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.

How Hollywood Nailed The Half-Pipe
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.

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?

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.

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."

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.

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.

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 | March 19

We are all “curators” now. Is it simply a vain attempt to sprinkle fairy dust over something quite ordinary? [BV]

How do you boycott a building? Our Jessica Helfand has a suggestion. [BV]

Observed | March 16

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic images from down under. A new book reports on the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the resident arts companies, rock musicians, and chefs influencing the building’s evolution. [BV]

What are you doing this weekend? The future of leisure. [BV]

Observed | March 15

The dying electric guitar: What the decline of Gibson and Fender tells us about music. [MPL]

Machines are getting better at literary analysis. [MPL]

Observed | March 14

Women designers on Instagram: From architects to color specialists, Curbed has selected 30 accounts to follow. [BV]

The MIT 24-hour challenge: Honor a design legend with a gift to the MIT press. [BV]

Rare and familiar colors. [MPL]

Observed | March 13

The rise of ‘cynical’ packaging? [JH]

A coffee lid pub crawl. [JH]

New Mexico’s chile pepper design claims the 2017 license plate crown. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

Observed | March 12

What single image represents the entire human race? The story behind the image on the “human” entry on Wikipedia. [BV]

Rizzoli‘s book on the life and work of midcentury children‘s book creator Miroslav Sasek. [MPL]

Observed | March 09

Science as a visual pursuit. [JH]

Observed | March 08

The Danish Design Center recently surveyed 800 Danish companies and nearly 75 percent said that the use of design in their company has a positive impact on their bottom line. [JH]

Overlooked obituaries of famous women. [JH]

Observed | March 06

The best things found between the pages of old books. [BV]

Observed | March 05

When successful design is not beautiful. [JH]

In Singapore: Fortune, Time, and Wallpaper jointly host a conference on design and business. [JH]

In Sydney: crime storytelling expert Peter Doyle tells the story of a mysterious serial attacker in his new mini-documentary, Slasher Patrol. [JH]

Observed | March 02

Frank Lloyd Wright is not God: Moving into an American architectural masterpiece is not for the fainthearted. [BV]

October 18, 1973: Sotheby‘s auction. The moment “when the art world collapsed.” [BV]

Observed | February 28

Two years after “the Great Instagram Logo Freakout,” it turns out that everything is fine. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

Observed | February 27

At Cornell‘s legendary Food and Brand Lab an Ivy League food scientist collected data first, then turned it into viral studies. [BV]

Lego’s imaginary gas station branding comes to life in Russia. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

Observed | February 26

For centuries, lexicographers have attempted to capture the entire English language. Technology might soon turn this dream into reality – but will it spell the end for dictionaries? [BV]

Why nerdy white guys who love the blues are obsessed with a Wisconsin chair factory. [BV]

Observed | February 24

Design microsites. [JH]

RISD is looking for a creative director. [JH]

Jobs | March 19