Rick Poynor is a writer, critic, lecturer and curator, specialising in design, photography and visual culture. He founded Eye, co-founded Design Observer, and contributes columns to Eye and Print. He is Professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading in the UK.

Danzig Baldaev’s Prison House of Flesh
Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia, which appeared in 2004, was a shrewdly judged piece of publishing. The meticulous ink drawings of tattoos made by Danzig Baldaev, a prison guard from 1948 to 1986, had a horrible fascination for viewers safe in the knowledge that they would never have to endure anything as harsh, perilous and sadistic as the Soviet penal system.

Observed | March 23

Designer Paw Poulsen turns celebrities such as Bill Gates and Elton John into typefaces. [BV]

In the room where Mailer and Talese and Capote got drunk, about a dozen people — mostly women — vie to become the next editor of The Paris Review. (via Arts and Letters Daily) [BV]

Observed | March 22

Fancy furniture out of garbage. [MPL]

Phew! Robots won‘t steal our jobs, yet. [MPL]

Observed | March 20

Secret symbols in paintings. [MPL]

Space station outta control. And falling. [MPL]

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]

Jobs | March 23