Arts + Culture

The Editors
Richard Bernstein: Starmaker
A gallery of pop stars from the pop art era.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Thomas Kail
Debbie talks to Hamilton director Thomas Kail about his career and about the joys of collaboration.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 84: The Politician’s Gaze
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a White House without culture, John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, early Ivan Chermayeff book covers


Steven Heller
Here Comes The Judge
A brief history of Supreme Court robe design.


Lorraine Wild
100%
So, it’s 1966 and two guys are hanging around their Los Angeles apartment, musing about the sort of things that people mused about in the Sixties. The aesthetic philosophers in question were the artist Ed Ruscha and the artist/comedy writer/composer/performer Mason Williams...


Jessica Helfand
The Look of Freedom
It was the American novelist William Faulkner who once observed that we must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. So who am I to take issue with more contemporary interpretations of commemorative form?


Debbie Millman
Laurie Anderson
Debbie Millman brings artist Laurie Anderson live on stage to discuss her career, art, life, and politics.


John Foster
The Remarkable Mr. Deeds
Work from an anonymous artist who self-identified only as ‘a patient at the State Lunatic Asylum in Nevada, Missouri around 1905.’


Adrian Shaughnessy
The Politics of Desire and Looting
The part designers have played in the London riots.


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
Episode 81: American Royalty
Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle; Tom Wolfe as design writer, Benedict Cumberbatch as Patrick Melrose; the scent of Play-Doh


Kathleen Meaney
Wing It: Testing Out Exhibit Design Using Virtual Reality
The field of environmental (or experiential) graphic design is young and on fire.



Cheryl Heller
Social Design Helped Women Win Equality in Iceland. And So?
Forty-three years ago, Icelandic women used social design principles to implement "The Long Friday" strike for gender equity. As Cheryl Heller explains, the past has never felt more present.


Debbie Millman
Steven Pinker
Debbie talks to experimental psychologist and author Steven Pinker about measuring human happiness.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S4E1: Stella Bugbee
Stella Bugbee is the editor in chief and president of New York Magazine’s The Cut.


Steven Heller
The Design Comb Over
Hair is more than a fibrous protein. Hair is who we are, or at least what we project we are. Hair defines personal brand identity.


Alexandra Lange
The Critical Olympics
What the best sports commentary does is just like criticism: it makes you care about the previously abstract.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 74: Eyes and Hands
Cræft by Alexander Langlands, doctors and design, Sean Tejaratchi’s LiarTown, a pair of iRi NYC sneakers


Michael Bierut
Speech, Speech
The State of the Union Address is tonight. Messages, big ideas, careful details, second-guessing, refinements and revisions, anonymity: graphic design has a lot in common with political speechwriting. What kind of client do you suppose the President is?


Michael Bierut
Vladimir Nabokov: Father of Hypertext?
The innovative narrative technique developed by Vladimir Nabokov for his 1962 novel Pale Fire—essentially a single epic poem with footnotes and commentary—anticipated hypertext, the internet, and the interconnected world of blogs.


Steven Heller
Making Inaccessibility Accessible
If you subscribe to the belief that good design makes life better, then there can be no better use of design than as an aid—if not a curative—for the disabled.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 69: Fixes and Facelifts
Fixing American democracy, Snøhetta’s plan for Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building, Internetting With Amanda Hess, Synoptical History of the Civil War


Michael Bierut
Everything I Know About Design I Learned from The Sopranos
After eight years, 86 episodes, and untold quantities of gobbagool, The Sopranos finished its run on HBO. And this is what we’ve learned, from a design point of view.


Michael Bierut
I Love the 80s
Miami Vice: the quintessential postmodern design artifact, in all its glory and all its disgrace.


Michael Bierut
Learning to Draw with Jon Gnagy
“Mike looks like he might be a real artist!”


Lilly Smith
Assessing the Past; Looking Toward the Future
How the new AIGA Google Art Project “Across Borders: A Look at the Work of Latinx Designers” revealed insights about archived Latinx work of the past—and clues to its ascendance in the future of design.


Maya P. Lim
Joan Miró: I Work Like a Gardener
“To work like a gardener was to create life itself—the autonomous life of a visual universe that, in [Miró’s] words, was a world set in motion.”


Steven Heller
Victims of the Image: Ignobility for the Noble Savage
Native Americans have endured a long legacy of distorted images.


Julie Anixter
Speaking of Home: Saint Paul Skyways become Immigrant Portrait Gallery
“The goals of empowering new Americans, supporting diversity, and teaching tolerance are all critical to the long-term health of our city.”


Hannah Carlson
Fashion and Function at MoMA: Bernard Rudofsky’s “24 Pockets”
Not since the architect and social critic Bernard Rudofsky curated “Are Clothes Modern?” in 1944 has the MoMA addressed the contribution of apparel to the design arts.


Gregorio Amaro
“Digital Amoxtli ”: Interaction Design Can Be More than Just Fun and Games
Through designer Gregorio Amaro’s new project, which addresses death from a MesoAmerican perspective, we see how interaction design has the potential to create positive outcomes by addressing difficult subjects in new ways.


Ken Gordon
Narration vs. Curation: Deyan Sudjic, the Design Museum, and B Is for Bauhaus
To read a book is to stage an exhibition in one’s own imagination.


Tod Lippy
Drawing Set
The art that happens when different creative disciplines and the general public collide.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Eileen Myles
Debbie talks to poet Eileen Myles about poetry, fame, and politics.


Mark Kingsley
The Old Taylor Can’t Come to the Phone Right Now
Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, may aspire to high art; its cover design is most definitely a step toward the middle.


Steven Heller
Victims of the Image: Yellow Peril
Visual hazing in popular art and design of Asians was long maintained for different purposes.


John Foster
A Visual History of Lunchboxes
Back to school time with a visual history of lunchboxes.


Laura Flusche
Can a Design Museum Change the World?
Luba Lukova: Designing Justice spotlights critical social justice issues that currently dominate our socially and politically polarized news cycle, including health care, women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigration, gentrification, and corporate corruption.


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
Episode 62: Keepin’ It Nasty
Cursing, Anthony Scaramucci, the alt-right’s shit aesthetic, Tony Fadell and Silicon Valley regrets, John G. Morris, Donald Trump draws the Manhattan skyline


Komal Sharma
What's Old is New Again
How computational design and long-standing traditions can work hand in hand.


Ken Gordon
Bob Dylan Redesigns the Nobel Prize Lecture Experience
Dissecting the Nobel Laureate’s speech.


Sean Adams
Joe Orton: Dangerous Collage
Is it graphic design?


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 59: Signatures and Circles
Egregious email signatures, circular Twitter avatars, Wonder Woman, Demetri Martin’s Dean


Karen Keung
Slow, Don’t Stop
More so than any other object or aesthetic, time is the ultimate luxury commodity: we always seem to be running out of it.


Christopher Calderhead, Jerry Kelly
Celebrating Hand Lettering
Surely the alphabet is one of the major accomplishments of mankind, and the artistic expression of this utilitarian creation can eailsy rise to the level of fine art,


Helen Armstrong, Maddie Bone
Virtual Reality. No One Can Tell You, You Are Doing It Wrong. Yet.
For better or worse, we know how to interact with web and mobile. We understand how to design for screens. What we don’t yet know is how to engage with VR.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 56: All the Presidents’ Libraries
Presidential libraries, Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles for Good Design 2017 Tech Industry Edition, Ai Weiwei, I.M. Pei


Steven Heller
State of the Union Rats
“Scabby,” as it is appropriately nick-named, is the labor movement’s most effective protest icon and guaranteed to grab the attention of even the most blasé passersby.


ThoughtMatter
12 Weeks of Poster Design
Who doesn’t love a well-designed poster?


Ashleigh Axios
A Standards Manual Reprinted With a New Purpose
Can we go back to the 1977 awareness and ensure the protection of the EPA’s legacy and the environment it protects?


Sean Adams
Subjective + Emotional
Color is subjective and emotional.


Steven Heller
Being Sensitive to Insensitivity
Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner advertisement won the insensitivity prize of the week. But was this truly insensitive or silly exploitation? Or was it just the proverbial good intention that misfired?


Ken Gordon
Chasing the Unicorn: Why Writing Is Work
If writing is design’s "unicorn skill", how do you get started? Read.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 54: Egos, Eggs, and Half an Onion
Twitter’s default avatar, border wall submissions, Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad, School for Justice, the Uline catalog


Lawrence Azerrad
Remix, Repeat, and Rediscover: Amplifying the Impact in Art and Music Through Change
Design, like music, is accustomed to remixing.


Maya P. Lim
The Poetic Experience
The syntactical and grammatical intricacies of written language are rarely thought of in terms of experience design. But nowhere is this relationship more apparent and painstakingly wrought than in poetry (in all of its variant forms).


Debbie Millman
Elizabeth Alexander
Debbie talks to poet Elizabeth Alexander about the journey of her extraordinary life and how death makes us think about what we truly value.


Louise Sandhaus
Her Story Meets His Story: Janet Bennett, Charles Kratka, and the LAX Murals
In any case, this story is complicated.


Sara Duell
Women's March on Washington: strong in number, but how about design?
On this International Womens Day Sara Duell considers the Women’s March on Washington logo


Eric Holzenberg
The Aesthetic Movement
The role of printing in the Aesthetic Movement.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 51: Vintages
Behance Design Trends of 2017, George Nelson’s How to See, Michael K. Williams, W.E.B. Du Bois’ infographics


Christopher Simmons
The Shape of Now
The career you inherit vs. the career you design


Maya P. Lim, Ping Lim
Ineffable Eloquence: The Design of Roses
Rose hybridizer Ping Lim and his daughter, a graphic designer, reflect on the science and art of designing the most communicative of flowers—the rose.


Ken Gordon
Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, a Novel… with a Short, Useful Illustration of Empathic Design
That’s right: Philip Roth, designer manqué!


Cheryl Heller
Conflict as a Tool For Social Change
To be passionate about change requires unconquerable optimism, fed by a vision of the better thing ahead.


Debbie Millman
Seth Godin
Debbie talks to Seth Godin about how to live in our difficult political moment.


Eric Heiman
Necessary Frictions
Want to get an immediate, on-the-ground sense of a new city in all its multicultural glory? Use its public transit.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 49: My First Tattoo
Tattoos, Type 1 diabetes, ID cards, taking MBA students to the art gallery, Kerry James Marshall, Mark Rothko, Mike Mills, the 2017 Citizen Designer Pledge


Steven Heller
Bad Design, Great Signs
The signs held by participants of all the women’s marches that took place throughout the world were not designed to win awards. They were made to convey truths.


Alan Thomas
Signs, Signs
A visual essay of the women’s march in Chicago.


Cheryl Heller
The American Dream in Black and White—Designing a Just Economy
Social design is based on finding the right question to ask, rather than looking for the best person to blame.


The Editors
I’ve Been to the Mountaintop
Martin Luther King Jr.’s final speech.


The Editors
To Inspire and Challenge
A reading list to inspire and challenge you.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 48: Lella and La La
Lella Vignelli, John Berger, Second Avenue Subway, Jackie, La La Land


Mariana Amatullo
People to People ­­: Fresh Eyes on a Changing Cuba
The power of visual metaphor and design’s aesthetic dimension as a way forward for cultural rapprochement and social transformation.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters: Best Of 2016
Debbie highlights some of her favorite conversations of 2016, including Alison Bechdel, Alain de Botton, Lisa Congdon, Chris Anderson, Krista Tippet, Eileen Myles, and Amanda Palmer.


The Editors
The Ten Most Popular Essays of 2016
Looking for a good read?


The Editors
Our Ten Most Popular Podcasts of 2016
For your listening pleasure, we’ve pulled together the ten podcasts you liked the most.


Michael Bierut
And May All Your Christmases Be Carefully Staged So As To Appear White
A backstage story from Balanchine’s The Nutcracker 


Observed
Happy Holidays from Robert Frost
A brief history of the collaboration between Robert Frost and Joseph Blumenthal as well as many top woodcut and engraving artists of the day.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 47: True Colors
Pantone’s color of the year, Time’s Person of the Year, Arrival, The Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog, Seinfeldia


Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright
Looking Good
A visual guide to the nun’s habit.


Jason Grant
Against Branding: Part 2 — Design and Happiness
In commercial design, anxiety, fear, and self-doubt are often summoned towards the distant promise of happiness.


Steven Heller
America’s Big Design Problem
Donald Trump may not be the ideal design client, but that just means we have to work that much harder.



Debbie Millman
Eileen Myles
Debbie talks to poet Eileen Myles about poetry, fame, and politics.


Jason Grant
Against Branding: Part 1 — Design and Conflict
Graphic design relates to conflict in at least two important ways. The first is by destructively concealing it. The second is by productively revealing it.


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
Episode 45: I’m With(out) Her
Election night, Brand Trump and the presidency, Design That Matters, Facebook’s flawed news feed


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
S1E5: Bruce Cohen
Bruce Cohen is an Oscar-winning film producer and president of the board of directors of the American Foundation for Equal Rights


Steven Heller
Ten Design Lessons from the 2016 Presidential Election
Steven Heller reflects on the good and bad.



Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Let’s Get to Work
We must bear in mind that democracy is about who we are, not who’s temporarily in office.


Lana Rigsby
Are Taco Trucks Awakening the “Sleeping Giant”?
Since September, Houston taco trucks have been serving up information to help Latinos access the voting process.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Episode 44: In Dreams
Marcin Wichary visits the Technology Museum of Emporda, Vine, Grand Central Station vistas, deluxe composition notebooks, Errol Morris on Elsa Dorfman, bad ballot design, Grilli Type’s GT America, Transparent, Elaine Lustig Cohen.


John Foster
Welcome to the Asylum
A selection of images that came from the days when ‘asylum’ was a noun, not a verb.


Jessica Helfand
Ezra Winter Project: Chapter Three
In his first post-Academy professional pursuit, Ezra Winter is hired to design camouflage for the United States Shipping Board, using a reductive visual vocabulary of bold stripes and patches of solid color that is far closer to the language of Klee and Kandinsky than of the Renaissance masters he loves.



Adam Harrison Levy
The Wood Stacker
All his work, from cutting the wood during the summer, to stacking it in early fall, through to burning it in the winter freed him from a dependency on oil. His heat is local.


Jessica Helfand
Notes from the Road: Part 2
Over a career that spans more than six decades, David Pease has built a body of work that is anchored by a methodical studio practice.


Jessica Helfand
Notes from the Road: Part 1
A story of how logic meets chance, how memory engenders narrative, how observation seeds curiosity, cues language, and sparks form.


Jessica Helfand
Ezra Winter Project: Chapter One
Jessica Helfand, who teaches the seminar "Studies in Visual Biography" at Yale, shares her year-long exploration of the American muralist Ezra Winter: this is part one.


Jessica Helfand
Paris One Forty: Week Nine
Lightbulb-headed naked dolls, Butter! Eggs! Lemons! Type = theatre, how the light falls in Paris + more.



Steven Heller
I Still Wish I Were a Beatle
The Beatles have, over the course of my lifetime, become attached to my nerve endings. It’s a curious sensation, but one I’m glad I still have.



Jessica Helfand
Paris One Forty: Week Eight
George Melies, the art of the mannequin, Franz Lizst, the Bourgeois + more.


Rick Poynor
The Never-ending Struggle against Clutter
Clutter and design are inseparable as concepts because clutter is the negation of design.



Jessica Helfand
A Good Pan Is Hard To Find
On baking a cheesecake and becoming a better designer: it’s one big balancing act of artistry and skill.


John Foster
Signs of Labor
In honor of this week’s national celebration of Labor Day, a selection of images that personify the hard work and dedication of the American worker.


Adam Harrison Levy
Coney Island of The Mind
It’s late August and your shirt sticks to your back. The only escape is….the beach.


Jessica Helfand
Cock-a-Doodle-Don't
Where food is concerned, the relationship between what things look like and how we respond exists at its most primal level: what is a gut reaction, after all, if not something that attacks your gut?


Mark Lamster
How to Design an Iconic NY Fast Food Joint
Design secrets of New York fast food icons.



Jessica Helfand
Audrey Real Helfand: Designer Manquée
Fifty years ago, my mother Audrey was a prolific visual maker: today, she’d be running her own studio.


Adam Harrison Levy
An Interview With Philip Glass
In 2005, Adam Harrison Levy interviewed Philip Glass for a BBC documentary film about Chuck Close. Glass was seated in front of the monumental painting Phil. This is their exchange.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
A Seat at the Table
The President needs a Cabinet-level Secretary of Design — or a design consigliere


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Isaac Mizrahi
Debbie talks to Isaac Mizrahi about why he loves fashion and why he does so many things outside of fashion.


Steven Heller
Mad Music
Back to a time before art, design, and humor had to be sophisticated to be good.


Rick Poynor
The Art of Punk and the Punk Aesthetic
Punk has two graphic histories: Punk: An Aesthetic and The Art of Punk. What conclusions do they draw?


Jessica Helfand
The Karaoke Effect
The illusory bubble populated by thousands of fame-seekers who fervently believe in their own righteous, if highly fictional talent.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Mind-Body Problems
Nutrition Facts, Mark Bittman’s food rating system, colon cancer screening, Time Well Spent, Peter Arno, Flat File


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Drape (Cavalcade III) by Eva Stenram
Abducted in plain sight


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
The Good, the Flat, and the Ugly
Instagram, rainbows, digital brutalism, Design: The Invention of Desire, the Freewrite.


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Mrs. E.N. Todter by Dion & Puett Studio
Art and the Ladies’ Field Club


Debbie Millman
Alison Bechdel
Debbie talks to Alicon Bechdel about how identifying herself as a lesbian when she was young lead her into a career as a cartoonist.


Rob Walker
Object Journalism at Mmuseumm
The new season of Mmuseumm speaks to our present, by way of unlikely objects.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Prisons and Paradise
Solitary confinement, virtual reality, design thinking for prisoners, Drew Hodges’s Broadway, The Paradise, Prince’s unpronounceable glyph


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Rayograph with Gun by Man Ray
The poetry of the cameraless photo


Adrian Shaughnessy
Innovation in banality
Searching the stacks of "library music"


John Foster
Made for Walking
The intricate art of the cowboy boot


Victoria Solan
Love, Optimized
Can one’s inner life be made easier by technology?


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
High Maintenance
Innovators and maintainers, Bernie and Hillary, mapping and infrastructure, algorithms and Rembrandt


John Foster
Sculpture en plein air
Art and nature converge in an Illinois sculpture park



Véronique Vienne
Of Grids and Galleys: Designing The Real Thing
A tribute to Dada on its 100th year at a design school in France


John Foster
Play Ball!
A Graphic Designer Taps Into America’s Pastime


Alice Twemlow
Dodging, Dazzling, and Divulging
Design Responses to Mass Surveillance


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Shapes and Japes
Corporate design humor from Mic Drop to bland.ly, photoviz, remembering Zaha Hadid


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Commuter in Tokyo by Michael Wolf
How to cope with compression



John Foster
Embellishing the Past
Artist Julie Cockburn’s embroidered photos


Rick Poynor
Stephen Bayley: Death Drive
Style, money, class, glamour, sex, and the car crash


Steven Heller
The D Word: Close Shave
Looking sharp 


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Crowd Control
Tay, Boaty McBoatface, New Zealand, emoji, and the madness of crowds


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Ford Motor Plant by Charles Sheeler
The cathedral of industry


Debbie Millman
Kate Bolick
Debbie Millman talks with writer Kate Bolick about society’s historically skeptical view of a single woman.


Timothy Young
Dispatch from La Lagunilla
Where old design treasures are the new new


John Foster
Gene Merritt
A Fascination with Celebrity


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Cement Sky by Marla Rutherford
A fetish for motels


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Wintery Forest by Yang Yongliang
Building the new China



Véronique Vienne
The Old Wave?
Feminism: The End of the Show


John Foster
Los Ambulantes
The Itinerant Photographers of Guatemala


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
This collection of underground music and culture events flyers come from the personal online collection of Chicago collector Marc Fischer.


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Untitled Film Still #21 by Cindy Sherman
The photographer as performer


Debbie Millman
Ayse Birsel
Debbie talks to Ayse Birsel about her expansive career as an industrial designer and how she uses art and design to reconstruct her personal and professional life around a core idea.


John Foster
Rebel Yell
Rare Posters and Placards from the 1930s Socialist Arts Collective


Adam Harrison Levy
Bowie and the Beats
Process and the poem


John Foster
Identities Revealed
The Found I.D. Photos of Gulu Real Art Studio


John Foster
Outside the Lines
The 24th Outsider Art Fair



Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Working-Class Heroes
British art schools, Bowie, Alan Rickman, the State of the Union, cannabis chocolate



Steven Heller
The D Word: Titling Type
Earnest amateurs and DIY type


Adam Harrison Levy
Designer’s Cookbook: Louise Fili
Lousie Fili on her love of Italy, type and food.


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Francis Bacon by Bill Brandt
Portrait of the artist or photographer?


Debbie Millman
Tucker Nichols
Debbie talks to artist Tucker Nichols about his art, and the quality of the art he loves.


Rick Poynor
Exposure: House #3 by Francesca Woodman
Fabricating a phantom girl


Adam Harrison Levy
Clickety-clack
The lost (and found) art of the typewriter


John Foster
Lee Godie
Homeless genius


Steven Heller
The D Word: Pick a Card
Merchants’ Cards


Véronique Vienne
Cafés and Cigarettes
Terror and the terrace


John Foster
Artful Letters
Envelopes from the golden age of correspondence



Rachel Berger
Designing in the NOW Part I
The Sea of Sameness


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
Brute Force
Behind the Bataclan, pigeon pathologists, Design Thinking at IBM, the Coke bottle at 100, Michael Gross



Steven Heller
American Reich
The Triumph of Graphic Design


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Portrait of Space by Lee Miller
Frames within frames in the desert


Rick Poynor
Exposure: H.P. Lovecraft by Lucius B. Truesdell
The master of horror



Debbie Millman
Robin Petravic + Catherine Bailey
Debbie talks with Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey about running Heath Ceramics.


John Foster
As Above, So Below
Art of the American Fraternal Society, 1850–1930


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Morandi’s Objects by Joel Meyerowitz
The sublime in ordinary things


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Tilda Swinton by Tim Walker
The performance of a picture


The Editors
A Collector’s Collections
A celebration of outstanding curation


Paul Gansky
Jurassic Hacking
Shoot-outs and talking telephones


Rick Poynor
Exposure: American Hermit by Alec Soth
Alone in the great outdoors


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Crashed Car by Arnold Odermatt
Fast and Furious: a retrofit


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Beauty Salon in Kraków by David Hlynsky
The Surrealism of window displays



John Foster
The Thin Line
Mann(ish)


Jessica Helfand + Andrew Howard
New Horizons
Pluto is at the outer limits of the solar system. Porto is at the end of Europe.



John Foster
Quest for Fire
Vintage Swedish Matchboxes


Rick Poynor
Exposure: American Family by Ralph Eugene Meatyard
The otherness of other people


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Brian Rea
Debbie talks to Brian Rea about the value of being rejected, about art directing for the New York Times, and about his development as an illustrator.


Ava Kofman
Shock and Awe
The Art of Virtual Reality


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Kuwait, 1991 by Sophie Ristelhueber
The scars of a desert war


John Foster
All About the Box
Mid-century toy robots


Debbie Millman
Oliver Jeffers
Debbie talks to artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, who explains how illustrating and writing children’s books has changed his fine art painting.



John Foster
Cancelled!
Call me franked.


John Foster
To Catch a Fish
The Art of Handmade Fishing Lures



Emily King
Thoughts on Adapting
Five Issues of Studio International


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Flypaper and Flies by Jacques-André Boiffard
A cold eye on insect carnage


John Foster
Deft doodling
The inner life of illustrators


Rick Poynor
Exposure: The Gamble by Peter Kennard
The clandestine operations of power


John Foster
Ingrained
Redefining Hand Crafted Furniture


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Head below Wires by Roger Ballen
Absurdity in the South African outland


Debbie Millman
Elle Luna
Debbie Millman talks to Elle Luna about why she walked away from great design jobs with IDEO, Uber, and Mailbox.



Sara Jamshidi
The Observers
Built Environment


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Surface Transit by Eva Fuka
The shock of New York in the sixties



John Foster
Body of Knowledge
A historical overview of anatomical drawing


Rick Poynor
Exposure: J.G. Ballard by Brian Griffin
The science fiction of the ordinary


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Brodsky, the Tie Seller in Paris
Every photograph is an enigma


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Luigi Russolo’s Noise Machines
Sonic conjurors of experimental music


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Butlin’s holiday camp by Edmund Nägele
A sixties vacation in glowing color


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Cat and I by Wanda Wulz
Modernity, femininity and the feline


John Foster
Flower Power
The Hibiscus Scrapbook



Debbie Millman
Isaac Mizrahi
To launch the 10th season of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to Isaac Mizrahi about why he loves fashion and why he does so many things outside of fashion.


Rob Walker
The Craft of the Fake
A crafty art forger’s work inspires an idea: authorized forgeries.


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
The Observatory: Words, Pictures, Sounds
A few things on our minds


Rick Poynor
Exposure: The Simulator by Dora Maar
The chamber of Surrealist visions


Rick Poynor
Exposure: El Paso Street by Stephen Shore
The street corner: an uncommon place


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Rise Up You Are Free by Dominic Hawgood
A post-photographic view of exorcism



Ava Kofman
The Printer’s Progress
The (book) art of ideals


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Viktoria Modesta by Nadav Kander
Changing perceptions of impairment


Betsy Vardell
Holiday Movies in Print: The Apartment
The movie that made Fred MacMurray a cad



Betsy Vardell
Holiday Movies in Print: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Christmas in space-blazing color!


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
The Observatory: Our Favorite Things
On this episode, Jessica Helfand talks about her Paris 140 series, and Michael Bierut describes his 100 Day Project + some of the cultural highlights of the year.


Rick Poynor
Illustrations by Bohumil Štěpán for Crazy Fairy Tales
Another look at Bohumil Štěpán’s whimsical absurdism



Carrie Olivia Adams
When Your Body is Another Stranger: A Poem
When Your Body is Another Stranger: A Poem



Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: Illustrator Sketchbooks, Pt. III
An interview with the artist known as August Wren


Debbie Millman
Caroline Baumann
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to Cooper Hewitt director Caroline Baumann about her career in museums and why the interest in design has surged in recent years. 


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
The Observatory: Epidemics and Theater
On this episode of The Observatory, Jessica and Michael talk about design, performance, and fear of Ebola. 


Debbie Millman
Fritz Karch
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to Fritz Karch on being a stylist for Martha Stewart, owning an antique shop, and what it means to be a collector.



John Foster
Reflections in a Golden Eye
The optics- and vision-centered work of Harris Diamant



Rob Walker
Jony Ive: The Supercut
Finally! Someone made a supercut video of Jony Ive’s years of describing the awesomeness of Apple product design.



Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: James Castle
The outsider artist James Castle is the subject of two current exhibitions and a favorite of Laura Tarrish


Adrian Shaughnessy
Twitter has its dark side, but it’s also a source of delight.
In defense of an imperfect medium.


John Foster
Focusing on the Masters
A new approach to portraiture: John Foster on the Miaz Brothers


Adrian Shaughnessy
Identity Politics
On the eve of a historic vote for independence DO’s resident Scot explains his position


John Foster
Rabanus Maurus: Poems of the Cross
Mathematical and geometric visual poems from a Benedictine abbot.


Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: The House
A house may not always be a home but it is an iconic shape.


Adam Harrison Levy
An Interview with Picasso
On a Saturday morning in 1945 a young American soldier named Jerome Seckler climbed three flights of stairs to Pablo Picasso’s studio with the goal of being enlightened.


Rick Poynor
Tracking the Locations of J.G. Ballard’s Super-Cannes
A photo-essay on the futuristic marina and business park in the south of France that inspired Ballard’s disquieting fantasy about corporate crime


Jessica Helfand
To Thine Own Selfie Be True
Photographing oneself has become a singular pastime, an instantly rewarding yet indisputably time-sucking activity poised somewhere between narcotic and sport.


John Foster
Book Review: The True Gospel Preached Here
Margaret’s Grocery: part grocery, part church. And the subject of a new photo documentary book.


Observed
Digital Ethereal
Luis Hernan’s Invisible Landscape of Wireless Networks


Steven Heller
Confessions of a Frustrated Newsprint Lover
I’ve held on devotedly to newsprint as long as humanly possible but I recently reached the point where my loyalty gave way to expedience.


Adrian Shaughnessy
On Bias, Tolerance — and Taste
The unconscious mind responds with Darwinian brutality to anyone not “like us”.


Rob Walker
The Art of Redaction
A batch of visually "redacted" photos, courtesy of the FBI.



Sara Jamshidi
Black Hand: Iranian Banksy?
Black Hand is one of the numerous underground artists in Iran and his exhibition is neither the first nor the last underground exhibition.


Rick Poynor
The Mysteries of France:
A Gothic Guidebook

Guide de la France mystérieuse, illustrated by Roman Cieslewicz, is a surreal beast of a travel book.


Sam Jacob
Daniel Weil: Timeless
Daniel Weil's clocks might tell the time, but that’s not their real job.



Adam Harrison Levy
Tracks of My Tears
As Rose-Lynn Fisher’s photographs make clear, your tears are yours alone and each one is different.


Rob Walker
An End of Things
The life of a thing, the death of an object — and maybe a new life to follow? At Liberty Auction in Pembroke, Georgia.


John Foster
Shadwell Shams: A Tale of Two Forgers
“There’s a sucker born every minute.”



John Foster
Whirlwinds, Snowdrops, and Big Bangs: Vintage Fireworks Labels
Happy 4th of July!


Jennifer Kabat
Exhibition as Inquiry: An Interview with Kieran Long
Guns, shoes and cheap jeans: Kieran Long has added all of these to the Victoria & Albert Museum’s permanent collection.


Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: Text as Textile
Evidence of fabric embellished with needle and thread has been found as far back as the Cro-Magnon days (30,000 B.C.). The artists featured here, writing with stitchery, challenge our expectations of what is commonly considered a domestic art.


Véronique Vienne
Two Monumental Shows in Paris: One Large, One Small
There are two shows you shouldn’t miss if you happen to be in Paris this summer.


Jason Grant
Black, Red + Gold
A conversation about colonization and visual resistance in Australia.



Adam Harrison Levy
Jeff Koons’s Studio: An ER Room for Art
Walking into Jeff Koons’s studio is like entering a medical laboratory crossed with an open plan office. It’s an ER room for art.



John Foster
Magic and Mystery in the Art of Katrien De Blauwer
Katrien De Blauwer's work is infused with psychological overtones — like viewing two or three frames from a film noir movie, only reassembled into something even more mysterious.



Rob Walker
Object of Interest: The Yellow Card
An appreciation of a great World Cup object: the yellow card.


Rick Poynor
The Body as Factory: Anatomy of an Image
Peeling back the skin of a New Scientist cover illustration by Nichola Bruce and Michael Coulson.


Adam Harrison Levy
Geek Stories
Adam Harrison Levy attended Kill Screen’s Two5Six conference on video gaming. His intention, as someone who cares about visual culture, but knows nothing about gaming, was to see what he could divine from this emerging form. 


Adam Plunkett
On Sylvia Plath’s Drawings
The drawings of Sylvia Plath cause our poetry editor, Adam Plunkett, to revisit her poetry.


John Foster
Interview with Artist Henrik Drescher
Henrik Drescher is what I call a natural. Making images is simply an extension of his being… like breathing.


Rick Poynor
Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Typewriter
Typewriters are making a comeback and, as a wide-ranging new survey book shows, so is typewriter art.


John Foster
Exploring Art Environments
SPACES is a nonprofit 501c3 public benefit organization incorporated in 1978 for the purposes of identifying, documenting and advocating for the preservation of large-scale art environments.


Adam Harrison Levy
The Falling Man: An Interview with Henry Singer
The Falling Man is a 90-minute documentary that tells the story of a controversial image. Who took it? Why was it censored? And who was the man in the photograph?



Véronique Vienne
Image Making, Reclaimed
Etienne Hervy, art director of the International Graphic Design Festival in Chaumont, France, asked a painter, not a graphic designer, to create a pair of posters for this year’s event.



Observed
More Botany
Avery Thatcher is one of the emerging designers from the oft-lauded creative class in Portland, Oregon.


Debbie Millman
Brian Singer
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks to Brian Singer, Communication Design team leader at Facebook,.


John Foster
Our Shared Past
Jefree Shalev and his girlfriend selected 175 film stills from his parents’ past life and dispersed these intimate family images with the Florida art community. The result is an exhibition called ‘Our Shared Past’.


Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: Botanicals
Each of us has a connection to nature — a primal response to certain landscapes — yet we don’t always use it as raw material for our own work.



The Editors
A Mother’s Work is Never Done
This year, for Mother's Day, Design Observer collected photos of women designers and their offspring in varying forms: we received entries in the form of then-and-now contemporary photos, of generational divides, of mothers as children (next to their children, as — no surprise —children) and even, because we're impatient and couldn't wait, one father and his lovely brood.


Justin Zhuang
Monocle Magazine: A Singular View of the City
A monocle is a single eyeglass kept in position by the muscles around the eye. The same can be said of monocle Magazine, a publication fixated on how cities should all be built in style and for conspicuous consumption.


Debbie Millman
Rachel Sussman
Artist Rachel Sussman discusses her new book and explains what it was like to be abandoned without supplies — or a phone — in Greenland.  



Alexander Isley
The Light
How operating a searchlight influenced Alexander Isley's approach to design.


Alex Knowlton
Miami Nice
Alex Knowlton reviews this year's ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design in Miami Beach.


John Foster
Why Won’t My Doll Sell on eBay?
From Chatty Cathy to Pee-Wee Herman, to the movie Chucky, sentient dolls have occupied the imagination of children and adults in literature, photography, theatre, and film.



Observed
Tiny PMS Match
Designer Inka Mathew is matching tiny objects to Pantone colors.


Rick Poynor
The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard
J.G. Ballard’s conceptual ads anticipated the emergence of culture jamming, subvertising, design fiction and speculative design.


Francisco Laranjo
Critical Graphic Design: Critical of What?
A review of the current state of critical graphic design.


John Foster
The Focused Obsession of Photographer Rob Amberg
Rob Amberg is an award winning a documentary photographer who lives with his wife live on a small farm in the same NC county where he makes his photographs.



Observed
Glaser Goes Psychedelic
If you're watching the premier of Mad Men this Sunday, you may notice some familiar-ish graphics. That's because the key art for Season 7 was created by Milton Glaser, based on some of the work he became known for in the 1960's and 70's, now frequently described as 'psychedelia'.


Adam Plunkett
How to Visualize Poetry — And How Not to
Design Observer's poetry editor, Adam Plunkett, gives us a primer on visual poetry.


Sandra Nuut
Sandra Nuut on Fashion
Sandra Nuut is investigating spaces for contemporary fashion curation inside and beyond the museum, and is analyzing the collision between culture and commerce.


Hala Abdul Malak
Hala A. Malak on Lomo
Hala A. Malak is a design critic, curator, branding consultant, and Middle East expert with her own particular view of the world.


David Morris
The Public Library
“The public library is a singularly American invention.” An excerpt from the new book The Public Library: A Photographic Essay.


Jessica Helfand
Fast Thinking
Is this a slapstick fall captured as a slow-motion sideshow? Or an example of how accelerated exposure times tell a different story?


Angela Riechers
Angela Riechers on Banks
Angela Riechers is a Brooklyn-based art director and writer specializing in design, media, and visual culture.


John Foster
Found, Cut, and Rearranged: The Art of John Stezaker
For almost four decades, the artist John Stezaker has been appropriating “found” photographs and focusing on a new way of seeing.


Samantha García
Inalienable Rights, Wolfsonian-Style
A review of  the inaugural "Power of Design" ideas festival in Miami.


Brigette Brown
Brigette Brown on Umbrellas
Brigette Brown is a 2013 graduate of SVA MFA Design Criticism program who has worked for the Museum of Latin American Art, written for Disegno and Surface, researched for Metropolis, and edited a publication for Domus.


Adam Harrison Levy
Data Loss
Adam Harrison Levy on losing everything he had stored on his phone for three years.


Anne Quito
Anne Quito on Quiet
Anne Quito will graduate in May 2014 from SVA’s MFA Design Criticism program. In 2009, she earned a master’s degree in Visual Culture from Georgetown University.


Anna Marie Smith
Anna Marie Smith on “Apples to Apples”
Anna Marie Smith is currently working on her MFA in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts, with particular interest in social media, video game design, and branding within the Young Adult demographic.


John Thackara
Keep Your Stuff Alive
What would fashion be like if it was more than a an act of consumption with no meaning beyond the point of sale? What kind of system would improve the quality of our fashion experience without increasing the quantity we consume?


John Foster
The Greenville, NC Daily Reflector: 1948 to 1967
One of the best ways to investigate the life and times of a region is to look at the local photo files from the daily newspaper.


Jess
An Aposiopesis of Black Honey: or Variations on Dürer’s Melancholia I
A visual poem from Jess.


Observed
Inge Druckrey + Sister Corita Kent on Film
On Friday, April 4th, the Department of Graphic Design at Yale University will be showing Teaching to See and Learning by Heart, two short films on the work and teaching of Inge Druckrey and Sister Corita Kent.



Observed
The Hilda Stories
In a new video series from Herman Miller, Hilda Longinotti, George Nelson’s longtime aide-de-camp, recounts some of the greatest anecdotes from her 21-year run at the legendary New York City design atelier.


Debbie Millman
Jonathan Harris
Jonathan Harris on his web and database art projects, his relationship to time and memory, and the sexuality of the internet.


Observed
A Love Letter to the City
In 1999, Stephen Powers stopped writing graffiti and dedicated himself to being a full-time artist.



Observed
Complaints Posters
Complaints! An Inalienable Right, is a poster exhibition curated by author, design critic, educator and Design Observer friend Steven Heller.



Observed
Employee ID Badges
A deeper look into WWII era employee ID badges.


John Foster
The Essence of a Teapot
While the traditional teapot should be at the very least functional — that is, have the ability to hold and pour a liquid, I recently viewed an exhibition that turns all that on end with the “idea of a teapot.”


Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: David Levinthal
David Levinthal's recipes of choice, his mother's brisket and her chocolate roll, are both nostalgic and riddled with more complex meanings.


John Foster
Blues, Baptisms, and Prison Farms: The Lomax Snapshots of 1934-1950
Blues, Baptisms, and Prison Farms: The Lomax Snapshots of 1934-1950


Philip Schultz
Why
A poem by Philip Schultz.


Alexandra Lange
Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories
A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.


Jennifer Kabat
Genzken and the City
A review of Isa Genzken’s current retrospective on view at MOMA.


John Foster
Shoe Designs Before 1900
Having never really taken the time to look at ancient shoes (I have only three pair of shoes myself — black, brown and a pair running shoes), I was very impressed with the creativity and design of shoes from centuries ago.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Cheated in Chicago
This week Dear Bonnie — our truth-telling advice column from Bonnie Siegler — advises independent artist "Cheated in Chicago" on the best course of action when her work is being used by a large brand without her permission.


Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: Kiki Smith
Kiki Smith takes the body and turns it inside out. She makes art from innards. But she eats salad.


John Foster
The Dreamland Motel
A reivew of the vanishing signage of our American landscape.


John Foster
Face Time
This week, John Foster looks at the endless fascination we have with the human face and the myriad ways it can be transformed.


Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Surface Wreckage
Why do photographs and images of torn street posters exert such a powerful hold on the imagination and emotions?


Owen Edwards
The Quickest Fix
A suggestion for an easy & quick design tweak that could help reduce concussions in the NFL.


Alexandra Lange
Premature Demolition
The Folk Art Museum, David Adjaye's market hall, and the first addition to the Morgan Library. If three makes a trend, then premature demolition qualifies.


John Foster
The Private World of Martina Kubelk
A photo album containing 99 pages and over 380 photographs; self-portraits of a man in women’s clothes.


Rob Walker
Personal Packaging
Fondly revisiting the look and feel of the mixtape.


Rick Poynor
Why Tatlin Can Never Go Home Again
Raoul Hausmann’s photomontage Tatlin at Home is much pinned on Pinterest, but what has become of the original?



Observed
Craft, Art + Design Oral History Project
The Bard Graduate Center Craft, Art & Design Oral History Project is admirably ambitious.


Alexandra Lange
Criticism = Love
Why you have to love design to be a critic.


John Foster
Imperfect Beauty
A collection of 26 photographic images with either deliberate or accidental flaws.



Observed
50 Years of Cuban Film Posters
The Danish Film Institute has posted their collection of Cuban Film Posters from the past 50 years or more on Flickr.



John Thackara
Conflict and Design
A review of the design triennial in Belgium on the theme of Conflict and Design.



Observed
A Secret Art Show Inside a Condemned NYC Apartment Building
The show, called Surplus Candy, was the brainchild of street artist Hanksy.


John Foster
The Renewed Art of Embroidered Photographs
Few creative things today are truly new — it's the work that builds on, pushes forward and continues to invent that gets noticed.


Tarpley Hitt
Speaking Typography: Letter as Image as Sound
Just as a poet weaves the intent of his poem into its sound and craft, so did Lissitzky, as designer, hope to marry intent with the typography and the design of the book itself. But did he?



Observed
Selling Shame
Southern California artist Cynthia Petrovic has collected vintage body-shaming advertisements geared toward women.


Observed
These Collages Blur the Lines of Reality
Daniel Gordon is an artist and author living and working in Brooklyn. His work is the subject of three booksand a profile this week on Wired.


Alexandra Lange
Playing With Design: Fredun Shapur
Add Fredun Shapur to the pantheon of modern designers making winning and sculptural objects for children.



John Thackara
Shoe City vs Sole Rebels
Two radically opposed models of development are being born in Ethiopia at the same time. One is small, local, socially fair, and ecologically respectful. The other takes the globalisation of fashion to a new and more destructive level.


Rick Poynor
The Compulsively Visual World of Pinterest
I have always liked Pinterest’s exclusively visual focus and unlimited boards structure. A week ago I joined.


John Foster
Native American Design
The National Museum of the American Indian has one of the most extensive collections of Native American art and artifacts in the United States.  



John Thackara
A Whole New Cloth: Politics and the Fashion System
In fashion, despite more than 400 eco labels, an incremental ‘do less harm’ approach has addressed the symptoms, but not the principal cause, of our difficulties: an economy based on perpetual growth in a finite world.


John Foster
Capturing Imagination
The ten most popular galleries from John Foster in 2013.


Rick Poynor
Martin Sharp: People, Politics and Pop
Martin Sharp rediscovered: drawings and collages from the book People, Politics and Pop: Australians in the Sixties.


Owen Edwards
For Better or Worse, This Design Endures
Owen Edwards on the enduring qualities of the AK-47.


Adam Harrison Levy
Designer’s Cookbook: Jake Tilson
Only in the layered, interconnected culinary world of graphic designer, artist, cookbook author Jake Tilson could huevos rancheros eaten in Los Angeles inspire someone to cook Baid Masus, or Baghdad Special Eggs, a 13th-century Arab dish.


Alexandra Lange
Year of the Women
A year-end wrap-up of my favorite stories. The common theme? Women and the making of design.


John Foster
From Russia With Doubt
From Russia with Doubt is the true story about brothers Ron and Roger Pollard, two amateur collectors who enjoyed going to flea markets and estate sales, picking up objects, paintings — anything they happened to like.



Observed
A Sculpture on the Moon
Slate has a fascinating article about artist Paul van Hoeydonck and his three-and-a-half inch scultpure, Fallen Astronaut that was (and still is) exhibited on the moon.



Observed
Fairy Tale Architecture
A roundup of our holiday Fairy Tale Architecture posts.



Observed
Painting on Black Velvet
Collector's Weekly has a wonderful homage to the "the paintings the art world loves to hate", those on black velvet.


Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: Joel Meyerowitz
Photographer Joel Meyerowitz's story of marriage and pasta con le sarde.


John Foster
Japanese Municipality Logos
A look at the forward-thinking, abstract logos that symbolize Japanese city municipalities.


Rick Poynor
Martin Sharp: From Satire to Psychedelia
The late Martin Sharp was a visual innovator whose work erased artificial distinctions between applied image-making and fine art.


Debbie Millman
Debbie Millman on Sleep
Debbie Millman is a designer, author, educator, strategist and host of the podcast Design Matters.


Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch with the Critics: Fourth-Annual Year-End Awards
Our intrepid critics, Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster, celebrate (and castigate) the best and worst architecture and design of 2013.


John Bertram
John Bertram on Silence
John Bertram is a graduate of Yale School of Architecture and the principal of Bertram Architects in Los Angeles. He is co-editor (with Yuri Leving) of Lolita - The Story of a Cover Girl: Vladimir Nabokov's Novel in Art and Design, and the editor of Venus Febriculosa, a website devoted to contemporary literature and the art and design of books.


Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: April Gornik
Artist April Gornik taught herself to cook from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.


Cheryl Heller
Cheryl Heller on Words
Cheryl Heller is the Founding Chair of the first MFA program in Design for Social Innovation, at SVA. She has founded two companies and taught creativity to leaders and organizations around the world.


Megan Whitmarsh
Megan Whitmarsh on Originality
Megan Whitmarsh is a Los Angeles based artist who works predominantly in textiles. Although she also creates comic books, paintings, drawings, and stop-action animation, Whitmarsh is best known for her hand-embroidered canvases and soft sculptures.


Adam Harrison Levy
Saul Leiter: Remembered
Saul Leiter taught himself to paint, but his father did not approve. These early abstract works, dating from the 1940s, show a remarkably confident use of line, color and composition.


Alexandra Lange
Alexandra Lange on Performance
Alexandra LangeAlexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities.


Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: Alex Katz
When it comes to food, Alex Katz keeps it simple.


Debbie Millman
Terry Teachout
Terry Teachout discusses the early days of blogging, the poetics of theater and what it's like to be a drama critic for The Wall Street Journal.



John Foster
Graphics of Authority
A look at the police cars that may or may not want to be seen.



Observed
New Items in the Design Observer Store
New products listed in the Design Observer store.



Alexandra Lange
Art On Campus
A review of the renovated Blaffer Art Museum and James Turrell's latest skyspace, "Twilight Epiphany."



Rick Poynor
Collage Culture: Nostalgia and Critique
An interview with David Banash, author of Collage Culture: Readymades, Meaning, and the Age of Consumption.



John Foster
Extraordinary Spanish Art Environments
Jo Farb Hernández spent close to fourteen years surveying the elaborate fanciful worlds, idiosyncratic sculptures and unique visionary creations of 45 self-taught Spanish artists.



Alexandra Lange
L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman
A Kickstarter for an upcming exhibition on the wotk of Deborah Sussman in Los Angeles.



Observed
Feeding Young Brains
AIGA Portland and The Right Brain Inititative have partnered on a new project to encourage kids to think creaively.



Daisy Fried
Women’s Poetry
A poem by Dairy Fried.



Observed
Happy Halloween!
To celebrate the creepy and the spooky, a short list of films for your Halloween viewing pleasure.



Observed
The Wire Poster Project
"The Wire Poster Project" consists of 60 typographic posters, each one representing one of the 60 different epigrams preceding every episodes of HBO’s critically acclaimed series, The Wire.


Alexandra Lange
Where We Work
A Kickstarter for co-working space Makeshift Society points to the light, space and tools creative freelancers need to be productive.



John Foster
Asemic Writing: Open to Interpretation
Michael Jacobson’s Gallery of Asemic Writing is a website repository for international artists, writers, readers and viewers.



Observed
The Way of Chopsticks
The Way of Chopsticks explores Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen's memories of growing up in Communist China and juxtaposes those hardships with their bilingual 11-year-old daughter's very different, very contemporary upbringing.



Enrique Allen
Enrique Allen on Introductions
Enrique Allen is currently the co-director of the Designer Fund where he provides angel funding, mentorship and connections to designers creating businesses with positive social impact.



Observed
Possession
Someguy, also known as Brian Singer, is a San Francisco based fine artistand graphic designer. His most recent work — Possession — is a screen print on uncut dollars.



Debbie Millman
Card Shark (a Poem)
A visual poem from Debbie Millman's new book Self Portrait as Your Traitor.


Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Brian Eno, Artist of Light
An early profile of ambient musician and producer Brian Eno’s parallel career as a visual artist.


Alexandra Lange
MoMA’s Modern Women
The Museum of Modern Art's new installation, "Designing Modern Women," could have made a bolder statement about the transformative role of women in 20th century design and architecture.


Rick Poynor
New York: City of Spectacular Doors
For six years, Allan Markman crisscrossed New York taking pictures of remarkable doors for a new book.


John Foster
Giraffe Houses of the Ozarks
Giraffe houses are generally thought to have first appeared around 1910, but their acceptance grew during the 1930s.


Elizabeth Guffey
Design For the Rest of Us: Where Are Design Museums’ Benches?
What a lack of benches in design musems means for the exhibits.


John Foster
The Open Eye: The Home Collection of Ray Yoshida
Accidental Mysteries for September 29, 2013 focuses on the vast home collection of Chicago artist and teacher Ray Yoshida.


Stephen Dunn
Promiscuity
A poem by Stephen Dunn.


Sara Ivry
Sara Ivry on Language
Sara Ivry is the host of Vox Tablet, the weekly podcast of Tablet Magazine, and a writer who has contributed to the New York Times, Bookforum, the Boston Globe, and other publications.


Stephen Eskilson
Heteronormative Design Discourse
The question of sexual identity, a central focus of a great deal of thought in recent decades, has received scant attention in the design world.



Observed
Seven Fantastic Vintage Anatomy Drawings
Popular Science's gallery of seven of the most fantastic anatomy drawings from the Middle Ages.


J.D. McClatchy
J. D. McClatchy on Relationships
J. D. McClatchy is the author of six books of poetry and many texts for musical settings, including eight opera libretti.


Alexandra Lange
Learning New Tricks
Harvard doesn't have any design courses, but I've found new friends in "material culture." What it's like for a critic to go back to school.


John Foster
John Foster on Colloquialisms
John Foster has been a longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography, as well as an artist, designer, and art curator.


John Foster
Barkcloth Art of the Omie
Accidental Mysteries for September 22 focuses on art of the Ömie people of New Guinea — powerful, graphic works on barkcloth that they call nioge.


Roshanak Keyghobadi
Composing in Space: Tactile Poetry of Farhad Fozouni
A review of work by Iranian graphic designer Farhad Fozouni.


Rick Poynor
Bohumil Stepan’s Family Album of Oddities
Bohumil Stepan’s Familienalbum presents a series of surreally equipped and irreverently modified collages of his family.


John Foster
Artful Mourning
The art of mourning in Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries: a look at post-mortem and memorial photographs and memorabilia.


Marvin Heiferman
Marvin Heiferman on Photography
Marvin Heiferman, a curator and writer, develops exhibitions, websites and publications that explore visual culture.


John Maeda
John Maeda on Loops
We’re in the same loop. Culture lags. Art and design have to pick up the slack.


Wendy MacLeod
Wendy MacLeod on Fasting
Wendy MacLeod ia an award-winning playwright.


Mark Lamster
High Net Space: The New International Style
High Net Space: The New International Style


Ricky Jay
Ricky Jay on Collecting
Ricky Jay is considered one of the world's great sleight of hand artists.


Rick Poynor
Bohumil Stepan’s Gallery of Erotic Humor
Mapp Editions has released a digital version of Bohumil Stepan’s Galerie (1968), a surreal collection of collages and drawings about the relationship between the sexes.


Alice Twemlow
Alice Twemlow on Home
Alice Twemlow is the co-founder and chair of a two-year graduate program in Design Criticism at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is also a PhD candidate in the History of Design department at the Royal College of Art, London.


Karen Green
Bough Down
An excerpt from Bough Down, Karen Green's transcendent book about surviving her husband's suicide.


Ralph Caplan
Ralph Caplan on Titles
Ralph Caplan is a writer and communications consultant and lectures on design. He is the former editor-in-chief of I.D. Magazine and the author of several books.



Observed
The Subculture of Japanese Trucker Art
Tatsuki Masaru's new book Dekotora documents the Japanese subculture of pimping big rigs with neon lights and luxury interiors.


Rob Walker
No. 1 Object
A brief appreciation of a perfectly absurd object: The Number One Hand


Alexandra Lange
A World of Paste and Paper
Today's obsession with digital renderings sparked two exhibitions that suggest a handmade, but far from quaint, corrective.


Rick Poynor
The Hotel that Dreamed It Was a Museum
The Walpole Bay Hotel: Living Museum, junk-clogged bane of hotel inspectors, or Wunderkammer?


Observed
A Nearly Perfect Book
The poetry critic, the publisher, and the art of bookmaking in a digital era.



Observed
The Art Toast Project
Culinary innovator Ida Frosk depicts the works of famous cultural icons on pieces of toast.


Rick Poynor
Collage Now, Part 1: Sergei Sviatchenko
In a crowded field, Sergei Sviatchenko’s highly reductive photo-collages look like his own and no one else’s.


Rick Poynor
Collage Now, Part 2: Cut and Paste Culture
Cut-and-paste culture is booming and collage-making is rampant: paper-based, digital, and all points between.


John Foster
Folk Funeraria of the South
Accidental Mysteries for August 18th focuses on folk funeraria of the South.


John Foster
Stitching Stories
Accidental Mysteries for August 11, 2013 focuses on Jane Waggoner Deschner and her stitched stories.


Rick Poynor
David Maisel and the Apocalyptic Sublime
David Maisel’s photographs are visions of the Earth as we have never seen it full of beauty and terror.



Observed
Perspective-Localized Art
Swiss artist Felice Varini recently installed a new perspective-localized street art piece in Paris.


John Foster
The Collection de l’Art Brut
It was Jean Dubuffet who coined the term Art Brut to describe art that was raw, pure and untainted by rules or schooling. This was art that emerged from the minds of madness — or genius.


Rick Poynor
Soft Machine’s Dysfunctional Mechanism
An alternative cover for the French release of The Soft Machine’s first album alludes to the history of the machine in 20th-century art.


Kwame Dawes
Coffee Break
A poem by Kwame Dawes.



Observed
Barbie, Revisited
Artist Nikcolay Lamm asked what Barie would look like as an average woman.


Alexandra Lange
Nevermind the Masterpiece
What's your "Masterpiece of Everyday New York"? A broken umbrella? A shirtwaist? Discarded gum?


Debbie Millman
Interaction of Color
Brenda Danilowitz, Chief Curator at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Potion principal Philip Tiongson discuss the new Interaction of Color app.


Observed
Eyes on the Sky: Weather Visualized
Jed Carter's new book of watercolors, Eyes on the Sky, is a process-based investigation into generative design and the weather.



Observed
Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age
An exhibition of 118 socially, environmentally, and politically-motivated print posters by an international cadre of artists and designers.


Dennis O’Driscoll
Memoir
A poem by Dennis O'Driscoll.


Observed
Iron Man 3 Titles
An interesting look at the design process for the Iron Man 3 title screens.


Rick Poynor
The Incidental Pleasures of Street Art
Sprawling, evolving, accreting: a collection of recent street art photos from Portugal and Spain.


Alexandra Lange
How To Unforget
The straightforward logic of “A Handbook of California Design” makes it the first step in unforgetting two generations of makers.


Alexandra Lange
An ABC of the ABCs
Were you a child? Did you read books? Then the NYPL's "ABC of It" serves as a portal back in time.



Observed
My 3-D Life
Meanwhile, what’s to stop me from printing some caviar, or an Oscar? A pony? Or a Porsche? Musings on what to print on your home 3-D printer.



Observed
Guns and Design
Firearms are culturally significant objects and complex tools of meaning that can, perhaps, provide insight into the interconnection of people, objects, and society.


John Foster
Birds of a Feather
This week's Accidental Mysteries focuses on groups of similar objects: Birds of a Feather.


Alexandra Lange
Every Little Thing
Cranbrook: A campus where the designers have thought of everything.


Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Upgrade Yourself!
If appearances matter more than ever, as we are constantly told, the personal makeover has become our most fundamental design task.



Observed
Flowering Pages
A little-known but remarkable collection of treasures from The Garden Club of America illustrates the activities of the premier American gardening association over the course of a century.



Bob Hicok
Life
A poem by Bob Hicok.


Rob Walker
Street Life
In praise of street art that draws attention to more than just itself.



Rob Walker
The Mighty Shirt Kings
Back in the 1980s, a group of artists calling themselves The Mighty Shirt Kings set up shop at the Jamaica Coliseum, in Queens, offering “custom air-brushed and original artwork,” which could be had on canvas, but also pants, jackets, and of course T-shirts. They are the subject of a new book: The Shirt Kings.



Rob Walker
Object Lessons
Object Lessons is a new project that concerns itself with “the hidden lives of ordinary things.”


Owen Edwards
The Best Management Memo … Ever!
Owen Edwards on the most effective eight words he's ever read.



Observed
The Man in Black, On Your Envelope
On June 5, 2013, the US Post Office issues a new stamp designed by Greg Breeding featuring Johnny Cash.


John Foster
A Philatelist’s Dream
Preliminary sketches, production notes and overlays that tell the backstory of more than a century of Dutch postage stamps.


Rick Poynor
The Irresistible Attraction of Self Storage
Self storage centers are places of private and public fascination and I always knew that one day I would succumb.


Alexandra Lange
The Fork and the World: Design 101
If you had to explain design to the uninitiated, where would you start?


John Foster
Chinese Propaganda Posters
Accidental Mysteries for May 26, 2013 focuses on vintage Chinese propaganda posters.


Joshua Weiner
At the Next Hospital
A poem by Joshua Weiner.


John Foster
A Nod to Surrealism

For artists not working in digital media — those who cut, build, draw, paint, glue, bend, and make things in the more traditional manner, there is something of a “Surrealist” popularity at hand today.



Alexandra Lange
Dream Weaver
On a retrospective of the work of midcentury sculptor Ruth Asawa at Christie's, her first solo show in New York in 50 years.


Rick Poynor
The Conceptual Posters of Boris Bucan
Boris Bućan’s little known early posters, produced in Zagreb, were reductive, sharply defined, cerebral and enigmatic.


Rob Walker
Finding The Story
Emily Spivack's exhibition of unexpectedly interesting stories from eBay.


Alexandra Lange
Anxiety, Culture and Commerce
Is the museum store a distraction or an enticement?


Kit Hinrichs + Delphine Hirasuna
The Alphabet Card
Excerpt from The Alphabet Card, a new book by Kit Hinrichs and Delphine Hirasuna.



Observed
Circus Poster Archive
Circusmuseum.nl, is "the ultimate image bank" of circus posters, photos and prints — with nearly eight thousand circus posters from 1880 to the present, from the Netherlands to America.


Rob Walker
The Medium Is The Mail
Jill Stoll combines artistic ritual, creative reuse, and the postal service as connector.


Rick Poynor
The Age of Wire and String Rebooted
Granta’s new edition of The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus is a landmark of experimental illustration.


Jessica Helfand
Our Shopping Lists, Our Selves
Jessica Helfand on lists: from the mundane to the historical, the shopping list to the Bill of Rights.


John Thackara
Paranoid But Pretty
A review of Matthias Megyeri's new show at the German Architecture Center, and a review of the question the exhibition inspires: "Are we safer?"



Debbie Millman
Wendy MacNaughton + Caroline Paul
Wendy MacNaughton and Caroline Paul on a journey from advertising to Rwanda to illustration, and from Stanford to firefighter to author.



Observed
The Craft of Design
American Craft's special 2013 design issue is available online or as an iPad app.



Observed
Change of State
"Change of State" — a site specific projection on the facade of the New Museum during Ideas City Festival, Saturday, May 4th, 2013.


Rick Poynor
On the Trail of The Eater of Darkness
The Eater of Darkness is a collision of science fiction, murder mystery, Surrealism and experimental typography.



Observed
Awful Library Books
Awful Library Books is a collection of amusing and/or questionable library holdings found in real libraries and curated by librarians Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner.


John Foster
The Deep Roots of Modernism
Accidental Mysteries for April 21, 2013 focuses on the Deep Roots of Modernism.


Alexandra Lange
Architecture Without Signs
If you can't find the entrance, there's a problem with the architecture.


John Foster
The Imagination of Playgrounds
A look back at the playgrounds of our youth, as captured by artists and photographers — and ourselves.



Debbie Millman
Jennifer Sterling
Jennifer Sterling on her process, how money should be designed, and the way teaching has influenced her career.


Alexandra Lange
Portlandia + Timelessness
No better place to consider what looks timeless now than downtown Portland.


Rob Walker
Bill for a Bowl
Considering dollar value as one of many things a bowl might contain.


Francesca Granata
“Women’s Work”: An Interview with Judith Thurman
Francsca Granata interviews Judith Thurman about fashion criticism and her own foray into it for The New Yorker.


John Foster
Drawn to Currency
The Accidental Mystery of Tim Prusmack's hand drawn currency.



Observed
Ann Weber Dumpster Dives in Rome
A film by Nick Heller about Ann Weber, a California-based artist who currently works primarily in cardboard.



Observed
Flickr Collection of the Week: Curatimus Maximus
“Curatimus Maximus” is a beautifully curated group of imagery dedicated to color street photography.


Ben Lerner
Didactic Elegy
A poem by Ben Lerner.


John Foster
Defiant Beauty
Accidental Mysteries for March 24, 2013 focuses on Defiant Beauty, the art of Chakaia Booker.



Debbie Millman
ON! at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati
In this special Design Matters video episode, Debbie Millman gives you on a preview the new exhibit ON! at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati.



Debbie Millman
Sara Blake
Debbie Millman talks to Sara Blake about collaborating with her sister, creating portraits of 100 girls and illustrating NBA players.



Observed
Mirror
The
Seattle Art Museum will change permanently when Doug Aitken’s newest art installation — a giant LED and glass display called Mirror — is revealed.



Observed
Flickr Collection of the Week: Bladerunner Magazines
The world of Bladerunner showcases some of the most elaborate production design in film history, all the way down to its magazine covers.


Alexandra Lange
Instagramming Around Australia
Lessons from contemporary Australian architecture, plus what I saw on Instagram.


Owen Edwards
My Month as a Mocker
A remembrance of London in the 1960s. Rockers rode motorcycles and Mods rode scooters.



Observed
We The Designers
We the Designers” is a national exhibition of self-authored graphic design on view through April 5 at the AIGA National Design Center in NYC.


John Foster
Dreams of the Sonora Aero Club
The mysterious, double-sided, collaged watercolor drawings that comprise the journals of Charles August Albert Dellschau.



Observed
SVA/BBC Design Film Festival
Overview of the second annual SVA/BBC Design Film Festival.


Rick Poynor
Utopian Image: Politics and Posters
By celebrating political posters for their design do we collude with the established order they seek to challenge?


John Foster
Kodachrome Finds New Life
Accidental Mysteries for March 10, 2013 focuses on Fred Herzog's Kodachrome slides.



Observed
Flickr Collection of the Week: Signs of Pittsburgh
Bright cursive hope and rust-covered despair, sigils of titans and corner store shingles, the quick and the decaying done for, encomiums to vanished glory and the name of an immortal beer-and-a-shot bar.


Alexandra Lange
After the Museum: The Tumblr
To create metamuseum.tumblr.com, a multi-museum, multi-curator Tumblr @MADMuseum, I saw it as a kind of curatorial game: Show Me What You’ve Got.


Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: Fin de Copenhague
Asger Jorn and Guy Debord’s book Fin de Copenhague is a Situationist classic and a brilliant piece of design.


John Foster
The Proper Art of Writing in 1655
Accidental Mysteries for March 03, 2013 focuses on the proper art of writing in 1655.






Observed
Dual Perspective Videos
Two videos that show two stories happening simultaneously in different places to different people.


John Foster
What’s Inside?
Accidental Mysteries for February 17, 2013 focuses on what's inside: anatomical drawings.



Observed
Vivian Maier: The Movie
A documentary is being made about John Maloofs discovery of Vivian Maier's street photographs.






Observed
London Transport Museum Poster Colletion
A wonderful way to spend an hour (or more). The poster collection from the London Transport Museum.


Alexandra Lange
Patterns of Houston
How do you critique the urbanism of Houston? Look for patterns.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries for February 17, 2013 focuses on the material culture of the Cold War.


Rick Poynor
A Dictionary of Surrealism and the Graphic Image
An alphabetical guide to graphic designers influenced by Surrealism and to some key Surrealist concepts.



Observed
Filming Love in Times Square
From 11:57pm on February 13th until 12am February 14th British artist Tracey Emin turned Times Square into a big Valentine's Day card.


James Arthur
Poem from Behind a Gorilla Mask
Poem from Behind a Gorilla Mask by James Arthur.



Observed
A Campaign to Save The Post Office
Tucker Nichols is campaigning to save the Post Office.



Observed
Valentinishness
Unorthodox suggestions and unsolicited advice for V-Day.


Michael Bierut
Chromatophobia
Michael Bierut on his chromatophobia.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
A closer look at the cryptic, compelling world of the mask.



Debbie Millman
Jen Bilik
Jen Bilik on being a certified entrepreneurial badass: she's the founder of the company Knock Knock.



Observed
National Poetry Month Poster
The 2013 National Poetry Month Poster, designed by Jessica Helfand.





John Thackara
Cycle Commerce: The Red Blood Cells of a Smart City
Dehli's many millions of bicycle and rickshaw vendors embody the entrepreneurship, sustainable mobility, social innovation and thriving local economies, that a sustainable city needs. How can that be traslated to European cities?


Alexandra Lange
Why Bernadette Fox Is Scary
The heroine of Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an award-winning female architect. Don’t envy her life.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
From 1935 to 1944, the 
Farm Security Administration hired economist Roy Stryker to set up what would become one of the most important photographic documentary projects in the history of the nation.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
The extraordinary magic of the ex-voto.


Adam Harrison Levy
Dylan Stone: 100 Years
Adam Harrison Levy reviews Dylan Stone's exhibition of 100 years of personal pocket diaries at Ruth Phaneuf Fine Art.


Michael Bierut
Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport
Michael Bierut on logo redesign outrages, what they mean, and why we should demand more.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Jason D'Aquino is a miniaturist who creates on an incredibly small scale and whose preferred canvas is, perhaps not surprisingly, a matchbook.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Manly Palmer Hall's 1928 encyclopedic work — The Secret Teachings of All Ages — earned him worldwide acclaim led to a lifetime of lectures, awards and recognition. 



Debbie Millman
Jason Kottke
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Jason Kottke talks about blogging for over fourteen years and what it means to be "old" online.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Comic selections from the 
Lewis Wayne Gallery in Dallas, Texas — one of the nation’s largest galleries of comic book art. 


Jessica Helfand
Ezra Winter Project: Chapter Twelve
In the end, Ezra Winter was a man whose devotion to the classical world virtually underscored his every move: it explained his ineffable pursuit of youth, his enduring worship of women, his unyielding obsessions with fantasy and grandeur, lyricism and scale, theatricality and costume, fable and myth.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Peter Vogel's mysterious aging techniques are highly guarded, and for good reason.: as works of art, his handmade signs are nothing short of spectacular. 


Alexandra Lange
Bad Taste True Confessions: Erté
True confessions about my own bad taste. I loved Erté. Did you?



Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Gifts for Kids
Gifts for children found on Etsy.com



Rob Walker
Why We Buy, Why We Brand
Rob Walker recommends Debbie Millman's talk "Why We Buy, Why We Brand".



Observed
Neon: Bright Lights, Big City
Collector's Weekly interviewed architect Kirsten Hively, the created of the free iPhone app Project Neon.



Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Guide to Personalizable Gifts
Personalized gifts found on Etsy.com.



Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Ornaments and Decorations Gift Guide
Ornaments and decorations found on Etsy.


Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch With The Critics: Third-Annual Year-End Awards
Idiosyncratic awards bestowed on architecture, design and media.


Rick Poynor
Dom Sylvester Houédard’s Cosmic Typewriter
Dom Sylvester Houédard: Benedictine monk, champion of concrete poetry, and master of the “typestract.”


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Hands of all kinds — in bronze, as shadow puppets and on gravestones.



Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Science/Technology Gift Guide
Science and technology related gifts found on Etsy.com



Observed
Fig. 1-99
Anthony Gerace has created a series of 100 collaged colour studies – each one constructed from a single image, or rather the counterforms from an image.


Alexandra Lange
Reintroducing the Tilletts
If you are interested in textile design, mid-century style, or creative partnerships, I would urge you to go visit “The World of D.D. and Leslie Tillett” at the Museum of the City of New York.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Rarity? Quality? What makes a great piece of redware?



Observed
Tweeting Birds
@Hungry_birds are real birds from Latvia typing on the keyboard made from fat.



Jack Gilbert
Summer at Blue Creek, North Carolina
A poem by Jack Gilbert.



Observed
Speculative Sound Performance
On Tuesday, November 27, at Apexart in NYC: an exercise in sonic branding.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Motorcycle club cuts (or vests) and their assorted, colorful club colors (or patches) represent a unique form of American folk art embodying the freedom and nonconformity of bikers.


Rob Walker
Real Space, Imaginary Stuff
Some lessons from organizing a show about the marketplace as medium


Alexandra Lange
3rd Annual Holiday Card Review
Holiday card designs for 2012 reveal the social media preoccupations of their buyers, whether it is Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or old-fashioned (perhaps Downton Abbey-inspired?) stationery.


Rick Poynor
Robert Brownjohn: Photos at Street Level
The Victoria and Albert Museum has put 18 of Robert Brownjohn’s photographs on display for the first time.



Observed
How Does Your Salary Compare?
Coroflot's 12th annual Design Salary Guide.


Alexandra Lange
Knolling Your Polling Place
Knolling your polling place: for the next election, a little spatial organization would go a long way.



Observed
One World Futbol
For children in impoverished countries, where soccer balls donated by relief agencies often rip and quickly deflate, Tim Jahnigen has developed a ball that can last for decades.


William Butler Yeats
Memory
A poem by William Butler Yeats.


Ed Ruscha
Sign Painters
Ed Ruscha's forward to Sign Painters, a new book from Princeton Architectural Press.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
In the early days of science, poisons were usually kept in colored glass bottles that were various hues of dark amber or cobalt blue, as an immediate warning to read the label. 


Rob Walker
On Dapper Dan
A look at the spectacular logo-remix aesthetic of rap-culture style pioneer Dapper Dan.


Alexandra Lange
Dot Supreme
On the enduring power of the simplest shape, from corporations to children’s books.


Michael Bierut
Style: An Inventory
Style: An Inventory by Michael Bierut


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Change — the kind with monetary value — sheds new light on art made from altered objects.


Jessica Helfand
Ezra Winter Project: Chapter Ten
In April, 1933, Ezra Winter delivers a fifteen-minute live radio talk on the subject of mural painting in relation to modern life, in which he tries desperately to convince himself that he has embraced the modern world.


Mark Lamster
High (Line) Anxiety
Is the High Line above criticism?


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Once you use time, it is gone forever. Maybe that’s why we spend so much time looking at clocks.  



Debbie Millman
Chris Ware
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Chris Ware discusses his influences – including sending a Valentine to Charlie Brown – and explains why empathy figures so heavily into his work.


Rob Walker
Killing for Beautiful Objects
A report on the ivory trade reminds us of the uniquely human willingness to kill for beautiful objects.



Observed
Unbored
Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun from Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen features 350 pages of projects, games, and information for kids aged 8-13, and their parents.


Alexandra Lange
Shopping With Sandro, and Other Tumblr Delights
Digitizing the Miller House Collection, and other museum and corporate visual archives on Tumblr.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Nocturnes : the dramatic allure of what happens in the night.


Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum
Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.


Rick Poynor
The Museum of Communicating Objects
Orhan Pamuk’s The Innocence of Objects is an illuminating guide to his Museum of Innocence in Istanbul.



Observed
Wade Guyton: Cause for Optimism
A review of Wade Guyton’s show at the Whitney Museum in New York.


Jude Stewart
The World’s Smashing-est Kids’ TV Show
A review of Karambolage, a kids’ television show produced by ARTE, a French-German arts and culture channel.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is art without artists.



Observed
Art Without Artists
Accidental Mysteries John Foster co-curated
Art Without Artists at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is sequences.


Fernando Aguiar
Ecologic Sonnet
'Ecologic Sonnet', a visual poem by Fernando Aguiar.



Observed
Amend
Minneapolis-based Thesis is a design collective whose efforts to raise awareness about health care reform has led them to creat the Amend wrist band.


Alexandra Lange
Someone Else’s Shangri La
An exhibition of Doris Duke's Honolulu mansion, Shangri La, proves a “Spanish-Moorish-Persian-Indian complex” works as theater.


Rick Poynor
John Stezaker: Images from a Lost World
John Stezaker’s collages, recipients of a major photography prize, achieve great resonance with limited means.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is Thoughtful Ephemera.


Rob Walker
Focusing On ‘Optics’
Optics: The indispensible buzzword for those who analyze pseudo-events.



Alexandra Lange
Art Matters to Architecture
In Indianapolis, a restored Milton Glaser mural allows us to see its Brutalist home as its architect intended: with color!


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is taxonomies.



Alexandra Lange
Critics Critical Criticism
Meta-criticism all over the blogosphere (but why only about books?)


Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: André Breton’s Nadja
The Livre de poche edition of André Breton’s Surrealist classic Nadja remains the best visual interpretation of the book.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is clothing.


Rob Walker
High Caliber Expression
Reading Richard Ford's response to a critic (by shooting her book) as an expressive act.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is Occupational Photographs.


Rick Poynor
Sending Signals about Political Graphics
Issue two of Signal, a journal about the visual languages used around the world to support political protest.


Rick Poynor
Pierre Faucheux and Le Livre de Poche
A masterclass in book cover design: Pierre Faucheux’s work for the French paperback publisher Livre de poche.


Alexandra Lange
Hiking the Museum
Ennead Architects’ new Natural History Museum of Utah works to make natural history seem like the ongoing process of discovery that it is, layering geology and topography, paleontology and interactivity.



Observed
Olympic App-elete
Curly’s pocket guide to Running, Jumping, Swimming, Cycling, Riding, Kicking, Lifting, Poking, Hitting, Rowing, Firing and Throwing Things. A mouthful to say, but the ideal mobile app for anyone watching or attending the games this summer


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography.


Claudia Rankine + John Lucas
“Situation 5”
A poem on film by Claudia Rankine and John Lucas.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries: 07.15.12
Bill Traylor was born a slave in 1854. In the mid-1930s he began to draw, always from memory — the animals, people and events he recalled in his life.


Rob Walker
Selling Stories With Stuff
What Significant Objects suggests about the relationship between stories and stuff.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries: 07.01.12
One of the most recognizable faces in American history is that of President Abraham Lincoln.


Alexandra Lange
The Shape of Lunch
"Lunch Hour NYC," a new exhibition at the New York Public Library, defines the midday meal as an urban invention.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries: 06.24.12
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is Zippos from VietNam.


Alexandra Lange
The Charismatic Megafauna of Design
Identifying the "charismatic megafauna" of design and the critical uses of their popularity.


John Foster
Bumbos, Swirlys and a Chinese Birdcage: A Snapshot of Marbles
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is marbles.


Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Graphic Metallica
Heavy metal’s extremity, as a set of aesthetic choices and as a way of life, exerts an enduring fascination.


Alexandra Lange
Dress Your Family in Formica and Faux Bois
The materials of architecture and interiors in the fashions of Schiaparelli and Prada.



William Drenttel, and OBlog
Design + Craft: The Brazilian Path
Adélia Borges, a Brazilian curator has now published a remarkable book on the intersection of design and craft, artisanal objects and social innovation.


David Cabianca
Graphic Design is Dead, Long Live Graphic Design
A review of Graphic Design: Now in Production, opening May 26, 2012 in New York City.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is paper folding art.


Rob Walker
The Theater of Making
What videos depicting the story of stuff-being-made are really about.






Michael McGriff
When the Spirit Comes to Him as the Voice of Morning Light
A poem by Michael McGriff.



Observed
The Architecture of Television
Brandi Roberts is an interior designer by training and TV afficionado by choice who draws fictional floorplans of classic television shows.


Rick Poynor
The Strange Afterlife of Common Objects
In lstanbul shops like The Works: “Objects of Desire,” the novelist Orhan Pamuk found the artifacts for his newly opened Museum of Innocence.



Observed
Make a Mixel this Weekend
This weekend the folks at Mixel, an amazing collaborative collage app for the iPad, want to spread the word about how easy (and fun) it is.


Rob Walker
Assignment Creativity
A chaotic and entertaining collection addresses "the art of the art assignment."



Observed
Two Foto Animator
A real life steampunk animated gif.


Rob Walker
Dancing About Ruins
Dancing about ruins: Can debris, detritus, junk, be useful creative material?


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is Superheroes.



Debbie Millman
Randy J. Hunt
Etsy creative director Randy J. Hunt discusses working for Milton Glaser, his record label and the challenges of managing a brand as diverse as Etsy.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is Hannah Höch.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is St. Louis Bus Passes from the 1940s.



Debbie Millman
Roman Mars
Radio producer Roman Mars discusses the connection between ’zines and radio, why he ditched science and the reason he named his show “99% Invisible”.


Rick Poynor
The Enduring Influence of Richard Hollis
An exhibition of Richard Hollis’s work provides the first public opportunity to assess the entire shape of his output.


Alexandra Lange
Frank Lloyd Wright + Katniss Everdeen
On photographing architecture as sculpture and telling stories via architecture.


Rick Poynor
On Display: Museum of Broken Relationships
The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb is a public space consecrated to a universal experience of sadness and loss.


Alexandra Lange
‘Deco Japan’ + Designing Women
The Japan Society's new exhibition
"Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945" displays the surprising globalism of this little-known period in Japanese design, when pent-up post-1923-earthquake desires for new goods and new traditions met up with a new openness to Western arts and the rise of industrialization


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is vintage clothing labels.


Rick Poynor
The Covers of J.G. Ballard’s Crash: An Update
Some recent covers of J.G. Ballard’s disturbing Crash, a notoriously hard novel for designers to interpret.


John Thackara
It’s Not Just The Bags
Design + Craft: The Brazilian Path by Adelia Borges explores the complex relationship between designers from the Northern hemishphere and indigenous artists in the Southern hemisphere, specifically craft communities in Brazil.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is surreal, mystical and metaphorical imagery in contemporary fine art.



Debbie Millman
Jen Bekman
Jen Bekman discusses managing a BBS in the early days of the internet, her first email exchange and the importance of everyone owning art.


Rick Poynor
Motif Magazine: The World Made Visible
Motif magazine, founded in 1958, anticipated a new way of seeing, documenting and appreciating the “visible world.”


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment. This week's focus is firearms.


Rick Poynor
John McHale and the Expendable Ikon
Artist, graphic designer, information theorist, architectural critic, sociologist, futurist: it’s time to rediscover John McHale.


Alexandra Lange
Reassembling the American Dream
"Foreclosed" at the Museum of Modern Art asks what people really like about suburban living. And then, Can they do that with less?


Alexandra Lange
Downton Abbey: Fell In Love With a House
Downton Abbey, for all its melodrama and dropped teacups, is really the story of falling in love with a house.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment. This week's focus is Politics.


Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: A Classic by Berger and Mohr
John Berger and Jean Mohr’s A Fortunate Man brilliantly fuses words and photos to examine a doctor’s life.


Alexandra Lange
Want to Buy A Valentine?
You can buy a valentine handmade by someone else. You can send your beloved a vintage card using an app. But where's the romance in that?


Rick Poynor
The Evil Genius of David Shrigley
British artist David Shrigley, subject of a major exhibition in London, is forever tempting and testing the viewer.



Owen Edwards
Designers Leap, Users Lag
Trying to meet the challenges designers and engineers set for us is pretty much hopeless, though we can have a lot of fun trying.



Adam Harrison Levy
A History Of The World In 100 Objects
Adam Harrison Levy reviews the book A History Of The World In 100 Objects.


Rick Poynor
Ernst Haas and the Color Underground
Has Ernst Haas, an early master of color photography, received the credit his ground-breaking pictures deserve?


Rick Poynor
Read All That? You Must be Kidding Me
Ellen Lupton’s essay about reading and writing for Graphic Design: Now in Production misses some key points.



John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.



John Foster
A New American Picture: Doug Rickard and Street Photography in the Age of Google
When Google launched Street View in 2007, it was just the ticket for photographer Doug Rickard.



John Thackara
Why Walls Need Floors
The artist has worked with the knowledge that most of his site-and time-specific specific works are destined to disappear. Why?


Rick Poynor
How We Learned to Live with Zombies
Zombie films, zombie walks, zombie shops, zombie TV series: our darkest fears are now mainstream.



David Stairs
Demythologizing Design: Another View of "Design with the Other 90%: CITIES"
David Stairs reviews "Design with other 90%:Cities"



John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.


Alexandra Lange
When Modernists Get Crafty
The Museum of Arts and Design's Crafting Modernism makes a good case for bringing back macrame.


Rick Poynor
Man in a Bowler: Illustration after Magritte
By copying Magritte’s subject matter and method, illustrators ended up making a great artist look hackneyed.


Rick Poynor
How to Cover an Impossible Book
Tadeusz Borowski’s book This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen poses a visual challenge for designers.


Rick Poynor
The Infinite Warehouse of Images
The more photos we collectively produce, the more ruthless we need to be about bestowing our attention.


Rick Poynor
Literary Horror from the Chapman Brothers
British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman have created an image of sublime horror for the cover of Granta magazine.



Elle Luna
Report from a Japanese Maid Café
Globetrotting IDEO designer Elle Luna writes of her adventures among crazed anime addicts.


Rick Poynor
On Display: The Kirkland Museum
If I had to pick just one Denver museum to revisit, it would be the fabulous Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.



Chaz Maviyane-Davies
Occupy America 2011
Graphic designer Chaz Maviyane-Davies adapts a vision of repression


Rick Poynor
Did We Ever Stop Being Postmodern?
Like it or not, argues the V&A's exhibition about postmodernism and design, we are all postmodern now.


Alexandra Lange
Should We Boycott the New Barnes?
More ethical quandaries about buildings and food.


Rick Poynor
Should We Look at Corrosive Images?
What do violent photographs of war do to us as viewers?


Rick Poynor
Jan Svankmajer and the Graphic Uncanny
Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design opens at the Kunstal in Rotterdam on September 24.


Alexandra Lange
What the Cooper-Hewitt Needs: More Design, Less Talk
My six suggestions for how to fix the National Design Museum.



Alice Twemlow
Remembering Richard Hamilton as Design Critic
Alice Twemlow remembers Richard Hamilton, artist and design writer.


Rick Poynor
Richard Hamilton, the Great Decipherer
The artist Richard Hamilton, who died this week, was an acute observer of design and the contemporary world.


Alexandra Lange
Stop That: Minimalist Posters
Make a minimalist poster, see your work travel the digital world.


Rick Poynor
Chris Foss and the Technological Sublime
Is cult science fiction artist Chris Foss’s work just highly effective illustration, or can it be seen as a visionary form of art?


Alexandra Lange
Announcing LetsGetCritical.org
My new blog collects the best arts & culture criticism, essays and reviews.


Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: The Metallization of a Dream
The best designed book about the artist Eduardo Paolozzi was compiled in 1963 by a student at the Royal College of Art.


Alexandra Lange
Up From Zero, the Novel
A post-9/11 fiction scooped by reality.



An Xiao Mina
90 Years of Chinese Communism: A Multimedia Celebration
How the Chinese Communist Party designed its 90th anniversary commemorations


Alexandra Lange
A Stitch in Time
Sewing for your daughter, circa 1965.


Rick Poynor
Funerary Portraits: Snapshots in Stone
The portrait sculptures in the Cimetière du château in Nice resuscitate their subjects with a frequently startling vividness.



Tom Vanderbilt
Interface Time
Review of "Talk to Me" at Museum of Modern Art


Nancy Levinson
A Dream House for Architect Barbie
Just in time for the midsummer heat, Architect Barbie's got a competition-winning new dream house in Malibu.


Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Down with Innovation
Designers have too readily accepted the caricature of themselves as airheaded stylists. Visual form is a vital expression of culture.


Alexandra Lange
The Uses of Cranks
Maybe comedy isn't Larry David's calling.



Laura Weiss
What We Can Learn from Project Runway
As 'Project Runway' launches its 9th season, a designer muses on what she's learned.


Rick Poynor
Andrzej Klimowski: Transmitting the Image
Andrzej Klimowski, author of a new book, On Illustration, has used the medium to create a compelling alternative reality.


Alexandra Lange
Jane Austen, Landscape Architect
Trapped by a ha-ha: bad romance and good landscapes in Mansfield Park.



Michael Erard
Notes on Getting the Daily Newspaper
Michael Erard tells of the experience of sharing the physical newspaper with his son.


Rick Poynor
J.G. Ballard’s Terminal Documents
A speculative visual interpretation of one of the surreal image lists in J.G. Ballard’s experimental novel The Atrocity Exhibition.


Rick Poynor
The Dictionary as Art Concept
A new Magritte exhibition catalogue is not the first to take the form of a dictionary. How important is originality when it comes to book design?


Rick Poynor
Speculative Fiction, Speculative Design
The cover of England Swings SF is one of those prescient imaginative leaps that vaulted so far it disappeared from the historical record.



William Underhill
Comradettes
New women's fashion collection celebrating history of labor


Alexandra Lange
Jane Austen, Architect?
Why is Austen next to Ballard on the Designers & Books lists?


Rick Poynor
On the Threshold of Sebald’s Room
Daniel Blaufuks is haunted by a picture of an office in W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz. Where did it come from and what does it show?



Adam Harrison Levy
A Tattoo, A Toothbrush and A Pipe
Adam Harrison Levy writes three stories for Father's Day: about being a father, about father-hood and about his own father.



Elliott Earls
Make/Do
The vainglorious Mediocrity displayed by “artists” of every stripe.


Alexandra Lange
Let’s Go! World’s Fairs of the 1930s
"Designing Tomorrow" at the National Building Museum showcases the optimisim, futurism and dreamy design ideas of the 1930s.


Rick Poynor
Lost Inside the Collector’s Cabinet
The Collector’s Cabinet at the Frederic Marès Museum in Barcelona is a mind-bending, sense-bedazzling palace of artifactual wonders.


Rob Walker
Dedigitization
“Digital goods” are increasingly seen as having real value. Increasingly, though, things from the digital world are crossing over into physical manifestations that can be bought and sold.



Robin Cembalest
Shrink Rap
Mexican designer/artist Pedro Reyes opens a temporary sanatorium in Brooklyn.



Matthew Stadler
Publication Studio: What’s It Like?
On any given day the storefront is home to book production, bookstore, endless packing and shipping, a half-dozen hangers-on, curious drop-ins, lost tourists: a composite day in the life of Publication Studio, Portland.


Rick Poynor
Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?
A DVD cover for the classic film noir Kiss Me Deadly uses the blindingly obvious symbol that just keeps on giving.





Rick Poynor
A Dream World Made by Machines
Adam Curtis’s All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is a complex, demanding, audacious piece of television.


Alexandra Lange
Vicarious Thrifting, via Twitter
On the lively, effective and erudite thrifting community on Twitter.


Julie Lasky
Tribute to Tobi
A year after Tobias Wong's death, the exhibition "Brokenoff Brokenoff" opened in New York.


Rick Poynor
Unearthly Powers: Surrealism and SF
Richard Powers, auteur of the paperback cover, was a key figure linking science fiction and Surrealism.


Michael Bierut
Seven Things Designers Can Learn from Stand Up Comics
Stand up comedy, a high-risk creative enterprise, has interesting lessons for designers.



An Xiao Mina
The Ultra 10 Challenge
Report on ULTRA, a sustainable fashion company founded in Kuala Lumpur.



Alexandra Lange
Manhattan Museum Musical Chairs
Bye, bye Museum of American Folk Art. Hello the forward march of the Modern.


John Thackara
A Smooth Journey
Two images have preoccupied me in recent days.


Steven Heller
Paul Rand, Painter
Paul Rand had more in common with Paul Klee than a four letter first and last name. He too, painted.


Alexandra Lange
In T: High Fiber
"Knoll Textiles, 1945-2010" opens new territory in midcentury design – upholstery – and shows us more than a few new female designers.



Jessica Helfand
The Royal Tweet
Long criticized for not being relevant in contemporary culture, the British royal family announces the engagement of the future King of England via Twitter.


Rick Poynor
On My Screen: The Back of Beyond
John Heyer’s The Back of Beyond, made for Shell Australia in 1954, is one of the country’s finest films.


Alexandra Lange
The Only Thing There’s Just Too Little Of
What parenthood and artistic endeavor have in common: not enough time.



Alexandra Lange
All That Glitters (and Swoops)
What reviews of aberrant design and Van Cleef diamonds have in common: the death of the design show.



Rick Poynor
Stewart Mackinnon: Ruptured and Remade
Why, at the height of his early success, did a brilliant British illustrator decide to walk away and what happened next?


Rick Poynor
Starowieyski’s Graphic Universe of Excess
In Franciszek Starowieyski’s posters, desire, sexuality, monstrosity, madness and death conjoin in some of the most outrageous images found in graphic design.



Constantin Boym
True East
Meditations on the Middle Eastern incense burner.


Rick Poynor
Wim Crouwel: The Ghost in the Machine
Far from suppressing his own creative personality in the way he advised, Wim Crouwel was expressing it to the full.


Alexandra Lange
Onesies and Crime
Ruffles, butterflies and bows: this is how we ornament our girl babies.


Rick Poynor
An Unknown Master of Poster Design
Karel Teissig might just be the best poster designer you have never heard of.


John Thackara
Collapse of Civilization Tango
They say that the last days of Rome were culturally rich — and the same seems to be the case in our own times.


Rick Poynor
Slicing Open the Surrealist Eyeball
Surrealism codified a poetic principle that has always existed as a possibility and still exists in life and art.



James Biber
Pictures of Pictures
James Biber gives us a close new look at familiar paintings.


Rick Poynor
What Does J.G. Ballard Look Like? Part 2
There is increasing interest in the relationship between the writer J.G. Ballard and the visual arts. Have Ballard’s admirers and critics overlooked the most Ballardian artist of them all?



Julie Lasky
Design Indaba 2011
Review of Design Indaba 2011 conference in Cape Town, South Africa


John Thackara
Work Faster, India!
“Work faster, get time for life.” I just got back from a short trip to India where this insane slogan adorned a poster at a bus stop. It pretty much sums up a febrile mood in Delhi where it was announced during my stay that India's economy will grow by nine percent next year.



Michael Russem
Postage Stamps by AIGA Medalists
It was not until 1958 when Lester Beall’s Freedom of the Press was issued, that a (future) AIGA Medalist would design an official government postage stamp.



Julie Lasky
Rock Girl Benches
Rock Girl in Cape Town offers real and symbolic safe places for girls and women.



John Thackara
Africa: Where Events Are King
John Thackara interviews Mugendi M’Rithaa.


Nancy Levinson
Architect Barbie
Architect Barbie: the world's most famous doll has a new career.


Mark Lamster
Cities from the Sky
A new exhibition of urban photographs by Sze Tsung Leong.


Steven Heller
Hitler’s Poster Handbook
Hitler’s Poster Handbook: a follow-up to “The Master Race’s Graphic Masterpiece.”


Mark Lamster
MoCA Loco
A weekend visit to MoCA, and barren downtown LA.


Alexandra Lange
Whatever Happened to the Dinner Party?
Why has the dinner party become an endangered species of entertainment?


Rick Poynor
A Journal with No Fear of Flying
The Drawbridge’s change of visual direction is one of the most dramatic ever ventured by a literary magazine.



Debbie Millman
Rob Walker
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Rob Walker discusses how our digital records remain online even after we die, and his desire to brand the idea of being “happy for what you have”.


Rick Poynor
What Does J.G. Ballard Look Like?
J.G. Ballard was one of those rare writers whose vision inspired a new adjective. What is a “Ballardian” image and how have designers and image-makers interpreted it?



Jude Stewart
Grandma’s Matchbook Collection
My grandma collected matches. She scooped them up on business trips from the 1940s through the 80s, while buying ladies’ dresswear for a department store in Louisville, Kentucky.


Julie Lasky
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Hype
After sitting through two dozen aerial stunts, accompanied by a score with a U2 pedigree, and by something that might be described as a plot, I emerged astonished by only one thing: that no one has actually died while making this musical.



Jessica Helfand
When Do We Call it Art?
Back in the pre-Banksy days of big cars and even bigger hair, there came a cultural moment noted for its prevalence of large-scaled words and symbols, a comparatively brazen visual trope that flirted with modernity by celebrating overscaled visuals in the interest of commerce.



Mark Lamster
Gerd Arntz: Design Icon
Gerd Arntz: A design icon who designed icons.



Meena Kadri
Meena Kadri’s Collection of Indian Street Graphics
It started quite innocently — as most obsessions do. A snap of a painted truck here and spot of rural advertising there, on annual trips to the ancestral homeland.


Alexandra Lange
What Should Food Look Like?
Food packaging and what it says about class.



Jessica Helfand
Bring In Da Ponk!
There is a reason that most Americans don't think of roasted millet as a dietary staple, and it may have something to do with the fact that extracting it requires actually thrashing the wheat stalk from which it hails.


John Thackara
How the Banks Want to Make China Sick — and Broke
Is it me, or are some banking people incredibly stupid as well as being venal and sociopathic?



Julie Lasky
Bushpunk and the Future of Africa
Why Maker Faire Africa is a model for economic development


Alexandra Lange
Bring Back Braids
The True Grit of hairstyles: braids.



Steven Heller
My Big Fat Fast Food Feast at Eataly
A comparison of the vast differences of Italy's Eataly to New York's.



Rob Walker
Ghosts in the Machine
Everyday we are busy producing fresh masses of life-affirming digital stuff. What happens to this “stuff” when we die?


John Thackara
Afghan Culture Museum
A project to create a virtual museum of Afghan culture has been launched in Paris by an independent producer, Pascale Bastide.


Alexandra Lange
From the Cabat to the City
Is Bottega Veneta's Tomas Maier an industrial designer trapped in the fashion world?


John Thackara
UnBox: Where Next for Design in India?
UnBox, a three day festival in Delhi, in February, brings together creative collectives from around India.


Rick Poynor
Surrealism in the Pre-School Years
A poet described postcards as a “Lilliputian hallucination of the world”: he must have seen the surreal babies.



Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch With The Critics: Year-End Awards
Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange pick the best and worse moments in design for 2010.


Mark Lamster
The Once & Future Whitney Museum
The Whitney: An Architectural Tour.


Chappell Ellison
How Do I Know It’s Faux?
If you want to go faux, you might have to call in a fur expert.


Alexandra Lange
Shopping D/R at Etsy
Want to recreate D/R this Christmas? Etsy provides the goods.



Rick Poynor
W.G. Sebald: Writing with Pictures
How do the great German writer's notoriously tricky visual fictions compare with reality?


Julie Lasky
"Do Not Touch!"
An art-gallery chair plays hard to get.


Rick Poynor
Everything has Become Science Fiction
Is science fiction's most crucial task to envision the future or to understand the present?



Adam Harrison Levy
Sustainable Christmas Trees
From artificial firs to rented spruces, a report on alternatives to the chopped-down Xmas tree.


Mark Lamster
Beauty on the Border
Stop-you-in-your-tracks beauty on the US/Canada border.


Nancy Levinson
Pillow Culture
Beyond sleep: the exhibition Pillow Culture looks at the pillow as designed object and technological artifact.



Rob Walker
Rob Walker’s Collection of Bicentennial Quarters
Rob Walker shares his collection of bicentennial quarters.


Alexandra Lange
No Rest at the Last Supper
"Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway" is indeed a dud: cheese-tastic, bombastic, didactic.


Chappell Ellison
The Would-be Words of 2010
Ecotistical, doga, and auxer are just a few of the new words you should know in 2010.


John Thackara
Has Venice Cracked the Bottled Water Conundrum?
Italians are the leading consumers of bottled water in the world, the solution to the waste was to created a brand name for Venice’s tap water — Acqua Veritas.


Alexandra Lange
Networks Before the Internet
A new exhibit at the Noguchi Museum shows how small and intertwined were the worlds of mid-century art, design and architecture.


John Thackara
Jellyfish Farm
Scientists warn that most natural seafood could disappear by 2048.



Rick Poynor
Where Is Art Now?
Leaving the art world to decide what art is doesn’t resolve the issue of quality.


Nancy Levinson
Art Talks
Adam Lowe and Peter Greenaway at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City; Justin Partyka and Sir Terry Farrell at Eleven Spitalfields in London,


Alexandra Lange
Sans Serif Seasons Greetings
The market in "modern" holiday cards grows every year, but the choices--Helvetica, brown and baby blue, color blocks--still seem dated.


Jessica Helfand
Pretty Pictures, Bad Judgment
If a picture's worth a thousand words, a publically broadcast picture is amplified, multiplied and cast out into a world where it can go anywhere.



Michelle Hauser
A Fluid and Expressive Medium: Interview with Robert E. Jackson
In recent years, a new breed of photographer has emerged: the camera-less Photographer. This new generation — many of whom self-identify as collectors — has reinvented the process once again. Michelle Hauser interviews Robert E. Jackson, one of the country's most prolific collector of vernacular photography, who lays claim to a breadth and depth of material rivaled by few if any, in this emerging field.


Alexandra Lange
New City Reader: Sidewalk Sale
How Atlantic Yards became Barclays Center and disappeared from Brooklyn in the process.


Nancy Levinson
News/Print
The Last Newspaper, New City Reader, Newsstand: Print news may be dying, but it's alive in the galleries.


Alexandra Lange
My Marimekko Uniform
Wearing Marimekko is like being a walking work of art.


Rick Poynor
What Does H. P. Lovecraft Look Like?
In a gilded age of adaptations: films, TV series, theatrical productions, H. P. Lovecraft’s short novel At the Mountains of Madness, is re-envisioned for a new generation.



Adrian Shaughnessy
Minotaurs in Suburban England
English designer Vaughan Oliver met Adrian Shaughnessy to show him preliminary work on a deluxe Pixies box set called Minotaur.


Nancy Levinson
Greenaway at the Armory
Peter Greenaway's Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision, at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.


Rick Poynor
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.


Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: Surrealism Permanent Revelation
This post is the first in an occasional series. The idea is to revisit a book from my bookshelf.


Rick Poynor
An App for the Self-Replacing Book
British artist Tom Phillips’A Humument, must be one of the most successful artist’s books ever published. Now, in an entirely logical development, comes The Humument app for the iPad.



Laura Tarrish
Laura Tarrish’s Collection of Miniature Chairs
Laura Tarrish shares her collection of miniature chairs.



KT Meaney
The Library: A Museum
The library at North Carolina State University is laden with gold. Books that seem "rare" or simply too special for public shelving have been, in my mind, erroneously stacked and "dewey decimaled".



Andy Chen
Not Queer, But Human
As a gay man and a designer, Andy Chen believes that part of the solution of homophobia lies in creating images that redefine the very way sexual orientation is understood and discussed.


Alexandra Lange
Join the Conversation!
I am hosting this week's Glass House Conversations, inspired by the comments (on and off the blogosphere) in reaction to my negative review of the Museum of Modern Art's "Small Scale, Big Change" exhibition.



Jessica Helfand, and Marian Bantjes
The Bantjes Covers
Marian Bantjes exposes the long process that led to the cover of her new monograph, I Wonder.


Alexandra Lange
On Design Observer: Girard + Folk Art
Alexander Girard fascinates me as an architect who refused to play the skyscraper game, focusing his considerable talents on restaurants, textiles, exhibitions and murals.


Mark Lamster
Wavefield: Maya Lin at Storm King
I went out with the family to see Maya Lin’s Wavefield up at Storm King Art Center over the weekend.



Debbie Millman
Bill Moggridge
In this podcast with Debbie Millman, Bill Moggridge discusses the future of the laptop, human-centered design and the future of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.



James Lapides
Graphic Intervention
A slideshow containing images from Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010, now on view at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.





Alexandra Lange
Uncommon Ground
Exhibition review of "Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement," Museum of Modern Art, New York.



William Drenttel, Jessica Helfand, and AIGA
AIGA Winterhouse Awards for Design Writing: 2010 Recipients
AIGA and Winterhouse Institute announce the two writers selected to receive the 2010 AIGA Winterhouse Awards for Design Writing & Criticism — including a $10,000 prize and a $1,000 student award.



Michael Erard
It’s the 16th Ed. of the Chicago Manual of Style and I Feel Fine
Michael Erard reviews the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.



John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age.


Mark Lamster
Upside Dome
Gijs Van Vaerenbergh’s “Upside Dome” installation at St. Michiel’s in Leuven is so beautiful I can’t help but post a picture of it here



Debbie Millman
The Art of Poetry
Debbie Millman interview Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman, plus a slideshow of 67 Poetry covers.



Alexandra Lange
Masdar: So Many Questions
I was not planning to post anything about 
Sukkah City. It all just looked like an architecture studio: so much effort, such worked-over results, and an inability to see the forest for the trees.



Debbie Millman
Stephen Doyle
In this podcast interview with Debbie Millman, Stephen Doyle discusses working for Tibor Kalman, renting his soul to the devil and working with his hands.



Jade Dressler
Degrees of Temporary
Interview with Claudia Zanfi, co-founder of the cultural organization aMAZElab in Milan.



Thomas de Monchaux
In Search of Sukkah City
Sukkah City: NYC, a design/build architecture competition taking place at Union Square Park in New York City, Fall of 2010.



Dana Thomas
132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE
The latest material (and sustainability) adventure from the great Japanese fashion designer.



Alexandra Lange
If These Walls Could Talk
On the ABC sitcom Modern Family, three different families are visually defined by their living rooms.



Rob Walker
Hearing Things
I have seen the future of rock and roll, and it’s merch. Of course, band-branded merchandise has been a major part of the music business, big and small, for years.



Jessica Helfand
Fat Chance
There's a long grounding for the appreciation of zaftig beauty in painting and sculpture — from the baroque beauties of Peter Paul Rubens to the geometrically rotund figures of Fernando Botero. So why is it so difficult to talk about people who are really fat?



Sculpture by Mara Haseltine
Pearl River
Oyster Island, Mara Haseltine's sculpture created to revive the oyster reefs that once flourished in and near New York City.



Alexandra Lange
Coming to the V&A: Tower of Power
It is not often that 
a museum blogs about Postmodernism, Michael Sorkin (one of the great take-downs) and credits the (female) renderer who made the AT&T Building look the best it ever has.



Jessica Helfand
The Real Skinny on the Real Skinny
The is the first of two essays on the visual nature of body image.



Jessica Helfand
In the Palm of Your Hand: Dexterity Puzzles
A selection of rare dexterity puzzles from the personal collection of Jessica Helfand.



Johanna Blakley
The Costs of Ownership: Why Copyright Protection Will Hurt the Fashion Industry
New copyright protection for fashion designs is only going to hurt an already struggling industry.



William Drenttel, and Julie Lasky
Reasons Not to Be Pretty: Symposium on Design, Social Change and the “Museum”
In April 2010, 22 designers, historians, curators, educators and journalists met at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy to discuss the museum’s potential role in relation to design for social change. This is a report on their conversation.



Jen Roos
Cup of Heroes
Thoughts on design, sports, and the author's return to a South African township during the World Cup.



Meena Kadri
Two Rupees Worth

Now that the dust has settled on India's launch of their rupee symbol we are starting to see its application beyond the initial fanfare.








Michael Bierut
Jerry Della Femina, Mad Men, and the Cult of Advertising Personality
A review of Jerry Della Femina’s From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor, published in a new edition on the occasion of the debut of the fourth season of the AMC series Mad Men.



Christopher Mount
Wild at Heart: Tadanori Yokoo
Essay adapted from the catalog for "The Complete Posters of Tadanori Yokoo," an exhibition running through September 12, 2010, at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan.



Mark Lamster
Master of Shadows: Paperback
Behold the very dashing cover for the forthcoming paperback edition of Master of Shadows, design by the great John Gall.



Patrick Chappatte
Study in Contrasts
Cartoon commentary on 2010 World Cup by Patrick Chappatte.



Jessica Helfand
Viva The Villain: A Review of Despicable Me
In an age in which last week’s Bernie Madoff is next week’s BP oil spill, villains are no longer the stuff of fiction. So when a really juicy fictional villain comes along — let alone two — it’s time to go to the movies.



Gerry Shamray
Harvey and Me
A remembrance of comic artist and graphic novelist Harvey Pekar by an illustrator who worked with him throughout his career, fellow Clevelander Gerry Shamray.






Mike Sinclair
Midway at the Oasis
Photo of Neshoba County Fair, Philadelphia, Mississippi.


Kenneth Krushel
Bukhara: A Traveler’s Notes
Bukhara is one of the most ancient cities of the legendary Silk Road. Presented here is a slideshow of design and architecture from one traveler's visit.






Alexandra Lange
Where Have All the Windchimes Gone?
What is a beach rental coming to when the dishes are without fish?



Jessica Helfand
The Next Great Graphic Designer
Tonight on Bravo's "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" the winning Penguin book cover design will be unveiled, which begs a few questions. We hope our readers will weigh in with their opinions.






J.D. McClatchy
"A View of the Sea"
A poem by J.D. McClatchy.



Mark Lamster
Oh, Culture: A Koons at the Seagram Building
I imagine Mies would not have been pleased to see Jeff Koons's kitschy pink balloon dog standing guard in the lobby of the Seagram Building, his masterpiece of pristine austerity.



Alexandra Lange
Op Art Eye Candy
I’m lucky that I get to live with a
Julian Stanczak painting, bought by my father-in-law in 1968, when Op Art was really something.



Alexandra Lange
My .02 on the Whitney
Everyone has taken their shot at outrage regarding the Whitney's move to a Renzo Piano building at the base of the High Line.



Jessica Helfand
Rome’s MAXXI: Force Field as Field Space
The MAXXI center in Rome opens with a glorious, international exhibition and showcases a building that is likely to be as controversial — and as celebrated — as its designer.



Dominique Browning
Loose Canon
Review of "Why Design Now?" Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial, New York. Through January 9, 2011.



Ken Botnick, and Ira Raja
The Subtle Technology of Indian Artisanship

How India's craftsmen offer lessons in design thinking.





James Merrill
"b o d y"
A poem by James Merrill.


Helen Chang
Jugendstil: The Youth Style of Viennese Book Art
Turn-of-the-century Vienna was a magical, infectious brew. Viennese children’s book illustrations at the time were no exception.



Alexandra Lange
The Maddening, Rewarding World of Design People
Most design people I know — don’t feel guilt over knowing what is priceless and what is junk. The film Please Give also thinks they know what it is worth.



Mark Lamster
Rubens and the Right
A couple of weeks ago I went up to Cambridge for a symposium on Rubens, hoping to catch up on the latest scholarship and check in with friends in the art history game.



Eric Baker
Today, 05.15.10
Each morning, before starting work, I spend 30 minutes looking for images that are beautiful, funny, absurd and inspiring. Here's TODAY.



Allan Chochinov
Bellagio Design Symposium: Core77 Report
Allan Chochinov of Core77, sums up his experience at the Bellagio Design Symposium, the annual Salone Del Mobile Furniture Fair in Milan and being hostage to the whims of a volcano.






Michelle Hauser
The Leisure of Looking: A Pedestrian View in a High-Speed Era

The current exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography comes from a huge private collection of vernacular group photographs.




Mark Lamster
Dandies at the Ballpark
What, you ask, did the well-dressed gentleman wear to the ballpark in 1870? The sartorially inclined team outfitter might have turned to the lovely "New York Fashions" lithograph above for inspiration.



Elliott Earls
The Sentient and the Bag of Meat
In most cases, design education takes place within the larger context of this thing called “art school.” Students can be grouped into one of two categories: the Sentient and the Bag of Meat.



Alexandra Lange
Junior Critics
One of the pleasures of teaching is when your students actually surprise you.



Alexandra Lange
Carolina On... (No, I Just Can't Do It)
Everything cool that has happened in Durham and environs has happened since I left.



Adrian Shaughnessy
Safety and Comfort: A Walk with Paul Davis
Davis has asked me to write the introduction to his latest book. I told him I didn't want to write about the usual stuff. He agreed and suggested we go for a walk instead.



Mark Lamster
Staggered Profiles
The Whitney has never given up its dreams and now has its eyes on a plot at the foot of the High Line in the Meat Market, with Renzo Piano as designer.



Mark Dery
Bunker of Broken Dreams
Review of "Landscapes of Quarantine," Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York. March 9–April 17, 2010.



Alexandra Lange
Has the High Line Ruined Us?
I went to
Brooklyn Bridge Park on opening day in the pouring rain with stroller.



Mark Lamster
A Very Good Book
Anyone who sees fit to pontificate on the status and future of the book should be legally obligated to see the MET's exhibition of the Limbourg brothers' Belles Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry.



Azby Brown
Bent by the Sun
What a longtime American-born resident of Japan has learned about his adopted country's ancient practice of sustainability.



Rob Walker
Valuing $0
Lewis Hyde wrote The Gift decades ago for an audience of artists, writers and other people who create. Chris Anderson, cited Hyde’s work in his book Free, published last year.



Mark Lamster
A Matter of Perspective?
The Vancouver Sun has run a long follow-up story, by Jennifer Moss, to my Los Angeles Times pieceon the plagiarism charges leveled by Sze Tsung Leong against David Burden






Alexandra Lange
The Future of Snacks
I spent the last week in the Bay Area, and I can’t help but think that all trends related to kids and food start there.



Jessica Helfand
Prisoners of Logic
For five or six years now, I have led a double life as a painter. Until recently, I viewed this other identity as a kind of dirty secret.



Jessica Helfand
Better Living Through Artistry
SEWA, a cooperative textile manufacturing company in Ahmedebad, India, is a network of self-employed women.



Christian Wiman
"Five Houses Down"
Five Houses Down, a poem by Christian Wiman.



Alexandra Lange
The Extinction of the Unisex
Now I have a toddler of my own, I'm wishing that children's clothes were more simple, without all the trimming.






Alexandra Lange
In AN 02: As the Tide Turns
In MoMA’s 
Rising Currents exhibition, certain tropes of contemporary waterfront design immediately surfaced.



Ernest Beck
The Cotton Club
Report on the complex, and sometimes muddled, standards for certifying organic cotton.



Alexandra Lange
All Rubble Is Not Alike
I watched Manufactured Landscapes in the weeks before Christmas and it was just too depressing to post about in the run-up to gift day.



Alexandra Lange
Wives of the Architects
The beginning of a short story I have been writing in my head for years.



Andy Chen
Left Me Speechless
Our work should not merely address the political injustices wrought by discriminatory laws: it should register the sense of loss inflicted on those who suffer them.



Mark Lamster
(Not) Basic Training
The J-E-T-S are out of the playoffs following a valiant effort yesterday afternoon. That's not a shocker, though their appearance in the AFC Championship Game certainly was surprising.



Alexandra Lange
Hands-On: The Gropius Touch
I couldn’t believe no one else had noticed that Ati Gropius Johansen was coming to the MoMA, and it seemed like a piece of history.



Alexandra Lange
Love and Flatware
A scene from Sleepless In Seattle makes me wonder about the idea that shared taste = true love.



Alexandra Lange
Snip Snip Snip
The Museum of Arts & Design’s Slash: Paper Under the Knife, is the must-see of the winter season.



Mark Lamster
Big City, Big Game
As a kid, I was never one for the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History. I preferred the darkened precincts of the Hayden Planetarium, specifically the giant mechanical spider that was its Zeiss Mark VI projector, a truly amazing contraption.



Rob Walker
Stuffed
The scariest reading of the A&E reality show Hoarders, is that these freakish piles of stuff it documents simply reflect what plenty of us consume as a matter of course.



Mark Lamster
Talking Rubens with Leonard Lopate
I'll be appearing on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show this afternoon.



Sharon Olds
"Q"
Q, a poem by Sharon Olds.



Michael Erard
Notes on Being Born on Soil
At times you hear stories about patriots in exile who want their children to be born in the motherland and supplement by putting dirt from said place under a woman who is giving birth.



Eve M. Kahn
Green Sleeves
Review of “Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion” at Pratt Manhattan Gallery, November 20, 2009 - February 20, 2010.



Mark Lamster
Master of Shadows: A Telegraph Book of the Year
The distinguished British historian Michael Burleigh has named Master of Shadows a Book of the Year in the Telegraph.



Alexandra Lange
Dumbing Down DIY
DIY Anni Albers Strainer and Paper Clips Jewelry Kit is dumbing down the DIY movement.



Julie Lasky
CO2 CUBES
Description of CO2 CUBES: Visualize a Tonne of Change, a multimedia installation created for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Conference of the Parties (COP-15), held in Copenhagen in December 2009.



Jennifer Ehrenberg
Chicago Welcomes You
On designing a resettlement process for Burmese immigrants in Chicago.



Alexandra Lange
DWR = D/R?
Like D/R in the late 1970s, DWR is suffering from over-expansion, loss of specialness, and the lack of a leader with personal design vision.



Mark Lamster
"Compelling" & "Important": The L.A. Times Praises Master of Shadows
Good book reviews are rarities to be prized in these days of shuttered newspapers and diminished book coverage. By good I don't simply mean positive.



Owen Edwards
Busted by Colombo, or, the Impediments of Style
The restrained high style of the ad men in Mad Men has revived a painful memory of one of my life-changing moments.


Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF Menstruation Challenge
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Menstruation Challenge Project proposed an “eco-system” whereby sanitary pads became a linchpin for local economic growth, for educational programs about health and hygiene and for research into materials that could be adapted to other countries.



Alexandra Lange
Look Again
When visiting the Eero Saarinen exhibit at Museum of the City of New York, be sure to look at the photographs from Look Magazine.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF and Early Childhood Development
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Early Childhood Development Project proposed a new approach to emergency kits that would be more precisely tuned to young children’s intellectual and emotional needs, as well as outlined a basis for the next AIGA/INDEX: Aspen Design Challenge.



Mark Lamster
Dankuwel Antwerpen!
This is a good week to be thankful and I am especially grateful to everyone who made the launch of De meester van de schaduw in Antwerp such a success.



James Wegener
Metabolic Dark City
In 1993, the City of Darkness, or the Walled City of Kowloon was demolished. To the 35,000 people living in this dense urban slum, the change was the end of a lawless existence.



Alexandra Lange
Smaller Wonder: Brooklyn Children's Museum
My first encounter with the expanded Brooklyn Children’s Museum made me ask several questions.



Mark Lamster
The Big Stage
'll be giving a talk on Rubens and his diplomatic career at the Ringling Museum's extraordinary Asolo Theater.



Mark Dery
Dawn of the Dead Mall
Mark Dery surveys the landscape of failing malls and speculates about the future means and venues of mass consumption.



Alexandra Lange
Review: The Price of Fitting In
My review of the new exhibit at the Center for Architecture, Context/Contrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts, 1967-2009.



Alexandra Lange
Back to School
If you stand in a certain spot in the second room of the MoMA’s new exhibition Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity you can see Marcel Breuer becoming modern.


By Alexis Rockman
Hot Times in the Old Town
East 82nd Street, 2007, painting from Alexis Rockman's American Icons series depicting future landscapes ravaged by climate change



Mark Lamster
From Bauhaus to My House
Nearly thirty years ago, Tom Wolfe made quite a splash with his reactionary little attack on modern architecture.



Felice C. Frankel, and George M. Whitesides
No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale
A slideshow of images from the book, No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale.



Steven Heller
Why Does John Baeder Paint Diners?
John Baeder's goal for the past three decades has been to record on canvas and paper just about every diner and roadside eatery.



Mark Lamster
A Renaissance Who Dunnit
Tomorrow the Metropolitan Museum will put on display a sculpture of a boy archer that made headlines about a decade ago when a New York art historian claimed it was the work of Michelangelo.



Jonathan Schultz
Kick4Life
AIDS education mixes with soccer in plans for a new Lesotho stadium.



Julie Lasky
88Bikes
Report on a foundation that distributes bicycles to children in the developing world.



Lindsay Stark
Renewal
Aid worker Lindsay Stark's portrait of the ritual purification of a child soldier in Sierra Leone.


Jessica Helfand
All Things Matter
His name was Herbert Matter, a man even the ornery Paul Rand described as possibly the least pompous person on the planet. When I was a junior in college, he taught me how to make a Photogram. He was 74 years old.



Mark Lamster
Peter Paul Rubens: Graphic Designer
In his day, Rubens was also revered as a diplomat, an architect, a classical scholar, and even a graphic designer.



Timothy Jack Ward
Gardens and Their Designers
When I loaded up my Budget truck and moved from New York to our nation’s capital, the last thing on, and the first thing off, was my plants.



Mark Lamster
The Art of Diplomacy
It's a rather satisfying bit of parallelism that the excerpt of my book on the political career of Peter Paul Rubens appears in the Wall Street Journal on the same day that Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize is the paper's lead story.



Mark Lamster
A Bibliophile's Revelation
Domenichino's St. John the Evangelist seems, as much as anything, a celebration of the act of writing and the ecstasy of the written word. 



Owen Edwards
Not the Same Old Same Old
It’s hard not to agree that cars, though better designed and engineered than ever, are often pressed into plebian duty.



Ernest Beck
Emergency Response Studio
Report on artist Paul Villinski's mobile studio, which he converted from a trailer of the type used by FEMA to house victims of Hurricane Katrina.



Alexandra Lange
White Knight
With the opening of Less and More, the new exhibition of Dieter Rams' work, I'm reminded of how frustrating it is that his past work is not in production.



Steven Heller
People in Glass Apartments
People in glass apartments shouldn’t throw stones or other projectiles. Nor should they engage in private acts directly in front of their floor to ceiling windows.



Jane Margolies
Skin
Report on maternity clothes made in Colombia with local labor. (No seamstresses under the age of 50 need apply.)



Mark Lamster
We Regret to Inform You That Love Will Not Save the Day
The big story on East 7th Street these days is the opening of Thom Mayne's new student center for Cooper Union, on Third Avenue.


Karen Stein
The Plain Beauty of Well-Made Things
Judd worked as an art critic in his early years in New York as he established himself as an artist. From 1959 until the mid-1960s, his art criticism was his primary, if not only, source of income



Mark Lamster
Ron Arad at MoMA
I'm not sold on Arad as an architect, but his material experimentation is certainly admirable



Alexandra Lange
Crafting A City
Two of my favorite things came together this weekend: Dutch design and Governors Island.


John Cantwell
The Big Screen in Big D
The brand new $1.2 billion home of the Dallas cowboys has a design feature that promises to turn football games there into a weird mashup of football and pinball.



Dmitri Siegel
Lost In the Supermarket
Dmitri Siegel gets lost in the Supermarket and encounters incredibly grippy toothbushes, spouts, nozzles, Thorstein Veblen and Adolf Loos.



Kerry William Purcell
The Art of Psychographics
Each and every graphic design signifies a memory. A familiar sign, map or poster can often trigger a set of associations in the viewer, a series of thoughts and feelings that have their own unique trajectory. 



Inkahoots
Australians All Let Us Text
"New Anthems" art project by Inkahoots for Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane, Australia.



Alexandra Lange
First Flight
My two-year-old made his first interpretation of art on Saturday at the Storm King Art Center.



John Emerson
Pressed into Service
Interview with Lincoln Cushing, co-author of Agitate! Educate! Organize!: American Labor Posters.



Alexandra Lange
What's to Be Done with Governors Island?
I wish that the New Yorker had written a visioning story, talking about what role the Governors Island could play in the New New York.



Mark Lamster
Auto-Matic Abstraction
With their zippy vertical lines, these pictures I shot out of a car window remind me of Barney Newman.



Mark Lamster
On "Master of Shadows"
Peter Paul Rubens gives us a lot to think about in his canvasses of rushing color, action, and puckered flesh, so it’s not surprising that his work as a diplomat and spy has been neglected.



Alexandra Lange
Rearranging, Part 2
I thought about the power of categories as I visited two exhibitions at the MoMA: Waste Not by Song Dong and No Discipline by Ron Arad.



Ernest Beck
PACT Underwear
Report on PACT, an underwear company that embraces green manufacturing and donates a portion of its revenue to nonprofits.



Teddy Blanks
Teddy Blanks on Figurines
Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. This story by Teddy Blanks is recorded as an MP3...



Chappell Ellison
Compulsion: Where Object Meets Anxiety
At the age of 30, my brother turned to our mother and said, “I never thought I’d make is this far.” In his early 20s, he was officially diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).



Rachel Berger
Significant Objects: #1 Mom Hooks
Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. The third of five stories is by Rachel Berger...



Teddy Blanks
Significant Objects: Porcelain Scooter
Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. The fourth of five stories is by Teddy Blanks...



Jessica Helfand
Significant Objects: Elvis Chocolate Tin
Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. The fifth of five stories is by Jessica Helfand...



Adam Harrison Levy
Significant Objects: Star of David Plate
Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. The first of five stories is by Adam Harrison Levy...



Alexandra Lange
Fashion Plates
Do little girls still play with paper dolls?



Mark Lamster
The Curious Architecture of Albert Spalding
The house that the Spaldings — of baseball fame — built for themselves was an oriental fantasy.



Alexandra Lange
Speechless
Amongst my grandfather's things, we found a postcard of the Denver Art Musuem, designed by Gio Ponti in 1971.



Alexandra Lange
Summer As a Verb
The estate of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens is a lovely place to picnic while reviewing the artist's work.



Mark Lamster
Ballparks Redux
Metropolis has posted a slideshow of the outtake photographs by Sean Hemmerle for my story on New York's ballparks.



Mark Lamster
Play Ball: The Last Word on New York's New Ballparks
My comprehensive, last word on New York's ballparks can be found in Metropolis.



Mark Lamster
Advance Praise for Master of Shadows
The first notices for Master of Shadows are beginning to flow in, and I'm happy to report that the initial response has been very positive indeed.



Mark Lamster
A Plea for Crazy in Architecture
John Beckmann of the firm Axis Mundi is promoting an alternative to the Jean Nouvel tower that looks like a half-baked amalgam of several MVRDV projects.



Mark Lamster
Live Fast, Die Young
Dash Snow rests in a long line of dangerous, self-destructive artists who've captured the public imagination.



Chase Twichell
"Negligent Worldicide"
Negligent Worldicide, a poem by Chase Twichell.



Alexandra Lange
Handmade
I found Floyd Bennett Field, the decomissioned 1930s airfield on the border of Brooklyn and Jamaica Bay, to be a very strange place.



Lena Dunham
On the Street in Tokyo
The major internal conflict I experienced on my recent trip to Japan was whether to explore the old-world: Zendos, philosopher's paths, Kabuki, tatami mats, visits to ancient spaces — or the new one: anime, arcades and bars that serve liquor while also selling puppies.



Mark Lamster
Ovid: On Picking Up Girls (Literally)
Ovid gives some un-politically correct advice on playing hard to get.



Adam Harrison Levy
Cars R Us
Andrew Bush’s photographs, featured in his new book Drive, remind us just how intimate we have become with our cars.



Mark Lamster
Meet James Ensor
It's been some three decades since James Ensor has had a major museum exhibition in the US, which makes MoMA's new show a rare pleasure.



Mark Lamster
MAS Macho
Behold the Museum aan de stroom (MAS), Antwerp's new municipal history museum. The building, designed by the Dutch architects Neutelings Riedijk, is due to open late next year.



Ars Libri Ltd
Paul Schuitema Collection
This remarkable collection of graphic design is from the Dutch designer Paul Schuitema.



Steven Heller
Take Me Out to the Old Yankee Stadium
The new Yankee stadium, like most retro stadiums, bears the burden of being faux, a recreation, like a Disney version of reality. It works and it doesn’t.



Michael Bierut
When Design Gets in the Way
When it comes to fulfilling simple human desires, can design get in the way? A call for more incrementalism in design.



Alexandra Lange
Home Front
Good Neighbors is a cautionary tale, reminding us to focus less on what’s coming in to your home and more on the individuals already inside.



Mark Lamster
European Holiday
I'm off to the Continent, which is a good excuse to dip into the family photo archive for a few reminders of a time when European travel was a bit more of a novelty.



Mark Lamster
Bottom of the Ninth
My review of Michael Shapiro's new book on the aborted life of the Continental League, a would be addition to the majors, appears in today's Los Angeles Times.



Mark Lamster
Red Star
The New York-Amsterdam connection has been much in the news of late, and rightly so, as this is the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's Dutch-sponsored voyage of American discovery.



Mark Lamster
Moscow's Jewish Museum
Earlier this week, plans were released for the new Jewish museum in Moscow.



Mark Lamster
All in the Family
My cousin Barbara Schaefer is having a show of recent work at Shop Art, on Bergen Street in Brooklyn.



Mark Lamster
Tormented Youth
Next week the MET will put on display Michelangelo's "Torment of Saint Anthony," reputedly the artist's first painting.



Ars Libri Ltd
Walter Dexel Collection
This remarkable collection of graphic design is from the German Constructivist artist and typographer Walter Dexel.



William Drenttel
Once Out of Chaos




Mark Lamster
Bowery on the Beach?
Has Leigh Bowery, said to have died more than a decade ago, been hiding out on the Coney Island boardwalk sporting a mullet all along?



Angela Riechers
Hot Ticket
To see a play or movie, or ride the Twentieth Century Limited, you needed a ticket, and the development of ticket-dispensing machines paralleled the growth of popular culture.




Mark Lamster
Urban Camouflage
As the Magritte Museum was prepared for its unveiling, the building was cloaked by a brilliant trompe-l'oeil construction wall, very much in the spirit of the artist.



Julie Lasky
This End Up: Renzo Piano's Modern Wing

Julie Lasky reviews the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing.





Christian Bök
"W, a poem"
A poem about typography by Christian Bök.



Adam Eeuwens
One Word, Plastics
This is a call to action for designers to donate credit cards, gift cards, discount cards, hotel key cards, phone cards to the Graphic Design Museum in Breda, The Netherlands.



Mark Lamster
On Muses
Lee Siegel has a wonderful piece in today's WSJ on the history and decline of the muse in art.



Mark Lamster
Triumph of the Will (Or, Everything Old Is New Again)
In the New Yorker this week, Jonah Lehrer writes about a psychological study suggesting that self control, or the ability to delay gratification, more strongly correlates with long-term success than intelligence.



Jason Grant
Cultured Graphic Hygiene
Regardless of how difficult, disobedient or messy their subject, museum posters are courteous and clean. Is there any reason why graphic design for museums shouldn’t be the measure of their exhibits?



Mark Lamster
Back to the Future
Over on the Itinerant Urbanist, Karrie Jacobs recently wrote about her first impression of Daniel Libeskind's addition to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, in San Francisco.



Michael Erard
Cedars
The wake of dead trees is thick behind me, and the others weep and gnash their teeth. Larger trees I leave for some chainsaw to come; I'm a writer, not a lumberjack. Michael Erand on cedars.



Margaret Wertheim
Susan Boyle and The Beauty of Crochet
I want to reflect here on Susan Boyle's massive appeal from a very personal point of view, for I have spent much of the last three years managing a project that harnesses the creative energies of hundreds of middle-aged female "nobodies": Crochet Reef Project



Mark Lamster
Curse of the Bambino Strikes Again!
Good Lord! Is the new house jinxed?



Michael Sorkin
On Paul Auster
The annual Lewis Mumford Lecture has become an intellectual rite of spring for urbanists, architects, and students of both. Here is Michael Sorkin's introduction to novelist and filmmaker Paul Auster.



Mark Lamster
Auction Block
I'm not much of a buyer, but I do like to keep an eye on the baseball memorabilia market, a project undertaken with a combination of curiosity, envy, bemusement, and sheer stupefaction.



Jessica Helfand
Land in Crisis: The Antelope Valley Story
Can the County of Los Angeles claim adverse possession, and rescind residents' rights to their own water? One plaintiff is fighting for the rights of landowners who are currently not pumping from the aquifer, and has mounted a class action suit in order to do so. She also believes that design can help solve the problem. Can it? What is at stake is the degree to which designers can lend their ingenuity to find a way to cut through this mess. And, in so doing, to help restore water to its rightful recipients.



Mark Lamster
Theirs Go to Twaalf
Meet Lamster (no relation), Belgium's ascendant metal goliath.



Jessica Helfand
What's The Story?
And what becomes of all those dead tweets, anyway — all those long-expired, evaporated updates?



Mark Lamster
Bronx Cheer
To say that I've been disappointed by coverage of the new Yankee Stadium by the design press would be an understatement, as noted in this "rant" column for ID magazine.



Mark Lamster
Look Both Ways: On the Streets of Philadelphia
Last week I found myself with a couple of hours to kill in Philadelphia and decided to spend them at the art museum.



Mark Lamster
UnMonumental
While it's true that the events of 9/11 have begotten a good number of ill-conceived memorials, the latest, set for unveiling today at the Yankees' spring training home in Tampa, might just be the least successful, artistically.



Steven Heller
Japanese Face Masks
You may recall seeing in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, scores of surgical face-mask-wearing passersby navigating their ways through the dense futuristic metropolis that is a cross between Tokyo and LA. So I was totally surprised to find on my first trip to Tokyo that not only is it the custom to wear such masks everywhere, it's big business too, with a nod to graphic design.



Franz Wright
"Visiting the Library in a Strange City"
A poem by Franz Wright.



Mark Lamster
Access Denied
In putting together the images for Master of Shadows, my publisher placed a permissions request to use a painting from the collection of the Norton Simon Foundation, in Los Angeles, only to be denied.



Kenneth Fitzgerald
I Believe in Design
In each of the communities I’ve lived I’ve encountered one of these trucks. It’s always a white van, hand-inscribed by paint or permanent marker with a variety of Biblical verses and religious admonitions....



Mark Lamster
Splendor on the Grass
What makes a great tennis match great? I started asking myself this question while I was putting together a review of A Terrible Splendor, a new book hooked on a 1937 Davis Cup.



Jessica Helfand
My Facebook, My Self
But as projections of ourselves, one’s Facebook identity, made visible through one’s photo albums, inhabits a public trajectory that goes way beyond who and what we are.



Mark Lamster
The Best of NY: Yours Truly
What I've always known is now established fact, as certified by the weekly record of this great city.



Mark Lamster
After Peter Paul Rubens (Long After)
Perusing the Christie's website a few days ago, I noticed a print attributed to William Pether "after Peter Paul Rubens."



Mark Lamster
Michael Jackson, Automotive Designer
I know, Michael Jackson has done some terrible things. Tax evasion. Absconding with the Beatles catalog. Child molestation. We Are the World. But this — is design even the word for it?



Mark Lamster
Roid Rage
The baseball world is up-in-arms over the revelations that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroid use a few years ago. My suggestion: move along, folks.



Mark Lamster
Complaint Dept. (Redux)
Most complaints in sixty seconds, a new world record. You've read the transcript. Now watch the video.



Mark Lamster
A Letter to the President
A letter to Barack Obama the day after his inauguration.



Lorraine Wild
A Babylon of Signs
For a generation, since Venturi and Scott Brown’s Learning From Las Vegas, most Angelinos neither did not notice the steady proliferation of signs along their Southern California landscapes and strips, nor perhaps cared. With the turn of the century, that changed. For the last eight years Los Angeles has been engaged in a war with the outdoor advertising industry. 




Kerry Saretsky
Curious Case of the Better Adaptation
Now that I am comfortably “well-read” in my twenties with a Master’s in modern English Literature tucked into my back pocket, I can’t help but notice that every movie I have seen lately — and every movie that I want to see — has independently stood as a work of print before being reincarnated into movie form.



Mark Lamster
Master of Shadows: The Cover
Behold the cover for Master of Shadows, which releases this coming October.



Mark Lamster
Who Needs Two?
In this brutal economy, the Yankees have enlisted Prudential Douglas Elliman to help them move high-end seats at their new stadium.



Mark Lamster
Mooses
Billy Crystal is one of those guests talk show producers adore, and if you were watching Letterman last night you know why.



Mark Lamster
If the Wire Cast Was a Football Team
The Baltimore Ravens look pretty formidable going into the AFC Championship game, but I wonder if this squad from Charm City could give them a run for their money.



Mark Lamster
Complaint Dept.
The complaint has always been my great metier, the form in which I am a non-pareil master. Last night I became an honest-to-goodness world record holder in my favored idiom.



W.S. Merwin
"Unchopping A Tree"
"Start with the leaves, the small twigs, and the nests that have been shaken, ripped, or broken off by the fall; these must be gathered and attached once again to their respective places..." A prose poem by W.S. Merwin about how to unchop a tree.



Mark Lamster
Malcolm and Alex
Just how much of an outlier is Alex Rodriguez?



Kerry Saretsky
Movable Feast
We all must eat; we all must drink. Together, these form the two most basic requisites of our existence. The restaurant is the watering-hole, the center point, the necessity. And yet restaurants do not just serve dinner; if you read between the lines on the menu, you’ll find they offer dinner, and a show.



Mark Lamster
Memories of Yankee Stadium
The opportunity to sit in the Yankee Stadium cheap seats close to the field and to become a part of a community was very special. One of the things I find most troubling about the new ballpark is that this opportunity will be dramatically compromised.



Mark Lamster
Practice Does Not Make Perfect
The J-E-T-S spent $75 million this year on a state-of-the-art new training facility designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, but they may still miss the playoffs.



Mark Lamster
A Horrible Machine
Check out my essay on the classic scout song "Dunderbeck" in the latest issue (no. 6) of the always gnaw-worthy Meatpaper.



Rick Poynor
Barney Bubbles: Optics and Semantics
The intricately reflexive nature of his work made Barney Bubbles a true original in his time. No previous British designer had produced graphic communications this playful, personal, dense with allusion, or tricksy. Bubbles was a postmodernist before this new category of graphic design had been identified and defined, and he is as significant an innovator as his American contemporary April Greiman.



Steven Heller
My Dada
Way back in 1965, as a fifteen years old, I was an early EVOtee. I had stumbled upon one of the first issues at a newsstand. The cover, which I remember vividly, had a photo collage of a serpent emerging from battle fatigues worn by America's commanding general in Vietnam, William Westmoreland. Haunting is not a strong enough word to describe the impact that this had on a teen just a year or two out of Valley Forge Military Academy, where, surprisingly, I had learned about the military impossibility of winning the war.



Steven Heller
Draw Me Schools Of Commercial Art
Scores of advertisements, like the famous "Draw Me!" matchbook cover, offered willing aspirants the big chance to earn "$65, $80 and more a week" in "a pleasant, profitable Art career." Although the ads often shared space at the back of cheesy pulp magazines with offers to learn, well, brain surgery at home, they offered a legitimate way for anyone with a modicum of talent, limited means and an existing job to train in their spare time for a new profession.



Alexandra Lange
The Brooklyn Children's Museum
The Brooklyn Children's Museum is hardly subtle in its attempt to please the Toys "R" Us crowd.




Andrew Blauvelt
Towards Relational Design
Is there any overarching philosophy or connective thread that joins so many of today’s most interesting and increasingly diverse designs from the fields of architecture, graphic, and product design? I believe we are in the a third major phase in modern design history, moving towards an era dominated by relationally-based design activities.



Dmitri Siegel
Design by Numbers
Dmitri Siegel discusses Stephen Baker's new book The Numerati and how data-mining and personalized content may impact design.



Lawrence Weschler
The Work of Tara Donovan
In October 2008, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston opened an exhibition spanning a decade of Tara Donovan’s work. Here, she is interviewed by Lawrence Weschler.



Rob Walker
Subconscious Warm-Up
The Speedo LZR Racer suits worn by
Michael Phelps and other world-class swimmers. Promoted as a design breakthrough and worn by the most victorious Olympian in history, it offers a potent blend of functional promise and emotional aspiration.



Jessica Helfand
The Posters of Padua
In the sixteenth century the University of Padua initiated a custom that has prevailed to the present day — a custom which boasts, as it turns out, a very prominent design component.



Adam Harrison Levy
The Inventor of the Cowboy Shirt
A few years ago, I found myself lost inside a shopping mall with Jack A. Weil, better known as Jack A, the man who, in 1946, invented the snap-buttoned cowboy shirt.



Jessica Helfand
Second in a Series: Completions
The series, when shown on a single surface, carries with it a kind of implicit satisfaction that a series disseminated over time does not.



Michael Bierut
David Foster Wallace, Branding Theorist, 1962-2008




Rob Walker
Shared Memories
Many of the images reproduced in Scrapbooks: An American History, by Jessica Helfand, date back 50, 80, even 100 years. Reproduced in color and spread across wide pages, the anonymous scrapbook creators could hardly have imagined such a fate for their work.



William Drenttel
Whose Flag?
Nearly a decade into a new century, I believe it is unacceptable for a design organization, foundation, board of directors, magazine or other enterprise, to mount an initiative with an all male panel of judges. Such behavior is no longer acceptable and should not be tolerated by a community of designers (or any other community).



Thomas de Monchaux
Remembering Yves St. Laurent
So what can we learn from the presence of fashion within design, and of design within fashion? For example, and more precisely, what can we learn from the work of Yves St. Laurent, the iconic French fashion designer who passed away this Summer?



Steven Heller
Where Have You Gone R. Cobb?




Jessica Helfand
Biblionomatopoeia
What do you call book jacket design that manipulates the book jacket itself in an effort to illustrate the content of the book? Answer: biblionomatopoeia.



Adam Zagajewski
"Describing Paintings"
"Describing Painting" a poem by Adam Zagajewski from his new book Eternal Enemies.



Steven Heller
Canned Laughter
The verbal and visual puns of porta-a-potties are copious throughout this indispensable industry. Manufacturers and suppliers go to great lengths to make the portable toilet experience clean and sanitary, as well as warm and cute. Portable toiletry is only second after hair salons (i.e. Mane Street, Clip Joint, Hair Today, etc.) for warm and cute, albeit excruciating, pun names. And yet this is a dirty job, so why shouldn’t those who attend to our bodily hygiene have the opportunity to practice a little wit and double entendre?



Jessica Helfand
First In A Series: Cartophily
Mostly unified by their one-to-two format, cigarette cards revealed countless variation in topic and scope, style and personality, seriousness of purpose and goofball whimsy. If the ardent collector defines the amalgamation of disparate items by retaining a fundamental organizing principle, then what is it, exactly, that guides the maker? And enthralls the viewer?



Michael Bierut
My Handicap
I've come to know a little bit about demographics, customer profiling and market segmentation, and I can tell I'm supposed to care deeply about golf. But I don't.



William Davies King
Collections of Nothing




Jessica Helfand
Annals of Ephemera, Part III: Aging 2.0
Paper has a finite life span. It yellows and oxidizes and eventually disintegrates. But today, there are a host of specialty materials that protect and preserve paper so that, unlikely as it may seem, ephemeral materials may have found their very own fountain of youth.



Andrew Flamm & Michelle Hauser
Folk Photos
The onset of the digital revolution has made the period for using film finite. Processed prints are becoming obsolete. With the immediate option of discarding an unintended image, a rich library of our unselfconscious selves will no longer be recorded. But it lives here, in these beautiful, poetic and tactile objects.



Randy Nakamura
Steampunk'd, Or Humbug by Design
In this time of cultural recycling, Humbug is a word perhaps best used to describe Steampunk, a subculture supposedly born out of a mash-up of DIY (do-it-yourself), Victoriana, punk, science fiction, Japanese anime and the urge to re-skin one’s computer as 19th century bric-a-brac. If the number of recent articles in the mainstream press is any reliable barometer, Steampunk is the next big thing.



Jessica Helfand
Reflections on the Ephemeral World, Part Two: Food
Ever since the 16th century Italian Mannerist painter Archimboldo made portraits from the detritus of his dinner, the relationship between the visual and the edible has been something of a puzzle. Welcome to the world of foodistry: design with food.



William Drenttel
Thoughts on Democracy, July 4 2008




John Thackara
We Are All Emerging Economies Now

I recently received an invitation to discuss design and development with a wonderful group of design peers in a beautiful location. But I have decided to decline the invitation. Why?





Alice Twemlow
Graphic Design at the Museum
The work of Graphic Thought Facility, a London-based graphic design consultancy, is on exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago until August 17. It’s the first time the Art Institute has staged a show solely on contemporary design...



Andrew Blauvelt
Over the Rainbow
June marks the start of a month-long series of LGBT Pride celebrations in cities around the United States and the world, as well as the 30th anniversary of the rainbow flag — the de facto symbol of the LGBT community. While the visual and media focus of the celebrations have been the parades, the most enduring element is perhaps the rainbow.



Jessica Helfand
Reflections on The Ephemeral World, Part One: Ink
An elegy to the makeready — those sheets of paper, re-fed into a press to get the ink balances up to speed, leaving a series of often random, palimpsest-like, multiple impressions on a single surface — in the digital age.



Jessica Helfand
Iron Man: The Screen Behind the Screen
Iron Man is the fulfillment of all the computer-integrated movies were ever meant to be, and by computer-integrated, I mean just that: beyond the technical wizardry of special effects, this is a film in which the computer is incorporated, like a cast member, into the development of the plot itself.



Debbie Millman
Spoken Word Broadcast
All spoken word show featuring poems, prose and a short story.



Adam Harrison Levy
The Passion of George Lois
How adman George Lois chronicled the sixties with his cover designs for Esquire magazine, with a peek behind the scenes at the legendary famous Muhammad-Ali-as-St. Sebastian photoshoot.



Tom Vanderbilt
Blast-Door Art: Cave Paintings of Nuclear Era
Welcome to the mordant, jingoistic and occasionally crude world — but rarely before seen world — of “blast-door art�? — the cave paintings of the nuclear era.



Michael Bierut
The (Faux) Old Ball Game
Since 1992, every ballpark in America has been designed on the nostalgic model of Baltimore's Camden Yards, including the new parks for the Yankees and the Mets. Why is it impossible to build a baseball stadium that looks like it belongs in the 21st century?



Steven Heller
The Magic of the Peace Symbol
There was probably no more galvanizing nor polarizing emblem during the 1960s than the peace symbol. And perhaps few symbols have had origins surrounded in as much mystery and controversy



Jessica Helfand
Viewer Discretion Advised
One of the great ironies of contemporary culture is the degree to which pro-forma warnings read as largely invisible. “Viewer Discretion Advised” tells us we’ve been warned...



John Thackara
From MySpace to Fake Space
Traveling without moving has become an economic and environmental imperative. Matter is more expensive than energy; energy than information; it is cheaper to move information, than people or things. So what is to stop us moving less and and telecommunicating more?



Debbie Millman
Laurie Rosenwald
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks with graphic designer, artist and actress Laurie Rosenwald.



The Editors
Marc Rabinowitz: Prostitution Facts
In spite of the tawdry glamour of "high-priced call girls," let's remember that this supposedly victimless crime takes a vast human toll that goes far beyond the embarrassment of powerful men. Marc Rabinowitz’s project invites us to imagine prostitution’s stark statistics...



Michael Bierut
Would It Kill You To Smile?
Thoughts on the enduring influence of bershon, "how you feel when you’re 13 and your parents make you wear a Christmas sweatshirt and then pose for a family picture."



Chip Kidd
The Learners
Chip Kidd's new novel, The Learners: A Novel. An excerpt courtesy of the author....



William Drenttel
Any Baseball is Beautiful
Baseball spring training opens Tuesday. It is in this spirit that I stumbled upon the photographs of Don Hamerman. For the past few years, as he's walked his dog at a local park, he's picked up lost and forgotten baseballs. There are dozens of them now, all lovingly photographed.



Rick Poynor
Lost America: The Flamingo Motor Hotel
I found this old photo in a box at the back of my attic. It shows a motel in Flagstaff, Arizona where I stayed for a couple of nights in May 1978. I was 20, it was my first visit to the US, and for three weeks I had been touring around on Greyhound buses.



Debbie Millman
Vaughan Oliver
Legendary graphic designer Vaughan Oliver is also an artist and the author of several books, including Exhibition/Exposition and This Rimy River.



Jessica Helfand
Gone, Baby, Gone (Things, Part II)
From July 19, 1977 to February 28, 1981, the security staff at New York's Roosevelt Raceway kept a fastidious record of lost property. The result — 152 pages of wayward mittens, misplaced wallets and hundreds of personal items — is as much a record of the social history of a generation as anything I've come across in a long time.



James Traub
Art Rogers vs. Jeff Koons
James Traub on the Art Rogers vs. Jeff Koons legal case, perhaps relevant to recent discussions about Richard Prince's art.



Rob Walker
Imitation of Life
Spend enough time looking at design and new-product Web sites and it’s easy to spot recurring themes. One of the most interesting is things that look like other things.



Cheryl Towler Weese
Is Apple Soft on Crime?
Here's the real question: could a climbing crime rate and the rise of the iPod be related? Has the iPod's design increased its likelihood of theft, and if so, what role could Apple's designers play in developing solutions?



Michael Bierut
The Most Hated Holiday Song in the World
Ten years ago, Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid attempted to create the most irritating song in the world. It's now available online, and it's perfect for the holidays!



Rob Walker
Tobias Wong on Consuming Consumer Consumption
Tobias Wong on Consuming Consumer Consumption.



Michael Bierut
How To Be Ugly
Whether reactionary spasm or irrevocable paradigm shift, the new trend is making design that looks ugly. The trick is to surround it with enough attitude so it will be properly perceived not as the product of everyday incompetence, but rather as evidence of one's attunement with the zeitgeist.



Rob Walker
Timeless Object
What makes a useless-seeming watch potentially more valuable — in identity terms — than, say, regular jewelry?



Michael Erard
Babel's Nobel
Observers seem to track the nations, not the languages, of the 104 Nobel-winning writers. Yet parsing the list of 25 languages that they wrote in turns up many interesting instances of disproportion.



Jessica Helfand
Science and Design: The Next Wave
Scientists probe and manipulate and channel and divide; they split and fuse and spike and engineer; but most of all, they look. As a designer, to spend any time with scientists is to become at once profoundly aware of our similarities and devastated by that which divides us.



Jessica Helfand
Stan Brakhage: Caught on Tape
For Stan Brakhage, that concentration resulted in extraordinary explorations of many things, including the life cycle of a moth, caught on adhesive strips of tape, and subsequently captured on film where it regained — however briefly — the magnificent illusion of mobility. For designers, faced by budgets and clients and deadlines, the luxury of so much isolation seems a distant, if not an altogether perverse paradigm. But are these intentions really so mutually exclusive?



Dmitri Siegel
Designers and Dilettantes
Dmitri Siegel discusses graphic design authorship and the impending release of Elliott Earls' new film, The Sarany Motel.



David Stairs
Why Design Won't Save the World
After ten months in Africa, I recently visited the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum to see Design for the Other 90%. Here, I thought, was an exhibition I could enthusiastically embrace. Unfortunately...



Michael Bierut
Flat, Simple and Funny: The World of Charley Harper
A tribute to the late designer Charley Harper, "the only wildlife artist who has never been compared to Audubon and never will be."



Peter Good
Remembering Sol Lewitt (1928-2007)
I first met Sol Lewitt in 1986, when he and Carol and their young daughters moved to Chester, Connecticut, a small town on the Connecticut River where I have a graphic design studio. We met at an opening at the Chester Gallery...



Debbie Millman
Shepard Fairey
Designer and illustrator Shepard Fairey is the author of Supply and Demand: The Art of Shepard Fairey and Shepard Fairey: Post No Bills.



Tom Vanderbilt
On the Squareness of Milk Containers
Do you know, or have you ever wanted to know, why milk containers are square and soft drink containers are round? This and other questions of design are answered in Robert Frank's new book The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas.



Adrian Shaughnessy
The 2012 Olympic Logo Ate My Hamster
Designers often bemoan the lack of coverage given to graphic design in mainstream media. Yet when design catches the attention of journalists and commentators it usually results in a vicious mugging rather than hearty praise.



William Drenttel
Al Gore for President
Writing as a designer, as a writer, as a husband and father, but most of all, as a human being — I believe we should draft Al Gore to run for the Presidency of the United States.



Jessica Helfand
My Dirty Little Secret
Gardening is its own infuriating design challenge. You fret and you rethink and you second-guess yourself constantly, and then for one delirious, thrilling moment something blooms and you feel utterly triumphant. And then it dies and you are back where you started.



Jessica Helfand
Ad Reinhardt, Graphic Designer
Ad Reinhardt fretted about the meaning of life. He agonized about the purpose of painting. He questioned everyone, critiqued everything, and worked incessantly. In other words, he was a graphic designer.



Jessica Helfand
The New Manifest Destiny
When does a picture solidify a news story, and when does it merely sensationalize it? Decisions about words and pictures are made by editors and publishers, designers and photographers — but they are consumed by a public fully capable of an entire range of emotional responses. After this week's events at Virginia Tech, words and pictures do a poor job of communicating outrage and pain. And no amount of compositional ingenuity can reverse what happened.



Jesse Nivens
In Search of Stock(y) Photography
That's right: in the alternate universe of stock photography, attactive people outnumber fat people 84 to one. As a culture, have we taken the idea of "overweight" and completely blocked it out?



Debbie Millman
Barbara Kruger
An interview with American artist Barbara Kruger.



Debbie Millman
Jeffrey Keyton
An interview with Jeffrey Keyton, Senior Vice Ppresident, On-Air Design and Off-Air Creative, MTV.



Rick Poynor
Dancing to the Sound in Your Head
We might not appreciate advertising conducted like a saturation bombing campaign in public spaces. Yet now, to complicate things, the personal stereo is being used as a way of reasserting spontaneity, exuberance and passion in over-controlled public places.



Jessica Helfand
Annals of Ephemera: Town & Country Cookbook
Book cover designers are visual choreographers who frame miniature narratives in order to tease prospective readers into wanting more. Which often means showing less. Or not.


Debbie Millman
Maira Kalman
An interview with the remarkable Maira Kalman — the closest thing we in the United States have to a National Treasure.



Michael Bierut
Good at Art
Growing up in the sixties, I couldn't throw or catch a baseball with authority, punch someone in the face, or shoplift. But I had something I could call my very own. I was good at art.



Jessica Helfand
Art Director Ken
Art Director Ken is is a charmed, if mildly cautionary tale, for it brings to mind the potentially superficial nature in which we judge a person, an identity — indeed, an entire profession.



Dan Nadel
This is Not My Design Life Now
In the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's current triennial exhibition, Design Life Now, the selections in graphics and pop culture are conservative and long out-of-date. To Dan Nadel, 2006 looks a lot like 2000.



Jessica Helfand
Lost, O Lost




Debbie Millman
Andrea Deszo
An interview with designer, artist and educator Andrea Deszo.



David Stairs
That (Other) 1970's: The Last King of Scotland
The Last King of Scotland, Kevin McDonald's film about Idi Amin's notorious presidency, opened in Uganda to great fanfare. The VIP screening took place at Kampala's Cineplex, with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Forest Whitaker in attendance. The premiere was not targeted to the average Ugandan...



Jessica Helfand
The Illusion of Certainty
Artist Allan McCollum aspires to an unprecedented scale with this "Shapes" project: his goal is to make enough shapes, assuming a population of approximately 9.1 billion by the year 2050, so that everyone on the planet can have one. Shapes aside, what's truly fascinating is the idea of the system: what is it about them that we hate to love and love to hate?



Jessica Helfand
I'm Not Ready to Make Nice




William Drenttel
The Good Citizen's Alphabet
Bertrand Russell had the wisdom to realize that certain words require proper definition to be used correctly in political and social discourse. This alphabet book is offered here as a slide show for our readers.



Adrian Shaughnessy
"I Sold My Soul And I Love It"
The current issue of Creative Review is "guest edited" by hip British advertising agency Mother. The theme, suggested by Mother, is I Sold My Soul And I Love It — a vastly contradictory statement, but one that invites debate over what it means to work in visual communication."



Dmitri Siegel
Interface Space
Contemporary artists make physical versions of interface elements.



Michael Bierut
The It Factor
In their 1983 book Quintessence: The Quality of Having It, Owen Edwards and Betty Cornfeld created an elegant and influential treatise in what makes something the real thing, a lesson that Steve Jobs has obviously absorbed.



Lorraine Wild
Sister Corita: The Juiciest Tomato
In Daniel Berrigan’s words, Sister Corita is a "witch of invention." And there is no doubt that at least in those tumultuous years of the 1960s, her powers of invention seemed supernatural, if not divine... Corita’s work stands for its sheer graphic invention, the riot of letterforms and color, and the immediacy of its connection to her time and place.



Rob Walker
Unconsumption
Getting new stuff can feel really good. Most everybody knows that. Most everybody also knows — that utility can fade, pleasure can be fleeting and the whole thought-that-counts thing is especially ephemeral.



Debbie Millman
Malcolm Gladwell + Joyce Gladwell
An interview with Malcolm Gladwell, author of The New York Times bestseller Outliers and Joyce Gladwell, author of Brown Face.



John Thackara
Global Place — Or is it a Hat?
We must view the world with a new slant and take advantage of a huge design opportunity to create sustainable structures for the future.



Alissa Walker
War Is Over! If You Want It
When the star of the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon is asked by a reporter what he thinks Nixon should do to end the Vietnam War, Lennon stares incredulously into the camera. "He should declare peace." As if this was the most obvious solution in the world.



Jessica Helfand
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.


Michael Bierut
New House
In 1967, just after my tenth birthday, we moved from a cramped 1940s bungalow in an older Cleveland suburb to up-and-coming Parma, Ohio. I had been walking the earth for a full decade, but that fall I felt I was finally assuming my birthright as an American: a brand new house.



Jessica Helfand
Into the Pink
Co-opting a color and making it your own.



Michael Erard
The G Word
Google has launched an effort to keep people from using their name as an all-purpose verb. Don't want to be evil? Then don't act as if you can win if you constrain the creative productivity of language.



Jessica Helfand
My Cup Holder Runneth Over
When we're not hiding behind our nail-technician-primed hands, drinking our barrista-blended beverages, IMing, text-messaging, and push-button withdrawing more money from the ATM to pay for all of these things, who are we?



Michael Bierut
The Golden Age of American Commercialism
The encroachment of commercialism into everyday life seems like a peculiarly modern phenomenon. Yet around one hundred years ago, America began a romance with salesmanship that today seems almost delirious. A 1922 business directory shows how great crass commercialism used to look.



Jessica Helfand
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?



Billy Collins
"Design" (1995)
"Design," a poem by Billy Collins.



William Drenttel
What Ever Happened to Half.com, Oregon?
But back in 1999, in its Netflix-like heyday, Half.com was hot. And it did something quite remarkable. As a publicity stunt, it bought a town and renamed it. Someplace in Oregon. I wondered what ever happened to Half.com, Oregon — the first dot com city in the world?



Jessica Helfand
The Ovalization of The American Mind
Ovals — emancipated from circular restriction, freed of rectangular rigidity — are a perfect metaphor for the way we live now. They're out of shape and flabby, non-committal and generic — like sensible shoes, practical and monotonous and dull.



Dmitri Siegel
World 6.0: Same as the Old World?
Edward Castronova's recent book Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games sheds some light on the increasingly tangled relationship between MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games) and the game of life.



Jessica Helfand
The Global Curse of Comic Sans
In this coastal region slung just below the Pyrenees, one might expect to see evidence of the enduring cultural tensions between Spain and Catalonia — different kinds of signs or symbols, for instance â€" but on the surface at least, no such rift is exposed. Instead, Catalonia clings to a visual language that celebrates the goofy: this is a country awash in Comic Sans.



William Drenttel
Move It Down . . . A Little to the Right
That some years ago, some poor sign installer went to put the first letter of the name of the museum up on the wall, and someone screamed, "No, you idiot! Lower! Much Lower! Get it down close to the edge. And a quarter-inch to the right." That the building is the Guggenheim Museum, and that the architect was Frank Lloyd Wright, makes this photographic detail especially interesting.



Jessica Helfand
The Right Stuff
Prada is yet another in a long line of stories in which posessions loom large, at once shining beacons of material success and wagging fingers of moral turpitude. When will we have enough stuff?



Rob Giampietro
Kafka & Typography
For many, including myself, "The Trees" is about typography, and, in its first sentence, Kafka lets letters speak directly to the reader themselves: "we are like tree trunks in the snow." Picture a field after a recent snowfall. Think of the straight, almost runic lines of the fallen boughs. Approaching them, they seem like characters from an unused alphabet.



Debbie Millman
Paola Antonelli
An interview with Paola Antonelli, curator in the department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art.  



Lawrence Weschler
Koppel to Cooper: Cool, Cooler, Cold
Hey, maybe that's the ticket for McSweeney's: Put some bigtime sexy celebrity on the cover, somebody huge and charismatic and irresistible, somebody like, you know...Ted Koppel! What then to make of this month's cover of Vanity Fair? The fact that the editors there, in offering Anderson Cooper up as the studmuffin du mois, may be an occasion for some serious concern.



Jessica Helfand
"Oui, Oui, Oui" All The Way Home
On a sweltering day last August, my daughter and I embarked with a friend on a 6-day tour of Paris: Kid Paris, the Paris of candy stores and carousels and more than a few weird new ice cream flavors.



Jessica Helfand
Annals of Academia: The New Exoticism




Julie Lasky
The Photography of Mark Robbins
Mark Robbins'
Households is a collection of portraits in which the sitters are sometimes sitting rooms (or kitchens or bedrooms), and the people are polished, draped, and arrayed like furniture. Composed to resemble architectural plans or elevations — or in some cases the triptychs of medieval altarpieces — the images represent home dwellers and their environments. Flesh, bone, brick, stone, contoured torsos, and varnished chairs assume equal status. The message is simple: You may not be what you eat, but you most certainly are where you live.






Michael Bierut
I Am a Plagiarist
Plagiarism is a hot topic in the world of publishing, What does it mean in the world of design? Michael Bierut pleads guilty.



Jessica Helfand
Disaster Relief 101: No Door Hanger Left Behind
Door hangers seem the perfect metaphor for FEMA's failure: they're one-dimensional, unnecessarily complicated, and basically useless.



Willis Regier
In Remembrance of Richard Eckersley
Richard Eckersley died on April 16, having given the best years of his life to establishing the importance of high-quality book design for university presses. Here, a remembrance by Willis Regier, director of the University of Illinois Press.



Jessica Helfand
The Art of Thinking Through Making




Jessica Helfand
The Propensity for Density
It's like design's been on a diet and finally gets to eat that giant cheesecake: shifting notches on the belt buckle, we're so happy for the sugar high that we don't realize we're slipping. And slipping we are.



Jessica Helfand
A Sequence in Time
01:02:03 04/05/06 This number sequence in time will not occur again until 2106.



William Drenttel
Meet Me in St. Louis: The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts makes the radical assumption that the experience of art is about contemplation. Take your time. You are alone here. The light will change if you stay long enough.



Lawrence Weschler
Languorous Bodyscapes
"The long, languid spread of her body makes the first and most lasting impression." And more on these sorts of landscape-bodyscape slippages by this seasoned The New Yorker writer, and recent author of Everything That Rises : A Book of Convergences.



Dmitri Siegel
Broadcast vs. Broadband
Viral video is on the rise, spreading from broadband to broadcast and back again. What are the opportunities for designers in this new genre?



Jessica Helfand
Give Me Privacy or Give Me an ID Card
The proposed National ID Card further blurs the line between the privacy and full disclosure of personal data in the public domain. It's the Card's design that appears the final string that may either secure our rights as individuals or rip them apart.



Jessica Helfand
What We Talk About When We Talk About Design History
At the end of the day, being a design historian means being observant and fearless, stubborn and driven, principled, passionate and anything but lazy. It means going where you have to go to get what you need.



Jessica Helfand
Freedom of Speech or Filching of Style? The New Law of Eminent Lo-Mein
DIY design invading typography terrain: culture-jamming in the domains of freedom of speech, pharmaceutics, and pop-culture.



Jessica Helfand
The D Word
HGTV's sunny splendor of twenty-seven minute remodels and inexhaustible inspiration: fodder for the DIY devotee.



Debbie Millman
Ellen Lupton
An interview with Ellen Lupton — writer, educator, designer and a Curator of Contemporary Design at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.



Adrian Shaughnessy
Robert Brownjohn and The Big Idea




Jessica Helfand
Civilian Typography: The Power and The Fury
Without a cell phone, or in a flood, or barred from public transportation, the thing that separates human beings from the animal kingdom is our ability to communicate verbally. If we can't do that, we do it graphically. When all else fails, the pen isn't just mightier than the sword: it is the sword.



Julie Lasky
Edward Hopper, Village Person
My friend opened the door to a minimally furnished skylit room. It had a pot-bellied stove, a painter's easel, and photos framed on the wall of a grim man with long legs. The room was the studio of Edward Hopper. (Slide show by Duane Michals.)



Mark Lamster
Seeing Red
Red Bogart blamed technology and changing attitudes for the reason he sold Camp Tomahawk, but Mark Lamster knew there was something more to the story.



Adrian Shaughnessy
Charles Dickens and The BBC
Who would have guessed that a
BBC costume drama would provide us with Exhibit-A in the defense's case — that a mass audience can be engaged without pandering to base instincts?



Jessica Helfand
Face Value
Facial transplants mapping our future: how much is the world of design responsible?



Dmitri Siegel
Bartleby™
In his classic story of Wall Street,
Bartleby the Scrivener, Herman Melville recounts the tale of a humble copyist employed by the story's narrator. Could Bartleby's perfectly crafted refrain be the appropriate response to a world where every choice and configuration has been designed?



Jessica Helfand
Cease and Design
Where graphic design education is concerned, more doing and less asking is necessary.



William Drenttel
David Hughes: Caricaturist of Our Time
But my favorite, in recent years, is the British illustrator David Hughes. I yearn for his drawings, look for them in my favorite publications, and save them whenever and wherever I find them.



Jessica Helfand
On Considering the Source
As primary sources of inspiration in art become a rarified reality, one is forced to wonder where are the original, the unmediated and the pure, sans cliche?



Jessica Helfand
The Shock Of The Old: Rethinking Nostalgia
Placing Nostalgia: where in the design landscape does it fit? And should it be included in the first place?



Alexandra Lange
Married with Tchotchkes
For many design-obsessed couples registering at Moss requires more strategy than playing the stock market.



Jessica Helfand
On Citizenship and Humanity: An Appeal for Design Reform
Ruminations on the Citizen Designer: A human first, a designer second, but most importantly, one who responds to collective cultural needs.



Michael Bierut
Four Years After
After four years of ambiguity and contention and the World Trade Center site, Ellsworth Kelly's 2003 proposal seems wiser than ever.



Jessica Helfand
Eye of the Storm
A re-entrance into the world: Following Hurricane Katrina, how should design continue?



Rick Poynor
Sublime Little Tubes of Destruction
In a culture otherwise swamped with unregulated branding, the graphic counter-attack on the cigarette packet, on its visual integrity as a design and its brand equity, normally regarded as commercially sacrosanct, is a remarkable sight to behold. In Europe, in the US and around the world, outsized health warnings in ugly typography now disfigure and subvert the best efforts of the brands' designers to embody the fast-fading allure of the cigarette.






Jessica Helfand
Why Bugs Don't Belong on TV
On today's TV screens, the station-identification logo sits tethered to the surface, like an annoying rash that won't quite disappear. You think you've kicked it when — WHAMMMO — there it is again, blemishing the patina of an otherwise perfectly good viewing experience.



Rick Poynor
Vladimir’s House and Garden of Earthly Delights
Spending two weeks in Vladimir Beck's house on the island of Vrnik in Croatia made me question, yet again, rigid distinctions between artist and designer. Here, it's impossible to separate the two. Beck has designed every feature with a high degree of thought for what might make a domicile located in such a setting pleasurable and practical to live in.



Michael Bierut
My Favorite Book is Not About Design (or Is It?)
Act One, the autobiography of playwright and director Moss Hart, is the best, funniest, and most inspiring description of the creative process ever put down on paper.



Jessica Helfand
New Models for Design Efficiency: Introducing Otto




Lorraine Wild
Exhibitions by Renzo Piano and 2x4
Both architect Renzo Piano and graphic designers 2x4 are at the top of their respective games as designers, but the way they approach their own exhibitions (at LACMA and SFMOMA, respectively) places them at opposite poles of a style of communication, and maybe even belief.



William Drenttel
Catastrophic Imaginings: The Design of Disaster
In the end, artificial disasters are designed to elicit and test the responses of participants. In their recording, both allow for a post-mortem evaluation. How did I do? How would I respond? Would I sit patiently in my car a mile up the road? Would I watch from my window, safe in my home?



Debbie Millman
Andrew Geller, Alastair Gordon + Jake Gorst
Andrew Geller, Alastair Gordon and Jake Gorst talk about Gorst's new documentary Leisurama.






Debbie Millman
David Barringer
Debbie Millman interviews Winterhouse Writing Award winner David Barringer, who discusses his new book and his views on the state of contemporary graphic design.



Rick Poynor
In Memoriam: My Manual Typewriter
The fully evolved typewriter is a 20th-century industrial archetype. It feels inevitable, almost elemental, like one of those object types, such as a chair or a fork, that simply had to exist in this universe of forms.



Jessica Helfand
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."



Michael Bierut
The Man Who Saved Jackson Pollock
Herbert Matter, the designer who stored away a cache of recently-discovered Jackson Pollock paintings, deserves a similar rediscovery.



Rick Poynor
Mevis and Van Deursen: Rueful Recollections, Recycled Design
In their self-edited monograph, Dutch graphic designers Mevis and Van Deursen turn their backs on their professed commitment to ideas and treat the book mainly as an opportunity for undemanding aesthetic play.



Rick Poynor
But Darling of Course it’s Normal: The Post-Punk Record Sleeve
There have been collections of post-punk music and now, finally, there is British music critic Simon Reynolds' 500-page history of the genre from 1978 to 1984. It's a brilliant book. He argues that post-punk music's explosion of creativity equals the golden age of popular music in the mid-1960s, but that it has never received its full due. I think he's right.



Rick Poynor
Eduardo Paolozzi, 20th Century Image-Maker
If a visual artist created more concentrated, exhilarating images of science, technology and the media realm during the mid-20th century than British artist Eduardo Paolozzi, then I would like to see them. Paolozzi, who died on 22 April aged 81, was first of all a sculptor, but the screenprints he produced in the 1960s rank as masterpieces of the medium.



Jessica Helfand
Extremely Young and Incredibly Everywhere: The Public Art of Jonathan Safran Foer
Jonathan Safran Foer's emergent body of work includes film and video, public art installations, theatrical collaboration, expressive typography, and a fairly prolific jumpstart as a writer. Cumulatively, all of his projects — which range from collecting empty pages of famous writers, to constructing parabolas in a public park, to collecting anonymous self-portraits — seem to look for ways to formally address time and space and the human condition.



Michael Bierut
Homage to the Squares
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's exhibition Design is not Art provides a useful contrast to an simultaneous exhibition of the work of Josef and Anni Albers, and demonstrates differences between art and design.



Rick Poynor
Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot
Dot Dot Dot is the most stimulating and original visual culture magazine produced by designers since Emigre's heyday in the late 1980s to the mid-1990s.



Debbie Millman
Grant McCracken, Part 2
Grant McCracken PhD, author and a research affiliate at MIT.



Jessica Helfand
Scrapbooking: The New Paste-Up
"Craft-born embellishments," note one supplier of scrapbooking products, "are penetrating an unexpected market: graphic design."



Debbie Millman
Grant McCracken, Part 1
Grant McCracken PhD, is an author and a research affiliate at MIT.



Lawrence Weschler
The Aural As An Architectonic Challenge
What are the people over at Transom.org up to? As it happens, this month is a very good time to pay them a visit: for the next several weeks, Walter Murch — the phenomenally smart and inspired film and sound editor — will be continuing to hold court there.



Rob Walker
For Kicks
A look at one facet of the sneaker phenomenon — that is, the way that fashion and brand loyalty can come together in what might be considered the folk art of a consumer culture.



Michael Bierut
Designing Under the Influence
The similarity of a young designer's work to that of the artist Barbara Kruger provides the starting point for a discussion of the role of influence in design, and whether it is possible for someone to "own" a specific style.



Jessica Helfand
Our Bodies, Our Fonts
Body markings — piercings, tattoos and so forth — have recently evolved into a kind of marginalized form of graphic expression, yet one that sheds an unusual light on some of the more mainstream ways in which design often reveals itself.



Kenneth Krushel
The Gates
Much has been written about Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "Gates" project in Central Park in New York City. In the past few days, though, we have received two further reports on this project which we want to share with our readers: an essay by Ken Krushel and a photographic portfolio by Adam Bartos.



Jessica Helfand
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.



Jessica Helfand
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.



Tom Vanderbilt
Rise and Fall of Rock and Roll Graphic Design
Has heavy metal graphic design run its course? Is the band logo as a species dead? And is there much of a future for the graphic representation of popular music itself?



Julie Lasky
Christo's Agent Orange
Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Central Park gates lack that magnetic, landscape-transforming power. Could this be owing not just to the way the gates drive viewers to seek greater heights of sensation, but also to the off-putting emergency color, the subtle grid of the rip-stop nylon reminiscent of quick escapes from troubled aircraft?



Rick Poynor
The Ikea Riot: Unsatisfied Excess?
When Ikea threw open the doors of a new store in London, the result was mayhem as customers stampeded. Evidence of social breakdown, or a sign that the utopian argument for low-cost modernist design has been won?



Rob Walker
Hyperreality Hobbying
“Reborning'” is the name that has emerged for a curious process of altering and enhancing a baby doll to look and even to feel as much like a human baby as possible.



Michael Bierut
The Best Artist in the World
Alton Tobey, a little-known commercial illustrator, created a body of work in the early sixties that continues to inspire.



William Drenttel
Bird in Hand: When Does A Copy Become Plagiarism?




William Drenttel
In Remembrance of Susan Sontag
In Remembrance of Susan Sontag: a designer's twenty-five years of interaction with the legandary writer.



Michael Bierut
The Other Rand
The Fountainhead, a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand, continues to exert its influence over generations of architects and designers.



Rick Poynor
Fear and Loathing at the Design Museum
James Dyson has accused the Design Museum in London of ruining its reputation with frivolous exhibitions. For many bemused onlookers, his complaints were out of touch with evolving public perceptions of design.




Michael Bierut
The Graphic Design Olympics
The event graphics and pictograms created for the Olympics by designers such as Otl Aicher, Lance Wyman and Deborah Sussman are part of a historic tradition that continues to this day.



Jessica Helfand
Ladislav Sutnar: Mechanical Beauty




Jessica Helfand
An Instrument of Sufficiently Lucid Cogitation
The legendary French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, who died on Tuesday at his home in the South of France, always carried a sketchbook with him. Today's obituary in The New York Times alleges that he described drawing as meditative, while photography was intuitive: though certainly both activities might have been informed by a relentless need to observe and in a sense, preserve the world around him.



Rick Poynor
Britain and America: United in Idiocy
What do Brits and Americans think of each other? In Us & Them, a book by the satirical British illustrator Paul Davis, the two countries have one thing in common: they are both equally stupid. That’s not saying much.



Michael Bierut
To Hell with the Simple Paper Clip
Answering the question "What's your favorite designed object?" with something humble and anonymous may be a tiresome cliche, but it's one that resonates with editors of the New York Times Magazine and curators at the Museum of Modern Art.



Michael Bierut
Ed Ruscha: When Art Rises to the Level of Graphic Design
A retrospective of the drawings of Ed Ruscha raises the question: is he an artist or a graphic designer?



Michael Bierut
Barthes on the Ballpoint
Roland Barthes disliked ballpoint pens, suggesting that there is a "Bic style" suited for "writing that merely transcribes thought."



Rick Poynor
Modernising MoMA: Design on Display
MoMA is broadening its approach to graphic design. Recovering this material history will assist us in understanding our broader cultural history and help to educate a more aware generation of visual communicators.



Michael Bierut
McSweeney's No. 13 and the Revenge of the Nerds
McSweeney's No. 13, published by Dave Eggers and guest edited by Chris Ware, is a masterwork of publication design and an invaluable survey of today's best comic artists and graphic novelists.



Rick Poynor
Critics and Their Purpose
Pulling a 1960s art magazine from the shelf, I opened it at random to find a long list of thoughts about art criticism assembled in 1966 by students at the Royal College of Art in London. Many of these ideas apply to design.



William Drenttel
El Lissitzky for Pesach




Jessica Helfand
The Lying Game




Rick Poynor
Jan van Toorn: Arguing with Visual Means
Jan van Toorn’s designs embody an idea about citizenship. They address viewers as critical, thinking individuals who can be expected to take an informed and skeptical interest in the circumstances of their world.



Jessica Helfand
Blanket Statements




Jessica Helfand
The Crisis of Intent




William Drenttel
Rationalizing Absence
James Turrell's influence on World Trade Tower memorial design.



William Drenttel
Adolf Wölfli Invents Design Brut?
Mr. Gomez has taken your basic 19th-century-madman-artist and turned him into a model 20th century graphic designer.



Jessica Helfand
Mind the Light, Light the Mind
As I began to describe Quaker Meeting for Worship — where one sits in silence for some period of time, in a large room with any number of other congregants, and where one stands to speak, on virtually any topic, when moved to do so — I realized that this presented a compelling metaphor for blogging.



Rick Poynor
Remember Picelj
The English-speaking world knows little about the design history of Communist Europe. Few will have heard of the distinguished Slovenian Ivan Picelj. His prints ask us to remember; they are full of yearning.



Michael Bierut
Mark Lombardi and the Ecstasy of Conspiracy
Artist Mark Lombardi's intricate handdrawn diagrams describing the relationships behind contemporary political and financial scandals are both beautiful objects and extraordinary feats of information design.



Jessica Helfand
On Visual Empathy
In a world besieged by unpredictable atrocities, don't we all feel a little emotionally raw? Two recent articles in suggest that visual empathy may more critical to a productive imagination than we thought.



Rick Poynor
It's a Man's World
Adam Parfrey’s book shows hundreds of men’s magazine covers from the 1950s painted by artists who specialized in depictions of tough guys abusing terrified women. Have we outgrown this kind of thing? Heck no.



William Drenttel
VAS: An Opera in Flatland
VAS: An Opera in Flatland is the first full-length novel by Steve Tomasula and Stephen Farrell.



Jessica Helfand
The Art of Elegant Abstraction
Bill Morrison's surprising 66-minute film is now playing on the Sundance Channel. For listings, see: http://www.sundancechannel.com/film_finder/index.php?startingLetter=d



Observed | September 19

Remembering the Village Voice: Drugs delivered to the office, back stabbings, headlocks... [BV]

A brief history of product sound design. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | September 18

We know music is pleasurable, but it’s incredibly difficult to discern just how this comes to pass. [BV]


Observed | September 14

Extraordinary gas stations From John Margolies’ archive of Americana architecture. [BV]

Spend some time listening this weekend: Designed this Way explores design in India. [BV]


Observed | September 13

Goodbye to bits and atoms. Uber has rebranded for the second time in less than three years. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | September 12

Congrats to Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand! The Design of Business | The Business of Design was named one of the 15 best graphic design podcasts. [BV]

How the hardware store orders things, neighborhoods, and material worlds. [BV]


Observed | September 11

“Most pleasant to the ear”: W. E. B. Du Bois’s itinerant intellectual soundscapes. [BV]


Observed | September 10

Anatomy of an AI System. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | September 07

Laugh and the world laughs with you. But not everyone LOLs. How people around the world laugh online. [BV]

What colors define historical periods? Color Leap creates color palettes from 2000 BC to the 1960s. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | September 06

Inside America’s abandoned theaters: the curtains have been called. [BV]


Observed | September 05

Ken Kocienda: “I invented the iPhone’s autocorrect. Sorry about that, and you’re welcome.” [BV]

How magazine cover design may be more important than ever. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

The Cooper Hewitt received the London Design Biennale 2018 Emotional States Medal for “Face Values”, curated by Ellen Lupton. Our very own Jessica Helfand is one of the participating artists. Congratulations all! [BV]


Observed | August 31

In Helsinki, a new design museum opens underground. [BV]

From schools to sand piles: In her new book, critic Alexandra Lange tracks how design has shaped kids and kids have shaped design. [BV]


Observed | August 30

Integral thinking: design in four dimensions. [BV]

With ‘bookstagramming’ becoming a force in marketing, are designers making covers more colourful, bolder and cleaner, to stand out on our screens? [BV]


Observed | August 28

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints faces a divinely inspired rebranding challenge. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

“When we talk about queering design pedagogy we need to talk about reproduction(s).” [BV]


Observed | August 27

A look at how to design for senior citizens: both in the macro scale of cities and the small scale of dwellings. [BV]

With her elegant 3-D subway schematics Candy Chan joins a long line of graphic designers and artists who have tried to explore—and explain—mass transit systems through visuals. [BV]


Observed | August 24

An ode to the color gray. [BV]


Observed | August 23

7 reasons the design industry may have forgotten Yves Béhar. [BV]

In the fight for net neutrality: Verizon under fire for ‘throttling’ firefighters’ data in California blaze. [BV]


Observed | August 22

Your afternoon moment of zen: delicate paper robots. [BV]

The video game soda machine project is obsessively cataloging video game “pop” culture. [BV]


Observed | August 21

Cartographers, rejoice. The world’s newest, most gloriously designed maps. [BV]



Jobs | September 19