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.














































The Design Observer Cooperative

Observed | October 20

Designer Peter Cho has introduced a daily drawing challenge—perfect for us all. Sign up here. [JH]


Observed | October 19

Shalom Schotten, a graphic designer at Thames & Hudson for over fifty years, has died. Remembered for his talent, kindness, and patience, the Austrian-born designer was 86. [JH]


Observed | October 14

“Either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet, or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate, and problem-solve.” Nominations for The Earthshot Prize begin on November 1. [JH]


Observed | October 09

Politicizing the duck stamp. (Sigh.) [JH]


Observed | October 08

“It Is What It Is”: All of Donald Trump’s Transgressions is a set of four artist’s books in which Trump’s transgressions are recorded and assigned colored cards as if by a referee in soccer. A monumental informational graphic work, Siglio Press needs your help to get it published. [BV]


Observed | October 07

Behold: the dawn of X (and why it’s a design story). [JH]

What is good design if not drama? Twenty-six movies every design lover should see. [JH]

Today, the Getty Research Institute launched 12 Sunsets: Exploring Ed Ruscha’s Archive, an interactive website that allows users to discover thousands of photographs of Sunset Boulevard taken by artist Ed Ruscha between 1965 and 2007. Stamen Design founder Eric Rodenbeck writes about the project and the many gems they found along the way. [BV]


Observed | October 06

Run—don’t walk—to pick up your copy of the new book by Roman Mars + Kurt Kohlstedt. [JH]

The existence and etymology of “uppercase” and “lowercase” is a fascinating tale. [BV]


Observed | October 05

The Japanese fashion designer Kenzo has died of complications from COVID-19, in Paris, his adopted home for more than half a century. He was 81. [JH]


Observed | October 02

The first Monday of every October is World Architecture Day: herewith, American architects choose their favorite Architects and buildings. [JH]

Do you think they provided allen wrenches in 1958? The IKEA museum has posted 70 years of their catalogs. [BV]


Observed | October 01

Wix debuts their bespoke typeface: Madefor. Madefor was designed in collaboration with its in-house studio and type foundry Dalton Maag. [BV]

Alexandra Lange on Wes Anderson: the fixation, the following—and now, the book. [JH]


Observed | September 30

How do you design for the future when the future you are designing for will not exist? [JH]


Observed | September 28

How Biden prepares for the debate of his life: intense preparation, rehearsals, and briefing books—and “he’s a sans-serif man! Mr. Biden has long preferred the Arial typeface,” notes the New York Times, “14 point”. [JH]

“He wanted accurate science, and he wanted great design.” Pioneering science fiction designer Ron Cobb dies at 83. [JH]

Dozens of examples of lettering for jazz musicians, collected by Reagan Ray from album covers and posters. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | September 22

City Monitor is part of New Statesman Media Group’s innovative new data journalism division, which will provide essential business intelligence across topics such as energy, cities, banking, media, and technology, among others. Follow them here. [JH]

Nicolas Heller is helping save New York City, one Instagram post at a time. [BV]


Observed | September 21

Help support this monumental public messaging campaign promoting the patriotism of science, religion and voting from Class Action Collective. [BV]


Observed | September 17

The strange, uninspired history of Spotify’s bland logo. [BV]


Observed | September 16

Behold: Calamityware! (Via Kim Baer.) [JH]


Observed | September 01

Got a Very Serious Book to sell about the dangers of radical right-wing overreach? In book publishing, this is the summer of the Sith Lord design palette. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | August 20

Design criticism is everywhere. Why are we still looking for it? A must-read essay from Jarrett Fuller. [MB]

Goodbye mosh pits, hello “personal platforms.” A new music venue in the UK was designed for socially distant concerts. [BV]


Observed | August 18

Contactless filming: design for never leaving home. [JH]


Observed | August 17

No books were harmed in the testing of these animals. [JH]


Observed | August 14

How do activism slideshows go viral on Instagram? By co-opting popular design aesthetics from brands. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]



Jobs | October 21