Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.

















































































































































































































































































































































11.27.06
How Hollywood Nailed The Half-Pipe
Pixar
and Animal Logic have mastered a particularly persuasive (and as it turns out, rather literal) form of spin that makes Road Runner look like dryer lint.







09.21.06
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?
































06.22.05
The Adventures of Cynic Boy and Design Mom in 3D
Brainwashed I may be, but I distinctly noted an homage to
Salvador Dalí — with perhaps a gentle nod to René Magritte — last night while sitting through Robert Rodriguez's ludicrous, yet oddly luscious new movie, The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D.




06.10.05
The Cut: When Life Imitates Art (I Mean Design)
CBS Television debuted its new series,
The Cut, (modeled after other reality shows such as NBC's The Apprentice)about "16 aspiring designers."







03.24.05
The Design Police
As unlikely as it sounds:  
Graphic Junkies is a photo blog by  "an active law enforcement officer in the state of Georgia." The photographs are remarkable; the context compelling.






02.18.05
My Friend Flickr
Flickr is a digital photo sharing website and web services suite that was developed by Ludicorp, a Vancouver, Canada company founded in 2002. It's a utopian oddity — a culture enabled by a technology that in turn enables a culture — and it's a brilliant example of socially networked software because it's free, its easy, and it makes sense.




02.16.05
The New Paper Chase: Cyberspace on The Auction Block
On February 23,
Christies in New York will auction more than 1,000 items dating as far back as the early 17th century, all of it tracing the history of cyberspace.















































Observed | April 24

American food is increasingly channeled through a handful of companies: Amazon, Walmart, FreshDirect, Blue Apron. What do we lose if traditional neighborhood supermarkets go under? Meet the man who’s going to save your neighborhood grocery store. [BV]

Timed to coincide with Easter, Earth Day and, for New Englanders, Patriot’s Day: two billboards outside of Boston. [BV]


Observed | April 23

Public Sans is a new typeface from the US Government. According to the General Services Administration, “sometimes you need [a typeface] that’s simple, neutral, and isn’t Helvetica.” Not sure we agree. [BV]


Observed | April 22

A brief memoir of growing up in the library. [BV]

Where can a teen get a poster in 2019? How does a teenager turn their bedroom into a shrine? A wonderful history of the poster and it’s meaning past, current, and future. [BV]

In honor of Earth Day, three galleries that remind us of the beauty and power of nature: the power of storms from Mitch Dobrowner, amazing landscapes from Leah Kennedy, and Earth from space by Astronaut Scott Kelly. [BV]


Observed | April 19

Spam musubi (a Hawaiian snack of canned meat served on rice and wrapped in nori) and other unintended consequences of cultural exchange. [BV]

Despite their seeming environmental unfriendliness, logos with factories and smokestacks have made a comeback in the US. [BV]


Observed | April 18

Post Typography created an unconventional participatory campaign to support the Baltimore Museum of Art‘s conversation series on art, race, social justice, and imagining the future(s) we want. [BV]

Where do you stand on the “Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale”? Why your brain hates slowpokes. [BV]


Observed | April 17

An in-depth look at how the Second World War warped the way United States mapped the world. [BV]


Observed | April 16

Joshua Dudley Greer logged 100,000 miles between 2011 and 2017, a period defined by the financial crisis and election, documenting what he saw along the U.S. Interstate Highway System. [BV]

Pete Buttigieg may be the first candidate to anticipate (and provide for!) graphic design considerations. [JH]


Observed | April 11

The toxic disinformation of social media has rendered traditional forms of humor—like satire—quaint and futile. [BV]

In a study of 26,000 people from over 100 countries, dark blue is the world’s most relaxing color, orange is the happiest, and pink is the sexiest. [BV]


Observed | April 10

Ever wondered what a black hole looks like? Scientists reveal the first picture of a black hole. [BV]

Business Insider wrote about a Twitter thread where the Vignelli Center, Michael Bierut, Jesse Reed, and Alexandra Lange chatted about the difficulty of identifying Helvetica. [BV]


Observed | April 09

Nikil Saval in The New Yorker on how “good design” failed us. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | April 05

Some Friday fun: “A log flume winds its way around a watery course and slowly climbs the lift hill. Reaching the top, it then hurtles down the slope...Splash!” But what if no one is riding? [BV]

The quest to acquire the oldest, most expensive book on the planet: unwrapping the most beautiful Gutenberg of them all. [BV]


Observed | April 04

“All submission to authority humiliates. All exercise of authority perverts.” Roger Perry‘s photos of London graffiti in a time of recession, poor housing, and urban decay. [BV]

Patagonia will no longer emblazon its products with other companies’ logos unless they commit to using their profits for the greater good. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | April 03

Lydian was created by designer and children’s book illustrator Warren Chappell in 1938, but didn’t really find its groove until after World War II when it was the font for Nancy Drew. [BV]

“When I visited for lunch, a few days ago, I found a tawny sea of tight jawlines and Goyard totes, women with blowouts as pristine as their natty Gucci loafers.” A delicious review by Helen Rosner of “the one place in Hudson Yards that feels like New York”. [MB]


Observed | April 02

The MITX DesignTech Summit is coming up next Wednesday, April 10th at the Innovation & Design Building in Boston. Join leaders from JPMorgan Chase, Automattic, Fidelity, athenahealth, Walmart & others as they discuss the business of design. (Check our twitter feed for a discount code.) [BV]

The New Yorker asked five designers, Na Kim, Alex Merto, Paul Sahre, Janet Hansen, and our very own Michael Bierut, to imagine a cover for the Mueller report when it‘s released as a book. [BV]


Observed | April 01

A young paleontologist may have discovered a record of the most significant event in the history of life on Earth: the day the dinosaurs died. [BV]

As we begin to judge the current 50 Covers entries, this collection of 100 brilliant rejected book covers caught our attention. [BV]


Observed | March 28

Hilma af Klint is celebrated as an inventor of abstract art. But she didn’t think of her work as abstract. [BV]


Observed | March 27

A new video about IDEO from Dress Code features over 30+ interviews and is a look behind the curtain at the global design firm, who for 40 years (and counting) has changed the way we think about design. [BV]



Jobs | April 25