Alicia Cheng, Lee Moreau, Lesley-Ann Noel + Frederick van Amstel | Design As
Design As S1E2: Culture Part 2
Debbie Millman | Design Matters with Debbie Millman
Isaac Fitzgerald
Ellen McGirt | The Design Observer Twenty
We are all redesigners now
The Design Observer Twenty
Massoud + Mahmud Hassani
Michael Bierut | Essays
The Other Rand
Steven Heller | Essays
Incompetence Is a Skill
| Books
Sign Painting
Alexandra Lange | Essays
Against Kickstarter Urbanism
Susan Morris | Essays
Design + Architecture at SXSW
Connect 4 | Audio
Natasha Jen and Adnan Bishtawi: How Do You Survive as a Designer?
Laura Scherling | Essays
How Micromobility Vehicles are Redesigning Global Transportation Systems
Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt | Audio
S9E3: Astra Taylor
Michael Bierut | Essays
Errol Morris Blows Up Spreadsheet, Thousands Killed
Jessica Helfand | My First Job
When Less Was More
Kathleen Meaney | Essays
Greening the Grocery Store
Adrian Shaughnessy | Terms of Service
Pan Afrikan Design Institute
| Books
The New Art of Making Books
Ken Worpole | Gallery
Tidal Pools: Photographs by Jason Orton
The Editors | Watch This Space
Design Observer Community Session: Barbara Glauber
Robert Finkel + Shea Tillman | Books
The IBM Poster Program
Jessica Helfand | Essays
All Things Matter
Tom Vanderbilt | Essays
Small Worlds
Lorraine Wild | Essays
The Scourge of "Tuscan"
Jason Grant | Essays
Against Branding: Part 1 — Design and Conflict
Adrian Shaughnessy | Essays
The Designer's Virus
Adrian Shaughnessy | Essays
Are JPEGs the New Album Covers?
Jessica Helfand | Essays
Under The Microscope
Connect 4 | Audio
Man-Wai Cheung and Angel Blanco: “Mom, Dad, I Want to Be a Designer”


Observed


Love Odih Kumuyi offers an excellent blueprint for designing meetings for inclusion and innovation. It’s all about the psychological safety. “Based on current dynamics or past experiences, individuals have a generalized sense of whether their voices will be received with respect or silenced and dismissed. Leaders asking for individuals to vulnerably share ideas must carefully curate an environment where the rules of engagement are in alignment with principles of psychological safety.” 

The controversial president of the COP28 climate summit, Sultan Al Jaber, does not seem to be on board with fossil fuel targets. “[P]lease, help me, show me a roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuels that will allow for sustainable socio-economic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves,” he said at last month's She Changes Climate summit. 

London-based designer Brendan Callaghan obscures typography through a series of imagined destinations in his project, Untold Roads—an exquisite site for adventurers—or, frankly, for anyone who appreciates a beautifully articulated demonstration of what happens when form reinforces content. See the case study here.

In Boston, Northeastern University is looking for a full-time Professor in Design, Civic/Social Values and Democracy. Details here.

Minnesota flag finalists' entries into a statewide competition all reflect common themes and elements: all of them have a star, a nod to the state's motto "L'Etoile du Nord," and some shade of blue (for the land of 10,000 lakes). FairVote Minnesota—an organization which advocates for implementing ranked choice voting—conducted the election, and more than 12,000 people cast their vote. Here's the winner.

The first graphic appeared on a Kansas plate in 1942, with sunflowers on the lower left and right sides. Since then it's been a wild ride. (If you're late to the Plategate party, here's a primer.)

“This is her fifth long-form visual project,”writes Wesley Morris in his review of Renaissance, Beyoncé’s newest movie, out now in theatres. “We’re now talking about an auteur.” Morris doesn’t stop there. “Simply at the presentation level, coherence and visual imagination are in the house.” Observes Vanderbilt Professor Michael Eric Dyson—who calls Beyoncé a process theologian—"her secular sites have offered spiritual nourishment, providing a venue for uplifting holy praise in thanks for the vibrant variety of life."

Did you know that the Institute for Scrap Recycling sponsors a design award? And that it has done so for more than three decades? Friends, you have until February 12 to submit your game-changing ideas. Get cracking.

Legendary architect William McDonough—who was one of the first proponents of “circular” design—thinks we’re talking about the issue all wrong. And on that same topic, this year's Business of Design summit brings together policymakers, business executives, and creative leaders to identify critical challenges, innovative ideas, and smart design processes driving circular design. (More here.)

Thanks to a number of new collective projects in Paris, Ukrainian design is becoming a fully-fledged part of the global creative industry.

This just in from the Department of Dystopian Prognostications! A new AI tool— called COLE, named in honor of Henry Cole (the creator of the first graphical Christmas card in 1843) lets you type in a graphic design project idea and have an AI generate not only the image, but the text to support it baked in. 

The Female Design Council names a new director: Angharad Coates previously served as director of communications at the New York Academy of Art and was most recently a managing partner at Camron, a design-focused public relations agency.

Designing better (and more inclusive) (and more innovative) meetings.

"It’s interesting, highly random, and even has the excitement of gambling and card drawing." A designer uses MidJourney to explore new dimensions in typography. 

As the talent pool for luxury artisans in Europe dwindles, fashion brand LVMH has created a unique apprenticeship program in the US in partnership with Tiffany & Co., the  Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, the trade school Studio Jewelers, and RISD. “We are teaching the next generation of craftspeople how important the details are,” says Dana Naberezny, chief innovation officer of jewelry at Tiffany and head of its workshop in Manhattan.

Loon-loving Minnesotans, this is your last chance.

Hundreds of documents related to chattel slavery — including wills that bequeathed enslaved people to relatives —have been discovered among probate records in Fulton County, Ga. "We were able to uncover some interesting stories about slave owners," says Chief Probate Judge Kenya Johnson. "A story that I hadn’t heard before: Slave owners paid for their slaves to go back to Africa."

Due to climate change, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been forced to update its "plant hardiness zone map," an essential tool for gardeners (and anyone wondering why native plants are dying.)

Russia’s Supreme Court has banned "the international LGBT public movement," calling it an extremist organization.

There’s another Mona Lisa. Or is there?

Michael Latt, a film marketing consultant who had become a beacon for social justice, was murdered by an intruder in his Los Angeles home. Latt, 33, was the founder and CEO of Lead With Love, a social impact marketing agency that deftly married activism and art. His collaborators included directors Ryan Coogler, Ava DuVernay, and Barry Jenkins.

Save the date: Riyadh, the capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has been selected to host the 2030 World Expo, according to the Bureau International des Expositions.  "Expo 2030 Riyadh, The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow,” will run between October 2030 and March 2031.

Acclaimed American photographer Larry Fink, the self-described “Marxist from Long Island,” has died at 82. His black-and-white photographs ranged from portraits of working-class people to the entertainment elite. “He was a dear friend and a free spirit,” said his longtime gallerist, Robert Mann.

Uh, what’s wrong with networking? The COP28 president-designate Sultan Al Jaber is facing accusations that his team has been using this year’s climate convening as an opportunity to make fossil fuel deals for the UAE’s state-owned oil and gas company, allegations he vehemently denies.

New data from McKinsey & Co. show companies are no longer promoting Black professionals into leadership jobs at the rate they were two years ago. And that’s a problem. “If you were borderline committed, you’ve just kind of exhaled and retreated,” said Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work, a research and consulting firm.

It may surprise you to learn that £88 billion of UK pension savers' money is invested in fossil fuels. Still unconvinced? Climate deniers, meet Oblivia Coalmine

A Japanese economist, Tatsuyoshi Saijo is at the forefront of the Future Design movement, which aims to figure out how to get the world to care more about future generations. He is one of the fifty individuals shortlisted on Vox's Future Perfect list—identifying the  thinkers, activists, and scholars working on solutions to today’s (and tomorrow’s) biggest problems.

We are all redesigners, now—or at least we're all becoming engaged design critics. In the US, Kansas citizens reject their state's proposed new license plate design (claiming, among other things, that it looks too much like New York's plate) while in the UK, residents of Gloucester dispute the design of a Covid memorial. 

Every front page in the New York Times—since 1852.

Design thinking has missed the mark, says Anne-Laure Fayard and Sarah Fathallah in this must-read piece in the Stanford Social Review. “We reject design thinking as a singular tool kit prescribed to solve social problems,” in part because, it has failed to do so. “Instead, we call for a critical stance on design, where critical means both discerning and important.”



Jobs | December 04