Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo is a designer, curator and a writer on design. His work has been recognized and is represented in the collections of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, The American Center for Design, American Alliance of Museums and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. He has published Swiss Posters, Bruno Monguzzi: A Designer’s Perspective and Paul Rand: Modernist Design and is currently working on monograph on the American modernist designer Rudolph de Harak. He is Professor of art and design at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, the University of Michigan.



Observed | February 26

The current NYC subway map is one of the most consulted in human history. In 1979 Michael Hertz, helped design it. He died last week at 87. [BV]

Why are music-streaming interfaces becoming visually indistinguishable? (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | February 21

Katie Holten has created a New York City Tree Alphabet. Each letter of the Latin alphabet is assigned a drawing of a tree from the NYC Parks Department’s existing native and non-native trees, as well as species that are to be planted as a result of the changing climate. For example, A = Ash. [BV]


Observed | February 20

A brilliant essay by the pitch-perfect Molly Young—every last word resonates. And thank you for the nod to my glossary! [JH]


Observed | February 19

Vanity plate victory! In Kentucky, an 80-year old atheist triumphs in battle for ‘IM GOD’ license plate. [JH]


Observed | February 18

For 15 years, the Exercise Book Archive has been compiling an extensive digital archive of children’s school notebooks from countries like the US, Ghana, Latvia, Brazil, and Finland. [BV]


Observed | February 12

“We can’t just be about making things pretty.” —Jessica Helfand talks with Lorne Buchman on the latest Change Lab podcast from ArtCenter. [BV]

Could anyone be the girl (or boy) with a Pearl earring? (via Joy Miller) [BV]


Observed | February 04

Humans at work”: the new call of Posterheroes is inviting the international creative community to share their message about the future of work. [BV]

The pitfalls and the potential of the new minimalism. [BV]


Observed | February 03

Architects wrestle with a thorny conundrum: ampersand or plus sign? (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

And to think this entire election may rest on font size. [JH]


Observed | January 31

The past and future of punctuation marks. [BV]


Observed | January 29

Vermont could be the first state in the US to allow emoji on license plates. [BV]


Observed | January 28

Looking for your people? A regular mixer brings together designers and typography nerds who get consumed by spacing and serifs. [BV]


Observed | January 22

A new book explores the cold heart of Frank Lloyd Wright. [BV]


Observed | January 20

A facial recognition app with what appear to be endless weaponization possibilities. Truly. [JH]


Observed | January 15

A beautiful remembrance by Melissa Harris about Mercy Cunningham, in the New York Review of Books this week. [JH]


Observed | January 14

Are typefaces political? Researchers find "serif and bold is rated as more conservative, while sans serif and italics is rated as more liberal" [MB]

Congratulations to the entire AIGA community on their wonderful new executive director, Bennie F. Johnson! Here’s to bright futures. [BV]


Observed | January 13

Anyone interested in a “book about the future of human beings, as viewed by some of today‘s most creative minds working at the intersection of biology and technology...Think of it as a guide to your future self.”? Because we are! #FundThis [BV]


Observed | January 10

Donald Norman says we have to change the way we educate designers. [JH]


Observed | January 09

This is a very specific genre and Andrew Cushing is nailing it with Veronica Gent-level skills: “Name a fake startup and I’ll write an ad for it in the style of an NYC subway campaign.” [MB]

Take 2 minutes and ride shotgun through mid-century LA with Ed Ruscha’s photos and Jack Kerouac’s words. [BV]


Observed | January 08

“The short answer is that the intersection of art + science is in my blood... my favorite kind of artist residency is one where I get to work with scientists.” Our very own Jessica Helfand joins Caltech as a Winter 2020 artist-in-residence. [BV]

Royal Mail has released a set of stamps celebrating a golden era of British video game design from the 1980s and 90s. [BV]


Observed | January 07

Los Angeles’ favorite logos. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | January 02

Brand New‘s Armin Vit ranks the top twelve clickbait-iest design stories of 2019. [MB]


Observed | December 30

New research finds that typefaces are perceived as having political characteristics, with sans serif fonts seen as more liberal, and serif fonts as more conservative. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | December 29

Desperately sad to announce that Vaughan Oliver died peacefully today, with his partner Lee by his side. Great loss of friend and design hero. Vaughan Oliver (1957—2019). [AS]



Jobs | February 28