Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.









































































































































































































































































































































11.27.06
How Hollywood Nailed The Half-Pipe
Pixar
and Animal Logic have mastered a particularly persuasive (and as it turns out, rather literal) form of spin that makes Road Runner look like dryer lint.







09.21.06
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?
































06.22.05
The Adventures of Cynic Boy and Design Mom in 3D
Brainwashed I may be, but I distinctly noted an homage to
Salvador Dalí — with perhaps a gentle nod to René Magritte — last night while sitting through Robert Rodriguez's ludicrous, yet oddly luscious new movie, The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D.




06.10.05
The Cut: When Life Imitates Art (I Mean Design)
CBS Television debuted its new series,
The Cut, (modeled after other reality shows such as NBC's The Apprentice)about "16 aspiring designers."







03.24.05
The Design Police
As unlikely as it sounds:  
Graphic Junkies is a photo blog by  "an active law enforcement officer in the state of Georgia." The photographs are remarkable; the context compelling.






02.18.05
My Friend Flickr
Flickr is a digital photo sharing website and web services suite that was developed by Ludicorp, a Vancouver, Canada company founded in 2002. It's a utopian oddity — a culture enabled by a technology that in turn enables a culture — and it's a brilliant example of socially networked software because it's free, its easy, and it makes sense.




02.16.05
The New Paper Chase: Cyberspace on The Auction Block
On February 23,
Christies in New York will auction more than 1,000 items dating as far back as the early 17th century, all of it tracing the history of cyberspace.















































Observed | January 15

Scientists haven’t tamed volcanoes but it’s wild and fun to watch them try. [BV]

Visualizing the astonishing effects of the longest government shutdown in history in 8 charts. [BV]


Observed | January 14

I almost missed this lovely explainer by Estelle Caswell on how Coltrane constructed “Giant Steps” on the circle of fifths to create “the most feared song in jazz” (feat. a cameo appearance by L. Bernstein from his 1972 Norton Lectures at Harvard) [MB]


Observed | January 11

British artist Clive Head captures the often dizzying urban environment in his multilayered oil paintings that visualize movements through space and time. [BV]

A year of United States weather. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | January 10

#TBT: Separate areas with sofas, vanities, and even writing tables used to put the “rest” in women’s restrooms. Why were these spaces built, and why did they vanish? [BV]

#TBT: The foods of provincial New Jersey in vintage postcards. [BV]


Observed | January 09

Whose peace of mind benefits when we meditate at the art museum? [BV]

This artist is making massive mosaics from to anatomical medical illustrations, stone by stone. [BV]


Observed | January 08

Already dreaming of your next vacation? From Massachusetts to Tunisia, eight famous artists‘ favorite vacation spots. [BV]

Congo Tales: A new book and collaboration that offers an opportunity to grapple with what an ethical approach to storytelling might look like. [BV]

Shipping this month: A fanzine that visualizes the history of Fugazi through their own data, created by Carni Klirs. [BV]


Observed | January 07

The periodic table is 150 – but it could have looked very different. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]

Bunkitsu: the new bookstore in Tokyo that has a cover charge (h/t Joe Freedman) [BV]


Observed | January 03

#TBT: A gallery of posters designed for Braniff airlines. [BV]


Observed | December 27

#TBT: Videographer Guy Jones edited Lumière brother’s film footage from 1890’s Paris to explore some of the everyday thrills of late 19th-century life. [BV]


Observed | December 26

WOSU’s All Sides Weekend’s Clare Roth discusses art as self-expression and curative made during and after the Holocaust; Arthur Szyk with Steven Heller. [BV]

Ah, the shimmer of aluminum metalized polyethylene terephthalate (aka glitter). [BV]


Observed | December 20

The Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index is a scientific investigation into the quality of soup dumplings in Shanghai. It applies a quantitative framework to the existing qualitative descriptors of the Shanghai soup dumpling: thin skin, plentiful soup, abundant filling, fresh meat. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]

A Christmas #TBT: aluminum Christmas trees in mid-century photographs! (via John Foster) [BV]


Observed | December 19

News you can use: Nose-breathing boosts memory, study finds. So stop and smell the roses. [BV]

A household is a miniature ecosystem with inputs, outputs and flows: one that can, and should, be designed. [BV]


Observed | December 18

Check out these rather ordinary looking portraits. They’re all fake. They weren‘t Photoshopped, but rather completely generated by artificial intelligence. None of these people actually exist. (via Steven Heller) [BV]

The Portland Trail Blazers commission local artists to design posters for each of the team’s home games. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | December 17

The Lake Victoria Challenge wants to transform mobility in Africa’s Lake Victoria region using innovative drone design to connect 30 million people. [BV]


Observed | December 14

In 1976 John Foster bought fiberboard art boards for an art class he taught in a school in St. Louis. In 2018 he returned to the school to find the art boards still in use—a visual palimpsest of 40+ years of aspiring artists.
[BV]


Observed | December 13

The third edition of In Our Time: A Year of Architecture in a Day, The Met‘s take on the best architecture, art, technology, photography and design projects of the year will take place on 19th January, 2019. [BV]

#TBT: Spot the ashtray in these groovy pics of mid-sixties interior décor [BV]


Observed | December 12

Gossip,” the newest issue of AIGA Eye on Design magazine, gives us the inside scoop on all the need-to-know design deets of the past year—designer feuds, workplace woes, and more—and it’s out now. [LS]

On fifteen years of reading Design Observer and helping Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand make a new book. [BV]



Jobs | January 16