Global + Local

Alex Knowlton
Miami Nice
Alex Knowlton reviews this year's ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design in Miami Beach.


Paul Polak
An Open Letter to Larry Page
Paul Polack responds to Larry Page's statemet that he'd rather hand over his cash to Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City) instead of donating it to a philanthropic organization.


John Thackara
John Thackara on Avatar
John Thackara is a writer, speaker and design producer, and director of Doors of Perception. In addition to this blog, he is the author of twelve books including In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World and Wouldn't It Be Great If….



Andrew Shea
Shaping Design Education at LEAP Symposium
A review by Andrew Shea of the recent, September 19-24, 2013, LEAP symposium at Art Center College of Design.


Nicholas Christakis
Nicholas Christakis on Networks
Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity.



Observed
Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age
An exhibition of 118 socially, environmentally, and politically-motivated print posters by an international cadre of artists and designers.



Observed
The Documerica Project
DOCUMERICA was a program sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency from 1972-1977 in order to “capture images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities and everyday life in the 1970s”.


John Thackara
Xskool, Sweden, August
Overview of a Doors of Perception xskool that takes place in August as part of the FuturePerfect Festival in Sweden.



Observed
Transform 2013: Design Innovation in Healthcare
Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation Transform Symposium will take place September 8-10 2013, in Rochester, MN.


John Thackara
Trust Is Not An Algorithm
By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years. This impressive if unprovable fact has got many people wondering: what to do with it?



Observed
Google on the Mountain
On Monday, March 18, Google released Street View images from four of the seven tallest mountains on earth.



Observed
Found: National Geographic
In honor of their 125th anniversary, National Geographic is showcasing photographs that reveal cultures and moments of the past.


Chris Calori
Six Feet Under: Mapping Tangled Transit Networks
A review of Underground Maps Unraveled: Explorations in Information Design by Maxwell J. Roberts.


John Thackara
Healing The Metabolic Rift
John Thackara on the possibilities and issues global business leaders will face at the 2013 World Economic Forum.



Debbie Millman
Christopher Simmons
Christopher Simmons discusses his lastest book, Just Design: Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes, and reflects on why designers should be continually redefining their profession.


Constantin Boym
Extra National Journey
What happens when a Russian-born American professor takes a group of his Arab students to a workshop in Amsterdam to work with a designer who has a Canadian passport but lives in Berlin?



Courtney Drake, William Drenttel, and Deirdre Cerminaro
Design and the Social Sector: An Annotated Bibliography
This bibiography surveys the literature of social design — the spectrum from design process and thinking to the zones of social innovation.



William Drenttel
William Drenttel at Design Indaba



John Thackara
Ultra Modern
I dislike the word “Glocal,” I also dislike the word “Creative,” now a new word has come along to bug me: “Sustainism.”



Meena Kadri
Tinkers, Hackers, Farmers, Crafters
Interview with Emeka Okafor, founder of Maker Faire Africa.



Maria Popova
The Language of Design Imperialism
Essay on the flawed language used to describe humanitarian design efforts and what it indicates.



The Editors
Humanitarian Design vs. Design Imperialism: Debate Summary
Bruce Nussbaum started a firestorm with the question "Is humanitarian design the new imperialism?" — and the conversation has spread through the blogosphere. Here, a digest of essays and related posts on this subject.



Robert Fabricant
In Defense of Design Imperialism
Weighing in on a controversy, frog design's Robert Fabricant supports global design interventions.


Kenneth Krushel
Bukhara: A Traveler’s Notes
Bukhara is one of the most ancient cities of the legendary Silk Road. Presented here is a slideshow of design and architecture from one traveler's visit.



Ernest Beck
Teach For All
Report on Teach For All, an $8.6 million program to expand educational opportunities throughout the world created by Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, and Brett Wigdortz, founder of Teach First in the U.K.



Allan Chochinov
Bellagio Design Symposium: Core77 Report
Allan Chochinov of Core77, sums up his experience at the Bellagio Design Symposium, the annual Salone Del Mobile Furniture Fair in Milan and being hostage to the whims of a volcano.


William Drenttel
Design for Change Contest
Kiran Bir Sethi is a designer, teacher, principal, advocate and social entrepreneur. Now her “Design for Change Contest,” a recent initiative that swept India in 2009, is expanding globally.


Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF Menstruation Challenge
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Menstruation Challenge Project proposed an “eco-system” whereby sanitary pads became a linchpin for local economic growth, for educational programs about health and hygiene and for research into materials that could be adapted to other countries.



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 Report: Hale County Rural Poverty Project
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the Hale County Rural Poverty Project conceived of a socio-economic model of resource allocation through an online platform for accelerated regional development in the Black Belt counties of rural Alabama.



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


Jonathan Schultz
DESIS
Report on the Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability project's latest home at New York's New School.



John Thackara
John Thackara Answers Your Questions
John Thackara answers questions from the readers of DESIGN 21.



John Thackara
Design & Development: Interview with 4baq
John Thakra discusses sustainability, design and development with 4baq.




John Thackara
Get Out of Your Tents!
In an interview with OK Do, John Thackara urges us to do real things in the real world.



John Thackara
Doctors with iPhones
The neighborhood doctor is back — and this time, he has an iPhone.



John Thackara
The Innovator Next Door
Whether it's narrowly defining innovation as technology, or imposing solutions on communities, John Thackara discusses the mistakes made by large companies.



John Thackara
Alternative Trade Networks and the Coffee System
Alterative trade networks are emerging in the coffee industry, attempting to eliminate the middle man.



John Thackara
Global Place — Or is it a Hat?
We must view the world with a new slant and take advantage of a huge design opportunity to create sustainable structures for the future.



Observed | January 20

From Portland-based designer Ilisha Helfman, a color palette tool for fountain pens with a custom-cut Canson paper top so you can make notes for each pen or sample ink vial. [JH]

On this historic day in America, as we struggle to honor truth, tolerance, and a deeply uncertain future, let us remember that inclusiveness is not only a matter of race and gender and nationality, but also a question of mutual respect and cross-disciplinary freedom. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: doctors who create! [JH]

The day has come. Here’s a reading list for designers in Trump‘s America. [MPL]

“Taking cues from the Girl Scouts, Soviet-era Constructivism, the WPA, and Kara Walker…” Behind the branding of the Women’s March on Washington. [MB]


Observed | January 19

Design as a proactive response to disaster, and the challenges for climate change. [JH]

In a design exploration that has taken nearly two years and six significant iterations of the prototype—during which the app’s usage has grown eightfold to 4 million daily active users—Slack introduces threaded conversations. Meanwhile, Mozilla (remember them, before Netscape?) introduces a revamped design identity. [JH]

In the US, nuclear plant design goes modular. [JH]

The lost signs of Montreal. [MB]

Paula Scher, Christoph Niemann and more visionary designers: coming soon on Netflix. Watch the trailer here! [JH]

Apple vs.Samsung: it‘s not over! [JH]

Design, detente—and defiance. [JH]

“Trump sits for hours with architects and designers, instinctively pointing to what he likes and doesn’t like.” The President-elect as design client. Sad! [JH]


Observed | January 18

“They’re the spiritual successors to the visual metaphors of early graphical user interfaces, but there’s a big difference between an icon shaped like a trash can and the tilt of a robotic eyebrow.” Visualizing AI—and why it may not be as ‘user-friendly’ as you’d think. [JH]

Trump, His Gilded Taste, and Me, a strange and prescient piece by the late Herbert Muschamp (via Paul Goldberger). [MB]

From the Department of Thespian Schadenfreude: when good actors have bad auditions. (Spoiler alert: they’re still pretty good.) [JH]

From The Amplifier Foundation—an extraordinary initiative that needs to be funded, now—before it’s too late. [JH]

From our friends at Continuum, a cogent, level-headed argument explaining why so many corporate-level design thinking initiatives are inevitably doomed to failure. [JH]

Shepard Fairey, Jessica Sabogal, and Ernesto Yerena launch a campaign to fund public art to protest the inauguration and beyond. [MB]


Observed | January 17

Extraordinary motion graphics from the French motion graphics genius Maxime Causeret, with music by Max Cooper. [JH]

The long lost connection between and Marilyn Monroe’s most famous scene and Design Observer’s own Bonnie Siegler. [MB]

Juventus—an Italian soccer team— reveals its pared down, minimalist new logo. You know what happens next. [JH]

“I want to create new things.” A New York Times profile of legendary book designer Irma Boom. [MB]

Peter Mendelsund on family, memory, and W.G. Sebald. [MB]

The suit is dead. Long live the suit! [JH]


Observed | January 16

V&A Head Designer Annabel Judd is taking on science. And here’s what’s happening Stateside. [JH]

Wells Fargo rejects a Black Lives Matter debit card. [JH]

Richard Prince disavows his appropriated Instagram portrait of Ivanka Trump and returns the money they paid him for it. [MB]


Observed | January 13

Yves Béhar designs a robot for the elderly he’s calling a “companion”. [JH]

Mr. Poopie explores the uncanny visual relationship between poop and ice cream. (Via Modes of Criticism.) [MB]

Shepherd Fairey’s protest posters. [JH]



Jobs | January 20