Anna Talley is a researcher, writer, and design historian. She holds a BFA in Art and Design History from the Pratt Institute and is currently earning her MA in Design History and Material Culture at the Royal College of Art. She is Interested in the curation of modern and contemporary design and has worked in the curatorial departments of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.




Observed


Design thinking has missed the mark, says Anne-Laure Fayard and Sarah Fathallah in this must-read piece in the Stanford Social Review. “We reject design thinking as a singular tool kit prescribed to solve social problems,” in part because, it has failed to do so. “Instead, we call for a critical stance on design, where critical means both discerning and important.”

The United States, Britain and more than a dozen other countries on Sunday unveiled what a senior U.S. official described as the first detailed international agreement on how to keep artificial intelligence safe from rogue actors, pushing for companies to create AI systems that are "secure by design." .

Dasha Tsapenko is one of a growing number of designers growing clothing from mycellium. (More here.) 

A brief respite of eye candy: this exquisite scrapbook—with typography made from matchboxes, dating from 1875—will bring you a rare moment of analogue joy. (Thanks to Debbie Millman for sharing it!)

Design Observer's approach to paying it forward includes supporting big dreams for those who deserve to see those dreams become a reality. (Spoiler alert: you won't find any “top fifty gifts for creatives” lists here this, or any holiday season.) Instead, we'll be sharing ideas over the next few weeks for ways that you can help someone else. Start here.

South African designer Thebe Magugu incorporates vintage (family) photos into a new line of clothing. (Read more about the Heirloom Shirt Project here.)

Remembering George Tscherny, the graphic design powerhouse whose work defined a post-war golden age of corporate growth, innovation, and consumerism.

The US government has published its Fifth National Climate Assessment, an interagency effort to provide a scientific foundation for policymaking and interventions. While there has been some progress, the current report has dire predictions on the adverse health effects of climate change and the unequal burdens some communities face. (See also the  United Nations Emissions Gap Report.)

"People who wouldn't drink in a social setting because they were embarrassed at having to drink out of a plastic cup —now they can use a mug like everyone else in the room and they don't feel like they're having to use a medical aid." A British potter designs inclusive mugs

Kyle Vogt, the CEO of Cruise, General Motors' autonomous vehicle unit, has stepped down amid serious concerns about the operational safety of the self-driving cars.

Ready to take on the ultimate challenge? Help shape the technology poised to change the world by taking your turn as CEO of OpenAI.

When only 9% of plastics in the Western world are recycled, how do you create change? One designer has an idea about how to tackle waste—our most egregious design flaw—beginning with housewares. 

“For just as copy can be literature, design can be art when it reaches certain levels of originality and distinction.” Legendary designer and art director George Tscherny has died. He was 99.

Prioritizing the needs of the homeless—a model pioneered by Sam Tsemberis and his work with HousingFirst—also benefits from thoughtful (and inclusive) design practices.

Visualizing equity: Masla Empathy Lab, a Montreal-based DEI consultancy, has completed a rebrand led by agency Six Cinquième. The imagery uses rich colors, rugged lines, and “imperfect” blocks inspired by children’s toys to create a welcoming vibe. “In childhood, our world views are untarnished and less biased. We aimed to capture that essence,” says Six Cinquième’s co-founder Ash Phillips.

A nine-year-old boy from Didcot, Oxfordshire, has designed the car of the future, according to the judges of a contest held by Mini and Crayola. Oliver’s design for the exterior of the electric car includes an array of animals and plants so the car would “blend into natural environments.” Oliver is awesome.

Legendary photographer W. Eugene Smith and his vision of a “failed Pittsburgh.” 

Say BIG CHEESE: the world’s largest selfie camera.

The now annual Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Report has dropped, with newly dire predictions for the consequences of unchecked climate change. “Projections of a 2C hotter world reveal a dangerous future, and are a grim reminder that the pace and scale of mitigation efforts seen so far have been woefully inadequate to safeguard people’s health and safety.”

Starbucks workers are striking today — interrupting the company’s annual holiday promotion, "Red Cup Day.” It’s the largest work stoppage in the company’s 50-year history. Workers cite leadership’s refusal to bargain with the union over staffing issues. “It’s degrading and embarrassing to work in stores that are so short staffed on promotional days that we give customers poor service,” says one barista.

Fashion as global relations: Taking center stage at Joburg Fashion Week, Niger fashion designer, Alia Bare, premiered a collection she hopes will promote the rich, eclectic beauty of her country. “When people talk about Niger they always talk about conflict, they talk about poverty and death, they talk about negative things,” she says. “I know most people associate fashion with superficiality. But I think that fashion, through culture, can help to send a good message outside, an image of the country that is positive.”

How a simple experiment, now supported by neuroscience, reveals why the human brain perceives smaller numbers better. 

“Sleep No More”, the Macbeth-inspired immersive theater experience that melded dance and installation art in three huge warehouses in New York City, is closing down after thirteen years

Sony’s new PlayStation Portal. (Scratches head.) I don’t know. Do we like it? No? Yes?

The biggest trend for graphic design in 2024? Subscription based design services.

At Dubai Design Week, an exploration of eco-friendly design; namely, addressing the crucial need for reclaiming historical materials while imagining new forms that foster sustainable practices.

The Folly Cove Designers were a mid-century all-female collective based in Massachusetts, who advocated for designer credit and trademarked their logo in the late 1940s. A comparatively radical tale of twentieth century trailblazers, women making their way, and their mark, in the world: Elena M. Sarni’s new book—a thirteen-year labor of love—is out now from Princeton Architectural Press.  

Price Waterhouse Coopers rethinks office design through a nuanced accessibility lens—even including pink rooms for neurodivergent workers. 

Straddling an intriguing line between late 19th historicism and 20th century modernism, Viennese architects of the Gemeindebauten (or municipal housing projects) took influences from Art Deco, the Viennese Secession and the early Bauhaus (whose glory years in Dessau still lay ahead) to create buildings that broadly resembled each other without being cookie-cutter copies. A fascinating story from Bloomberg about a public housing model that continues to inspire, more than a century later.

"If the home of the past was a machine for distinctions, in the future it must become a collective discipline of intermixing: intermixing of classes, intermixing of identities, intermixing of peoples, and intermixing of cultures.” Philosopher Emanuele Coccia's new book, Philosophy of the Home, will be published in April by Penguin Random House. 



Jobs | November 29