show

Alex Knowlton
Miami Nice
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.

Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Upgrade Yourself!
06.20.13

If appearances matter more than ever, as we are constantly told, the personal makeover has become our most fundamental design task.

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.

Jude Stewart
The World’s Smashing-est Kids’ TV Show
Rob Walker
Focusing On ‘Optics’
08.29.12

Optics: The indispensible buzzword for those who analyze pseudo-events.

Alexandra Lange
The Critical Olympics
Michael Bierut
I Love the 80s
06.04.12

Miami Vice: the quintessential postmodern design artifact, in all its glory and all its disgrace.

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
James Victore's Q&A Tuesday
04.16.12

James Victore is presenting a weekly YouTube series – Q+A Tuesday – in which he addresses a questions about working in a creative industry.

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
Downton Abbey: Fell In Love With a House
02.17.12

Downton Abbey, for all its melodrama and dropped teacups, is really the story of falling in love with a house.

Rick Poynor
How We Learned to Live with Zombies
Ricky Jay
Celebrations of Curious Characters: Dickens the Magician
08.19.11

A selection of recorded broadcasts read and authored by Ricky Jay — brought to you along with the visual catalyst that inspired its tale. The last of four installments.

Ricky Jay
Celebrations of Curious Characters: Taking it on the Chin
08.12.11

A recorded broadcast read and authored by Ricky Jay — along with the visual catalyst that inspired its tale. The third of four installments.

Ricky Jay
Celebrations of Curious Characters: Twins
08.05.11

Design Observer is pleased to share a selection of recorded broadcasts, all read and authored by Ricky Jay — brought to you along with the visual catalyst that inspired its tale. This is the second of four installments.

Ricky Jay
Celebrations of Curious Characters: Calculations
07.29.11

A recorded broadcast read and authored by Ricky Jay — brought to you along with the visual catalyst that inspired its tale. First of four installments.

Alexandra Lange
The Uses of Cranks
07.29.11

Maybe comedy isn't Larry David's calling.

Laura Weiss
What We Can Learn from Project Runway
07.28.11

As 'Project Runway' launches its 9th season, a designer muses on what she's learned.

Jessica Helfand, and Marvin Heiferman
On the Shoulders of Midgets: A Conversation About Reality TV
07.11.11

A conversation about reality TV with Marvin Heiferman and Jessica Helfand.

Rick Poynor
A Dream World Made by Machines
Michael Bierut
Seven Things Designers Can Learn from Stand Up Comics
05.17.11

Stand up comedy, a high-risk creative enterprise, has interesting lessons for designers.

Rob Walker
On Radiolab: the Sound of Science
04.07.11

“Radiolab,” a public radio show that breaks from public radio sensibilities, not least in its striking sound.

Alexandra Lange
NYT Opinionator: If These Walls Could Talk
09.14.10

ABC's Modern Family presents three different families, each defined by the design of their living rooms.

Alexandra Lange
If These Walls Could Talk
09.13.10

On the ABC sitcom Modern Family, three different families are visually defined by their living rooms.

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.

Alexandra Lange
Hung Ceilings
07.18.10

Mad Men returns, and now it's time to speculate on the evolution of Peggy’s hair and the meaning of Betty’s dress choices
Jessica Helfand
The Next Great Graphic Designer
06.23.10

Tonight on Bravo's "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" the winning Penguin book cover design will be unveiled, which begs a few questions. We hope our readers will weigh in with their opinions.

Mark Lamster
Writer's Voice
03.02.10

My interview with Francesca Rheannon of NPR's Writer's Voice is now online.

Mark Lamster
Talking Rubens with Leonard Lopate
12.16.09

I'll be appearing on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show this afternoon.

Alexandra Lange
Playing House
12.15.09

The three living rooms on Modern Family are used as a structuring device, luing us into the character of each respective family.

Alexandra Lange
The Modernist State
11.12.09

Watch “Living Modern in Connecticut” tomorrow night at 9 on CPTV for a short history of modernism in Connecticut.

Alexandra Lange
Word on the Street
11.10.09

We have begun a bit of a study of Sesame Street in our house.

Alexandra Lange
Kicking Down the Door
11.09.09

While I love Mad Men, season 3 was not my favorite.

Mark Lamster
The Shadow Master — Live on Halloween Eve
10.31.09

I'll be discussing the original Shadow Master, Peter Paul Rubens, on the John Batchelor Show.

Alexandra Lange
Buy It Now
10.20.09

I watched two episodes of the Sundance Channel’s new advertisement for Anthropologie, Man Shops Globe, and failed to be caught up in the drama.

Alexandra Lange
The Ladies' Paradise
10.06.09

In “Souvenir,” Mad Men welcomes back Joan, looking lovely.

Alexandra Lange
On the Grid
09.15.09

Mad Men makes use of grids, mixing them with bronze fronds and Harry Bertoia sculpture.

Alexandra Lange
The Tigertones
09.01.09

I was thrilled by the metion of the Tigertones in this week's episode of Mad Men.

Alexandra Lange
Suspended Animation
08.31.09

Thirtysomething isn't exactly how I rembered it.

Alexandra Lange
Shiny and New
08.24.09

On this week's Mad Men, three words I never thought I would hear on a dramatic television show: Ada Louise Huxtable.

Alexandra Lange
If You Can't Say Something Nice...
08.21.09

A contestant's dress on Project Runway looks no worse than Escada.

Alexandra Lange
Rearranging the Deck Chairs
08.18.09

I've been thinking about the third season of Mad Men in terms of furniture.

Alexandra Lange
Spoilsport
06.24.09

Though the BBC teen series Skins isn't boring, I find it icky. Too much sweat, too much drugs, too much barf, too much nudity.

Alexandra Lange
People in New Houses...
06.20.09

Why is every episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey set at an overdecorated Italian restaurant with a large parking lot?

Alexandra Lange
Aloysius is Missed
06.18.09

I took my chances to see if the 2008 remake of Brideshead Revisited was as good as the multi-part original.

Alexandra Lange
Lost Loves
06.13.09

It's slowly dawned on me that the lead character of many shows — Sex in the City, Weeds, The West Wing — is actually grating.

Alexandra Lange
Dickens is Funny
06.11.09

In the best BBC adaptation of the last five years, Bleak House, Gillian Anderson gives a performance that should wipe Agent Scully permanently from the public mind.

Alexandra Lange
Evil Ms
06.03.09

A fair number of journalists have mentioned the odd parallelism of the fall of the House of Merdle in Little Dorrit, and the real-life fall of the House of Bernard Madoff.

Alexandra Lange
Doom
06.02.09

After watching all of the excellent contemporary TV shows, we are back to BBC with The Way We Live Now and The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Mark Lamster
How We Decide
05.19.09

In the latest episode of CBC's WireTap, "The Deciders," host Jonathan Goldstein walks me through one of those difficult decisions we all are faced with at some point: Should I go to the doctor?

Mark Lamster
Fishin' for Glory
03.21.09

The King of Kvetch takes to the airwaves tomorrow; I'll be appearing on the latest episode of Jonathan Goldstein's brilliant radio program Wiretap, on the CBC.

Steven Heller
That Pesky Television Test Pattern
01.21.09

What came first, television or the television test pattern? The origin of the pattern is a story of form following function. Aesthetics were irrelevant to the primary purpose, and the technical draftsmen who anonymously designed it could have never predicted that decades later it would become a nostalgic icon.

Mark Lamster
If the Wire Cast Was a Football Team
01.11.09

The Baltimore Ravens look pretty formidable going into the AFC Championship game, but I wonder if this squad from Charm City could give them a run for their money.

Chris Pullman
What I've Learned
11.23.08

After 35 years working for the same company, WGBH in Boston, legendary design director Chris Pullman reveals the ten things he learned.

Michael Bierut
The Four Lessons of Lou Dorfsman
10.23.08

For over 40 years, Lou Dorfsman designed everything at CBS from its advertising to the paper cups in its cafeteria. Getting great work done in giant institution is supposed to be hard. How did he make it look easy?

Michael Bierut
Mad Men: Pitch Perfect
09.30.08

AMC's ad agency drama Mad Men, from the producer of the Sopranos, is beginning its second season. Like The Sopranos, the show finds human drama in an unexpected setting. And where The Sopranos had whackings, Mad Men has client presentations.

William Drenttel
I Was A Mad Man
07.11.08

Mad Men takes place in 1960. Just seventeen years later, I went to work at an ad agency and became a Mad Man. This is my story...

Nichelle Narcisi
Except You
11.04.07

Nichelle Narcisi, winner of last month's Command X competition at the AIGA Next Conference in Denver, presents "Except You," her proposed campaign to raise the voter participation rate for 18 to 24 year olds.

Michael Bierut
Everything I Know About Design I Learned from The Sopranos
06.11.07

Last night, after eight years, 86 episodes, and untold quantities of gobbagool, The Sopranos finished its run on HBO. And this is what we've learned, from a design point of view.

Rob Walker
TV Land
03.18.07

Buying, selling, updating, restoring and “flipping” for quick profits — it all ran together, but I watched even when I couldn’t remember if the title of a certain show was “Flip This House” or “Flip That House.”

Jessica Helfand
The Karaoke Effect
01.19.07

The lure of American Idol, in these early weeks, lies in precisely this shaky space: that illusory bubble populated by thousands of fame-seekers who fervently believe in their own righteous, if highly fictional talent. It's cultural fallout. Just as the karaoke singer imagines him or herself live and in concert before the screaming fans, so, too, does the illusion persist once the microphone is turned off.

Jessica Helfand
Annals of Academia: The New Exoticism
05.22.06


Jessica Helfand
The D Word
01.29.06

HGTV's sunny splendor of twenty-seven minute remodels and inexhaustible inspiration: fodder for the DIY devotee.

Adrian Shaughnessy
Charles Dickens and The BBC
12.19.05

Who would have guessed that a
BBC costume drama would provide us with Exhibit-A in the defense's case — that a mass audience can be engaged without pandering to base instincts?
Jessica Helfand
Why Bugs Don't Belong on TV
07.31.05

On today's TV screens, the station-identification logo sits tethered to the surface, like an annoying rash that won't quite disappear. You think you've kicked it when — WHAMMMO — there it is again, blemishing the patina of an otherwise perfectly good viewing experience.

Jessica Helfand
The Cut: When Life Imitates Art (I Mean Design)
06.10.05

CBS Television debuted its new series,
The Cut, (modeled after other reality shows such as NBC's The Apprentice)about "16 aspiring designers."
Adrian Shaughnessy
The Designer as Buffoon
04.26.05

The "Designer as Buffoon" phenomenon can be seen in two big-budget, prime-time advertising campaigns currently showing on British television. Both Ford and Ikea are promoting their respective products by offering us pumped-up caricatures of designers and inviting us to guffaw at them.

Lawrence Weschler
The Aural As An Architectonic Challenge
03.03.05

What are the people over at Transom.org up to? As it happens, this month is a very good time to pay them a visit: for the next several weeks, Walter Murch — the phenomenally smart and inspired film and sound editor — will be continuing to hold court there.

Dmitri Siegel
Mysterious Disappearance of Carol Hersee
01.03.05

The story of Carol Hersee's portrait as Test Card F: since it first appeared in 1967 on BBC2, Carol's face has been on-air for over 70,000 hours.

Jessica Helfand
Donald Trump, Art Director: Not The Real Thing
11.29.04

Not until now has Pepsi opened itself up to a public makeover on national television, a redesign in the hands of a smattering of aspiring capitalists, a group whose combined knowledge of design principles might be characterized as, dare I say it — negligible.

Jessica Helfand
Time Waits for No Fan
05.01.04


Jessica Helfand
Graphic Flanerie
04.15.04

Graphic Design's real power comes from its ability to reach us through any of a number of means, both real and virtual, now and later. This ability to transcend the everyday and resonate in the heart, the soul, the mind and the memory—this is graphic design's reality, its legacy, and it is, decidedly, a reality that is more than a sum of its parts.

Jessica Helfand
You're Going to Hollywood, Baby
02.03.04


Jessica Helfand
Implausible Fictions
11.12.03

At what point does the designer's interpretation threaten to skew, or misrepresent or somehow implausibly amplify information in a manner that might be considered irresponsible?


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