10

"Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway" is indeed a dud: cheese-tastic, bombastic, didactic.

Rick Poynor
On My Screen: Bill Morrison’s Decasia
12.03.10

The avant-garde classic Decasia, assembled from decaying film stock, is a sublime vision of another reality.

Nancy Levinson
Art Talks
11.29.10

Adam Lowe and Peter Greenaway at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City; Justin Partyka and Sir Terry Farrell at Eleven Spitalfields in London,

Michael Bierut
Michael Bierut on Typography
11.15.10

In a video interview with The Atlantic, Michael Bierut talks about typography.

Nancy Levinson
Greenaway at the Armory
BUCK
Trailer for Film: Waiting for Superman
10.16.10

The amazing trailer for the new film, Waiting for Superman — produced entirely in info-graphics by Buck.

John Madere
John Madere: Massimo Vignelli
09.14.10

Vignelli Celebration: This film about Massimo Vignelli was directed and filmed by John Madere in 2010.

William Drenttel
William Drenttel on Design and Social Innovation
09.05.10

A video of a talk on design and social innovation at the Feast Conference given by William Drenttel on October 1, 2009.

Yale School of Management
SELCO: Product Design Philosophy
08.26.10

This video of the SELCO innovation team talking about product development is a part of the SELCO case study, the first in a series of case studies on design and social enterprise funded by the Rockefeller Foundation through a grant to the Winterhouse Institute.


Yale School of Management
SELCO: Founder Harish Hande on SELCO's Future
08.26.10

This video of Harish Hande is a part of the SELCO case study, the first in a series of case studies on design and social enterprise funded by the Rockefeller Foundation through a grant to the Winterhouse Institute.


Alexandra Lange
This is a Terrible Poster
08.25.10

I saw the poster for the Facebook movie, The Social Network, at the Bergen Street station yesterdayand all I could think was, This is a terrible poster.

Michael Bierut
Michael Bierut on 86 Notebooks
08.11.10

Michael Bierut video of a talk on the 86 notebooks he's kept over the course of his career and  design lessons derived from them.

Jessica Helfand
Viva The Villain: A Review of Despicable Me
07.14.10

In an age in which last week’s Bernie Madoff is next week’s BP oil spill, villains are no longer the stuff of fiction. So when a really juicy fictional villain comes along — let alone two — it’s time to go to the movies.

Alexandra Lange
The Maddening, Rewarding World of Design People
05.17.10

Most design people I know — don’t feel guilt over knowing what is priceless and what is junk. The film Please Give also thinks they know what it is worth.

Eric Baker
Today, 05.15.10
05.15.10

Each morning, before starting work, I spend 30 minutes looking for images that are beautiful, funny, absurd and inspiring. Here's TODAY.

Alexandra Lange
Anthony Lane Fugs Too
04.07.10

Anthony Lane pans The Clash of the Titans.

Alexandra Lange
Coloring Book
02.26.10

I loved Jane Campion’s film, despite my feeling that it might not be true, and it must surely be anachronistic.

Daniel Stephens, and Brooke Brewer
Aspen Design Summit: Film
02.05.10

This short film by GoodFocus Films captures participant perspectives at the Aspen Design Summit in November 2009.

Alexandra Lange
All Rubble Is Not Alike
02.02.10

I watched Manufactured Landscapes in the weeks before Christmas and it was just too depressing to post about in the run-up to gift day.

Alexandra Lange
The Yuck Factor
01.13.10

Watch
District 9 as a palate cleanser after the visual feast of Avatar.
Adrian Shaughnessy
Logorama
01.13.10

A world colonized by brands is the theme of a new film, Logorama, by French designers and filmmakers H5.

Alexandra Lange
Annotated Avatar
01.02.10

Avatar is itself a hack, James Cameron is less auteur, more sci fi magpie.

Alexandra Lange
The Women
12.22.09

While Manohla Dargis rants about the lack of women in charge in Hollywood save for Nancy Meyers, Zaha Hadid similarly represents the dirth of women in architecture.

Alexandra Lange
In a F.O.G.
12.14.09

I am thinking about adding films to my undergraduate class at NYU, namely Sketches of Frank Gehry.

Alexandra Lange
Where Have All the Type Geeks Gone?
12.11.09

Set in Helvetica, the title for Up In the Air looks plain wrong.

Hal Clifford, and Jason Houston
Stone River: The Passion of Jon Piasecki
11.11.09

Landscape architect Jon Piasecki, talks about nature, the woods, and a recent multi-year stone works project in New York State — Stone River

Alexandra Lange
Tableaux Vivants
10.29.09

If someone asked me to write a profile of Wes Anderson, I would start with corduroy.

Ryan Fitzgibbon
Start Asking: a Project by Ryan Fitzgibbon
10.26.09

Start Asking was Ryan Fitzgibbon's solution to the final challenge of Command X: Season 2, the graphic design reality show at the AIGA Make/Think Conference in Memphis.

Alexandra Lange
Buy It Now
10.20.09

I watched two episodes of the Sundance Channel’s new advertisement for Anthropologie, Man Shops Globe, and failed to be caught up in the drama.

Alexandra Lange
Unhappy Homes
10.12.09

In Revolutionary Road and Away We Go, the characters lack believable emotion because they fail to convince us that they are in a house, rather than a set.

Jessica Helfand
A Stitch in Time: A Review of 9
09.20.09

The comically repetitive date of 090909 iss thought to be a lucky day, a day of optimism and interconnectedness. It was also the release date for the new animated film, 9.

Mark Lamster
Underground Architects
09.20.09

The one question people often ask that I don't enjoy answering is, "Who's your favorite architect?"

Alexandra Lange
White Columns
09.17.09

In Valentino: The Last Emperor, one dress is followed in all of its incarnations, while architecture is put in its place.

Mark Dery
Paradise Fouled
09.09.09

Review of Crude, Joe Berlinger's documentary film about a lawsuit filed against Chevron by denizens of the Ecuadorean Amazon.

Alexandra Lange
Cooking for Crowds
08.26.09

Nora Ephron, or at least production designer Mark Ricker, must have spent a fortune on cute lamps for the set of Julie & Julia.

Alexandra Lange
Blackboard Jungle
08.23.09

Tell No One turns out to be a snoozy French thriller while Entre les Murs (The Class) makes up for it.

Alexandra Lange
Between Buildings
08.14.09

Man on Wire is only so-so, but Phillipe Petit's personality and the imagery of his three major walks are not to be missed.

Alexandra Lange
Outsider Art
08.11.09

After watching Ride With the Devil, I discovered the common thread in Ang Lee's films.

Alexandra Lange
D.I.Y.
08.05.09

There seems to be some questionable parenting in Caroline.

Alexandra Lange
England's Next Top Model
07.31.09

In The Duchess, the gratuitous sex scenes were the least of the film's problems.

Richard Devereaux
Once Out of Chaos: Pauline Galiana
07.29.09

Natural sounds and natural lighting inform this elegiac mediation on making — on art formulated and gridded from the detritus of painting. This meticulously-paced video by Richard Devereaux takes the time to capture the beauty of hundreds of individually-sewn stitches, softly wavering in the breezes of a warm afternoon.

Andrew Sloat
Polling Place Photo Project
07.22.09

A retrospective of the Polling Place Photo Project, which asked American citizens to document the act of voting in all its glorious nationwide dissimilarity. Made in partnership with Winterhouse, co-sponsor of the Polling Place Photo Project. 2008

Andrew Sloat
Article 2 (for BHO)
07.22.09

Article 2 (for BHO) is a video short in honor of the historic swearing-in of our forty-fourth President, with the words Justice Roberts got mixed up on the big day. 2009

Andrew Sloat
More Perfect Union
07.22.09

More Perfect Union spells out the preamble to the United States Constitution with forty friends in a high school gym in New York City. 2007.

Andrew Sloat
22nd Amendment
07.22.09

22nd Amendment, was made in the twilight of Bush's second term, a reminder that sometimes the Constitution is our best friend. 2007

Alexandra Lange
Cold Comforts
07.16.09

I can't but write about the objects in Summer Hours, Revolutionary Road, and Frozen River.

Alexandra Lange
Little Dictators
07.09.09

Zhang Yimou's Ju Dou makes a strong commentary on parenting.

Alexandra Lange
Battle Lines
07.05.09

In Waltz With Bashir, director and protagonist Ari Folman makes amazing use of animation to tell a most unfunny tale of recovered memory and national guilt.

Alexandra Lange
Child's Play
07.01.09

Unlike the stories documented in the film Nursery University, my experience of enrolling my child in preschool in New York City was completely different.

Alexandra Lange
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
06.25.09

After viewing He's Just Not That Into You and Confessions of a Shopaholic, I need to effect my own romantic comedy ban.

Alexandra Lange
Perfect Pairs
06.22.09

Our admiration for Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy led us to Netflix her first film, Old Joy.

Michael Bierut
Spoiler Alert! Or, Happy Father's Day
06.21.09

Dad couldn't help it. He was a natural born spoiler.

Alexandra Lange
Aloysius is Missed
06.18.09

I took my chances to see if the 2008 remake of Brideshead Revisited was as good as the multi-part original.

Alexandra Lange
Textile Psychology
06.16.09

In Brick Lane it is the fabric that does most of the talking, for while the novel is very interior, the film is not.

Alexandra Lange
Auto Pilot
06.09.09

While watching Chop Shop, I was bored not by the plotlessness, or even the purposely inartistic direction, but by the lack of acting.

Alexandra Lange
Romance Is Dead
06.08.09

There are some movies so bad I can’t bear to put them in my Netflix queue, but He's Just Not That Into You somehow made it in.

Alexandra Lange
Dog Days
06.06.09

Wendy and Lucy may be the feel-bad movie of the year, but it is beautiful, terrifying and real.

Alexandra Lange
Worst Case Scenario
06.04.09

Two of Danny Boyle's filme, Slumdog Millinaire and Millions suffer from a wavering of purpose from gritty realism to wish fulfilment.

William Drenttel
Once Out of Chaos
06.02.09


William Drenttel
Polling Place Photo Project
01.19.09

To commemorate the inauguration of President Barack Obama, please enjoy this short film by Andrew Sloat inspired by Polling Place Photo Project.

Kerry Saretsky
Curious Case of the Better Adaptation
01.16.09

Now that I am comfortably “well-read” in my twenties with a Master’s in modern English Literature tucked into my back pocket, I can’t help but notice that every movie I have seen lately — and every movie that I want to see — has independently stood as a work of print before being reincarnated into movie form.

Gong Szeto
Interview with Brian Oakes
09.22.08

It’s not often that graphs and numbers take center stage in a popular film, but in the brilliant hands of graphic designer Brian Oakes, information design is not a backdrop but a main character in the recently released documentary I.O.U.S.A. Interview by Gong Szeto.

Michael Bierut
There is No Why
07.31.08

The year's best design movie is not about a typeface. It's Man on Wire, the new documentary about Philippe Petit's 1974 high wire walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center.

Rick Poynor, and Adrian Shaughnessy
We Found It at the Movies: Part I
06.16.08

Rick Poynor: Looking back, it’s surprising how long we’d known each other before it emerged that we shared an obsession for film. 
Adrian Shaughnessy: Your obsession with film came as a surprise. Before lending you the Herzog box set I had you tagged as a visual arts man, not a cineaste.

Rick Poynor, and Adrian Shaughnessy
We Found It at the Movies: Part II
06.16.08

The second installment of Rick Poynor and Adrian Shaughnessy’s conversation about film. Can genre movies express a personal vision? Are films blurring into other media? And what’s the state of film culture today?

Jessica Helfand
Iron Man: The Screen Behind the Screen
05.16.08

Iron Man is the fulfillment of all the computer-integrated movies were ever meant to be, and by computer-integrated, I mean just that: beyond the technical wizardry of special effects, this is a film in which the computer is incorporated, like a cast member, into the development of the plot itself.

Rob Walker
This Joke’s for You
05.04.08

In the movie Idiocracy, an average and unambitious guy played by Luke Wilson hibernates as part of a military experiment and wakes up 500 years later. The America he wakes up to has devolved radically.

Steven Heller
The Sky Is Falling
05.01.08

Where once the sky is falling scenarios would not, as Dr. Flicker said, “happen for billions of years yet,” the doomsday clock is steadily ticking away. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back to the days when fiction was not fact.

Debbie Millman
Kurt Andersen
02.01.08

Kurt Andersen is an award-winning journalist, author and host of the Peabody-winning public radio program, Studio 360.

Jessica Helfand
Stan Brakhage: Caught on Tape
10.01.07

For Stan Brakhage, that concentration resulted in extraordinary explorations of many things, including the life cycle of a moth, caught on adhesive strips of tape, and subsequently captured on film where it regained — however briefly — the magnificent illusion of mobility. For designers, faced by budgets and clients and deadlines, the luxury of so much isolation seems a distant, if not an altogether perverse paradigm. But are these intentions really so mutually exclusive?

Liz Brown
Phil Spector vs. The Wall of Sound
08.06.07

Until 1966, producer Phil Spector was an unstoppable machine, churning out "symphonies for little kids." Then came "River Deep, Mountain High," where the combination of Tina Turner's raw, unbridled passion and Spector's orchestral swoon was a total disaster. Spector's career was over, but the song goes on and on.

Jessica Helfand
Harry Potter and The Enchanted Letterforms
07.17.07

The most recent theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix includes a paradigm shift that warrants particular recognition, for the simple reason that this may be the first film in which mere letterforms, once the purview of the production designer, break free and actually join the cast.

Michael Bierut
Our Little Secret
04.06.07

The documentary Helvetica premieres in a world where everyone knows how to do something that once only very few did: how to set type.

Debbie Millman
Jakob Trollback
03.09.07

On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, an interview with designer and filmmaker Jakob Trollback — who is also a DJ.

David Stairs
That (Other) 1970's: The Last King of Scotland
03.01.07

The Last King of Scotland, Kevin McDonald's film about Idi Amin's notorious presidency, opened in Uganda to great fanfare. The VIP screening took place at Kampala's Cineplex, with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Forest Whitaker in attendance. The premiere was not targeted to the average Ugandan...

Michael Bierut
Cheap Music and Commercial Art
02.16.07

You wouldn't know it from Dreamgirls, but Motown staff songwriters Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland were examples of how art is created under pressure.

Alissa Walker
War Is Over! If You Want It
12.29.06

When the star of the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon is asked by a reporter what he thinks Nixon should do to end the Vietnam War, Lennon stares incredulously into the camera. "He should declare peace." As if this was the most obvious solution in the world.

Dmitri Siegel
M...O...T...I...O...N
12.04.06

The work of directors PES and Kris Moyes leads to a discussion of the history of stop motion animation.

Jessica Helfand
How Hollywood Nailed The Half-Pipe
11.27.06

Pixar
and Animal Logic have mastered a particularly persuasive (and as it turns out, rather literal) form of spin that makes Road Runner look like dryer lint.
Jessica Helfand
The Right Stuff
07.07.06

Prada is yet another in a long line of stories in which posessions loom large, at once shining beacons of material success and wagging fingers of moral turpitude. When will we have enough stuff?

Adrian Shaughnessy
Werner Herzog and the Deeper Truth
06.16.06

For hardcore cineastes — and bug-eyed amateur movie buffs like me — DVD audio tracks are an invention of Guttenburgian proportions. Few technological advances in the realm of art and culture can equal the joy afforded by an articulate and perceptive commentary specially prepared to accompanying a movie.

Dmitri Siegel
Broadcast vs. Broadband
03.09.06

Viral video is on the rise, spreading from broadband to broadcast and back again. What are the opportunities for designers in this new genre?

Lorraine Wild
Good Font, Shame About The Reporting
01.02.06


Jessica Helfand
John Stossel on Graphic Design
10.01.05

This film was made in 2005 for 20/20, a beloved AIGA National Conference segment in which twenty designers are asked to talk about something for one minute each. This particular year, the conference itself had no theme, leaving Jessica Helfand no choice but to write a script for John Stossel, co-host, with Elizabeth Vargas, of the ABC-TV program, 20/20.

William Drenttel
Catastrophic Imaginings: The Design of Disaster
06.24.05

In the end, artificial disasters are designed to elicit and test the responses of participants. In their recording, both allow for a post-mortem evaluation. How did I do? How would I respond? Would I sit patiently in my car a mile up the road? Would I watch from my window, safe in my home?

Debbie Millman
Andrew Geller, Alastair Gordon + Jake Gorst
06.24.05

Andrew Geller, Alastair Gordon and Jake Gorst talk about Gorst's new documentary Leisurama.

Rick Poynor
Wisconsin Death Trip: A Psychic History
04.05.05

Michael Lesy’s book Wisconsin Death Trip documented awful events in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, using a town photographer’s pictures. Years later, it remains a spellbinding piece of literary and photographic alchemy.

Lawrence Weschler
The Aural As An Architectonic Challenge
03.03.05

What are the people over at Transom.org up to? As it happens, this month is a very good time to pay them a visit: for the next several weeks, Walter Murch — the phenomenally smart and inspired film and sound editor — will be continuing to hold court there.

William Drenttel
Chris Marker: La Jetée
02.04.05

For years, I've owned a copy of La Jetée, a book about the film by Chris Marker, the experimental filmmaker. Designed by Bruce Mau and published by MIT Press/Zone Books in 1993, this is one of those design books that has ascended into the realm of rare bookdom...

Dmitri Siegel
Mysterious Disappearance of Carol Hersee
01.03.05

The story of Carol Hersee's portrait as Test Card F: since it first appeared in 1967 on BBC2, Carol's face has been on-air for over 70,000 hours.

Michael Bierut
The Other Rand
12.16.04

The Fountainhead, a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand, continues to exert its influence over generations of architects and designers.

Jessica Helfand
The Designibles
11.15.04

What's incredible about The Incredibles is the art of design capture. Because when it comes to nailing design, the "Is" have it.

Jessica Helfand
Graphic Design: The Movie
07.21.04

Some time ago, I pondered about the future of graphic design as a reality show, but recently I've become convinced that its real future lies in its actual integrated presence onscreen: design as part prop, part protagonist.

Michael Bierut
Pablo Ferro Offers You His Protection
07.20.04

The title design for the film Napoleon Dynamite, credited to Pablo Ferro [although designed in fact by actor Aaron Ruell], provoke an assessment of Ferro's influence in the world of motion graphics.

Jessica Helfand
Designer by Day, Catwoman by Night
06.11.04


Michael Bierut
I Hear You’ve Got Script Trouble: The Designer as Auteur
04.17.04

Screenwriter William Goldman has written about how difficult it is to ascribe authorship for a film. The same may be true for graphic design, which, like filmmaking, is essentially a collaborative activity.

Jessica Helfand
Graphic Flanerie
04.15.04

Graphic Design's real power comes from its ability to reach us through any of a number of means, both real and virtual, now and later. This ability to transcend the everyday and resonate in the heart, the soul, the mind and the memory—this is graphic design's reality, its legacy, and it is, decidedly, a reality that is more than a sum of its parts.

Michael Bierut
Stanley Kubrick and the Future of Graphic Design
04.03.04

Stanley Kubrick's attention to the nuances of graphic design, typography, and branding went far beyond his well-documented obsession with Futura Extra Bold. 2001: A Space Odyssey in particular projects a perfectly designed vision of the future that has never been topped.

William Drenttel
Defamiliarization: A Personal History
03.03.04


Michael Bierut
Errol Morris Blows Up Spreadsheet, Thousands Killed
12.17.03

Errol Morris's documentary "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara" demonstrates his mastery of information design as a poetic narrative device.

Jessica Helfand
The Art of Elegant Abstraction
09.10.03

Bill Morrison's surprising 66-minute film is now playing on the Sundance Channel. For listings, see: http://www.sundancechannel.com/film_finder/index.php?startingLetter=d


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