Books


Observer Quarterly

Observer Quarterly

In the winter of 2015, we launched a new publication called Observer Quarterly. The idea is for each themed issue to include original writing, interviews, and photography alongside archival material that draws a narrative between the history and current condition of new and underappreciated aspects of design culture. Our first issue—the Acoustic Issue—covered new ways of looking at sound as part of the design landscape. The second issue examined tagging as a social, cultural, and indexical practice. And our newest issue—following our conference, Taste, which took place in Los Angeles in the spring of 2016—looks at the multiple intersections between design and food.



Observer Quarterly

Design | The Invention of Desire

Advancing a conversation that is unfolding around the globe, Jessica Helfand offers an eye-opening look at how designed things make us feel as well as how—and why—they motivate our behavior.

More books by Jessica Helfand




How To

How to

How to, Michael Bierut’s first career retrospective, is a landmark work in the field. Featuring more than thirty-five of his projects, it reveals his philosophy of graphic design—how to use it to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world. Specially chosen to illustrate the breadth and reach of graphic design today, each entry demonstrates Bierut’s eclectic approach. In his entertaining voice, the artist walks us through each from start to finish, mixing historic images, preliminary drawings (including full-size reproductions of the notebooks he has maintained for more than thirty-five years), working models and rejected alternatives, as well as the finished work. Throughout, he provides insights into the creative process, his working life, his relationship with clients, and the struggles that any design professional faces in bringing innovative ideas to the world. Offering insight and inspiration for artists, designers, students, and anyone interested in how words, images, and ideas can be put together, How to provides insight to the design process of one of this century’s most renowned creative minds.

More books by Michael Bierut




5050

50 Books | 50 Covers Catalog

The ultimate “book of books” to catalog the 2015 winners of the 50 | 50 competition. Publisher, author, and previous 50 Books | 50 Covers recipient Dave Eggers introduces the book. Photographer George Baier IV, who has photographed countless authors and book jacket projects himself, has thoughtfully taken pictures of every book and cover winner. Mohawk generously donated the finest paper. Printed offset, locally, here in the United States. Copies no longer available.



Observer Quarterly

Massimo Vignelli: Collected Writings

Massimo Vignelli (1931–2014) was one of the most influential designers of the twentieth—and twenty-first—centuries. The work he and his wife Lella accomplished at Vignelli Associates is universally admired. While Massimo himself never wrote for Design Observer, he appeared throughout its pages in spirit and as an example for over ten years. This collection of writings about Vignelli from the Design Observer archives—interviews, memories, observations, and critiques—includes selections from the lively comments and discussions that appeared after the original publication of these pieces. Contributors include Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand, Debbie Millman, and Alice Twemlow, among others. Get this book!



Persistence of Vision

Persistence of Vision: Collected Writings of William Drenttel

Designer and publisherWilliam Drenttel (1953–2013) was co-founder and editorial director of Design Observer. Since its inception in 2003, Drenttel contributed to Design Observer almost weekly on all manner of topics, from social change to democracy to his early career on Madison Avenue. We’ve collected two dozen essays—originally published on Design Observer—and an introduction by friend and former literary editor of the New Republic, Leon Wieseltier, and put them into print for the first time, including the lively comments and conversations that followed their original publication. Persistence of Vision is not only a tribute to a greatly missed design leader, but serves as an important addition to the design writing canon. Get this book!



Observed | July 13

Traveling this summer? 22 ambassadors recommend the one book to read before visiting their country. [BV]

Can cottage cheese follow Chobani’s lead and rebrand>a? to achieve the unthinkable—some curb appeal? [LS]


Observed | July 12

What’s Eating the World? The fifth issue of
Weapons of Reason, a publication with a limited run of eight issues, explores the effects of the food industry on our planet with saturated colors and infographics that any designer would appreciate. [LS]

Congratulations to Karen Hofmann, the new Provost of ArtCenter College of Design. She‘s the first woman to hold the position in the 88-year history of the College. [BV]


Observed | July 11

What is the meaning behind the Thin Blue Line flag? (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | July 09

One full hour of 1980‘s video game ads! [BV]

Women running for office are changing the campaign design landscape. [BV]


Observed | July 06

The U.S. Navy once had a concrete ice cream barge that sustained sailors on the high seas. [BV]


Observed | July 05

Addiction + rehab instilled in photographer Nan Goldin a passion for truth and desperate determination to expose the world’s underbelly in all its flawed beauty and harsh realities. [BV]

Illustrator Jean Jullien may change the definition of “dog days of summer” with her new game Dodgy Dogs. [BV]


Observed | July 03

McMansion Hell goes to Texas and you‘re invited to play along! [BV]

How design is helping people with dementia find their way around. [BV]


Observed | July 02

A belated Happy Canada Day to our Canadian readers. Celebrate with Design Canada, a new documentary film, looks at how graphic design has helped to shape Canada’s national identity. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | June 28

City Identities, a new exhibition in London, examines the process of branding cities. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | June 26

Martin Amis on many things, including why complex, long reads can‘t find an audience today. Does design play a role? Does how we read matter? [BV]

Tired of those boring UPC codes on everything? Turn them into art. [BV]


Observed | June 22

In partnership with over 30 museums and institutions from around the world, Google Arts & Culture has launched Faces of Frida, a massive collection of art, letters, essays, videos, and other artifacts about the life and work of Frida Kahlo. (via Kottke.org) [BV]


Observed | June 21

Can design help New York City go zero waste? [BV]

Despite modernism being recognised as an important architectural movement in the UK, many examples have been demolished. Here‘s an illustrated tribute to lost modernist buildings. [BV]

Today’s rainbow-colored logos reflect the joy and optimism inherent in the rainbow in a multitude of new expressions. [BV]


Observed | June 19

How punk rock changed the course of design history. [BV]

Adobe is releasing five fonts based on designs by Bauhaus figures, “lost to history”, which have been revived by German typographer Erik Spiekermann and a group of students. [BV]


Observed | June 14

The history of the 1940 Emeco 10-06 Navy Chair, made of bent aluminum, and strong enough to withstand an 8-story drop from a Chicago window. [BV]


Observed | June 13

Massimo Vignelli’s unused maps for the D.C. Metro are amazing. [BV]

A tale of two hats from Steven Heller. [BV]


Observed | June 12

About two years ago Brooklyn-based polymath Robby Kraft started using algorithmic code to design new origami patterns and they are astounding. [BV]

Herb Lubalin was born 100 years ago. To celebrate, join in to republish Herb Lubalin: American Graphic Designer (1918-81). [BV]


Observed | June 11

Super freaky recently declassified NSA security posters. Seriously. [BV]


Observed | June 07

Encyclopædia Britannica wants to fix false Google results with actual facts. [BV]


Observed | June 06

“Working with children, after all, was the rare field in which women’s gender was seen as an asset rather than an obstacle. As children gained their own spaces, their own toys, and their own diminutive furniture, beginning in the nineteenth century, refining, proselytizing, and testing designs meant for children was women’s work. We see their influence everywhere.” Alexandra Lange on the hidden women of architecture and design. [BV]



Jobs | July 16