Business

Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S5E5: Forest Young
Forest Young is head of design and a global principal at the branding consultancy Wolff Olins.


Debbie Millman
Paul Sahre
Debbie talks to designer Paul Sahre about the power of saying no to clients, and about a meeting with Steely Dan that went off the rails.


Jason Tselentis
The Annals of Smart Speaker Advertising: Overused Advertising Copy
Amazon, Google, and Apple promise that each of their smart speakers will do what you want and get what you need. And they all promise it using the same language.


Lilly Smith
Chain Letters: Margaret Gould Stewart
Margaret Gould Stewart is Vice-President of Product Design at Facebook where she leads a global team of product designers and researchers for teams such as Artificial Intelligence and Privacy & Data Use.


Debbie Millman
Beth Comstock
Debbie talks to Beth Comstock about her career at General Electric and how big companies can innovate.


Lilly Smith
Chain Letters: Arthur Cohen
I support a world in which design is not elevated and codified into some idealized “other,” but rather integrated into everyday practice that is just good business.


Lilly Smith
Chain Letters: Randy J. Hunt
“There are examples of designs that were the spark of an innovation and there are examples of designs that added to and evolved an otherwise already innovative idea.”


Lilly Smith
Chain Letters: Grace Jun
“Design is way of seeing and a way of doing. A unique perspective and method that combined can lead to innovation.”


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Simon Sinek
Debbie Millman talks to optimist, ethnographer, and author Simon Sinek about the fruits of good leadership.


Steven Heller
Everything Goes With Everything...
A document summing up Eliot Noyes design philosophy: found in Paul Rand’s papers.


Steven Heller
Creative Action Network: Profiting From A Nonprofit
CAN’s mission is putting artists to work telling stories that matter.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Cindy Gallop
Debbie talks to Cindy Gallop about her career in advertising and about the trouble people have communicating about sex.


Debbie Millman
Paula Scher
“...The thing about your fifties is you have power...all those people you grew up with, they’re in their fifties too and they’ve got power, so they can actually give you some decent work.”


Steven Heller
Vanishing Mom and Pop Store Signs
It is, of course, inevitable that modernity subsumes the old. But for a New York minute, we can still enjoy these disappearing store fronts.


The Editors
Diagramming Mechanisms
John Pass portrays the inner mechanical workings of apparatuses through his eye for diagrammatic design in these colorful, early-nineteenth century engravings.


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


Brian LaRossa
Questioning Graphic Design’s Ethicality
If designers take care during client selection, can they evade the type of intense ethical quagmire that’s only resolvable through radical action? Are particular modes of working within the field of design more conducive to sustaining a long term ethical practice?


Steven Heller
Cleaning Up Sanitation
The story of New York City’s Sanitation Department, the vanilla trucks, and the lower case Helvetica.


Steven Heller
A Bee C: Paul Rand’s Bee Fixation
The 1981 Eye-Bee-M rebus is Paul Rand’s most iconic poster.



Julie Anixter
Just Keep Walking: An Interview with Paula Scher
Called “the most influential woman graphic designer on the planet” by fellow designer extraordinaire Ellen Lupton, Pentagram partner Paula Scher has left an undeniable imprint on the American design psyche.


Lilly Smith
Chain Letters: Julian Alexander
What made Julian Alexander become a designer, and what was it like working with 50 Cent during the start of his career?



Lilly Smith
Chain Letters: Jason Murphy
“Inclusivity. That is the cliché. Where are they doing that?”


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Client
“Ironically, there are many books for designers about how we can better work with clients...But, as far as I know, there are no books to help clients better work with creative people, who are a unique species with a unique language and not-so-unique insecurities.”


Lilly Smith
Chain Letters: Ced Funches
“Admitting you may not be the best person to bring a vision to life is the hard part.”


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.


Lincoln Cushing
The Women Behind the Black Panther Party Logo
A tribute to the women who shaped the Black Panther Party Logo.


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?


Brian LaRossa
The Shape of a Design Mentorship
Before the advent of writing, everything was taught through mentorship. How to chip a stone into an axe. How to build a shelter. How to love. How to lead. Mentorship is hardwired into our DNA.


Jessica Helfand
Annals of Small Town Life: The Logo Stops Here
Working with Florence Knoll, Lucille McGinnis convinced her husband, Patrick B. McGinnis, that the New Haven Railroad needed a new logo. Enter Herbert Matter, Swiss-born designer, photographer and Yale professor whose own education was framed by apprenticeships with Cassandre, Léger and Le Corbusier.


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.


Steven Heller
Memory of an Eclectic Modernist: Ivan Chermayeff
Remembering Ivan Chermayeff, who died this past Saturday, December 2. He was 85.


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
Now You See It
There was a message hidden in the illustration on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. At least I think it was hidden. Did you see it? Why didn’t I?


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
S3E4: Timothy Geithner
Timothy Geithner was Secretary of the Treasury from 2009 to 2013. He chairs the Program on Financial Stability at the Yale School of Management.


Sean Adams
Hope is The Thing with Feathers
A closer look at NBC’s peacock.


Juliette Cezzar
The Future of Graphic and Communication Design
A look at how our roles as designers are ever evolving.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters From The Archive: Massimo Vignelli
Debbie talked to Massimo Vignelli about his favorite typeface, his fight against vulgarity and meaningless design, and what he means by forceful design.


Cheryl Heller
A Busy Woman
Through corporate success, betrayal, and reinvention, Cheryl Heller found a new sense of strength in the face of uncertainty—and an understanding of what you just shouldn’t stomach anymore.


Brian LaRossa
De-specializing Design Education
Certification represents an assurance of quality, but also implies exclusivity. What about design?


Ashleigh Axios
To Be a Design-Led Company
Over the last 10 years, design-led companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 211%.


Irene Malatesta
How Designers Can Fight Unconscious Bias: Powerful Lessons From Vectors SF
Exploring the problem and prevalence of unconscious racial and gender bias in the workplace and beyond.


Ken Gordon
Even Failure has become a Buzzword. Failure™.
Prototyping a new model of public speaking in Continuum’s Boston studio


Doug Powell
The Future of Design (Education)
Doug Powell sat down on the porch of Austin Center for Design with it’s founder, Jon Kolko to talk about design education, design for good, and how job titles are poor definitions.


Tiffany Peng
Sparing the Designer’s Ego
The suggestion that we designers should recognize our egos was one that should’ve been realized a lot sooner.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Bonnie Siegler
Debbie talks to designer Bonnie Siegler about her career and about the conflict between designers and their clients. "The clients aren’t the problem, the clients aren’t jerks, they’re not assholes, it’s not that they have bad taste, or anything like that. Sometimes they just have no idea how to interact with professional creative people."


Lilly Smith
New Album, Old School: Branding The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach
“The appeal of my stuff is that it isn’t perfect. I don’t know how to use Illustrator. Some people are stoked by and some people are turned off by it.”


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.


Steven Heller
The Commencement Address I Never Gave
There are few greater honors than to be the one who launches graduates into the world.


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.


Brian LaRossa
What’s in a Name: How The Title “Art Director” Limits the Role of Design in Publishing
“So, what does an art director do anyway?”


Lilly Smith
Emmett McBain: Art Direction as Social Equity
The freedoms that AIGA Medalist Emmett McBain conveyed through his work and that he desired for others seemed to ensure a trajectory that would veer from advertising.


Ivana McConnell
Exclusionary Design: Asking a New Question
You can build it, but should you?


Doug Powell
On Design and Startups: Part 2
Doug Powell and Albert Lee continue their discussion on the role of design in tech startups. 


Doug Powell
On Design and Startups: Part 1
Doug Powell and Albert Lee discuss the influence of design in the tech industry, in particular in the startup sector.


Lilly Smith
Nancy Skolos + Thomas Wedell: Connectivity Through Aesthetics
“By bringing reason and subjective emotions together on a picture plane, that’s what we hope happens—that people will expand their point of view.”


Michael Bierut
I’m With Her
The logo we designed for Hillary Clinton wasn’t clever or artful. I didn’t care about that. I wanted something that you didn’t need a software tutorial to create, something as simple as a peace sign or a smiley face. I wanted a logo that a five-year-old could make with construction paper and kindergarten scissors.


Rebeca Mendez, Lilly Smith
Rebeca Mendez: (im)migration
Rebeca Mendez works every day to find design solutions that ebb the momentum of one of the world’s pressing environmental problems—climate change.


Brian LaRossa
Undercover Branding
The Stories Behind 20 Publishing House Logos


Debbie Millman
Connie Birdsall
Debbie talks to Connie Birdsall about designing some of the most successful brands of our time and what to do when a meeting with clients is not going well.


Julie Anixter, Mark Randall
Mark Randall: How Design Can Make a More Tolerant World
Mark Randall is being recognized with the 2017 AIGA Medal for his ​oversized dedication to making the design profession more diverse, starting with the earliest stages—students.


Jessica Helfand
Design Competition as Bake-Off
The idea of book design rendered as a global free-for-all likens the act of cover design to a giant bake-off. But books are not brownies, and design, like literature, is not a sweet shop.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S2E3: Bobby C Martin Jr
Bobby C. Martin, Jr., is a founding partner of the agency OCD | The Original Champions of Design.


Debbie Millman
Rochelle Udell
On this podcast Debbie talks to Rochelle Udell about her very creative professional life.


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


Debbie Millman
Mike Rigby
On this podcast Debbie talks to Mike Rigby about his international career in design and branding and how to stay creatively engaged.


Sean Adams
Pan Am: History, Design, & Identity
Matthias Huhne tells the story of the world’s largest airline for much of the 20th century with images, printed artifacts, and the Pan Am identity.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Su Mathews Hale
Debbie talks to Su Matthews Hale about her efforts to bring more attention to female designers


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S2E1: Audrey Gelman and Emily Oberman
Audrey Gelman is co-founder and CEO of The Wing, a social club and co-working space for women. Pentagram partner Emily Oberman worked on the brand identity.


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


Ken Gordon
Recognizing the Designer’s Ego
Designers, on the whole, are a humble lot; they have high standards and a great sense of professional pride, but they know the ethical and economic implications of bragging, and they avoid it. Ego is traditionally the prerogative of, say, artists.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S1E12: Teddy Goff
Teddy Goff was the digital director for Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection effort and an adviser to Hillary Clinton in 2016.


Ken Gordon
Why the Gettysburg Address Is a Call to Bring Design into Government
How might we improve the level of dialogue between the people and their representatives? With design.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S1E10: Danny Meyer and Paula Scher
Danny Meyer is the founder of Shake Shack. Paula Scher designed its graphic identity.


De Andrea Nichols
Creative Will
What it takes to shift creative organizations and industries toward greater racial equity


Michale Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S1E9: Jay Parkinson
Dr. Jay Parkinson is the founder of Sherpaa, an online medical practice.


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.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S1E8: Leslie Koch
Leslie Koch was the president and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island.


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
S1E6: Douglas Powell
Douglas Powell is a Distinguished Designer at IBM. He directs a global effort to bring human-centered design to IBM.


Debbie Millman
Pierluigi Serraino
Debbie talks to architect Pierluigi Serraino about some of the things creative people have in common.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S1E4: Barry Nalebuff
Barry Nalebuff teaches at the Yale School of Management. His specialty is game theory and its application to business strategy.


LinYee Yuan
Easy Being Green
In the United States, over a third of the food that we produce goes to waste.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S1E2: Molly Barton and Julian Yap
Molly Barton and Julian Yap are cofounders of Serial Box Publishing, which develops original episodic fiction.


Debbie Millman
Bonnie Siegler
Debbie talks to designer Bonnie Siegler about her career and about the conflict between designers and their clients.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S1E1: John Bielenberg
John Bielenberg is a designer, entrepreneur and imaginative advocate for a better world.


Michael Bierut
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mentor, Or, Why Modernist Designers Are Superior
Does a strict upbringing make you a better designer?


Steven Heller
Elaine Lustig Cohen, Pioneer
Steven Heller remembers Elaine Lustig Cohen, passionate historian, avid collector, and design practitioner.



Adrian Shaughnessy
Credit Check
In the age of collaboration how do we cater to the fundamental desire for recognition?


Rob Walker
A Designer Runs For Office
Matt Tomasulo was a successful tactical urbanist. Then he ran for public office.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Timothy Goodman
Debbie talks to Timothy Goodman about how, after barely getting through high school, he went on to a very visible career that he is still in the process of defining.


Rob Walker
Listening to Retail
Disquiet Junto has been listening to retail, and it’s changing my ears.



Jessica Helfand
The Pipeline
A Personal History as Told Through a Straight Line


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Ben Schott
Debbie talks to Ben Schott about the importance of failing early in one’s career, about how to take a politician’s picture, and about writing and designing his own books.



Bonnie Siegler
Adrift in Alabama
Moving on


Steven Heller
The D Word: Psy Ops
Psychographics


Debbie Millman
Todd Waterbury
Debbie Millman talks to Target’s Chief Creative Officer Todd Waterbury about how technology is changing consumption and about how smart phones have raised our expectations for how companies should interact with us.


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Motion Efficiency Study by Frank Gilbreth
The ghost in the grid


Steven Heller
The D Word: Close Shave
Looking sharp 


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


Debbie Millman
Greg Hahn + Ryan Moore
Debbie talks to branding designers Greg Hahn and Ryan Moore about their process when working with clients such as Netflix and MoMA.



Bonnie Siegler
Rapid Fire
Our own Bonnie Siegler takes your questions


Steven Heller
The D Word: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Smoking your way to better health


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
The Logosphere
The Met and the logosphere, designing with scientists, the Clinton-Sanders graphics race



Bonnie Siegler
Diffident in Detroit
Believe!



Michael Bierut
Not Diving but Swimming
A new logo for the Met Museum raises questions about how we evaluate new identities.



Bonnie Siegler
Frightened in Fort Lauderdale
The benefits of being scared


Véronique Vienne
Cafés and Cigarettes
Terror and the terrace



Jessica Helfand
Out of Bounds
Charles Saatchi still trying to shock, leaves something to be desired in his new book


Debbie Millman
Michael Bierut
Debbie talks to Design Observer co-founder Michael Bierut about why he thinks graphic design is so cool.



Bonnie Siegler
Unsure in Utica
Measuring up — or not


Debbie Millman
Design Matters From the Archive: Noah Brier
Debbie talks to Noah Brier about brands, design, and content in the age of social media.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters From the Archive: Clement Mok
Debbie talks to designer Clement Mok about the early days of Apple computer, the heady days of the software bubble, and the joys of working for Steve Jobs.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters From the Archive: Bob Gill
Debbie talks to legendary designer Bob Gill about coming up in the profession in the 1950s, about working with the Beatles, and the problem with many designers today.



Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Michael Donovan + Nancye Green
Michael Donovan + Nancye Green on their partnership in marriage and design.


Rob Walker
Human-Scale Intervention
How Rotten Apple’s human-scale design interventions use built-environment cast-offs to enhance the built environment



Debbie Millman
Design Matters From the Archive: Louise Fili
Debbie talks to Louise Fili about designing book covers, designing for restaurants, about why she prefers working for small businesses, and about the importance of sketching.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie
Baffled in Buffalo



Massimo Pitis
Food for (the Designer's) Thought
Design, food, and teaching today—and where they intersect.



Debbie Millman
Design Matters From The Archive: Marian Bantjes
Debbie talks to Marian Bantjes about her daring typography and her highly ornamental designs.


Debbie Millman
Kelli Anderson
Debbie talks to Kelli Anderson about what design can tell us about the world.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters From the Archive: Tina Roth Eisenberg
Debbie talks to SwissMiss — aka Tina Roth Eisenberg — discusses her blog, CreativeMornings, and the beauty found in ordinary things.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters From The Archive: James Victore
Debbie Millman and James Victore discusses his book, putting his opinion in the work and the difference between God-jobs and money jobs.


John Foster
Love for Sale
The Graphic Art of Valmor Products


Fred A. Bernstein
Visualizing Architecture
How graphic designers view the built environment


Debbie Millman
Carolina Rogoll
Branding expert Carolina Rogoll talks about how to update a brand and why sabbaticals are a good idea.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
150 Years, 7 Minutes, 6 Seconds
Visualizing business data, a logo to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, and more.



Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Fretting in Fredericksburg
This week Dear Bonnie gives an unhappy designer advice on contracts, fees, and client management.


Debbie Millman
Audrey Arbeeny
Recorded live at "What Design Sounds Like," Debbie talks to Audrey Arbeeny about audio branding.



Chris Pullman
Dan Friedman, Radical Modernist, Part 4
Dan in the Citi


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Pages from Fabrik by Jak Tuggener
The dark undercurrents of industry


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


Debbie Millman
Ron Burrage
Debbie Millman talks to Ron Burrage about his design career, his performance career, and about how to design fearlessly.


Debbie Millman
Lynda Weinman
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie talks to lynda.com’s Lynda Weinman about how the internet is challenging the traditional classroom model.


Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand
The Observatory: Land, Rand, Mad Men
Michael and Jessica talk about a panel they participated in at the Paul Rand exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, plus the return of Mad Men and the fate of photography giants Kodak and Polaroid.


Debbie Millman
Louise Sandhaus
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman speaks with Louise Sandhaus about her macrobiotic past, her new book, and her struggles to get it published.


Jessica Helfand
License to Risk: The Square Revisited
Jessica Helfand shares her MFA thesis


Debbie Millman
Chee Pearlman
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to editor, curator, and design fairy godmother Chee Pearlman about editing a design magazine and designing conferences.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Lost in London
Are you as good as you think you are? Is your job?


Debbie Millman
Justin Ahrens
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to Justin Ahrens about designing for social change and his book.


Debbie Millman
Ji Lee
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks with designer Ji Lee about why he hates most advertising, but why he loves the idea of advertising on Facebook (where he works).


Debbie Millman
Emily Spivack
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to writer and curator Emily Spivack about how our clothes are more than fabric and thread.


Debbie Millman
Moira Cullen
On this episode of Design Matters Debbie Millman talks to Moira Cullen—design strategist, writer and educator—about her innovative design work for some of the world’s leading brands.



The Editors
Erikspieksalot
"Bap, barm, or cob?"


Debbie Millman
Ben Schott
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to Ben Schott about the importance of failing early in one’s career, about how to take a politician’s picture, and about writing and designing his own books.


Debbie Millman
Petter Ringbom
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to Petter Ringbom about his years at the creative agency Flat, and how he moved away from graphic design into filmmaking.


Debbie Millman
Tom Geismar
In this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to legendary designer Tom Geismar about how the practice of design has changed since the 1950s.



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.



Erik Spiekermann
Ideas Come First
The observations of a graphic designer as client


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Lost in Louisville
This week, Dear Bonnie highlights the importance of good communication ... and manners.


The Editors
Celebrating Labor Day
Thoughts about working from our contributors.


Rob Walker
Assignments for Yourself
A designer's book of self-assignments prompts us to learn by going "beyond what is asked" in our workaday professional lives.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Deals in Dillon + A Giveaway
This week Dear Bonnie reminds us that design should never be sold by the pound.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Nervous in Nantucket
This week Dear Bonnie encourages a new-ish employee to speak up!


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Dissed in Denver
This week Dear Bonnie reminds a 19 year old intern what it means to be a 19 year old intern.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Partnering in Peoria
What questions do you ask to start a business partnership off right? Dear Bonnie has a few. 


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Wondering in Westport
This week Dear Bonnie advises a do-everything-wonder-kid about his portfolio.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Aggrieved in Atlanta + Bumming in Brooklyn
Advice for designers who receive unsolicited opinions from friends and those whose clients have bad taste.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Lost on Long Island + Stuck in Schenectady
This week Dear Bonnie tackles what to do when your client stops returning your calls, and how to get your brain moving.



Gideon Amichay
Cannes Dispatch: Old Media + New Technology
Our final dispatch from Cannes focuses on two projects that symbolize the growing hybrid of old media with new media technologies.


Gideon Amichay
Cannes Dispatch: The Triumph Of Epic Storytelling
Dispatch number one from Cannes by Gideon Amichay, the winner of 19 Cannes Lions for his advertising campaigns.



Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Cringing in Charleston
This week Dear Bonnie gets to the heart of the conundrum that is graphic design. Designers represent the needs of both art and commerce, which means they serve many masters.


Steven Heller
Steven Heller on Mentors
Steven Heller is the co-chair (with Lita Talarico) of the School of Visual Arts MFA Design / Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program and the SVA Masters Workshop in Rome. He is a prolific writer.


Debbie Millman
Noah Brier
Noah Brier on brands, design and content in the age of social media.



Observed
Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award
Sylvia Harris is widely recognized as a pioneer, a generous mentor and a vital inspiration to the field of social impact design. In that spirit, the Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award has been established to honor her legacy by supporting other vanguards dedicated to public design.


John Maeda, and Becky Bermont
Building a Design Culture in an ‘End-Up’ Technology World
Learnings from a discussion of the state of — and potential for — design at eBay Inc.


Kenneth FitzGerald
Yourselves: Declaring Ourselves
Exploring the interests of the AIGA Design Educators Community


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Reeling in Rotterdam + Apprehensive in Austin
This week Dear Bonnie tackles clients who don't pay and clients who think you've stolen a logo. Excellent advice from Bonnie Siegler.


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


Debbie Millman
Steven Heller
Steven Heller talks about graphic design before it was called graphic design, and about whether design magazines have a future in print.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Taunted in Tehran
This week Dear Bonnie answer Taunted in Tehran about proper credits when you've collaborated with a group, but one person runs off with the idea.



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


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Mixed up in Martinsville
This week Dear Bonnie answers Mixed up in Martinsville about how to deal with clients without burning bridges. The key: written agreements.


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



Observed
Charity Ball
A short film about Ethan King, a 15 year old from Michigan whose dream is to give soccer balls to kids all over the world.


Debbie Millman
Scott Lerman
Scott Lerman talks about his new step-by-step book about brand strategy and about how consumer research can limit innovative thinking.


Debbie Millman
Maria Giudice
Maria Giudice talks with Debbie Milliman about the early days of design on the internet, and what it's like to work for Facebook.


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.


Debbie Millman
Michael Donovan + Nancye Green
Debbie talks to Michael Donovan + Nancye Green about their life and work partnership and how good business is good design.



Observed
Future Mavericks
There's an empty shipping container at Future in Half Moon Bay, CA and Future is looking to fill it with some summer design interns for their program: Future Mavericks.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Frustrated in Florida
This week's advice from Dear Bonnie focuses on how to handle on those people who think graphic design is as easy as a 1-2-3 click.



Debbie Millman
Debra Bishop
Design Director of More Magazine, Debra Bishop discusses her career designing for magazines, including her years working for Martha Stewart, and the tension between designers and editors.


Observed
2014 Porto Summer Editorial Design Course
Herewith, why you should seriously consider the  2014 Porto Summer Editorial Design Course.


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


Paul Polak
An Open Letter to Larry Page
Paul Polack responds to Larry Page's statemet that he'd rather hand over his cash to Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City) instead of donating it to a philanthropic organization.


Debbie Millman
Joe Marianek
Joe Marianek talks about decisions that shaped his career and about the process of getting hired at Apple.



Observed
The Design Office 2014 Summer Fellowship
The Design Office fellowship exists to encourage recent graduates of bachelor's and master's programs in design (or fields related) to continue their own body of work within our community of independent practitioners.



Observed
Designed by: Lella Vignelli
To celebrate 50 years of their partnership, Massimo Vignelli published a book of the work of his partner and wife, Lella.



Observed
Susan S. Szenasy with Debbie Millman at The Museum of Arts and Design
Thursday, March 20th Susan S. Szenasy will talk with Debbie Millman at The Museum of Arts and Design about her distinguished career as a design critic, journalist and educator.


Adrian Shaughnessy
Open Source Politics/Open Source Design
A review of the identity for the radical new Danish political party, Alternativet.


John Thackara
A ‘Wild Mirror’ For Desk-Bound Workers
A new scheme in England connects office workers with living systems by means of a ‘wild mirror’: each workspace is twinned with an equivalent area of ecosystem regeneration.


Debbie Millman
Dana Arnett
VSA's Dana Arnett on getting kicked out of design school and making the transition from designer to CEO.



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


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Confused in Connecticut
This week's advice from Dear Bonnie deals with aloof clients: Are they too cool or embarrassedly avoiding your questions because they just don't know the answers?


Debbie Millman
Irma Boom
Debbie Millman talks to Irma Boom about the art and craft of her celebrated book designs.


Chappell Ellison
You’ll Never Guess the Amazing Ways Online Design Writing and Criticism Has Changed
A call to support better desgn journalism.


Observed
Design Matters Spring 2014 Schedule Announced
We are thrilled that Design Matters will be returning for it's spring season on Monday, March 10. The episodes will air each Monday afternoon at 3pm.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Women of Washington + Young in Youngstown
This week's advice from Dear Bonnie focuses on women: are there enough women represented on jury panels, in board rooms, anywhere; and is there any specific advice for young female designers?


Michael Bierut
What Bill Knew
A 1991 speech by William Drenttel revealed what he knew about the business of design.


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.



John Thackara
Caloryville: The Two-Wheeled City
In China, ‘battery-bikes’ are outselling cars by four-to-one. Pedelec sales are soaring in Europe, too. Is this the start of system-wide phase-shift in transportation?


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Trapped In Toledo + Desperately Seeking Designers
This week Dear Bonnie — our truth-telling advice column from Bonnie Siegler — advises Trapped In Toledo on how to win over his client's communications officer and Desperately Seeking Designers on finding talented, deserving young hires.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Tips for Toyland
This week Dear Bonnie — our truth-telling advice column from Bonnie Siegler — takes a lok at the pitfalls of casual letter writing.



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


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Bullied in Brighton
This week Dear Bonnie tackles bullying at the office.



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.


Debbie Millman
Amanda Michel + Amy Webb
Debbie Millman talks to Spark Camp founders Amanda Michel + Amy Webb about redesigning the traditional conference and its lasting effect on participants.


Gideon Amichay
No, No, No, No, No, Yes
In this excerpt from his book No, No, No, No, No, Yes. Insights From A Creative Journey, Gideon Amichay pushes past no to yes.


Debbie Millman
Bob Gill
Legendary designer Bob Gill talks about design in the 1950s, working with the Beatles and the problem with so many designers today.


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.



Debbie Millman
Matteo Bologna
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks to Matteo Bologna about his early years in Italy, his addiction to typography and the question of self-confidence.


Liz Gerber
The Trifecta of Feedback
The value of feedback and a proposal for the best ways to receive it.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Interested in India + Window Dressing in Wisconsin
This week Dear Bonnie tackles online vs. offline design studios, client retention and the future of retail window dressing.


John Thackara
Ecuador, Open Knowledge, and ‘Buen Vivir’: Interview With Michel Bauwens
John Thackara interviews Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation, is to lead a strategic policy project for Ecuador’s government called Free/Libre Open Knowledge (FLOK), also known as the social knowledge economy project.


Debbie Millman
Alex Center
Lead designer for CocaCola's Vitaminwater and Powerade Alex Center talks about his love of brands.


John Thackara
Dementia: Care Before Cure
The downside of declaring war on a disease like dementia is to diminish social solidarity. But there are solutions.


Maria Giudice + Christopher Ireland
Rise of the DEO
An excerpt from the book Rise of the DEO by Maria Giudice & Christopher Ireland.


Debbie Millman
Susan Szenasy
Susan S. Szenasy is editor-in-chief of METROPOLIS, the award-winning New York City-based magazine of architecture and design.


Steven Heller
Steven Heller on Panic
Steven Heller is the co-chair (with Lita Talarico) of the School of Visual Arts MFA Design / Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program and the SVA Masters Workshop in Rome. He is a prolific writer.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Troubled in Techworld + Befuddled in Buffalo
Our first Dear Bonnie — a new truth-telling advice column from Bonnie Siegler.


Observed
Design Baseball
We are auctioning off a baseball signed by 21 designers at the 2013 AIGA National Conference.


Jeff Miller
Jeff Miller on Timing
Jeff Miller is a leading industrial designer and the Vice President of Design at Poppin. On this episode of Insights Per Minute, he speaks about timing.


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.


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.



Paul Polak
End Poverty or Bust
Five years ago, Steve Bachar and Paul Polak decided to create a venture capital fund that would only invest in socially responsible companies. There was only one problem. There were no companies to invest in that met the criteria



Observed
The A to Z Project
Bierut, Doyle, Gill, Haze + 40 more...all in the A to Z Project for FreeArtsNYC.



Observed
Dear Bonnie
Announcing Dear Bonnie, a new truth-telling weekly advice column from Bonnie Siegler.



Adam Harrison Levy
Designer’s Cookbook: George Lois
George Lois designs iconic Esquire covers, but you should hear him talk about food.



Observed
Frontier Fellowship
The Frontier Fellowship provides creative professionals the opportunity to live and work in Green River, Utah. From this rural place, and in the context of the frontier, Fellows have the opportunity to generate new work that is informed by the surrounding desert landscape and the residents of Green River.



Debbie Millman
Dawn Hancock
Firebelly Design founder Dawn Hancock discusses what it means to be a socially conscious designer.



Observed
Red Tractors
Red Tractors: 1958-2013 is new book by Lee Klancher from Octane Press.



Debbie Millman
Jennifer Kinon + Bobby Martin
OCD Designers Jennifer Kinon + Bobby Martin talk about their design philosophy — and their general willingness to do the unexpected.



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


Krista Donaldson
Krista Donaldson on Users
Krista Donaldson, PhD, is a mechanical and design engineer based in San Francisco who focuses on development in less industrialized economies as CEO of the nonprofit firm D-Rev (Design Revolution).


Mariana Amatullo
Mariana Amatullo on Honesty
Mariana co-founded Designmatters in 2001. As the head of the Department, she is responsible for the strategic leadership of a dynamic portfolio of global and national educational projects, research collaborations and publications at the intersection of art and design education and social innovation.



Debbie Millman
Oded Ezer
Typographer Oded Ezer talks about the idea of a universal language — and how his limitations as a musican and poet led to his extraordinary typography.



Debbie Millman
Sheila Bridges
Debbie Millman talks to interior designer Sheila Bridges about being one of the only prominent African Americans in her industry, about losing her hair and having Bill Clinton as a client.



Chris Pullman
Remembering Alvin Eisenman
Alvin Eisenman received the AIGA Medal in October, 1991. Chris Pullman, a student in Eisenman's class of 1966 — and a member of the faculty ever since — gave these remarks at the event.



An Open Letter to AIGA
Status Quo or Transformation? A False Choice
An open letter to AIGA.


Jez Owen
Branding Terror
A review of Branding Terror, a new book by Artur Beifuss and Francesco Trivini Bellini.



Debbie Millman
Chip Kidd
Legendary book designer Chip Kidd on why his TED talk was the 19 most frightening minutes of his life.


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.



Observed
New Season of Design Matters with Debbie Millman
Today begins a new season of Design Matters with weekly broadcasts every Monday afternoon through the end of the year.



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.


Sean Adams
Sean Adams on Typography
Sean Adams is a partner at AdamsMorioka in Beverly Hills. Sean is President ex officio and past national board member of AIGA, and President ex officio of AIGA Los Angeles. He teaches at Art Center College of Design.


Teddy Blanks, and Andrew Sloat
Design Observer: Ten Years
A short film from Teddy Blanks and Andrew Sloat celebrating the last ten years of Design Observer.


Steff Geissbühler
Steff Geissbühler on Color Blind
Steff Geissbühler is among America’s most celebrated designers of integrated brand and corporate identity programs.



Observed
Design Is One
Opening Friday at the IFC center: Design is One — Lella and Massimo Vignelli.



Andrew Shea
Shaping Design Education at LEAP Symposium
A review by Andrew Shea of the recent, September 19-24, 2013, LEAP symposium at Art Center College of Design.


Chelsea Vandiver, and Richard Grefé
The Millennial Designer
Young designers and design students today pursue the rewards of creativity


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.


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.


Steven Heller
Steven Heller on Recommendations
Steven Heller is the co-chair (with Lita Talarico) of the School of Visual Arts MFA Design / Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program and the SVA Masters Workshop in Rome. He is a prolific writer.


Natalie Foster
Natalie Foster on Sharing
Natalie Foster is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Peers.


Cheryl Heller
Forget Poverty. Let’s Talk Business.
In a recent article on the future of design, I used Paul Polak as a case for why generalists are so important to the world right now.


Mark Lamster
Mark Lamster on Complaining
Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture.


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.


Rob Walker
Rob Walker on Seeing
Rob Walker is a technology/culture columnist for Yahoo News. He is the former Consumed columnist for The New York Times Magazine, and has contributed to many publications.


Jessica Helfand
Jessica Helfand on Brevity
Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer, writer, and educator.


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.



Observed
What Were We Thinking? The Top 10 Most Dangerous Ads
A list to the top ten most dangerous products advertised to the public as healthy.



Observed
One Idea. One Minute. One Voice.
On Monday, Design Observer will debut a new podcast series. We're calling it Insights Per Minute.



John Thackara
Between Sorrel And Supertanker
John Thackara reviews the recent Doors of Perception xskool.


Alexandra Lange
Rural Vacation | Urban Questions
Driving Vermont's rural routes I began to wonder: Why does this town get a brand-new energy-efficient supermarket, and that one a minimart-slash-video store-slash-bank?


Andrew Howard
A Manifesto for Higher Learning
Andrew Howard, MA course director in Communication Design at ESAD — Escola Superior de Artes e Design in Matosinhos, Portugal — shares this with his incoming graduate students each year.



Ralph Caplan
The Trip From Bountyful
Ralph Caplan on his first job: staff writer on a putatively satirical magazine just being formed.


Debbie Millman
Hartmut Esslinger
Frog design co-founder Hartmut Esslinger talks about working for Steve Jobs in the early days of Apple.


Observed
Destination: NYC
Destination: NYC, is a collection of 200 New York-designed products for sale at MoMA Design Stores. The collection’s visual identity is the handiwork of students graduating from the MPS Branding Department at SVA.



Observed
Working For Free
A designer posts an ad on Craigslist for other professionals to provide work for free.


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.



Debbie Millman
Michael Rock
Michael Rock about self-hatred in design, the benefits of being an outsider, and his new book.



Observed
Special Summer Series of Design Matters with Debbie Millman
The special series will include interviews with Michael Rock, Jean-Louis Cohen, Brenda Danilowitz and Phillip Tiongson, Harmut Essinger and Leon Krier.


Rick Poynor
Inkahoots and Socially Concerned Design: Part 2
In the mid-1990s, Inkahoots became a graphic design studio with its sights set on social causes.


Wanda Orlikowski
Jazz-Inspired Leadership
Organizations most responsive to change are often the ones that replace the orchestral model with a new one — the jazz combo.



Michael Bierut
50 Books/50 Covers 2012 Winners Announced
Continuing a tradition that dates back to 1922, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show.


Rick Poynor
Inkahoots and Socially Concerned Design: Part 1
The Australian design team Inkahoots is a model of community-based graphic design practice.


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.


Francisco Laranjo
The Whitney Identity: Responding to W(hat)?
A review of the new identity for the Whitney, designed by Experimental Jetset.


Alexandra Lange
That Personal Touch
In the age of the digital signature, what does script mean?


John Thackara
Trust Is Not An Algorithm
By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years. This impressive if unprovable fact has got many people wondering: what to do with it?


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



Observed
AIGA (Re)design Awards
The AIGA (Re)design Awards is an international graphic design competition celebrating the most influential designs that advocate for strong communities, sustainable environments and thriving economies.


Alexandra Lange
Home Improvement
The Sweethome, where Consumer Reports and Amazon product reviews meet.



Debbie Millman
Maggie Macnab
Designer, educator and author Maggie Macnab talks about what designers can learn from nature — and what they can give back.



Observed
Be an AIGA Design Star
Command X — the AIGA live design reality show that happens on stage at the biennial design conference — is back for its fourth season.



Observed
Jaws
In honor of Monday's unofficial beginning of summer, a brief history of Roger Kastel's movie poster for Jaws.


John Thackara
Cycle Commerce As An Ecosystem
John Thackara reviews new products, services and ingredients needed to help a cycle commerce ecosystem flourish in India’s cities, towns and villages.



Debbie Millman
Jessica Walsh
Jessica Walsh once sold moss-covered rocks to her elementary school classmates. Today, she's Stefan Sagmeister's partner in Sagmeister + Walsh.



Observed
Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America
Michigan was an epicenter of modern design in postwar America, this summer the story will be told through a symposium at the Cranbrook Educational Community and an exhibition at the Cranbrook Art Museum.


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



Center for an Urban Future
8 Ways to Grow New York’s Design Sector
New York City is home to more designers than any other U.S, city and a top location in the world for cutting-edge design. NYCxDESIGN — the city’s first citywide design festival, launching this week —builds on much of that activity to increase awareness about what design is and what it can do. But there is more the city can do to solidify New York’s claim as a capital of design.



Observed
Saul Bass Google Doodle
Google celebreates Saul Bass with a Doodle.



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
counter/point: The 2013 D-Crit Conference
The 2013 D-Crit Conference will take place on Saturday, May 11, 2013.The lineup includes Paola Antonelli, Andrew Blauvelt, Fiona Raby, Mark Foster Gage, Toni Griffin, and Michael Sorkin.



Soren Kaplan
Harnessing the Power of Surprise
Breakthroughs share three common characteristics: they challenge fundamental assumptions about existing products, services, business models, or organizations; they transform existing ways of doing business by rewriting rules or revolutionizing current practices; and they apply resources in entirely new ways, whether people, knowledge, relationships, or technology.


Owen Edwards
The 99 Factor: A Man About Town + Country
Owen Edwards reminisces about Frank Zachary, former editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine.



Debbie Millman
Emily Oberman
Emily Oberman's three acts — from Tibor Kalman at M&Co, to Number Seventeen with Bonnie Siegler, to becoming a partner at Pentagram.



Observed
AIGA Medal for Design Excellence
Design Observer co-founders Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel are recipients of this year's AIGA Medal for Design Excellence.


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



Observed
Branding the Presidents
A personal projec to brand each of the 44 Presidents of the United States of America.



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



Debbie Millman
Amy Webb
Digital strategist and author Amy Webb on how she gamed online dating to find her husband.



Observed
The Emergence of Advertising in America
The “Emergence of Advertising in America 1850-1920” collection at the Duke University Library has over 3,300 advertising items and publications dating from 1850 to 1920.


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



Debbie Millman
Cliff Sloan
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman interviews Cliff Sloan about everything marketing.



Observed
Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders
“Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders” is a weeklong AIGA professional development program that gives senior-level designers valuable insights into the issues faced by corporate executives.



Observed
1920s Chicago Transit Posters
Chicago-L.org has a small, but gem filled collection of Chicago transit posters from the 1920s.



Observed
Free Desk Here
Free Desk Here is a collaboration initiative set up by Nick Couch to encourage collaboration between design professionals.



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.


Kate Cullinane
The Original Paradox
The value of creating new designs, rather than being "original".



Observed
Envisioning Design: Education, Culture, Practice
The Department of Art at the University of Northern Iowa is hosting a symposium April 26-27 called Envisioning Design: Education, Culture, Practice.



Debbie Millman
Steven Heller
Steven Heller discusses his new ebook, Design Cult, and reflects on what designers have in common with Harvey Weinstein.



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.



Debbie Millman
Clement Mok
Clement Mok on the early days of Apple computer, the joys of working for Steve Jobs and starting his successful businesses.



Debbie Millman
Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich
Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich discusses growing up in Brazi, the role of art versus design, and why it is so important to be witty.



Observed
Ronald Shakespear
Unit Editions interview with Ronald Shakespear.



Jessica Helfand
When Less Was More
Jessica Helfand reminisces about her first graphic design job.


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?


Rob Walker
Branding By Numbers
Emblemetric backs its assessment of the American Airlines logo with "the data." Of course, that's open to interpretation.


John Thackara
Healing The Metabolic Rift
John Thackara on the possibilities and issues global business leaders will face at the 2013 World Economic Forum.


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



Debbie Millman
Marion Deuchars
Marion Deuchars on the expressiveness of hand lettering, how drawing is an intensive form of looking, and the need to be messy when creating art.


Alexandra Lange
George Nelson in Two Dimensions
Ignore the Coconuts and Marshmallows, admire George Nelson's modular graphics.


Michael Bierut
Positively Michael Patrick Cronan
Michael Bierut remembers the late Michael Cronan.



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.


Rick Poynor
On My Screen: Shooting the Past
Stephen Poliakoff’s Shooting the Past, set in a fictitious photo library, is a film that could haunt you for years.



Debbie Millman
Christopher Simmons
Christopher Simmons discusses his lastest book, Just Design: Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes, and reflects on why designers should be continually redefining their profession.



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



Debbie Millman
Jake Barton
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Jake Barton discusses wanting to be a doctor, how he became a media designer and how to get people to interact.


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



Debbie Millman
Louise Fili
Louise Fili discusses the importance of sketching, her obsession with typography and why she prefers working with small organizations.



Debbie Millman
Rafael Esquer
Rafael Esquer discusses growing up on a farm, working with the city and what it takes to make it in the design business.



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


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



Debbie Millman
Mirko Ilic
Bosnian-born designer and illustrator Mirko Ilic discusses his early career behind the iron curtain, his prolific drawing and his current career in New York.


Leonard Koren
Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing
An except from Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing by Leonard Koren.



Debbie Millman
Austin McGhie
Debbie Millman talks to her colleague Austin McGhie, who explains why brand could be a four letter word.


Alexandra Lange
“I Have Seen the Future”: Designer as Showman
The exhibition ldquo;I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America,” hits all the high spots of industrial design within a single man’s oeuvre.



Debbie Millman
Aaron Draplin
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Aaron Draplin talks about being comfortable in his own skin, midwestern pragmatism and why Oregon beats the shit out of SoCal.


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



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.


Louise Sandhaus
Merle Armitage: Daddy of a Sunbaked Modernism
Louise Sandhaus's profile of book designer Merle Armitage.



Observed
New Season of Design Matters with Debbie Millman
Design Matters returns for a new season on Friday, October 19, 2012.


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



Observed
Selling the Sixties
Like Mad Men? Then you'll have to see Selling the Sixties from filmmaker and Design Observer contributor Adam Harrison Levy. Screening October 9, followed by a discussion between the filmmaker and Jessica Helfand.


Alexandra Lange
Let’s Talk About Women in Architecture
A panel on Women in Design, and questions about whether such panels should exist.


Alexandra Lange
Just Keep Typing
An excerpt from the new book Breakthrough! Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination that involves Post-It notes, legal pads and baking. 



Observed
London Design Festival 2012
Overview of the tenth London Design Festival.



Scott Boylston
Designing Design into Society
A report on the Design Ethos 2012 DO-ference.


Rob Walker
Making "Making" Mass
A visit to an outpost of TechShop, the aspriing "Kinko's for geeks," in North Carolina.


Owen Edwards
Homage to Helen Gurley Brown
Owen Edwards remembers Helen Gurley Brown.


John Thackara
What Is, Or Is Not, a ‘Green Job’?
Discordant information amplifies confusion about what is, or is not, a ‘green job’.


Alexandra Lange
Obama’s New Fonts
Obama bets on American nostalgia, shrinking Gotham and picking a script.



Observed
A Public Service Announcement: Collecting Air
A public service spot for the American Lung Association, “Alvin Grimes, Air Collector,” features him with his collection.


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



Observed
DOG Spottings: Apple Features Design Observer
Design Observer has been featured by Apple in the last two big product rollouts – the new iPad and MacBook Pro.


Rob Walker
The Bizarro Storytelling Exercise
The Bizarro Story Exercise: The value in thinking hard about the worst.


Rob Walker
The Infrastructure of the Cloud
On the material structures we depend on to deliver us the immaterial digital world.


Kolean Pitner
Peter Seitz
Peter Seitz, best known for his interdisciplinary approach to design and his award winning corporate identity programs.



Amelia Lacy
Gene & Jackie Lacy
Gene and Jackie Lacy, Indianapolis-based graphic designers and illustrators practicing from the 1950s through the 1980s.


Rick Poynor
Career Prospects in the Pain Business
Freedom from Torture’s “torture recruitment ads deliver perfectly calculated moments of cognitive dissonance.



Andrew Shea
Flies in Urinals: The Value of Design Disruptions
How a disruption in routine (potentially by design) can alter the environment.


John Thackara
Istanbul: City of Seeds
Rather than dream up exotic visions of “what could be”, an xskool looks for social and natural assets that already exist – and grows from there.


Michael Bierut
The Poster that Launched a Movement (Or Not)
In the age of social media, does political graphic design matter?



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.



Observed
James Victore's Q&A Tuesday
James Victore is presenting a weekly YouTube series – Q+A Tuesday – in which he addresses a questions about working in a creative industry.


Rick Poynor
The Closed Shop of Design Academia
Shouldn’t it be part of a design academic’s brief to communicate more widely with the design profession and public?


John Thackara
Oil-Powered Thinking
Why is it that countervailing facts don’t change things in our evidence-based world? And what might we do about it?


Laura Weiss
Woody Allen, Creative Management Genius
Woody Allen's movie-making process offers three insights that have application to anyone who leads a creative enterprise or manages a creative process.


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.


William Drenttel
Designing for Social Change
Designing for Social Change is a toolkit of strategies, case studies, and stories, offering new opportunities for approaching social design in our communities.



Center for an Urban Future
NYC Design Schools: Catalysts for Economic Growth?
Design schools may be the real engines of New York City’s innovation economy, according to a new report published by the Center for an Urban Future.


Rick Poynor
Typographic Stories of the City Streets
Characters, a new book by Stephen Banham, investigates the stories behind Melbourne’s street signs.


Nancy Levinson
Design Indaba 2012
Design Indaba 2012 gathered creative people from graphic and product design, architecture and landscape, film and video, not to mention Danish gastronomy and Bollywood movies.



Adrian Shaughnessy
When Less Really Does Mean Less
Since the banking crises of 2008, designers fromWestern nations are learning painfully to adapt to the new reality: less is the new normal.



Debbie Millman
James Biber
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, James Biber discusses growing up in a house with a womb chair, visual illiteracy and designing the Museum of Sex.


John Thackara
Design In The Light of Dark Energy
A shortened version of a talk on why the world has to reduce energy consumption, the five per cent energy solution and some of the people around the world who are leading the way.



John Thackara
A Reading List for Mr. Mario Monti
A (mostly) online list of readings for the new Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Mario Monti, and anyone else who is ready for a cold hard look at our energy resources and options.



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.


John Thackara
From Milk to Superfoods: Supping with the Devil?
The social and ecological crimes Big Food is committing, in other parts of the world, so that you and I can eat what we damn well feel like.


Alexandra Lange
Reinventing the Thermostat
What the designer of the new Nest thermostat didn't learn from Henry Dreyfuss.



The Editors
Designing an Educational Breakthrough
A new initiative recruits young adults to create ways to promote adolescent literacy



Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch With The Critics: Second-Annual Year-End Awards
From Twitter to Apollo, Barbie to Occupy Everywhere: The best and worst moments in design for 2011.



Debbie Millman
Andrew Gibbs
In this podcast interview with Debbie Millman, Andrew Gibbs discusses his love of packaging, the role brands play in people's lives and his blog, The Dieline.


Alexandra Lange
Who Are We Competing For?
At the "Zoning the City" conference, planners insisted cities were in competition? But why are we so focused on the people who want to leave, rather than those who want to stay?



Laura Weiss
Better Service Through Consultmanship
On a neglected area of design education



John Cary
Architecture's Internship Requirement Needs a Redesign
An argument for rethinking architecture's internship requirement



Courtney Drake, William Drenttel, and Deirdre Cerminaro
Design and the Social Sector: An Annotated Bibliography
This bibiography surveys the literature of social design — the spectrum from design process and thinking to the zones of social innovation.


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


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.


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



Fred A. Bernstein
The Next World’s Fair: A Proposal
Fred Bernstein makes a case for New York City to be the host of the next World's Fair.



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



Mark Lamster
An Interview with Laurence King
Mark Lamster interviews Laurence King, the publisher.


Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Raging Bull
A response to Michael Bierut’s essay about the relationship between bullshit and design, and the discussion that ensued.


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.



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



John Thackara
Ten Ways to Redesign Design Competitions
How to improve design competitions aimed at social good.


Alexandra Lange
Welcome to the Hall of Femmes
How should we celebrate women in design, past, present, future?



Alexandra Lange
New Apple HQ, 1957
Wouldn't it be more radical for Apple to move back to town?


Jessica Helfand
Meet Our Intern: Paul Rand!
Our surprise upon receiving the Facebook mailer shown here, addressed to Paul Rand.



Helen Walters
Design and Business Education: The System Is Not Good Enough
In the past few years, there have been interesting attempts from within both business and design schools to elevate the potential of design and creative thinking as drivers of differentiated value.



Andrew Sloat
Winterhouse: A Video
A short film about Winterhouse, the studio of William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand. It was made for the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 2010. Film written and directed by Andrew Sloat.



The Editors
Cause/Affect Competition
AIGA announces its next Cause/Affect competition celebrating design for social change.



Julie Lasky
Everything Must Go
A new blog speaks to our current interest in shedding material goods.


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


John Thackara
From Eds & Meds to Farms and Watersheds
Eds & Meds behemoths that bestride Pittsburgh's skyline are not the only game in town. Even a small meadow contains a lot of plants.


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


John Thackara
From Bankster HQ to Start-up Central in Iceland
The Start-Up Kids is a documentary about young entrepreneurs who have founded web and media startups in the US and Europe.



Andy Chen
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Cub
Is design strictly a set of rules?



Ernest Beck
IDEO.org
IDEO announces a new nonprofit organization.


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.



Debbie Millman
Alina Wheeler
Philadelphia-based designer Alina Wheeler discusses branding, strategic imagination and her new book, Brand Atlas, co-authored with Joel Katz.


John Thackara
What Kind of Design Institutes for India?
An influential group of design thought-leaders has launched a campaign called VisionFirst that calls for a “rigorous co-creation process to bring clarity to the models of design education that India should seek.”


Alexandra Lange
Neat Freaks
Organizing things neatly = what IBM, Ray Eames, Herbert Matter and Tumblr have in common.


The Editors
Like the Word or Not, the Era of "Sustainism" Is Here
The idea of sustainism deserves more than a discussion about what we (dis)like about nomenclature.



Rob Walker
Fun Stuff
A result of the wrenching economic downturn is that we just don’t care about stuff anymore.



Ernest Beck
Hester Street Collaborative
Report on Hester Street Collaborative's pro-bono design model.



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”.



Maria Popova
COMMON
Report on Alex Bogusky and Rob Schuham's COMMON project marrying capitalism and social change.



Ernest Beck
Mensch at Work
Review of The Power of Pro Bono



Michael Bierut
Michael Bierut on Clients
A video of Michael Bierut giving a talk on the subject of clients.


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


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?


Rick Poynor
How to Chew Gum while Walking
We go round in circles but the central issue doesn’t change: what can a designer add to a project beyond fulfilling the client’s brief?


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.



William Drenttel
A Conversation with Daniel van der Velden of Metahaven
An expansive interview with Daniel van der Velden, co-author of Uncorporate Identity.



Marian Bantjes
Plastics: An Apoplexy
I woke up in the middle of the night stewing about plastics. In particular, the continuing, insidious use of excessive and totally unnecessary plastics in packaging.


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.


Mark Lamster
The Ugliest Object I Have Ever Owned
What's the ugliest object you've ever owned (and loved)?


Chappell Ellison
Story Time With Starbucks
This holiday season, Starbucks and Whole Foods aren't selling coffee and organic food.



Andrew Blauvelt
Designer Finds History, Publishes Book
Andrew Blauvelt takes stock of the graphic design history movement that began in the 1980s.



Alexandra Lange
Yummy Too
Missing from my previous post on the Cooper Union exhibit Appetite (closing Saturday) were images of Milton Glaser's work for Grand Union.



Phil Patton
The Meek Shall Inherit the Market
Phil Patton writes in praise of frugal engineering, and not just for developing markets.



John Waters
Design Ethos: A Bugle of Change
Essay endorsing a new definition of graphic design practice.



Ernest Beck
Climate Change Chocolate Update
Update on Climate Change Chocolate and other ideas for offsetting carbon. Originally published August 17, 2009.



Michael Bierut
James Victore: Straight Up
"Few designers have done more to render typography foundries irrelevant than Victore. The human hand, his hand, is always in evidence." Michael Bierut on James Victore's work.



Maria Popova
Death to Design Awards
Essay attacking design awards for stifling innovation



Michael Bierut
Michael Bierut on 86 Notebooks
Michael Bierut video of a talk on the 86 notebooks he's kept over the course of his career and  design lessons derived from them.



Robert Grudin
The Bakers Table
Those tables taught me something. I realized that by designing them I had turned impoverishment into enterprise. I had transcended my own inhibiting academic world and briefly explored the material presences of daily life.



Adrian Shaughnessy
Publishing in the Age of the Internet
Design/Research, published by Unit Editions, are collectable "papers" which, focus on design and visual communication, from the past, by placing it in a future context.



Maria Popova
The Language of Design Imperialism
Essay on the flawed language used to describe humanitarian design efforts and what it indicates.



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.



Michael Erard
The Dream Job Project Part II
How do you conceive of the future work to shoot for, and how you'll do it? The results of these questions, part II.



The Editors
Humanitarian Design vs. Design Imperialism: Debate Summary
Bruce Nussbaum started a firestorm with the question "Is humanitarian design the new imperialism?" — and the conversation has spread through the blogosphere. Here, a digest of essays and related posts on this subject.



Constantin Boym
Teaching in a Time of Uncertainty
Meditation on the doubt creeping into today's design practice.



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.



Alexandra Lange
“We Can’t Really Pay”
All of you print people who scorned bloggers but have moved into blogging and helm publications that “blog,” earth to you: You don’t pay.



Ernest Beck
Catapult Design: How to Run a Design Firm for Social Change
Catapult Design’s nonprofit model offers a new way to think about how designers can engage social innovation projects.



Ernest Beck
New Meaning at ICFF
A review of the 2010 International Contemporary Furniture Fair.



Alexandra Lange
It Was All Yellow
In 
Buying In, author Rob Walker avoids talking about the aesthetics of the Livestrong bracelet.



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.





William Drenttel
Design for Change Contest
Kiran Bir Sethi is a designer, teacher, principal, advocate and social entrepreneur. Now her “Design for Change Contest,” a recent initiative that swept India in 2009, is expanding globally.



Roger Martin
Design Thinking Comes to the U.S. Army
Design is almost overnight the centerpiece of military doctrine and the U.S. Army has gotten design thinking quite right. The struggle to get design thinking ensconced in Army doctrine, though, is no easy feat.



Jane Margolies
The Laugh Bug
Is Volkswagen's Fun Theory campaign anything more than a turbocharged marketing stunt?



Andy Chen
The Lines That Divide
The debate continues over who will be the new Head of Department for the Communication Art & Design course at London's Royal College of Art.



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.



Dirk Wachowiak
Peter Bilak & Satya Rajpurohit: Interview on Typography
Dirk Wachowiak interviews Peter Bilak and Satya Rajpurohit on their recent collaboration, the Hindi version of Bilak’s Fedra.



Justin Kemerling
The Volunteer Design Chronicles (Lincoln, NE)
Community-focused pro-bono design activities in Lincoln, Nebraska.



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



Daniel Stephens, and Brooke Brewer
Aspen Design Summit: Film
This short film by GoodFocus Films captures participant perspectives at the Aspen Design Summit in November 2009.



Julie Lasky
DesigNYC
DesigNYC is the latest grass-roots organization to match socially minded designers with nonprofits.



Meredith Davis
Who Owns Student Work?
The prevailing opinion at many design schools is that faculty and the university have some “ownership rights” in the output of any class. In other words, students don't own their own work. An opposing viewpoint.



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.



Tony Whitfield
Prepared for Haiti
Tony Whitfield meditates on the assistance designers should give in Haiti following the earthquake, and in future catastrophes.



Adrian Shaughnessy
Logorama
A world colonized by brands is the theme of a new film, Logorama, by French designers and filmmakers H5.



Alexandra Lange
Exciting Multi-Generational Moment
An essay and slideshow on the
design of James Joyce’s Ulysses by my mother, Martha Scotford, appears on Design Observer, where I was recently made a contributing writer.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: Sustainable Food and Childhood Obesity
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the Sustainable Food Project focused on accelerating the shift from a global, abstract food system to a regional, real food system via a robust portfolio of activities — including a grand challenge and a series of youth-engagement programs.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: CDC and Healthy Aging
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the CDC Healthy Aging Project began with the initial premise to enhance the ability of public health entities to determine whether adults 50 and over have received recommended preventive health services. The Project developed a “5 over 50” concept and brand name, and a new goal: to double the current number of people who are “up to date” with these preventive measures.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: Hale County Rural Poverty Project
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the Hale County Rural Poverty Project conceived of a socio-economic model of resource allocation through an online platform for accelerated regional development in the Black Belt counties of rural Alabama.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Participants
The Aspen Design Summit, November 11-14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, involved 64 participants — designers, experts, researchers, educators, and representatives of NGOs, foundations and businesses. This the complete attendee list of participants.


The Editors
Holiday Books 2009
Recommended books by Design Observer writers for the 2009 holiday season.



Andy Chen
The Value of Empathy
Andy Chen responds to the debate between David Stairs and Valerie Casey on the recent surge of social design activity.



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.



Valerie Casey, and David Stairs
The Kindness of Strangers
Debate between graphic designer David Stairs and Designers Accord founder Valerie Casey about designers' roles and limits as social activists.



Jane Margolies
Skin
Report on maternity clothes made in Colombia with local labor. (No seamstresses under the age of 50 need apply.)



Roger Martin
What is Design Thinking Anyway?
Most companies today rely on analytical thinking. Roger Martin applies these principles to business practices.



John Thackara
Design & Development: Interview with 4baq
John Thakra discusses sustainability, design and development with 4baq.




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.



Project
Kiva
Report on Kiva, the pioneering microfinance site, which won a 2009 INDEX award for humanitarian design.



Allison Arieff
WeCommune
WeCommune offers a technology platform for people who want to share resources and build community within particular subcultures.


Phil Patton
Triple-Digit Inflation
Phil Patton questions GM's sustainability claims for its Chevrolet Volt electric car.



Ernest Beck
PACT Underwear
Report on PACT, an underwear company that embraces green manufacturing and donates a portion of its revenue to nonprofits.



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).



Michael Erard
A Short Manifesto on the Future of Attention
Maybe we should be considering a dilemma of a human nature: the future of attention.



Steven Heller
Covering the Good Books
When reading was more fundamental than tweeting, Time Life Books played a significant role in getting the general public to acquire books on almost every subject.



John Thackara
Fish Systems and Design
Though gloomy predictions say we could see the end of seafood by 2048, several initiatives are rethinking the way we acquire fish.



Ernest Beck
Climate Change Chocolate
While environmentalists debate the ethics and effectiveness of carbon offsets, designers work to make them appealing.



Kurt Andersen, Julie Lasky, and Douglas Rushkoff
Kurt Andersen and Douglas Rushkoff: Part II
Kurt Andersen and Douglas Rushkoff continue their discussion of the future in light of the current economic calamity.



The Editors
Desperate Times/Desperate Measures
Invitation for social activists to participate in viral marketing campaign for Ford Fiesta. Unedited email as received at Winterhouse...



Julie Lasky, Douglas Rushkoff, and Kurt Andersen
Kurt Andersen and Douglas Rushkoff: Part I
Kurt Andersen and Douglas Rushkoff discuss the future in light of the current economic calamity.



John Thackara
From Philanthrocapitalism to An Eco-Social Economy
"Design for social impact" is a very troubling phrase.



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.



Jessica Helfand
Open Letter to Design Students Everywhere




John Thackara
Make Sense, Not Stuff
John Thackara presents a three-step plan to connect design schools to the green economy.



Debbie Millman
Dave Eggers
McSweeney’s Founder Dave Eggars is also the author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity! and What Is The What.



Debbie Millman
Dee Dee Gordon
Dee Dee Gordon is a renowned youth culture expert whose research has been featured in numerous media outlets including The New York Times Magazine.



John Cantwell
Trump, The Logo
The logo above the Trump Tower’s main entrance, huge and gleaming in 34-inch brass block letters, bluntly announces Donald Trump’s presence on the street. It’s crude, perhaps, but undeniably effective. In a neighborhood filled with names like Bergdorf, Cartier, and Tiffany, none is more prominent than Trump’s.



Debbie Millman
Allan Chochinov
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie speaks with Allan Chochinov, editor-in-chief of Core77.com, the widely read design website.



Michael Bierut
Invasion of the Neutered Sprites
There is an epidemic threatening our world: the pointy-limbed little people that appear in every other nonprofit logo. Death to the Neutered Sprites!



Debbie Millman
Dan Pink
Dan Pink is an entrepreneur, speaker and the author of three groundbreaking books on the changing dimensions of the workplace. 



Debbie Millman
Gong Szeto
Former principal of the interaction design firm io360, Gong Szeto is Director of design and product design at Peak6 Investments.



Sarah Couto
The Year Playboy Died
It is often forgotten that the rabbit figure depicted on the early covers of Playboy was very much male, as seen in the January 1954 edition of the magazine. Typically he was an unbridled man, out and about, in good company. The rabbit is first shown in the guise of a woman, upon the opening of the Playboy Club in 1960.



Steven Kroeter
Untitled by Anonymous: An Ode to Branding
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “brand” as “a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer.” That’s a good place to start, but “goods or services” might be more accurate...



Mark Lamster
Seattle PI: RIP
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was founded 146 years ago, when that city was an industrial backwater on Elliot Bay, a timber town with more logs than people.



Mark Lamster
Save the Library Redux
Could it be that the sour economy is the best friend of the good old library?



Debbie Millman
Patrick Coyne
An interview with Patrick Coyne, editor of Communication Arts, with special guests Milton Glaser and Cheryl Heller.



John Thackara
The Innovator Next Door
Whether it's narrowly defining innovation as technology, or imposing solutions on communities, John Thackara discusses the mistakes made by large companies.



Debbie Millman
Natalia Ilyin
Natalia Ilyin is a design critic and educator and ithe author of two books — Blonde Like Me, and Chasing the Perfect: Thoughts on Modernist Design in Our Time.



Mark Lamster
Annals of Branding, Redux
The design elves over at Pepsico have been very busy of late, as noted here last week regarding the (awful) new logo for the corporate flagship and the (much hated) new packaging for Tropicana.



Debbie Millman
Joe Duffy + Nate Voss
The Reflex Blue's Nate Voss interviews Joe Duffy about his work for some of the most highly admired companies in the world, including Coca-Cola, Toyota and Sony. 



Mark Lamster
The Real Thing
Tropicana has been getting a lot of flack over its redesigned juice cartons. Steve Heller called the rebranding "a mistake." Jason Kottke simply dubbed it "sucky." Let me respectfully disagree.



Dmitri Siegel
Paper, Plastic, or Canvas?
Dmitri Siegel explores the explosive popularity of canvas totes and the history of the plastic bags they aim to replace. From Anya Hindmarch to Ireland's PlasTax, Siegel examines the role of design in sustainability.



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. 




Debbie Millman
Neville Brody
An interview with former Face Magazine art director Neville Brody who has been at the forefront of design for more than two decades.



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.



Debbie Millman
Jessica Helfand
Jessica Helfand discusses growing up in a family of collectors, her love of visual biography and why history should be more important to designers than it seems to be.



Debbie Millman
Obsessive Branding Disorder II
The current discipline and practice of branding is both obsessively fascinating and shamelessly polarizing. Because our lives are so entwined with brands, it has become difficult to distinguish between our beliefs and our brand preferences.



Michael Bierut
Designing Through the Recession
Here are three things that happen to designers in a recession, and five things they can do about it.



Jessica Helfand
Ten Things That Need to be Redesigned
Lottery tickets, the hearse, monopoly money, IRS forms, airport design, children's ski jackets, political lawn signs, TV remotes, blister packaging and the state of New Jersey are examined for their design flaws.



Rob Walker
Talk is Cheap
As the financial crisis snowballed this year, retail sales fell sharply. Curiously, many assessments of this development treated it as an exciting new trend.



William Drenttel
A Design-Oriented National Endowment for the Arts
A proposal for a design-oriented National Endowment for the Arts.



Chris Pullman
What I've Learned
After 35 years working for the same company, WGBH in Boston, legendary design director Chris Pullman reveals the ten things he learned.



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.



Teddy Blanks
A Year of Political Banner Ads
Perhaps the strangest aspect of this year's political landscape is the degree to which political banner ads have invaded our web space. Whether bearing the graphic identities of the major campaigns, or the crude, cobbled typography of web-marketing firms, they have popped up almost anywhere. And for the past year or so, I've been collecting my favorites.



Michael Bierut
The Four Lessons of Lou Dorfsman
For over 40 years, Lou Dorfsman designed everything at CBS from its advertising to the paper cups in its cafeteria. Getting great work done in giant institution is supposed to be hard. How did he make it look easy?



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.



Michael Bierut
26 Years, 85 Notebooks
Since 1982, I have never been without a marble-covered composition book. I am now in the middle of Notebook #85. Together, these notebooks create a history of my working life that spans three decades.



Michael Bierut
Mad Men: Pitch Perfect
AMC’s ad agency drama Mad Men, from the producer of the Sopranos, is beginning its second season. Like The Sopranos, the show finds human drama in an unexpected setting. And where The Sopranos had whackings, Mad Men has client presentations.



Gong Szeto
Lehman's Bankruptcy Statement
I'm just a designer, but it doesn't take a genius to read a bankruptcy statement. Take a look at the Lehman Brothers statement dated Sunday, September 14, 2008. Read the whole thing down to exhibit A and the list of creditors — this is an historical document.



Michael Bierut
David Foster Wallace, Branding Theorist, 1962-2008




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?



John Thackara
Alternative Trade Networks and the Coffee System
Alterative trade networks are emerging in the coffee industry, attempting to eliminate the middle man.



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 Drenttel
I Was A Mad Man
Mad Men takes place in 1960. Just seventeen years later, I went to work at an ad agency and became a Mad Man. This is my story...



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?





Steven Heller
Branding Youth in the Totalitarian State
Youth may be wasted on the young, but under the totalitarian state they were not forgotten. For the state to prosper, youth was turned into a sub-brand that both followed and perpetuated the dominant ideology. Graphics played a huge role in making this happen in Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union.



David Stairs
The Little Logo That Could
If it seems too hyperbolic to say that Obama stands as one of the most cleverly branded candidates in our history, look closer. Otheres have attempted to lay claim to the fifteenth letter of the Roman alphabet with mixed success. But to date, no one has been remotely as successful in so short a time as the Obama has with his campaign.



Dmitri Siegel
Credit Where Credit Is Due...Or Not
Dmitri Siegel explores the various practices of design attribution.



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.



Debbie Millman
Robynne Raye + Michael Straussberger
Robynne Raye and Michael Straussberger are graphic designers and co-founders of the acclaimed Seattle-based firm Modern Dog.



Debbie Millman
Michael Hodgson
Michael Hodgson is a DJ and a designer and is co-founder of the design firm Ph.D.



Steven Heller
Underground Mainstream
Today, designers for mainstream advertising companies, weaned on alternative approaches, have folded the underground into the mainstream and called it cool.



Matthew Peterson
The Cuckoo Bird and the Keyboard
Designers are famously nauseated by novices' use of neutral quotes — or dumb quoes — in place of true quotes. Why do we care so much? Should we?



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



Matt Soar
Fail Again, Fail Better
So, what of productive failure with respect to graphic design and typography? The idea of failing again and again for a reason? Does it somehow help to define the limits of professional practice?



Rob Walker
Can a Dead Brand Live Again?
Is it possible to revive a dead brand?



Debbie Millman
Stefan Bucher
An interview with graphic designer, illustrator and Daily Monster creator Stefan Bucher.



Debbie Millman
Petrula Vrontikis
Petrula Vrontikis is a graphic designer and educator at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.



Michael Bierut
The Smartest Logo in the Room
The birth, death, and debate around one of Paul Rand's last logos: the "crooked E" he created for Enron.



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.



Debbie Millman
Chip Kidd
Book designer extraordinaire Chip Kidd is also the author of several books including The Cheese Monkeys and The Learners: A Novel.
 




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?



Steven Kroeter
Design Thinking, Muddled Thinking
What does it mean when Harvard Business School makes a list of top design schools? Two words: muddled thinking.



Rob Walker
False Endorsement
There is no shortage of logos in the world, no dearth of brands striving for consumer allegiance and no chance that the creation of new brands and logos will cease.



Andrew Blauvelt
Modernism in the Fly-Over Zone
The story of Peter Seitz provides one example, and we can rest assured that there are many more stories just like his in cities across the country — modernism in the fly-over zone, if you will — which add a critical human dimension to design's rich cultural heritage.



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.



Elizabeth Tunstall
What If Uncle Sam Wanted You?
What if I decided to apply design thinking to the U.S. military? What roles could design thinking play in war? A recent The New York Times article, "Army Enlists Anthropologists in War Zone," makes these questions especially relevant today.



Adrian Shaughnessy
The Designer's Virus
Perhaps he was right and I was wrong? Perhaps it is dumb of me to believe that the only design worth bothering about is design born out of a mixture of personal enquiry and intelligent intuition? I realized I was suffering from the designer's disease: empathy.



Steven Heller
Topanga, I Hardly Knew Ye
I've always wondered why anyone with taste would pay thousands of dollars to publish one of those text-heavy, type-awful, full-page magazine advertisements void of any semblance of graphic design nuance or sophistication.



Michael Bierut
May I Show You My Portfolio?
My art school portfolio has sat in a box, largely untouched, in the closets and basements of the three places I've lived in the last 27 years, sort of like a slowly decaying design time capsule. A few weeks ago, I opened it up for the first time in a long time.



Michael Bierut
You're So Intelligent
Wanting to be taken seriously, designers yearn to be respected for their minds. Yet they take their real gifts — a miraculous fluency with beauty, an ability to manipulate form in a way that can touch people's hearts — for granted.



Jessica Helfand
Another Myth Brilliantly Debunked
The Folding Paper Box Association of America would influence more than just packaging regulations: a half century before the Poynter Institute would claim authorship for its revolutionary Eye-Trac research, the FPBAA was already tracking viewers' visual responses to packaging...



William Drenttel
The Presidential Rash
It was reported this week by the Huffington Post that President George W. Bush has had Lyme Disease since last August — when he got the "characteristic bullseye rash" on his left shin. So what does a Presidential rash look like, anyway?



John Thackara
Design for (Im)mobility: Interview with Domus
John Thackera defines and explains the importance of ethnoecology.



Steven Heller
Martin Weber in the Third Dimension
You may not have heard of Martin J. Weber, but he was a graphic artist, typographer, art director, and most important, inventor of various photographic techniques that gave two-dimensional surfaces the illusion of being reproduced in three dimensions.



Debbie Millman
Bad Boys of Design IV
Designers Marc Alt, Mike Essl, Alberto Rigau and others.



Debbie Millman
Josh Liberson + Ethan Trask
Josh Liberson and Ethan Trask are designers and the founders of the firm Helicopter.



Debbie Millman
Alan Dye
An interview with former Kate Spade Design Director Alan Dye who is currently Creative Director at Apple.



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.



Debbie Millman
Jan Wilker + Hjalti Karlsson
Jan Wilker and Hjalti Karlsson are partners in karlssonwilker and the authors of Tell Me Why.



Debbie Millman
Alice Twemlow
British-born Alice Twemlow is a design critic and the author of What Is Graphic Design For? She also chairs the Design Criticism department at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

 

  




Debbie Millman
Luke Hayman
Previously Design Director at I.D. Magazine, Brill’s Content,Travel + Leisure, and New York Magazine, Luke Hayman is now a partner in the New York office of Pentagram.



Debbie Millman
Janet Froelich
An interview with Janet Froelich, former Creative Director at The New York Times Magazine, who is currently Design Director at Real Simple.



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.



Michael Bierut
Our Little Secret
The documentary Helvetica premieres in a world where everyone knows how to do something that once only very few did: how to set type.



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.



Debbie Millman
Luba Lukova
An interview with award-winning illustrator Luba Lukova, whose work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Library of Congress and Bibliotheque Nationale in France. 



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.



William Drenttel
International Polar Year
In what may turn out to be the biggest international scientific project to date, an army of thousands of scientists will spend the next two years studying the Arctic and Antarctic as part of the International Polar Year, which officially begins this week.



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.



Debbie Millman
Jakob Trollback
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, an interview with designer and filmmaker Jakob Trollback — who is also a DJ.



Debbie Millman
Andrea Deszo
An interview with designer, artist and educator Andrea Deszo.



Debbie Millman
Minda Gralnek
On this episode, Debbie Millman interviews Minda Gralnek, Executive Vice President for Creative Services at the Target Corporation.



Debbie Millman
Marty Neumeier
Marty Neumeier is a brand consultant and the author of Brand Gap, Zag and The Brand Dictionary.



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."



Debbie Millman
Doyald Young
Master typographer Doyald Young is also the author of The Art of the Letter, Logotypes, and Letterforms: Handlettered Logotypes and Other Typographic Considerations.



Debbie Millman
Designers, Writers + Magazines
A conversation with Print’s Joyce Rutter Kaye; Dwell’s Michela Abrahms; Barbara DeWilde of House Beautiful and Laetitia Wolff of Surface.



Debbie Millman
Ze Frank
Debbie Millman interviews Ze Frank — writer, designer and host of The Ze Frank Show.



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.



Debbie Millman
Seth Godin
Seth Godin is the author of Purple Cow and All Marketers Are Liars.



Michael Bierut
The Graphic Glass Ceiling
A week ago, I was the moderator of a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y with Milton Glaser, Chip Kidd and Dave Eggers. Afterwards, someone asked, "Why do you — all three of you — suppose there are so few female graphic designers — or at least so few female 'superstar' graphic designers?" There was a moment of uncomfortable silence. What would your answer be?



Jessica Helfand
Into the Pink
Co-opting a color and making it your own.



William Drenttel
Silk Road Typography
"This is the Silk Road at its worst: a kind of PC 1990s where each and every interest has to be fairly represented — a letter for every voice. The result is Babel, seven discordant voices singing in the wind." Commentary on new European Union 50th anniversary logo, and a look back at the 100th anniversary logo for the New York Public Library.



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?



Kenneth Krushel
The Face Of Oblivion
Faces on supermarket packaging conform to a research-based "psychographic" that hasn't essentially changed in more than two decades. What is it about our self-image that identifies, at least on a consumer basis, with such fictional, even farcical lifestyles?



Michael Bierut
This is My Process
Designers often describe our work processes in terms that are dated and ill-suited for the activities that we actually undertake. Is there a model for the way that artists work that would be intelligible in a business context?



Michael Bierut
Helmut Krone, Period.
One of the greatest designers that ever lived was an advertising art director: Doyle Dane Bernbach's Helmut Krone. A new book celebrates his life and work.



Michael Bierut
The Road to Hell, Part Two: That Elusive Silver Bullet
An online offer to teach anyone to do graphic designer raises the ultimate question: can we conclusively prove the value of design to the general public? We can't? Now what?



Lorraine Wild
Wassup, Beatrice
I've heard endless definitions and descriptions of graphic design: I can recite them all, and on any given day I can identify with one essentialism over another: e.g., "Today, I'm a conceptualizer." I can even be swayed by the argument that, in fact, we work in a moment when graphic design is devolving as a practice identifiable by any common standards. It makes me think of a woman who I have always found completely annoying in her assuredness — Beatrice Warde.



Debbie Millman
John Maeda
A disussion with former MIT Media Lab Director John Maeda, who is currently the 16th President of the Rhode Island School of Design.



Debbie Millman
Steve Sikora, Thomas R. Wright + Charlie Lazor
Steve Sikora, Thomas R. Wright and Charlie Lazo discuss the finer points of pre-fab houses and modern design.



Michael Bierut
The Mysterious Power of Context
Some of the most effective graphic design is neutral and open ended, and acquires its effectiveness only through use and association. Is it possible to anticipate the power of context in design?



Debbie Millman
Stanley Hainsworth
On this episode, Debbie Millman interviews Stanley Hainsworth, former Design Director at Starbucks and the founder of Tether in Seattle.



William Drenttel
The Red Hand : A Graphic History
I keep thinking about the red hand. Where did this graphic metaphor come from? The many uses of the red-hand — it's metaphorically rich and graphic history — remind me that symbols do have meaning. Whatever I think of Congresswoman Nancy Johnson here in northwestern Connecticut, I don't think she got caught red-handed, whether in a cookie jar or pie or pool of blood. This is a bad use of an historical symbol, and trashy politics as well.



Michael Bierut
The Road to Hell: Now Paved with Innovation?
A new magazine from Business Week on design and innovation was created through an unpaid competition. If this is innovation, to hell with it.



Debbie Millman
Ann Willoughby
Debbie Millman interviews Ann Willoughby, president and creative director of Willoughby Design Group, a brand, innovation and identity design firm she founded in 1978.  



Debbie Millman
William Lunderman
On this episode of Design Matters, Debbie Millman interviews William Lunderman, Vice President for Global Design at the Colgate-Palmolive Company.



Debbie Millman
Bad Boys of Design III
This group of Bad Boy designers are: Josh Chen, Manuel Toscano, Alan Dye and Layne Braunstein.



Debbie Millman
Brian Collins
Brian Collins led the brand and innovation division of Ogilvy and  Mather for nearly a decade, before founding his own firm — Collins — in 2007.



Tom Vanderbilt
Wacky Packages of the Global Economy
Why had this one-time Wacky Package, decades after the fact, landed in North Africa (I would later learn you can buy Crust in Libya as well) as a knockoff? Who was behind this strange bit of design deception? Welcome to the funhouse-mirror-lined vortices of the global economy: The Knockoff Zone.



Rob Walker
Animal Pragmatism
A critter label is any label that features an animal. According to ACNielsen, 438 table-wine brands have been introduced in the past three years, and 18 percent — feature an animal on the label.



Debbie Millman
Ed Fella
Ed Fella is an artist, graphic designer and educator whose work has had a critical influence on contemporary typography in the United States and in Europe. 



Debbie Millman
Jessica Helfand + William Drenttel
Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel work in partnership at Winterhouse and are co-founders, with Michael Bierut and Rick Poynor, of Design Observer.



Debbie Millman
Steven Heller + Veronique Vienne
A conversation with writer Véronique Vienne, writer and prolific design historian Steven Heller.



Michael Bierut
When Design is a Matter of Life or Death
When structural engineer William LeMessurier realized that his work on Manhattan's Citicorp Center was flawed, he was faced with a choice: he could keep quiet and gamble with thousands of lives, or he could speak up. What would you do?



Debbie Millman
Peter Buchanan-Smith
Peter Buchanan-Smith, founder of Buchanan-Smith LLC, is the author of Speck and The Wilco Book.



Debbie Millman
Kenneth FitzGerald
Artist, educator and writer Kenneth FitzGerald is currently Associate Professor of Art and Graduate Program Director in the art department at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.



Adrian Shaughnessy
Google and the Tyranny of Good Design
The Google logo — that scrap of oddball typography — is perhaps the most famous piece of graphic design in the world today. In its own small way, it's a little beacon of insurrection, in a world where graphic designers have become the agents of conformity.



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?



Debbie Millman
Grant McCracken
Grant McCracken is the author of Culture and Consumption IPlenitudeBig HairCulture and Consumption II: Markets, Meaning and Brand ManagementThe Long InterviewFlock and Flow, and Transforming Selves.  



Michael Bierut
The Persistence of the Exotic Menial
25 years ago, writer Ralph Caplan said that designers are exotic menials: exotic because of the presumed mystery inherent in what we do, and menial because whatever we do is required only for relatively low-level objectives. Has anything changed since then?



Debbie Millman
Carin Goldberg
Carin Goldberg was a staff designer at CBS Records and Atlantic Records before establishing her own firm, Carin Goldberg Design, in 1982.



Rob Walker
The Story of O's
More than 60 years ago, CheeriOats were introduced to a cereal aisle far less abundant with choices than the one we know today. Cheerios — the shortened name, as of 1945 — remains a powerhouse.



Debbie Millman
Hillman Curtis
Hillman Curtis has designed motion graphic spots for clients such as MTV, Rolling Stone and Adobe and his innovative design solutions have garnered him numerous awards all over the world.



Debbie Millman
Paul Sahre
Graphic designer, illustrator and author Paul Sahre established his own design company in 1997. His office is part design studio and part silkscreen lab: he designs book covers and prints posters.



Debbie Millman
Bill Grant
Bill Grant founded the Atlanta-based Grant Design Collaborative in 1996 and has worked with clients including Adobe Systems, Georgia-Pacific Papers and Steelcase, among many others.



Debbie Millman
Jonathan Hoefler + Tobias Frere-Jones
Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones are partners in their own eponymous type foundry where they developing and digitize original typefaces.



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.



Debbie Millman
Rick Valicenti
Rick Valicenti, founder of the Chicago design firm Thirst and author of the book Emotion As Promotion, talks to Debbie Millman.



Debbie Millman
Chip Kidd
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks to Chip Kidd, award-winning book designer, musician and author.



Michael Bierut
Innovation is the New Black
Innovation is the latest buzzword to overtake the design profession. What does it mean?



Michael Bierut
The Final Days of AT&T
The acquisition of AT&T by SBC will result in, among other things, the retirement of one of Saul Bass's most well-known logos. Does anyone care?



Michael Bierut
The Great Non-Amber-Colored Hope
A student design for a prescription pill bottle takes a metoric rise to mass production and becomes an instant icon in the world of graphic design.



Adrian Shaughnessy
"Can you make the type bigger?"




Rick Poynor
The Guardian’s New European Look
The Guardian's choice of the "Berliner" format, half-way between broadsheet and tabloid, is an inspired alternative. The paper is the first British title to adopt this European page size. Elegant, well-proportioned pages make its tabloid rivals look like poor relations.



Michael Bierut
You May Already Be a Winner
Are graphic design competitions worthwhile?



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.



Michael Bierut
Every New Yorker is a Target
The latest New Yorker magazine has only one advertiser: Target. The effect is disorienting.



Debbie Millman
Emily Oberman
An interview with Emily Oberman, formerly senior designer at M&Co and now partner, with Bonnie Siegler, in the New York design firm Number Seventeen.



Debbie Millman
Bad Boys of Design II
A new group of (very) bad boys: Rodrigo Corral, Marc English, Tan Le, Bennett Peji, Felix Sockwell and John Zapolski



Michael Bierut
Credit Line Goes Here
Design is essentially a collaborative enterprise. That makes assigning credit for the products of our work a complicated issue.



Debbie Millman
Paula Scher
Paula Scher — arguably the most successful and influential woman working in design today — began her graphic design career as a record cover Art Director in the 1970s. She has been a Pentagram partner since 1991.



Debbie Millman
Stefan Sagmeister
A candid and revealing discussion with design innovator Stefan Sagmeister, whose work has been hailed as “intense, cunning and evocative.” 



Debbie Millman
Andrew Geller, Alastair Gordon + Jake Gorst
Andrew Geller, Alastair Gordon and Jake Gorst talk about Gorst's new documentary Leisurama.



Michael Bierut
Call Me Shithead, or, What's in a Name?
Everyone has experience with naming, whether a baby or even a goldfish. The fact that it's so easy is what makes it so hard. The biggest problem, of course, is that new names seldom sound good at first.



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.



Debbie Millman
Design Blogs: The Good, the Bad and the Nasty
Rick Poynor, Armin Vit, Bryony Gomez-Palacio, Jen Beckman, Adrian Hanft and Bennett Holzworth discuss the finer points of design blogging.



Debbie Millman
Sean Adams + Noreen Morioka
Los Angeles-based graphic designers Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka work with a range of clients including MTV, VH1, Sundance and Nickelodeon.



Adrian Shaughnessy
The Designer as Buffoon
The "Designer as Buffoon" phenomenon can be seen in two big-budget, prime-time advertising campaigns currently showing on British television. Both Ford and Ikea are promoting their respective products by offering us pumped-up caricatures of designers and inviting us to guffaw at them.



Debbie Millman
Live From Las Vegas with Rossi Ralenkotter
Debbie Millman interviews Rossi Ralenkotter — President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority — and Emmy Award nominated Set Designer Susan Benjamin.



Michael Bierut
The Supersized, Temporarily Impossible World of Bruce McCall
Illustrator Bruce McCall's vision of an exhuberant, overscale America is evoked by the opening of a new McDonald's in Chicago.



Debbie Millman
Brand Consulting
A discussion about branding, design and cultural anthropology with leading practitioners in each discipline.



Debbie Millman
Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut studied graphic design at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. and worked for a decade at Vignelli Associates before joining Pentagram as a partner in 1990.





Debbie Millman
Marian Bantjes, Alexander Gelman + Michael Surtees
An interview with Marian Bantjes, Alexander Gelman and Michael Surtees of DesignNotes.



Michael Bierut
No Headline Necessary
A wordless billboard depicting the purple-stained fingers of Iraqi voters makes a potent advertisement for that country's newborn democracy.



Debbie Millman
Grant McCracken, Part 2
Grant McCracken PhD, author and a research affiliate at MIT.



Debbie Millman
Grant McCracken, Part 1
Grant McCracken PhD, is an author and a research affiliate at MIT.



Debbie Millman
Steven Heller
Debbie Millman interviews Steven Heller — art director, educator and the author of more than 100 books on design, design history and contemporary culture.



Debbie Millman
Bad Boys of Design
Designers Michael Ian Kaye, Mark Kingsley, Petter Ringbom, James Victore and Armin Vit.



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.



Debbie Millman
Cheryl Swanson
Cheryl Swanson, founder of Toniq, applies her background in anthropology and psychology to the visual task of branding.



Momus
The Strange Commercial
Some commercials rot slowly into strangeness, others seem born with their strangeness fully-grown. I've recently been intrigued by two sets of TV commercials archived on the web, one from late 1960s Germany, the other from early 1980s Japan.



Michael Bierut
Authenticity: A User's Guide
Graphic designers take pleasure in simulation. This makes defining authenticity a tricky thing.



Michael Bierut
The Whole Damn Bus is Cheering
The familiar yellow ribbons stuck to cars urging us to "support our troops" have lots of competition and are horribly designed.



William Drenttel
My Country Is Not A Brand
Branding was originally an approach for creating reputations for commercial products.



Michael Bierut
Logogate in Connecticut, or, The Rodneydangerfieldization of Graphic Design: Part II
A new logo for the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism by Cummings & Good provokes a public controversy on the value of design.



Michael Bierut
The World in Two Footnotes
Writing in Eye Magazine, Nick Bell observes that designers too often act as "agents of neutrality" or "aesthetes of style" and suggests that they focus more on their work's content.



Michael Bierut
Colorama
Grand Central Terminal's enormous Colorama displays by Kodak documented a suburban fantasy world for millions of commuters.



Jessica Helfand
Magazine Without a Name, Brand Without a Promise




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.



Michael Bierut
What is Design For? A Discussion
Rick Poynor and Michael Bierut discuss the purpose and promise of graphic design, in a conversation moderated by Creative Review editor Patrick Burgoyne.



Jessica Helfand
Take Two Logos and Call Me in the Morning




Michael Bierut
The Tyranny of the Tagline
Advertising agencies put great stock in taglines, those simple phrases intended as the core of an evergreen ad campaigns. Now taglines are invading the world of branding, as a new corporate identity for the YWCA reveals.



Michael Bierut
The Idealistic Corporation
American corporations in the mid-twentieth century, such as IBM, Container Corporation, and General Dynamics, worked with designers like Charles and Ray Eames, Herbert Bayer and Erik Nitsche in the conviction that design was not only a tool for business, but an potent instrument for making the world a better place.



Michael Bierut
India Switches Brands
The 2004 elections in India were an exercise in branding as well as politics, as a well-funded "India Shining" campaign failed to convince the electorate to retain the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).



Michael Bierut
Better Nation Building Through Design
A new flag design for Iraq may inadvertantly symbolize much of what is misguided in the US's occupation of that country.



Michael Bierut
Catharsis, Salesmanship, and the Limits of Empire
Nozone #9: Empire and a new promotional campaign for the radio station Air America demonstrate alternate ways that graphic design can engage political issues and their audiences.



Michael Bierut
Stanley Kubrick and the Future of Graphic Design
Stanley Kubrick's attention to the nuances of graphic design, typography, and branding went far beyond his well-documented obsession with Futura Extra Bold. 2001: A Space Odyssey in particular projects a perfectly designed vision of the future that has never been topped.



Michael Bierut
Michael McDonough’s Top Ten Things They Never Taught Me in Design School
Architect Michael McDonough delineates the difference between educational theory and professional practice with “The Top 10 Things They Never Taught Me in Design School.”



Michael Bierut
The Sins of St. Paul
Paul Rand is almost universally revered as the infallible father of American graphic design, which may have blinded his legions of admirers to his flaws: an overemphasis on logos as a communications tool, a lack of engagement in content, a detachment from history, and humorlessness.



Rick Poynor
Stephen Gill: Behind the Billboard
Designers are battlers against entropy: a vital task, but taking the long view, often a doomed, quixotic mission. Stephen Gill’s photographs, showing the disorderly zones behind billboards, offer a reality check.



Michael Bierut
Graphic Design and the New Certainties
Graphic designers claim to want total freedom, but even in this intuitive, arbitrary, "creative" profession, many of us secretly crave limitations, standards, certainties. And certainties are a hard thing to come by these days.



Observed | November 15

Juan Ángel Cotta’s work, especially a collection of hardback books he illustrated in 1960, is one of the missing links between South American publishing and the European modernist traditions. —Steven Heller. [BV]

Need some inspiration? 25 reasons to keep on making stuff “in this time of rampant assholery.” [BV]


Observed | November 13

Are we confusing readability with literary value? The case for difficult books. [BV]

Big Mike Takes Lunch” by filmmaker Nicolas Heller, is a documentary that captures a day in the life of Michael Saviello, manager for 40 years of the iconic East Village barber shop, Astor Place Hairstylists, who paints on his lunch break. [BV]


Observed | November 12

Artificial Intelligence is mapping the Pacific ocean’s secret soundscape in hopes of building the most comprehensive dataset of its kind – an enormous “sound postcard of the ocean.” [BV]

Metal band accused of quitting a tour because their logo was too small on the flyer responds with a tiny logo t-shirt. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | November 09

Brilliant Maps is “making sense of the world, one map at a time” and includes maps of “Countries Which Have At Some Point Claimed To Be Rome’s Successor” and “A Map of Superheroes in NYC & The Areas They Protect”. [BV]

Bob Neill’s Book of Typewriter Art” from 1982 contains instructions for creating a likeness of Queen Elizabeth, Elvis Presley, numerous cats, and a mystery picture all in ascii. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | November 08

Should I delete my social media? Five artists + writers weigh in. [BV]

Fabulous 1970s stock photo model shots: these were the archetypal 1970s faces and fashions. [BV]

What do our oldest books say about us? On the ineffable magic of four little manuscripts of Old English poetry. [BV]


Observed | November 07

The epic rise and fall of the name Heather. [BV]

Sixty-four extreme human emotions visualized, long before the emoji. [BV]


Observed | November 05

Almost published a number of times over the last 30 years, Julius Scott’s manuscript about slaves and sailors in the Caribbean has been an underground sensation and is finally being published. [BV]

While rumors of humans wiping out 60% of animal species been widely mischaracterized, the actual news is still grim. [BV]


Observed | October 31

“I see each commission as a challenge: write a piece of music which lasts between fifteen and twenty minutes, for an orchestra comprising the following 65 instruments, and we’d like it by this date.” Nico Muhly on designing music. [BV]

Boo! The spooky evolution of text message-based horror stories. [BV]


Observed | October 30

In case you need a distraction: A database of paper airplanes with easy to follow folding instructions. [BV]

The singular, cultlike status of the Kit Kat bar in Japan. [BV]


Observed | October 29

The use of skulls as design elements in American logos quintupled as the US went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | October 26

The question of whether time moves in a loop or a line has occupied human minds for millennia. Has physics found the answer? [BV]

Apple’s radical approach to news curation: have humans make selections rather than machines. [BV]


Observed | October 25

“What you do is you contribute these little background moments to people’s lives, and if you can do it in a way that brings a little beauty or pleasure along the way, it’s a home run.” Michael Bierut on his career as a designer. [BV]

The New York Times was one of the last American daily newspapers to add color to its news pages. Here’s why. (via Steven Heller) [BV]

Why are we still arguing for the business value of design? [BV]


Observed | October 24

Social media is not literature, and tweeting is not writing. Imagining Herzog as status updates. (via Arts and Letters Daily) [BV]

So. Is “hipster design” really a thing? [BV]


Observed | October 23

“Even after the word disruption lost its meaning from overuse, it still suffused our understanding of why the ground beneath our feet felt so shaky.” An alternative history of Silicon Valley disruption. [BV]

US political campaigns seem to be moving away from the traditional red, white, and blue color palette. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | October 22

Brutally Honest is a new book out from Emily Ruth Cohen with advice, insights, and best practice business strategies. [BV]



Jobs | November 18