Disaster Relief


Paul Polak
The SunWater Project: Advanced Solar Technology for Poor Farmers
Paul Polak on SunWater: a radically affordable solar water pump that will transform small plot agriculture and help bring the world's poorest families out of poverty.


John Thackara
‘Beyond Good Intentions’ – The Movie
A new documentary hopes to answer the question "What happens in a disaster area after the initial wave of support?"


John Thackara
From Druids to Biorefineries: Innovation in a Small Nation
Small nations can be flexible in ways that big one cannot.



Mark Lamster
Majority Report
Review of Design with the Other 90%: Cities


John Thackara
Utopia is Here
Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner, made in 1982, portrays a dystopian Los Angeles as it might be in 2019. In just eight years we are due to find out whether or not the film was an accurate prediction.



Ernest Beck
Creative Support for Japan
Creative responses to the crisis in Japan.



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



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



Ernest Beck
State of Shelter
Relief organizations still rely on the same basic options for emergency housing, but new ideas are taking hold.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF and Early Childhood Development
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Early Childhood Development Project proposed a new approach to emergency kits that would be more precisely tuned to young children’s intellectual and emotional needs, as well as outlined a basis for the next AIGA/INDEX: Aspen Design Challenge.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Initial Report
Initial report on the 2009 Aspen Design Summit, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute.


Bradford McKee
Float House
Report on a floating house designed by Morphosis and UCLA architecture students for the Make It Right Foundation,



Ernest Beck
Emergency Response Studio
Report on artist Paul Villinski's mobile studio, which he converted from a trailer of the type used by FEMA to house victims of Hurricane Katrina.



Observed | January 22

The aging beauty of Soviet control rooms. [MPL]


Observed | January 20

Nike’s new sports hijab, a Beazley Design of the Year nominee, is not without controversy. [MPL]


Observed | January 19

The photobooks that inspire Peter Funch. [MPL]

It really is all about context. (And consequence.) [JH]


Observed | January 18

Spooky design job title of the day: hotels are now offering Instagram “butlers” to help you get that perfect shot. [JH]

Arab designers. All women. All amazing. [JH]

The secret weapon of the Starbucks logo is asymmetry. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | January 17

Inside one of America‘s last pencil factories. [MPL]


Observed | January 16

Design, Hong Kong, and the future. [JH]

IKEA invents the pregnancy test advertisement. [JH]

Is interface design to blame for the false Hawaii missile alert? [JH]


Observed | January 15

How good design can improve peoples’ lives: a look back at the design history of the baby transport system. [JH]

A new year’s resolution from Gizmodo: they’re going to write more about design. [JH]

Design is ... more than a department ... more than a phase ... more than a feeling! McKinsey explains. [JH]


Observed | January 12

Edith Wharton’s design legacy. [JH]

Cycling their way from Europe to Asia, two women are researching the history and contemporary uses of paper. [JH]


Observed | January 11

Is an artistic “hobby” the key for scientific fame? [JH]

Extraordinary visual evidence of climate change: a worthy Oscar contender, and a cautionary tale of epic scale. [JH]


Observed | January 10

E-waste graveyards. [MPL]

Up next: countertop dishwashers. [MPL]

What Google Street View tells us about income. [MPL]


Observed | January 09

If we do say so ourselves, the brilliant Craeft review from Michael Bierut on NYTBR is worth a read. [BV]


Observed | January 08

Raising Places: how the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is helping to support design. [JH]

Probably 2017’s best song about furniture design. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

What will graphic design look like in 2018? [JH]


Observed | January 05

Intelligent design—for robots. [JH]


Observed | January 04

In the wake of the net neutrality decision, should cities build internet networks? [BV]

The most stolen books according to indie bookstore owners: Joan Didion, Kerouac, Vonnegut, Bukowski, and somewhat surprisingly, ethics books from the philosophy section. [BV]


Observed | January 03

The design of the City of Oakland’s tree logo was inspired by a pair of cufflinks. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | January 02

In Malawi, a Dutch firm uses local materials to create affordable equipment for hospitals. [JH]



Jobs | January 23