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.



























































































































































































































11.05.10
Danzig Baldaev’s Prison House of Flesh
Fuel’s
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 | August 14

Over at the Smithsonian, a discussion of relevance. [BV]


Observed | August 13

A brief history of plastic: design’s favorite material. [BV]

NYC’s Uber cap won’t solve the city’s traffic problem: what the city really needs is a limit on private cars. [BV]


Observed | August 09

The Trump campaign asks its supporters to choose a Space Force logo from six proposed designs. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | August 08

The hopes that data and design can revitalize urban areas. [BV]


Observed | August 06

Sticks and stones and all that: 25 legendary literary feuds, ranked. (And somehow many involved Dick Cavett.) [BV]


Observed | August 02

Do you remember them all? A history of Mac startup and crash chimes. [BV]

Famous landmarks, before they were finished. [BV]


Observed | August 01

Who really decides how language works? Grammar purity is one big ponzi scheme. [BV]

A new study has found that private ride options such as Uber and Lyft, and ride-hail services services like UberPool are resulting in more driving overall, making traffic worse + cities less livable. [BV]


Observed | July 31

Bless this Instagrammer: Wander. Roam. Replicate. [BV]

Where were you in 1988? [BV]


Observed | July 23

Need a little more Saul Bass on your walls? [BV]


Observed | July 20

Been enjoying GLOW? Check out the gorgeous ladies of Japanese wrestling. [BV]

Looking back at the design of the African Writers Series. [JH]


Observed | July 19

Let children play outside. Let them make mud pies and get dirty. [BV]


Observed | July 18

15 of the best illustrations of the 2018 World Cup. [BV]

Looking for a place to visit this summer? Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum looks amazing. [BV]


Observed | July 17

Interesting: Open offices result in less collaboration among employees. [BV]

Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the world wide web, has seen his creation debased by everything from fake news to mass surveillance. But he’s got a plan to fix it. [BV]


Observed | July 13

Traveling this summer? 22 ambassadors recommend the one book to read before visiting their country. [BV]

Can cottage cheese follow Chobani’s lead and rebrand>a? to achieve the unthinkable—some curb appeal? [LS]


Observed | July 12

What’s Eating the World? The fifth issue of
Weapons of Reason, a publication with a limited run of eight issues, explores the effects of the food industry on our planet with saturated colors and infographics that any designer would appreciate. [LS]

Congratulations to Karen Hofmann, the new Provost of ArtCenter College of Design. She‘s the first woman to hold the position in the 88-year history of the College. [BV]


Observed | July 11

What is the meaning behind the Thin Blue Line flag? (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | July 09

One full hour of 1980‘s video game ads! [BV]

Women running for office are changing the campaign design landscape. [BV]


Observed | July 06

The U.S. Navy once had a concrete ice cream barge that sustained sailors on the high seas. [BV]


Observed | July 05

Addiction + rehab instilled in photographer Nan Goldin a passion for truth and desperate determination to expose the world’s underbelly in all its flawed beauty and harsh realities. [BV]

Illustrator Jean Jullien may change the definition of “dog days of summer” with her new game Dodgy Dogs. [BV]



Jobs | August 15