Science

Michael Bierut
The Typeface of Truth
What are the implications when Errol Morris declares the typeface most likely to induce credulity is Baskerville?


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Mrs. E.N. Todter by Dion & Puett Studio
Art and the Ladies’ Field Club


Rick Poynor
The Body as Factory: Anatomy of an Image
Peeling back the skin of a New Scientist cover illustration by Nichola Bruce and Michael Coulson.



Observed
A Sculpture on the Moon
Slate has a fascinating article about artist Paul van Hoeydonck and his three-and-a-half inch scultpure, Fallen Astronaut that was (and still is) exhibited on the moon.


Alexandra Lange
Hiking the Museum
Ennead Architects’ new Natural History Museum of Utah works to make natural history seem like the ongoing process of discovery that it is, layering geology and topography, paleontology and interactivity.


Alexandra Lange
Science Gets Around to Architecture
Why are we still privileging scientific studies over visual thinking?



Rob Walker
On Radiolab: the Sound of Science
“Radiolab,” a public radio show that breaks from public radio sensibilities, not least in its striking sound.



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



The Editors
And Speaking of Sustainability...
Proceedings of a 2003 seminar about Timeship, a visionary project designed by Stephen Valentine for storing the frozen remains of people awaiting reanimation.



Alan Rapp
Personal Space
Robert Sommer’s Personal Space: The Behavioral Basis of Design was published in forty years ago, and its compact title concept — an invisible but perceptible security zone surrounding an individual — caught on. But where is Sommer now? A recent study in Perception finds that listening to music on headphones alters our sense of sociospatial relations. Until these more contemporary strands of inquiry result in a truly new analysis of how we perceive our interpersonal zones today, Personal Space is now available in a new edition, with some additional commentary by Dr. Sommer, from Bosko Books in the UK



Mark Lamster
Triumph of the Will (Or, Everything Old Is New Again)
In the New Yorker this week, Jonah Lehrer writes about a psychological study suggesting that self control, or the ability to delay gratification, more strongly correlates with long-term success than intelligence.



Lorraine Wild
Will Burtin: Design and Science
Will Burtin’s story is presented in Design and Science: The Life and Work of Will Burtin. Like all of the emigré “pioneers,” Burtin brought an amazing amount of talent and energy (along with plain old ambition) to his modernist approach.



Debbie Millman
Jonah Lehrer
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.



Debbie Millman
Eric Kandel
Nobel prize winner Eric Kandel is a psychiatrist, neuroscientist and professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Columbia University.
 




Jessica Helfand
Science and Design: The Next Wave
Scientists probe and manipulate and channel and divide; they split and fuse and spike and engineer; but most of all, they look. As a designer, to spend any time with scientists is to become at once profoundly aware of our similarities and devastated by that which divides us.



Jessica Helfand
My Dirty Little Secret
Gardening is its own infuriating design challenge. You fret and you rethink and you second-guess yourself constantly, and then for one delirious, thrilling moment something blooms and you feel utterly triumphant. And then it dies and you are back where you started.



William Drenttel
International Polar Year
In what may turn out to be the biggest international scientific project to date, an army of thousands of scientists will spend the next two years studying the Arctic and Antarctic as part of the International Polar Year, which officially begins this week.



Jessica Helfand
Death 'N' Stuff
Smoking Kills: The label days it all. Or does it? Once the allegedly chilling skull and crossbones is marketed as a decorative pattern
on a silk bowtie, its credibility as an mark of peril seems, well, somewhat questionable, begging the question: have we become so bored by life that we've inadvertently become inured to death?



William Drenttel
Threat Advisory Pandemic Alert System (TAPAS)
How do we measure the danger level from the Avian Influenza A (H5N1) virus? What we lack is that one Tom Ridge-like bit of inspiration that would lend clarity to these confusing times. We took our cue from a certain John James Audubon. Herewith, one option for Homeland Security. Yes, we know: it's for the birds.



William Drenttel
Weather Report: 53 Degrees F. Heavy Snowfall Predicted
The weather is fucked up. "Science is a way of making sense of the world. Design is a way of making the world make sense."



Jessica Helfand
Face Value
Facial transplants mapping our future: how much is the world of design responsible?



William Drenttel
Maps of Cyberspace
It is the internet that has changed our perception of space, precisely because the sheer volume of interconnectivity is beyond our imagination, whether it be language-based, data-based, or community-based. Add black holes and photographs of asteroidal moons around Jupiter, and our world seems increasingly expansive. Yet, if we cannot map it, how can we understand it?



Jessica Helfand
Greer Allen: In Memoriam
Designer, critic, pundit and historian, Greer Allen was Senior Critic in Graphic Design at Yale School of Art. He designed publications for The Houghton Library at Harvard, the Beinecke Library at Yale, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and a number of other distinguished cultural institutions around the country. Greer Allen died last week after a short illness. He was 83.



Rick Poynor
Eduardo Paolozzi, 20th Century Image-Maker
If a visual artist created more concentrated, exhilarating images of science, technology and the media realm during the mid-20th century than British artist Eduardo Paolozzi, then I would like to see them. Paolozzi, who died on 22 April aged 81, was first of all a sculptor, but the screenprints he produced in the 1960s rank as masterpieces of the medium.



The Editors
Understanding and Action




Jessica Helfand
Under The Microscope




William Drenttel
Edward Tufte: The Dispassionate Statistician III




Jessica Helfand
Take Two Logos and Call Me in the Morning




Jessica Helfand
One Person, One Vote, One MRI?




Jessica Helfand
Annals of Typographic Oddity No. 2: Spaceship Gothic




William Drenttel
Call for Entries: Periodic Table of the Elements
Jessica Helfand and I are building a collection of Periodic Tables and hope to publish a book on their scientific, visual and cultural history.



William Drenttel
Uut, Uup and Away
What happens when we discover new elements, especially ones on the outer fringes of the periodic table? Where did Uut and Uup come from?



Observed | February 17

As the White House aims to stifle climate science, cities cooperate globally and plan locally, standing up to climate change. [BV]

The crude, vulgar, and celebrated art of Jean Dubuffet. [MPL]

Donald Judd on the relationship of artists and politics, 1970. [MB]

The most despised piece of furniture in the world has a name: Peggy. [MB]


Observed | February 16

The Statue of Liberty was modeled after an Arab woman. [MB]

Pratt Institute President Tom Schutte is the recipient of the 21st Rowena Reed Kostellow Award. [JH]

Why symbols matter. [MB]

Detroit, Design and the Future of Work—Detroit’s first exhibition as a UNESCO City of Design  [BV]

A Bug‘s Life meets Mulan and takes the form of this chair. [MPL]

Why do we have Wingdings and Dingbats? This short video explains all! [MB]


Observed | February 15

In the New Yorker this week, Design Observer contributor Rob Walker reviews the new Netflix series on design. [JH]

Charles and Ray Eames: a remembrance. [JH]

Fast Company‘s list of 2017‘s most innovative companies is out! [MPL]

What does industrialization look like? Take an aerial view.. [MPL]

Vasjen Katroi, a designer in Albania, makes a poster a day for a year. [JH]

Can corporate culture be designed? [JH]


Observed | February 14

Ikea’s best designed product of all time, according to it’s design chief. [JH]

If “design” becomes a synonym for “negotiate” we’re all in trouble. [JH]


Observed | February 13

“Almost alone among his countrymen, Johnson carried off his noxious politics with style.” Philip Johnson and the new American Fascism. [MB]

Journalist, curator, and longtime Head of Design at the V&A in London, Kieran Long is named Director of the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. [JH]

From The Atlantic, a deep dive into Apple’s flawless design aesthetic—and why it may just be a myth. [JH]

Madeline Stuart, who has Down Syndrome, designs and launches her own fashion line. [JH]


Observed | February 10

Timely explainer: what does the US Department of Housing and Urban Development actually do? [MB]

Creative dissent is central to political change. [MPL]

Ads, shorts, and the creative process of PES. (You have to watch “Fresh Guacamole.” You just have to.) [MPL]

“Anti-homeless” spikes have been removed in Manchester after locals kept covering them with cushions. [MB]


Observed | February 09

Next week in New York City: the remarkable Cliff Kuang on the untold story of design thinking. [JH]

Wallow in the beautiful custom version of Didot used by CBS in the 1960s, and don’t miss the comments. (Via Alexandra Lange.) [MB]

An interview with Obama‘s White House photographer. [MPL]

Using design to drive student performance. [JH]



Jobs | February 20