Books


Amplifying Accessibility and Abolishing Ableism: Designing to Embolden Black Disability Visual Culture
An excerpt from from An Anthology of Blackness: The State of Black Design.


Adrian Shaughnessy
What is Post-Branding: The Never Ending Race
A review of What is Post-Branding: How to Counter Fundamentalist Marketplace Semiotics.


Hannah Carlson
Schiaparelli’s Pockets
Sensible aspects of clothing are “no sooner put into use than put into play,” dress historian Ann Hollander observed.



On Fighting the Typatriarchy
"My intent was to make a typeface that stands for the strength of a woman at different times in her life. In Indian culture, a woman is expected to be the powerhouse of responsibilities." An excerpt from Feminist Designer.


Stuart Walker
Design Criticism
An excerpt from Stuart Walker’s new book Design for Resilience.



William Kentridge: Prints and Posters
A taste of the first installment in an epic catalogue of William Kentridge’s linocuts, etchings, monotypes, posters, and more.


Adrian Shaughnessy
Hello Human
A review of Michael Horsham’s Hello Human: A History of Visual Communication, out now from Thames & Hudson.


Jessica Helfand
Henry Leutwyler: International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
An interview with photographer Henry Leutwyler that explores his photographic record of some of the nearly 30,000 objects in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva.


Manuel Lima
The New Designer: Design is Local
An excerpt from Manuel Lima’s latest book, The New Designer.



Susan Magsamen, Ivy Ross
Your Brain on Art: Creating Community
An excerpt from the book Your Brain on Art by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross.


Don Norman
Design for a Better World
An excerpt from Don Norman’s new book, Design for a Better World.


Dana Arnett, Kevin Bethune
S10E12: Decolonizing Design
Decolonizing Design: A Cultural Justice Guidebook is a guidebook to the institutional transformation of design theory and practice by restoring the long-excluded cultures of Indigenous, Black, and People of Color communities.


Daniella Zalcman
What We See
The inaugural book from Women Photograph, What We See, is a broad survey that represents the equally broad careers of our members.


Pamela Hovland
Ecological by Design: A History From Scandinavia
Dr. Kjetil Fallan’s "Ecological by Design: A History From Scandinavia" is a book I will be thinking about for a long time.



A Story Made of Pictures
An excerpt from A History of the World (in Dingbats) by David Byrne.




Snails & Monkey Tails
There are countless books that can teach you the alphabet, but almost none that focus on the tiny designs that run interference among the letterforms: those easily overlooked punctuation and typographic symbols.


Sloan Leo
The Infrastructure of Care: Community Design, Healing & Organizational Post-Traumatic Growth
This essay interrogates the relationship between power, decision-making, and organizational healing. It asserts that community design as a practice offers a theoretical framework for organizational dynamic healing that structurally enables those harmed to set the pace and nature of resolution and repair.


Maurice Cherry
Make the Path by Talking
The Birth of Revision Path: The year is 2006.


adrienne maree brown + Lesley-Ann Noel
This Is Our Time!
adrienne maree brown on design, liberation and transformation as told to Lesley-Ann Noel.



Health Design Thinking




Our Will to Live
An excerpt from Our Will to Live, a new book out from Steidl featuring 250 rarely seen concert posters, programs, portraits and scenes rendered by imprisoned artists of the Terezín prison camp.



Jens Risom: A Seat at the Table
An excerpt from Vicky Lowry’s new book "Jens Risom: A Seat at the Table", out this week from Phaidon.



Debbie Millman
Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei joins Debbie Millman to discuss his new memoir 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, depicting a century-long epic tale of China told through a story of his family.


The Editors
Woman Made
A new story of women product designers is told in Woman Made.



Tucker Viemeister
Drama
A review of Drama, a new opus from David Rockwell, by Tucker Viemeister.



A Photographer at a Wedding
Midwife. Funeral director. Wedding photographer. You meet them once on a delicate day. They quickly slip into the inner circle of a family to perform their role during this rite of passage, and then they are gone.



Clara Istlerová, Her Work and Life




äntrepō: Volume 1
äntrepō is a studio project by the DC-based design practice Spaeth Hill.


Robert Finkel + Shea Tillman
The IBM Poster Program
IBM’s mid-century corporate creative direction usually brings to mind Paul Rand, but it’s staff graphic designers and photographers developed posters as a platform for elevating internal communications and initiatives within the company.


Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt
S9E4: Na Kim
Na Kim is an associate creative director at the book publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Susan Yelavich
Beings: Unruly Things, Golems, Cyborgs
Stories of the supranatural would seem to be among those childish things it is long time we put away. But somehow we never do.


Kaleena Sales
Teaching Black Designers
The vibrant complexities of the urban landscape create visual impressions in the mind, eventually serving as a mental library of stored images to use or reference when necessary.


Ellen Lupton
Confidence Equity
Are we born with confidence, or do we earn it? If we don’t have it, how can we get it?



Origins of Design Patents
Although the story of design patents is closely intertwined with that of industrial design, in fact design patents predate the emergence of industrial design as an organized professional discipline by nearly a century.



Sign Painting
In the last ten years or so we have truly witnessed a resurgence of the sign painter’s craft.


The Editors
Self-Reliance
To think through making, to know yourself better through the process of producing something.



The New Art of Making Books
Founded in Philadelphia in 2016, Ulises is a collectively run art bookstore and exhibition space, who edited the recently published Publishing As Practice.


Jason Hill
Artist as Reporter
In the 1940s the New York daily newspaper PM’s experimented with the then already "lost art" of sketch reporting.


Sean Adams
How Design Makes Us Think
An excerpt from Sean Adams’ new book "How Design Makes Us Think".


Augusta Pownall
Rational Simplicity: Rudolph de Harak, Graphic Designer
An interview with Richard Poulin, the long-overdue first comprehensive monograph of Rudolph de Harak’s work.


Adrian Shaughnessy
Impact
Today, we use the internet and social media feeds to stay abreast of developments, but we used to rely on the design press. Already, most of the major players have left the stage. Will the few remaining stalwarts be around in 10 years’ time?



Covering Black America
Decades ago, the great artist, poet, musician, and author Gil Scott-Heron famously proclaimed, “The revolution will not be televised.” He was right...It was, however, delivered monthly to newsstands and Black homes within the pages of Ebony.


Steven Heller
A Month With President Obama
I spent last month, approximately three hours-a-night, seven-days-a-week, with President Barack H. Obama.


Steven Heller
Imagine, Observe, Remember
The poetically enigmatic title says it all: Imagine, Observe, Remember; it is a book about process, memory, remembrance and interpretation.


Jessica Helfand
On Learning
What resonates most unequivocally here is Emerson ’s plea for individuality—that iron string—the sovereignty of selfhood.



Steven Heller
Milton Glaser’s First Last Hurrah
Sketch & Finish illustrates Glaser’s teaching agenda, which is to say, one makes sketches to explore the unknown.


Patrick Fry
Magic Papers
Magic is largely a solitary endeavour, but the channels of its tips and tricks had a little-known heyday around a hundred years ago.


Jessica Helfand + Claire Weisz
On Architecture
Herewith, the first in a series of conversations with artists, architects, photographers, cinematographers, designers and makers of all kinds, from all over the world.



Word Rain
In fall of 1969, a strange and brilliant book came into the world.



Steven Heller
The Influence of Nightlife on Design
Cabarets, cafes, and nightclubs are as essential to the development of Modern avant garde art and design movements as are galleries, salons, and museums.


Steven Heller
Let’s Give Thanks for Books About Magazines
If you love print magazines and bemoan their demise Steven Heller has seasonal gift suggestions for you.


Steven Heller
The Novel That Took Me Down Jojo’s Rabbit Hole
Steven Heller interviews the author of "Caging Skies", the novel the new film Jojo Rabbit is based on.



Steven Heller
Dave King (RIP)
Last January I thought I had received an email from a ghost.



Steven Heller
Booklover’s Guide to Le-Tan
Steven Heller on illustrator Pierre Le-Tan and his daughter Cleo Le-Tan’s A Booklover’s Guide to New York.



Steven Heller
The Motivational Industrial Complex
This publishing season I’ve found three motivational books, each on the benefits of creative activity that, despite the biases noted above, I would suggest you read, if only to be entertained.


Jonas Banker + Ida Wessel
Process
The purpose pf this book is to reveal how physical sketching intertwines with critical thinking in the creative process, well beyond theoretical design jargon.


Steven Heller
The Bauhaus is Forever
You can never have too much Bauhaus.


Debbie Millman
Austin Kleon
Debbie talks with Austin Kleon, who describes himself as ’a writer who draws’.


Alex Cameron
On The Graphic Design Reader
Teal Triggs’ and Leslie Atzmon’s The Graphic Design Reader is as challenging as it is necessary.


Steven Heller
Don Wall: Brave New Book Design
Steven Heller talks to architect Don Wall about his radical book from 1971: Visionary Cities: the Arcology of Paolo Soleri.


Brian LaRossa
Why it Matters to Me if Designers Read and Write
Literacy means being an engaged and responsible citizen. It means building sympathy and empathy. It means being radically curious and pursuing meaning with a sense of purpose.


Ken Gordon
Designers Like You Should Read Machines Like Me
People, you might have noticed, are wracking their brains to understand artificial intelligence.


Debbie Millman
Elizabeth Gilbert
Debbie talks with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love about the love of her life and her latest book City of Girls.


The Editors
Whose Book and Cover Designs are the Best of 2018?
Announcing the 2018 50 Books | 50 Covers selections.


Brian LaRossa
Should Book Publishing Leave New York City?
America’s publishing trade took root and flourished in New York because the city’s cultural and geographic conditions created an optimal environment for that to happen.


Steven Heller
Seymour Chwast: Few Words, Many Letters
Seymour Chwast, a man of few words, wishes there were more than 26 letters in the alphabet.


Ken Gordon
In the Future, Life Online Could Be “The Trial”—Unless We Design Something Better
The Trial is seen as prophetic by many.


Steven Heller
Photographing Science
The role that image makers have in the fields of science and engineering is more vital, especially now.


Steven Heller
Born to be Posthumous
Your book on Edward Gorey has been a long term journey for you. I know why I want to spend time reading it, but why did you want to invest so much of your life in Gorey’s head?


Jon Contino
Branding Baseball By Hand
Baseball, survivial, tradition, make-believe: the most exciting way to spend an afternoon.



Observed


“As a person who spent the first part of my career as a graphic designer and art director, I immediately saw the visual power and nearly infinite graphic possibilities of this image.” In today's New York Times, Charles Blow discusses the irrefutable power of an iconic photograph.

In New York City, The Design Trust for Public Space is looking for photographers with “unique lenses on an equitable water future for New York”. Deadline for entry is 11 August. More here.

One artist's (musical) cry for help—or at least, fewer fast-food franchises in North Adams, Massachusetts.

“My design philosophy is to make people happy and comfortable in their environment,” says the 83-year old Irish designer known simply by her first name—Clodagh. “Since I don’t know the rules, I can actually break them all the time.” 

Design for accessibility, blessedly, is on the minds of architects and builders all over the world. Given the fact that an estimated 15-20% of the population is neurodivergent, commercial buildings are increasingly working to become more welcoming, inclusive, and comfortable for all individuals.

“While designers are eager for praise and acclaim and create an aura of ostensibly cultured and intellectual pursuit, often involving awards and accolades, design itself takes no responsibility for what happens when things go wrong.” An excerpt from Manuel Lima's latest book.  

Scientists are designing a space suit that converts urine into drinking water. More here.

Graphology geeks, rejoice! A new book featuring a selection of treasures from the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford is out from our friends at University of Chicago Press.

Sad but true: according to Q1 data collected by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, undergraduates choosing to major in Art History, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Graphic Design are associated with the highest rates of unemployment across the nation.

The Underground Railroad Stamps, for the United States Postal Service—released in May— feature 10 portraits of some of the men and women who escaped slavery and/or helped others escape: Catharine Coffin, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Garrett, Laura Haviland, Lewis Hayden, Harriet Jacobs, William Lambert, Jermain Loguen, William Still and Harriet Tubman. Designed by Antonio Alcalá, of Studio A,  the stamp, observes Steven Heller, “has done an important job of teaching American history to the public through these miniature ‘posters’ ”.

Randy Hunt is the new chair of the MFA “Designer as Entrepreneur” program at the School of Visual Arts in New York, succeeding founding co-chairs Steven Heller and Lita Talarico.

At Tulane, architecture students build homes for the homeless.

Cesar Rivera—who leads design for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta—has been named the next board chair of AIGA.

Founded in 1944 by Winston Churchill’s government to help accelerate post-war economic growth, The UK Design Council is on a mission to put the planet at the heart of the sector’s work.

Figma's new AI tool hits a roadblock.

Unlike most of the world, Iceland's design scene skews overwhelmingly female. Nat Barker explores what makes the tiny Nordic nation so different.

"If MoMA is going to get serious about this world, it needs to start by dumping the whole concept of “Latin America” and start getting specific." Carolina A. Miranda skillfully reviews Crafting Modernity, an exhibition about design (yes, in Latin America) that runs through the summer at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Logo lunacy for the New York Jets!

Professor Nayef Al-Rodhan—a philosopher, neuroscientist, geostrategist, and futurologist who currently leads the Geopolitics and Global Futures Department at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Switzerland—holds strong opinions about architecture, which he characterizes as “an intrinsically philosophical enterprise grounded in aesthetics and ethics, including theories of human nature”. And he has something to say about its future, particularly in the age of artificial intelligence.

Co. Design is now Fast Company Design.

From our friends at the MITPress Reader (an occasional newsletter that we can't recommend highly enough), the architect Moshe Safdie offers a beautiful remembrance of steps—and insights on their complexity—that led him to a life in design. (Also in this edition: graphic design enthusiasts will love this story on the design of the original edition of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown's Learning from Las Vegas.)

At The Design Museum in London, a more "rainbow-hued version of the Barbie universe". 

Right-leaning public interest groups have filed a barrage of federal lawsuits intended to dismantle long-standing corporate and government programs that consider race in job placement. With an alleged goal of “complete race neutrality” (a view of radical equality that, for example, lawyers for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty think is “in line with the Declaration of Independence”) litigants are chippping away at the use of affirmative action across America.  

As we wind down Pride Month 2024, a look at how queer theory apples to urban design: as theory and practice grows more empathetic towards the needs of its diverse stakeholders, queer urban design brings a broad and holistic shift to understanding identity and community in publicly inhabited spaces, challenging traditional (and often rigid) methods of city planning by applying more inclusive criteria to reflect fluidity and interconnectedness. 

Longevity, by Design: Apple has published a 24-page document outlining its key principles for designing hardware that endures.

Manchester City released a brand-new club font to use on the player’s shirts. But instead of tapping the skills of renowned typeface firms who routinely work with sports teams and brands, the Premier League champions asked former Oasis rocker Noel Gallagher to submit a brief. So he did! And the crowd went wild.

Designer Vivienne Westwood’s personal wardrobe goes to auction.

The UK's Design Council has announced a plan to upskill one million designers for the green transition by 2030. Their report, A Blueprint for Renewal: Design and Technology Education, was published with a group of 20 design and education organizations. 

The Peabody-award nominated audio documentarians at Scene on Radio have just dropped CAPITALISM. A full season, a dozen or so episodes, exploring the world's dominant economic system -- how people shaped it over time and what to do about it now that more and more people see capitalism as the problem, not the solution. Produced by host/producer John Biewen with co-host Design Observer’s Ellen McGirt and story editor Loretta Williams, among other amazing collaborators.  The trailer is here; find it wherever you get your podcasts.

Speaking of AI, Kevin Bethune would like a word with Adobe. 



Jobs | July 18