show

Rob Walker
Jony Ive: The Supercut
09.26.14

Finally! Someone made a supercut video of Jony Ive’s years of describing the awesomeness of Apple product design.

Adrian Shaughnessy
Twitter has its dark side, but it’s also a source of delight.
09.23.14

In defense of an imperfect medium.

Jessica Helfand
To Thine Own Selfie Be True
Adam Harrison Levy
Coney Island of The Mind
08.25.14

It’s late August and your shirt sticks to your back. The only escape is….the beach.

Steven Heller
Confessions of a Frustrated Newsprint Lover
08.19.14

I’ve held on devotedly to newsprint as long as humanly possible but I recently reached the point where my loyalty gave way to expedience.

Véronique Vienne
Image Making, Reclaimed
05.22.14

Etienne Hervy, art director of the International Graphic Design Festival in Chaumont, France, asked a painter, not a graphic designer, to create a pair of posters for this year’s event.

Justin Zhuang
Monocle Magazine: A Singular View of the City
Alexander Isley
The Light
05.01.14

How operating a searchlight influenced Alexander Isley's approach to design.

John Foster
Why Won’t My Doll Sell on eBay?
Observed
Glaser Goes Psychedelic
04.11.14

If you're watching the premier of Mad Men this Sunday, you may notice some familiar-ish graphics. That's because the key art for Season 7 was created by Milton Glaser, based on some of the work he became known for in the 1960's and 70's, now frequently described as 'psychedelia'.

Hala Abdul Malak
Hala A. Malak on Lomo
04.10.14

Hala A. Malak is a design critic, curator, branding consultant and Middle East expert with her own particular view of the world.  

Samantha García
Inalienable Rights, Wolfsonian-Style
Brigette Brown
Brigette Brown on Umbrellas
Adam Harrison Levy
Data Loss
04.03.14

Adam Harrison Levy on losing everything he had stored on his phone for three years.

Anne Quito
Anne Quito on Quiet
Anna Marie Smith
Anna Marie Smith on “Apples to Apples”
04.02.14

On this episode of Insights Per Minute Anna Marie Smith explains her dislike for the game "Apples to Apples".

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.

Observed
Complaints Posters
03.20.14

Complaints! An Inalienable Right, is a poster exhibition curated by author, design critic, educator and Design Observer friend Steven Heller.

John Foster
Blues, Baptisms, and Prison Farms: The Lomax Snapshots of 1934-1950
John Foster
The Dreamland Motel
02.23.14

A reivew of the vanishing signage of our American landscape.

Owen Edwards
The Quickest Fix
02.13.14

A suggestion for an easy & quick design tweak that could help reduce concussions in the NFL.

Rob Walker
Personal Packaging
Alexandra Lange
Criticism = Love
02.01.14

Why you have to love design to be a critic.

Observed
Selling Shame
01.16.14

Southern California artist Cynthia Petrovic has collected vintage body-shaming advertisements geared toward women.

Rick Poynor
The Compulsively Visual World of Pinterest
John Foster
Capturing Imagination
01.05.14

The ten most popular galleries from John Foster in 2013.

Michael Bierut
And May All Your Christmases Be Carefully Staged So As To Appear White
12.25.13

A backstage story from George Balanchine's production of The Nutcracker dramatizes how difficult it is to create magical effects.

Rick Poynor
Martin Sharp: From Satire to Psychedelia
12.06.13

The late Martin Sharp was a visual innovator whose work erased artificial distinctions between applied image-making and fine art.

John Foster
Graphics of Authority
11.24.13

A look at the police cars that may or may not want to be seen.

Observed
New Items in the Design Observer Store
11.22.13

New products listed in the Design Observer store.

Rick Poynor
Collage Culture: Nostalgia and Critique
11.11.13

An interview with David Banash, author of Collage Culture: Readymades, Meaning, and the Age of Consumption.

Alexandra Lange
L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman
11.08.13

A Kickstarter for an upcming exhibition on the wotk of Deborah Sussman in Los Angeles.

Observed
Happy Halloween!
10.31.13

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

Observed
The Wire Poster Project
10.28.13

"The Wire Poster Project" consists of 60 typographic posters, each one representing one of the 60 different epigrams preceding every episodes of HBO’s critically acclaimed series, The Wire.

John Foster
Welcome to the Asylum
10.27.13

A selection of images that came from the days when ‘asylum’ was a noun, not a verb.

Rick Poynor
New York: City of Spectacular Doors
John Foster
John Foster on Colloquialisms
09.23.13

On this episode of Insights Per Minute John Foster considers colloquialisms.

John Maeda
John Maeda on Loops
09.11.13

This episode of Insights Per Minute features John Maeda on loops.

Mark Lamster
High Net Space: The New International Style
Observed
The Subculture of Japanese Trucker Art
09.03.13

Tatsuki Masaru's new book Dekotora documents the Japanese subculture of pimping big rigs with neon lights and luxury interiors.

Rick Poynor
Soft Machine’s Dysfunctional Mechanism
Observed
Iron Man 3 Titles
Observed
My 3-D Life
06.30.13

Meanwhile, what’s to stop me from printing some caviar, or an Oscar? A pony? Or a Porsche? Musings on what to print on your home 3-D printer.

John Foster
Birds of a Feather
06.23.13

This week's Accidental Mysteries focuses on groups of similar objects: Birds of a Feather.

Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Upgrade Yourself!
Rob Walker
The Mighty Shirt Kings
06.11.13

Back in the 1980s, a group of artists calling themselves The Mighty Shirt Kings set up shop at the Jamaica Coliseum, in Queens, offering “custom air-brushed and original artwork,” which could be had on canvas, but also pants, jackets, and of course T-shirts. They are the subject of a new book: The Shirt Kings.

Observed
The Man in Black, On Your Envelope
06.04.13

On June 5, 2013, the US Post Office issues a new stamp designed by Greg Breeding featuring Johnny Cash.

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.

Alexandra Lange
Anxiety, Culture and Commerce
Kit Hinrichs + Delphine Hirasuna
The Alphabet Card
Observed
Circus Poster Archive
05.14.13

Circusmuseum.nl, is "the ultimate image bank" of circus posters, photos and prints — with nearly eight thousand circus posters from 1880 to the present, from the Netherlands to America.

Jessica Helfand
Our Shopping Lists, Our Selves
05.08.13

Jessica Helfand on lists: from the mundane to the historical, the shopping list to the Bill of Rights.

Observed
Awful Library Books
04.22.13

Awful Library Books is a collection of amusing and/or questionable library holdings found in real libraries and curated by librarians Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner.

John Foster
Drawn to Currency
Observed
We The Designers
03.18.13

We the Designers” is a national exhibition of self-authored graphic design on view through April 5 at the AIGA National Design Center in NYC.
Observed
London Transport Museum Poster Colletion
02.20.13

A wonderful way to spend an hour (or more). The poster collection from the London Transport Museum.

Observed
Valentinishness
02.14.13

Unorthodox suggestions and unsolicited advice for V-Day.

Observed
National Poetry Month Poster
02.05.13

The 2013 National Poetry Month Poster, designed by Jessica Helfand.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
12.30.12

Comic selections from the 
Lewis Wayne Gallery in Dallas, Texas — one of the nation’s largest galleries of comic book art. 
Alexandra Lange
Bad Taste True Confessions: Erté
Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Gifts for Kids
12.18.12

Gifts for children found on Etsy.com

Observed
Neon: Bright Lights, Big City
12.17.12

Collector's Weekly interviewed architect Kirsten Hively, the created of the free iPhone app Project Neon.

Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Guide to Personalizable Gifts
12.13.12

Personalized gifts found on Etsy.com.

Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Ornaments and Decorations Gift Guide
12.11.12

Ornaments and decorations found on Etsy.

Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch With The Critics: Third-Annual Year-End Awards
12.10.12

Idiosyncratic awards bestowed on architecture, design and media.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Science/Technology Gift Guide
12.06.12

Science and technology related gifts found on Etsy.com

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
11.25.12

Motorcycle club cuts (or vests) and their assorted, colorful club colors (or patches) represent a unique form of American folk art embodying the freedom and nonconformity of bikers.

Alexandra Lange
3rd Annual Holiday Card Review
11.21.12

Holiday card designs for 2012 reveal the social media preoccupations of their buyers, whether it is Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or old-fashioned (perhaps Downton Abbey-inspired?) stationery.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
11.18.12

Lunchboxes from the American past, via the National Museum of American History.

Observed
How Does Your Salary Compare?
11.13.12

Coroflot's 12th annual Design Salary Guide.

Rick Poynor
The Art of Punk and the Punk Aesthetic
Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum
10.08.12

Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.

Rob Walker
Focusing On ‘Optics’
Alexandra Lange
The Shape of Lunch
06.29.12

"Lunch Hour NYC," a new exhibition at the New York Public Library, defines the midday meal as an urban invention.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries: 06.24.12
Alexandra Lange
The Charismatic Megafauna of Design
06.15.12

Identifying the "charismatic megafauna" of design and the critical uses of their popularity.

Michael Bierut
I Love the 80s
John Foster
Bumbos, Swirlys and a Chinese Birdcage: A Snapshot of Marbles
06.03.12

Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is marbles.

Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Graphic Metallica
05.31.12

Heavy metal’s extremity, as a set of aesthetic choices and as a way of life, exerts an enduring fascination.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Observed
The Architecture of Television
05.16.12

Brandi Roberts is an interior designer by training and TV afficionado by choice who draws fictional floorplans of classic television shows.

Observed
Make a Mixel this Weekend
05.11.12

This weekend the folks at Mixel, an amazing collaborative collage app for the iPad, want to spread the word about how easy (and fun) it is.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
04.22.12

Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is Superheroes.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
04.08.12

Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is St. Louis Bus Passes from the 1940s.

Debbie Millman
Roman Mars
04.06.12

Radio producer Roman Mars discusses the connection between ’zines and radio, why he ditched science and the reason he named his show “99% Invisible”.

Alexandra Lange
Frank Lloyd Wright + Katniss Everdeen
04.05.12

On photographing architecture as sculpture and telling stories via architecture.

Rick Poynor
On Display: Museum of Broken Relationships
03.29.12

The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb is a public space consecrated to a universal experience of sadness and loss.

Debbie Millman
Jen Bekman
03.02.12

Jen Bekman discusses managing a BBS in the early days of the internet, her first email exchange and the importance of everyone owning art.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
02.26.12

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment. This week's focus is firearms.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Rick Poynor
How We Learned to Live with Zombies
12.23.11

Zombie films, zombie walks, zombie shops, zombie TV series: our darkest fears are now mainstream.

Rick Poynor
Did We Ever Stop Being Postmodern?
10.16.11

Like it or not, argues the V&A's exhibition about postmodernism and design, we are all postmodern now.

Alexandra Lange
Stop That: Minimalist Posters
Rick Poynor
Chris Foss and the Technological Sublime
09.01.11

Is cult science fiction artist Chris Foss’s work just highly effective illustration, or can it be seen as a visionary form of art?

Nancy Levinson
A Dream House for Architect Barbie
Alexandra Lange
The Uses of Cranks
Rick Poynor
Lost Inside the Collector’s Cabinet
Rick Poynor
Stewart Mackinnon: Ruptured and Remade
Nancy Levinson
Architect Barbie
02.18.11

Architect Barbie: the world's most famous doll has a new career.

Alexandra Lange
What Should Food Look Like?
Rick Poynor
Surrealism in the Pre-School Years
12.30.10

A poet described postcards as a “Lilliputian hallucination of the world”: he must have seen the surreal babies.

Alexandra Lange
Sans Serif Seasons Greetings
Jessica Helfand
Pretty Pictures, Bad Judgment
John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
10.03.10

Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age.

Johanna Blakley
The Costs of Ownership: Why Copyright Protection Will Hurt the Fashion Industry
08.19.10

New copyright protection for fashion designs is only going to hurt an already struggling industry.

Michael Bierut
Jerry Della Femina, Mad Men, and the Cult of Advertising Personality
07.25.10

A review of Jerry Della Femina's From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor, published in a new edition on the occasion of the debut of the fourth season of the AMC series Mad Men.

Gerry Shamray
Harvey and Me
07.13.10

A remembrance of comic artist and graphic novelist Harvey Pekar by an illustrator who worked with him throughout his career, fellow Clevelander Gerry Shamray.

Mike Sinclair
Midway at the Oasis
07.08.10

Photo of Neshoba County Fair, Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Mark Dery
Dawn of the Dead Mall
11.09.09

Mark Dery surveys the landscape of failing malls and speculates about the future means and venues of mass consumption.

Owen Edwards
Not the Same Old Same Old
10.05.09

It’s hard not to agree that cars, though better designed and engineered than ever, are often pressed into plebian duty.

Mark Lamster
Theirs Go to Twaalf
04.14.09

Meet Lamster (no relation), Belgium's ascendant metal goliath.

Rob Walker
Timeless Object
10.28.07

What makes a useless-seeming watch potentially more valuable — in identity terms — than, say, regular jewelry?

Debbie Millman
Shepard Fairey
06.29.07

Designer and illustrator Shepard Fairey is the author of Supply and Demand: The Art of Shepard Fairey and Shepard Fairey: Post No Bills.

Debbie Millman
Jeffrey Keyton
04.06.07

An interview with Jeffrey Keyton, Senior Vice Ppresident, On-Air Design and Off-Air Creative, MTV.

Rick Poynor
Dancing to the Sound in Your Head
04.03.07

We might not appreciate advertising conducted like a saturation bombing campaign in public spaces. Yet now, to complicate things, the personal stereo is being used as a way of reasserting spontaneity, exuberance and passion in over-controlled public places.

Rob Walker
Unconsumption
01.07.07

Getting new stuff can feel really good. Most everybody knows that. Most everybody also knows — that utility can fade, pleasure can be fleeting and the whole thought-that-counts thing is especially ephemeral.

Debbie Millman
Malcolm Gladwell + Joyce Gladwell
01.05.07

An interview with Malcolm Gladwell, author of The New York Times bestseller Outliers and Joyce Gladwell, author of Brown Face.


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