Publishing

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Butlin’s holiday camp by Edmund Nägele
A sixties vacation in glowing color


The Editors
The New Design Observer
Welcome to the New Design Observer.


Warren Lehrer
The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley
An excerpt and slideshow from Warren Lehrer’s A Life in Books.


Andrew Howard
A Manifesto for Higher Learning
Andrew Howard, MA course director in Communication Design at ESAD — Escola Superior de Artes e Design in Matosinhos, Portugal — shares this with his incoming graduate students each year.


John Bertram
Lolita — The Story of a Cover Girl
Excerpt from Lolita — The Story of a Cover Girl.


Rob Walker
Looking Better, All The Time
Alexandra Horowitz' book On Looking offers a framework, and specific tactics, for smarter seeing.


Leonard Koren
Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing
An except from Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing by Leonard Koren.


Louise Fili
A Life in Letters
An excerpt from Louise Fili's Elegantissima.


Rick Poynor
What Does Critical Writing Look Like?
A report on work by the first graduates from the Royal College of Art’s Critical Writing in Art & Design MA.


Rick Poynor
The Closed Shop of Design Academia
Shouldn’t it be part of a design academic’s brief to communicate more widely with the design profession and public?



William Drenttel, and Jessica Helfand
Late Summer Reading
In the late summer, we share a reading list first published in Frieze magazine, April 2011.



Carl Schoonover
Portraits of the Mind
The book, Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century (Abrams) documents this overlooked dimension over two millennia of obsession with the brain.



Michael Bierut
Eight-and-a-Half by Eleven
An installation of over 10,000 tiled pieces 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper redeems what has often been dismissed as a banal graphic format.



Jessica Helfand
An Instrument of Sufficiently Lucid Cogitation
The legendary French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, who died on Tuesday at his home in the South of France, always carried a sketchbook with him. Today's obituary in The New York Times alleges that he described drawing as meditative, while photography was intuitive: though certainly both activities might have been informed by a relentless need to observe and in a sense, preserve the world around him.



Rick Poynor
Critics and Their Purpose
Pulling a 1960s art magazine from the shelf, I opened it at random to find a long list of thoughts about art criticism assembled in 1966 by students at the Royal College of Art in London. Many of these ideas apply to design.



Observed | June 28

It‘s officially summer. Time to tip your hat to Robert Moses, whose first public-works project was Jones Beach. [BV]

Brooklyn-based multimedia artist Anthony Goicolea’s monument to honor the victims of the Orlando shooting is unveiled in New York. [JH]

Feathered hair, loopy patterns, and color combinations you forgot were even remotely possible: 80’s design, Memphis-style. [JH]

“And it has two exclamation points. Time headlines don’t yell.” Deconstructing a fake magazine cover in the Trump era. [JH]


Observed | June 27

City Lab announces what sounds like a serious redesign, yet fails to mention the re-designer. Ouch. [JH]

What is lost when we forget how to draw by hand? [MB]

Former Yale School of Art Dean, photographic pioneer and MacArthur recipient Richard Benson has died at 74. Tod Papageorge’s appreciation is here. A New Yorker profile on Benson appeared in 1990. Subscribers can download it in its entirety on their site. [JH]

The ultimate jargon-free design contract. [MB]


Observed | June 26

Over six billion emojis are sent on a daily basis: how pictographs convey emotion. Read more: [JH]

“Because after all of this, I’m still left wondering what design actually is.” One review of the Cannes Lions awards. [JH]

Posters for change: deadline extended to June 30. [JH]


Observed | June 23

Not sure I agree, but an article in the Financial Times suggests design thinking is an essential part of every business student’s education. [JH]

When signage fails. [JH]

Is design a respite from chaos? [JH]


Observed | June 22

Former Exploratorium Art Director Diane Burk is taking a design sabbatical: follow her amazing travels here. [JH]

Typographic perfection? Patrick King’s witty (and well-kerned) t-shirt collection is just what your summer wardrobe needs. [JH]

Typographic nightmare? Spoiler alert: it’s not Comic Sans! [JH]


Observed | June 21

This year’s Serpentine Pavillion, designed by the extraordinary Frances Kere. [MB]

How Comic Sans became the world’s most notorious font. (Thanks to Karen Day.) [MB]

Fold your way through Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous buildings. [BV]

A 257-Year-Old coloring book was discovered in St. Louis. [BV]


Observed | June 20

Accidental Wes Anderson locations, a very colorful and surreal subreddit. [BV]

Robots in art class. [MPL]

The internet is for circles. [MB]

Subtle ways to signal wealth: not designer bags anymore. [MPL]

A sociology of the smartphone. [MB]


Observed | June 19

Rob Walker‘s insightful (and beautifully written) assessment of the importance of the logo. [JH]

“In the visual clamor of a bookstore, the important thing is to be different.” From 2005, John Updike on book cover design. [MB]

IKEA’s posters help you cook dinner. (But what about a soup?) [MPL]

Great assessment by Rick Poynor of the enduring relevance of Emigre magazine. [MB]



Jobs | June 29