John Gall is the art director for Vintage and Anchor Books. He is an instructor at the School of Visual Arts and currently serves on the board of AIGA/NY. He is the author (with Gary Engel) of Sayonara Home Run: The Art of the Japanese Baseball Card.



Observed


Nex Benedict, a transgender teen from Oklahoma, died the day after their peers assaulted them in a school bathroom. They had been bullied for ages, but the assaults began in earnest a few months after Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill in 2022 that required public school students to use bathrooms that matched the sex listed on their birth certificates. This piece from the Independent provides essential context for the assault and details of Benedict’s life.

Chatbot versions of Adolph Hitler, Donald Trump, and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski are among 100 chatbot “characters” on the busy far-right social network Gab. Most of the characters are playing to type, spewing conspiracies about COVID-19, vaccines, U.S. elections, climate change, Holocaust denial, and more. It goes downhill from there.

“People came here or already lived here, young people with lots of energy and ideas and ideals who wanted to start things,” observes Syd Staiti, Executive Director of Small Press Traffic, a Bay Area poetry organization and archive. They're turning 50 this year—and they're not alone! Bravo to all the hard-working artists and arts organizations on this list—and here's to the next 50.

Self-disruption allows companies to stay ahead of the curve, anticipating and responding to changing market dynamics rather than reacting defensively; it fosters a culture of innovation, encouraging employees to think creatively and take calculated risks; and it can even open new revenue streams and markets, ensuring long-term sustainability. Sam Aquillano, the former Executive Director of the Design Museum in Boston, explains it all.

In New Jersey, the ballot is structured in a way that favors endorsed candidates. Three candidates are making a persuasive case on why this might be a critical design problem.

TikTok has become a target of parents, policymakers and regulators who are concerned about the company’s data-collection practices and the platform’s effect on young people’s mental health—including whether there is a risk for addictive design.

Australia's first moon rover rover will collect samples of lunar soil known as regolith, from which NASA will attempt to extract oxygen — a key step toward establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon and producing rocket fuel to support future missions to Mars. And they need design help.

Thai graphic designer Chalermpol Jittagasem has created a new typeface family to help immigrants improve their English pronunciations. “I've seen so many Asian Americans subjected to truly cruel shaming for speaking English with a strong accent and incorrect pronunciation, even though they, like me, are living in the most diverse state in the US,” he says. 

Design Justice AI was announced in 2023; the Global Humanities Institute is sponsored by the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and the Mellon Foundation and is a partnership of four university-based centers at Rutgers, University of Pretoria, Australia National University, and University of Connecticut. Things are gearing up for a summer meeting in Pretoria; bookmark and follow along. 

Marsha Ann Maytum, founding principal of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects (LMSA) and longtime champion of environmental, social, and justice causes, has died at 69. “Her quiet, tenacious brand of leadership is notable, especially in a profession where ego often proliferates,” says architect Kim Gould.  “It is as if her enormous humility gave her a change maker superpower, to the point that thinking ‘what would Marsha do’ is something others actually do.”

“But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean.” Miranda Priestly, the deliciously vicious fashion editor from The Devil Wear Prada, will be back in the U.K. spotlight in a new musical adaptation of the novel and film from Elton John. Vanessa Williams will be playing the devil herself

Restoration AI? Architects and designers have been using AI to help manage large data sets and visualize ideas for better decision-making. But can AI tools also help assess structural damage in aging infrastructure and underresourced communities? 

Anywhere this is a camera, this is a risk

In Chicago: A Love Supreme.

“For decades, Charlene Prempeh writes, ”Black designers have been sheathed in an invisible cloak.” Her new book uncovers just a few of the cracks and erasures and oversights: from postwar African-American cartoonist Jackie Ormes, to mid-century West African riffs on “Tropical Modernist” architecture pioneered by John Owusu Addo and Oluwole Olumuyiwa, to the rise of more recent Black British fashion stars like Bianca Saunders and Samuel Ross, this is one exhilerating (and expansive!) list.

Glen Weldon—host of NPR's buzzy Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast— calls the Yorgos Lanthimos film Poor Things a weird and intoxicating and unforgettable “visual tasting menu”—and makes his own (rather compelling) case for why it should win this year's Oscar for Production Design.

Design-led accessibility … at Starbucks.

Apple's longest-ranking designer, Bart Andre, is retiring. (Andre joined Apple in 1992 with Jonathan Ive.) Andre is also one of the biggest holders of Apple patents.

Monotype’s recently launched A.I. font-pairing tool inspired this Valentine’s Day piece in Print on type pairs that designers just love. Font obsessives: put on your do-not-disturb, pour yourself a cup of tea, and prepare to be triggered/delighted.

What if the designers showing in New York Fashion Week created looks for (super stylish) working shlubs?

Forty years ago, Joy Gregory, the first Black woman to earn an MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in London, recognized the beauty and power coming from the emerging cohort of Black women photographers in London. Her idea, long dormant, has finally become “Shining Lights: Black Women Photographers in 1980s–90s Britain,” a new photography book edited by Gregory and co-published by Autograph and Mack. Chapters explore community and activism, kinship and family ties, travel and landscape photography, and joy. 

Yoko Ono has instructions for you (via the Tate Modern.)

Why aren’t we all at Mexico City Art Week? Turns out we are! The digital nomads, tourists, Instagram influencers, and hordes of aspirational curators are making the Zona Maco Fair a logistical and economic nightmare for locals. 

Fast Company’s Rob Fabricant has written the long read of the modern design era: what are we to make of the now clearly diminished role of design — and design leadership — in corporate life? “The very people who advocated successfully for a ‘seat at the table’ when design first made inroads into big business (and jump-started thousands of creative careers) find themselves at major crossroads with fewer seats left,” he writes. Is big business done with “design thinking,” or is the trend more personal? 

An interview with Jiminie Ha, Deign Director at the Guggenheim in New York.

Pierce Freelon and his mother Nnenna, in partnership with Paperhand Puppet Intervention, are the co-creators of Where Our Spirits Reside—an all-ages giant puppet show about: love, transformation, and ancestors. They performed last night in Durham, North Carolina, and we hope the show will travel so we can all see it. (In the meantime, we bring you … Little Mushroom!)

Planning should be chiefly a design process, not a legal one. From Scientific American, a story about urban planning, sustainable futures, and what people actually need from their cities.  

Created to accelerate health access to everyone, the Panadol Pain Phone was awarded a historic Good Design award for 2023 by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design, and Urban Studies.

While design attention is often directed toward patient care, how can design help caregivers? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the rate of injuries from violent attacks against medical professionals grew by 63% from 2011 to 2018, and hospital safety directors say aggression against staff escalated as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified in 2020. Can design contribute to more reliable security measures in public places like hospitals and schools? And won't that help us all feel more safe?

In Lincoln, Rhode Island, students combine design inquiry with inspiration—and a call for diversity.



Jobs | February 22