show

Rick Poynor
The Body as Factory: Anatomy of an Image
06.11.14

Peeling back the skin of a New Scientist cover illustration by Nichola Bruce and Michael Coulson.

Justin Zhuang
Monocle Magazine: A Singular View of the City
Rick Poynor
The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard
Alexandra Lange
Lucia Eames, 1930-2014
Debbie Millman
Debra Bishop
04.07.14

Design Director of More Magazine, Debra Bishop discusses her career designing for magazines, including her years working for Martha Stewart, and the tension between designers and editors.

Observed
Design Issues Covers
02.24.14

MIT Press has posted a gallery of Design Issues covers from 1984-present on Pinterest.

Alexandra Lange
Year of the Women
12.30.13

A year-end wrap-up of my favorite stories. The common theme? Women and the making of design.

Debbie Millman
Susan Szenasy
12.09.13

Susan S. Szenasy is editor-in-chief of METROPOLIS, the award-winning New York City-based magazine of architecture and design.

Rick Poynor
Martin Sharp: From Satire to Psychedelia
Alexandra Lange
Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer, Freelancer
Ralph Caplan
The Trip From Bountyful
08.01.13

Ralph Caplan on his first job: staff writer on a putatively satirical magazine just being formed.

Observed
The Craft of Design
05.03.13

American Craft's special 2013 design issue is available online or as an iPad app.

Owen Edwards
The 99 Factor: A Man About Town + Country
Rick Poynor
The Practical Virtue of Works That Work
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
The Covers of Time
03.04.13

90 years of the cover of Time in 120 seconds.

Alexandra Lange
Patterns of Houston
Rob Walker
What Does ‘The Cover of Time’ Mean?
Alexandra Lange
Bad Taste True Confessions: Erté
Rob Walker
The Latest In Journo-Comics
Leonard Koren
Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing
Alexandra Lange
Dot Supreme
10.31.12

On the enduring power of the simplest shape, from corporations to children’s books.

Owen Edwards
Homage to Helen Gurley Brown
Rick Poynor
Sending Signals about Political Graphics
Rick Poynor
Updating the Maps of Graphic Design History
Rick Poynor
Phil Sayer, Designer of Photo-Portraits
04.19.12

Phil Sayer’s photographic portraits for Blueprint gave the magazine great visual impact and presence.

Rick Poynor
Motif Magazine: The World Made Visible
03.02.12

Motif magazine, founded in 1958, anticipated a new way of seeing, documenting and appreciating the “visible world.”

Rick Poynor
In Response to An Anatomy of Uncriticism
01.27.12

Alexandra Lange’s article in Print about the sacred cows of graphic design sidesteps the issue it raises.

Rick Poynor
Another Design Voice Falls Silent
John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
12.04.11

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.

Alexandra Lange
What the Cooper-Hewitt Needs: More Design, Less Talk
09.19.11

My six suggestions for how to fix the National Design Museum.

Alice Twemlow
Remembering Richard Hamilton as Design Critic
09.19.11

Alice Twemlow remembers Richard Hamilton, artist and design writer.

Rick Poynor
The House That Design Journalism Built
Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: Stefan Lorant’s Lilliput
Alexandra Lange
City Beautiful of Kazakhstan
04.19.11

Why is Norman Foster the go-to guy for new capitals?

Rick Poynor
Stewart Mackinnon: Ruptured and Remade
Alexandra Lange
I Was an Unhappy Hipster
02.17.11

In a renovation by an architect, for a critic, the bookshelves can be a battleground.

Rick Poynor
A Journal with No Fear of Flying
Alexandra Lange
From the Cabat to the City
01.03.11

Is Bottega Veneta's Tomas Maier an industrial designer trapped in the fashion world?

Mark Lamster
British Incursion
Mark Lamster
The Ugliest Object I Have Ever Owned
12.01.10

What's the ugliest object you've ever owned (and loved)?

Rick Poynor
Rethinking Conceptual Type Design
11.22.10

In Copenhagen last week, the organizers of “Conceptual Type — Type Led by Ideas” posed the question: “Where are the idealistic fonts, the fonts that are frontiers of new belief?”

Rick Poynor
Design Writing from Down Under
11.05.10

A new issue of The National Grid arrives in the mail. You’ve never seen it? You are missing a treat.

Andrew Blauvelt
Designer Finds History, Publishes Book
10.21.10

Andrew Blauvelt takes stock of the graphic design history movement that began in the 1980s.

Debbie Millman
Stephen Doyle
09.24.10

In this podcast interview with Debbie Millman, Stephen Doyle discusses working for Tibor Kalman, renting his soul to the devil and working with his hands.

Michael Bierut
Dot Zero
Steven Heller
Vignelli’s Herald (or Heralding Vignelli)
09.15.10

Vignelli Celebration: Steven Heller remembers the Herald.

Alexandra Lange
In Dwell: Hands Off the Icons
09.08.10

In the 
October 2010 issue of Dwell, which celebrates the magazine’s tenth anniversary by revisiting its own (generally happy) homeowners, I offer the following Argument.
William H. Helfand
Ridendo
07.23.10

A slideshow comprised of covers from Ridendo a magazine distributed to French physicians.

Ernest Beck
Edward Koren in Retrospect
07.01.10

Essay on The New Yorker cartoonist Edward Koren.

Mark Lamster
Walk the Walk, Take the Design
06.08.10

A few years ago I did an interview with ESPN magazine and was forced to subscribe to read the online version.

Alexandra Lange
The Plastics
05.27.10

This month’s
Vogue, which had several enraging features, is not yet fully online except for Blake Lively, bathing suits, clear plastic.
Mark Lamster
SOM: They’re #1
05.14.10

What is the top architectural firm in the United States? The friendly staff at Architect magazine established a set of criteria, surveyed the profession and crunched the numbers.

Michael Bierut
Designing the Unthinkable
01.12.10

For more than fifty years, there have been arguments against nuclear proliferation. The Doomsday Clock translates all the arguments to a simple visual analogy.

Julie Lasky
I.D.'s Executioners
01.07.10

Julie Lasky, shares her experience at ID magazine.

Mark Lamster
Good Night Old Friend: ID Magazine Closes After 55 Years
12.18.09

After 55 years, ID Magazine, the grand dame of American design publishing, has shuttered. It's a terrible blow to the design world, and especially to those of us in the extended ID family — I was a contributing editor, and wrote for the the magazine for many years.

Alexandra Lange
Another New York
11.22.09

Every time I get an issue of
New York Magazine lately I ask myself: is Adam Moss turning it into a men’s magazine?
Alexandra Lange
More Hell (Beige Edition)
10.28.09

I thought the Kelly Wearstler fan-fest was over last month, when both Vogue and the New Yorker treated her to long profiles.

Alexandra Lange
Houses of the Future
10.21.09

Excellent article on the various single-family housing initiatives going on now in New Orleans.

Steven Heller
Ramparts: Agent of Change
10.14.09

Ramparts magazine has been dead for almost two decades, but to look back at it, it stands out as one to remember.

Alexandra Lange
Cutting Remarks
10.01.09

I'm not so sure that Lonny, the online-only magazine from the former editors of Domino, is such a good thing.

Alexandra Lange
My Idea of Hell
09.24.09

There is no upside in criticizing Kelly Wearstler, since her press machine just rolls on, as she changes outfits hourly and houses annually.

Steven Heller
When Satire Was More Than Funny
07.06.09

In 1901, Samuel Schwarz founded a satiric visual weekly, titled L’Assiette au Beurre, expressly poised to attack the functionaries who made their fortunes off the sweat of the citizenry.

Alexandra Lange
Pre-Blog Work
07.01.09

Here are links to writing published before I began this blog in June 2009.

Sarah Couto
The Year Playboy Died
03.17.09

It is often forgotten that the rabbit figure depicted on the early covers of Playboy was very much male, as seen in the January 1954 edition of the magazine. Typically he was an unbridled man, out and about, in good company. The rabbit is first shown in the guise of a woman, upon the opening of the Playboy Club in 1960.

Mark Lamster
Seattle PI: RIP
03.07.09

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was founded 146 years ago, when that city was an industrial backwater on Elliot Bay, a timber town with more logs than people.

Debbie Millman
Patrick Coyne
02.27.09

An interview with Patrick Coyne, editor of Communication Arts, with special guests Milton Glaser and Cheryl Heller.

Steven Heller
My Dada
12.03.08

Way back in 1965, as a fifteen years old, I was an early EVOtee. I had stumbled upon one of the first issues at a newsstand. The cover, which I remember vividly, had a photo collage of a serpent emerging from battle fatigues worn by America's commanding general in Vietnam, William Westmoreland. Haunting is not a strong enough word to describe the impact that this had on a teen just a year or two out of Valley Forge Military Academy, where, surprisingly, I had learned about the military impossibility of winning the war.

Steven Heller
History of Aggressive Design Magazines
11.14.08

Graphic design evolved during the late nineteenth century from a sideline of the printing industry into an autonomous field with its own lore, icons and personalities. The missing link in this evolutionary process is trade magazines. These magazines did not just reflexively report the current trends instead some aggressively codified key methods and mannerisms that in turn defined a profession.

Steven Heller
Go West, Young Art Director
09.23.08

When veteran magazine art directors get together to reminisce about the glory years, one title always gets mentioned: West. This storied weekly supplement of the Los Angeles Times, art directed by Mike Salisbury, was a masterwork of design erudition.

Paula Scher
It's How You Said It
07.17.08

Paula Scher: "The problem with the New Yorker's controversial Obama cover is not that it's dangerous and tasteless. The problem is that it isn’t dangerous or tasteless enough."

Steven Heller
Vanity Fair Type: 1930 Style
07.02.08


Adam Harrison Levy
The Passion of George Lois
04.22.08

How adman George Lois chronicled the sixties with his cover designs for Esquire magazine, with a peek behind the scenes at the legendary famous Muhammad-Ali-as-St. Sebastian photoshoot.

Steven Heller
Underground Mainstream
04.10.08

Today, designers for mainstream advertising companies, weaned on alternative approaches, have folded the underground into the mainstream and called it cool.

Debbie Millman
Jonah Lehrer
02.15.08

Jonah Lehrer, editor-at-large for Seed Magazine, is also a contributor to NPR’s RadioLab. He is the author of Proust was a Neuroscientist.

Jessica Helfand
Animal Magnetism
02.14.08

Magazines are the sole industry in which you cannot help but judge a book by its cover.

Andrew Blauvelt
The Work of Task
01.16.08

The presence of Task asks, How do you make a magazine for the post-critical, post-movement moment of contemporary graphic design?

William Drenttel
A Plea to The New York Times: Index Your Art
10.06.07

Why does the art that adds so much to the texts published in The New York Times disappear? Why cannot The New York Times simply index the art that it publishes, at least leaving the bibliographic tracings of the work in their newspaper?

Richard Turley
Off the Grid
07.07.07

When you abandon most of the rules, how do you define a mistake? How to art direct a newspaper from the middle of the muddy Glastonbury music festival.

Debbie Millman
Janet Froelich
04.20.07

An interview with Janet Froelich, former Creative Director at The New York Times Magazine, who is currently Design Director at Real Simple.

Steven Heller
The Other Monocle
02.26.07

Let's look back to another, virtually forgotten but decidedly important, magazine with the very same name — one that published under the motto, "In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king." Monocle.

Adrian Shaughnessy
"I Sold My Soul And I Love It"
02.05.07

The current issue of Creative Review is "guest edited" by hip British advertising agency Mother. The theme, suggested by Mother, is I Sold My Soul And I Love It — a vastly contradictory statement, but one that invites debate over what it means to work in visual communication."

DJ Stout
Remembering Ann Richards
09.19.06

To create the famous Texas Monthly cover of Governor Ann Richards astride a Harley, art director DJ Stout used a body double. "For many years, I would run into Ann Richards at my favorite Mexican food lunch spot in downtown Austin and she would always thank me for giving her such a 'sexy body.'"

Michael Bierut
Where the Happy People Go
07.17.06

The ferociously positive letters column in Architectural Digest magazine demonstrates that design can make people almost unnervingly happy.

Lawrence Weschler
Koppel to Cooper: Cool, Cooler, Cold
06.08.06

Hey, maybe that's the ticket for McSweeney's: Put some bigtime sexy celebrity on the cover, somebody huge and charismatic and irresistible, somebody like, you know...Ted Koppel! What then to make of this month's cover of Vanity Fair? The fact that the editors there, in offering Anderson Cooper up as the studmuffin du mois, may be an occasion for some serious concern.

Michael Bierut
The Road to Hell: Now Paved with Innovation?
06.04.06

A new magazine from Business Week on design and innovation was created through an unpaid competition. If this is innovation, to hell with it.

Michael Bierut
Variations on a Theme: New York's High Priorities
03.30.06

A half-page weekly feature in New York magazine has become a showcase for some of the world's best graphic designers.

Michael Bierut
In Praise of Slow Design
01.15.06

Is there a such a thing as slow graphic design? A look at 80 years of barely perceptible design changes at The New Yorker.

Lorraine Wild
Think Regional, Act Annual
11.27.05

Flying from New York to Los Angeles last week, I spent the long hours at 35,000 feet doing something I had not done in years: I read the Print Magazine's "2005 Regional Design Annual" cover to cover. Here are some of the things I learned:

Rick Poynor
Emigre: An Ending
11.10.05

Issue 69 of Emigre will be the last. In its heyday, it was the most consistently interesting design publication produced by anyone, anywhere. By 1990, it was one of those magazines you simply had to get hold of and read straight away.

Michael Bierut
Every New Yorker is a Target
08.16.05

The latest New Yorker magazine has only one advertiser: Target. The effect is disorienting.

Rick Poynor
We Are All Editors Now. Or Are We?
07.01.05

Many designers aspire to be editors. But being an editor is not simply about choosing some things you like and throwing them together. Editing is about deep engagement with content and the construction of meaning.

Michael Bierut
The Obvious, Shunned by So Many, Is Successfully Avoided Once Again
06.28.05

Does anyone devote as much energy to avoiding simple, sensible solutions as the modern graphic designer? Publications of designers' own work demonstrate what effort they go through to needlessly complicate what might be simple solutions.

Michael Bierut
The Supersized, Temporarily Impossible World of Bruce McCall
04.18.05

Illustrator Bruce McCall's vision of an exhuberant, overscale America is evoked by the opening of a new McDonald's in Chicago.

Rick Poynor
Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot
03.21.05

Dot Dot Dot is the most stimulating and original visual culture magazine produced by designers since Emigre's heyday in the late 1980s to the mid-1990s.

Momus
The Vice Design Issue
01.23.05

The Vice Design Issue is not an anti-design tract, but the championing of an aesthetic that's already quite well-established, already wowing museum curators - a casual, trashy, porno-party style that celebrates tack, lo-tech and the good old bohemian values of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Rick Poynor
The I.D. Forty: What Are Lists For?
01.09.05

How do we measure one kind of achievement in design against another to arrive at a ranking? The truth is we can’t. The real purpose of I.D.’s list was to underscore the magazine’s position as selector and taste-maker.

Jessica Helfand
Magazine Without a Name, Brand Without a Promise
09.13.04


William Drenttel
Posted Without Comment
07.07.04


Michael Bierut
McSweeney's No. 13 and the Revenge of the Nerds
05.29.04

McSweeney's No. 13, published by Dave Eggers and guest edited by Chris Ware, is a masterwork of publication design and an invaluable survey of today's best comic artists and graphic novelists.

Michael Bierut
The Final Decline and Total Collapse of the American Magazine Cover
02.18.04

Comparing the magazine covers of today to those created for Esquire magazine in the 1960s by George Lois leads to only one conclusion: today's magazine ideal magazine cover is enticing, not arresting, aiming not for shock, but for seduction. And it stinks.

Michael Bierut
The Forgotten Design Legacy of the National Lampoon
01.05.04

The rerelease of the National Lampoon's ersatz and hilarious "1964 C. Estes Kefauver Memorial High School Yearbook" is a reminder that the magazine's art directors, Michael Gross and David Kaestle, anticipated our profession's obsession with vernacular graphic languages by almost fifteen years.

Rick Poynor
Adbusters in Anarchy
12.11.03

Adbusters’ once orderly pages are in a state of heaving agitation. The magazine seems to be seduced by the coolness of design as a gesture, even though this is part of the surface-fixated postmodernism it deplores.

Jessica Helfand
Color Me Kurt
11.03.03

Having seen Schwarzenegger as a black man before he was elected Governor, one can only imagine what's next for Colors under Kurt Andersen.

Rick Poynor
It's a Man's World
11.02.03

Adam Parfrey’s book shows hundreds of men’s magazine covers from the 1950s painted by artists who specialized in depictions of tough guys abusing terrified women. Have we outgrown this kind of thing? Heck no.


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