Books


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?


The Design Observer Cooperative

Observed | August 06

On the power (and ephemerality) of street art. [JH]

The UX of LEGO interface panels. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | August 03

Antica is a new type family designed by Ale Paul & the Sudtipos team. [JH]


Observed | July 31

Branding a pandemic. (via Kim Baer.) [JH]


Observed | July 28

Why do these Apple ads, from a company that takes such pride in design, feature four people who are clearly not trained designers, designing? [BV]


Observed | July 27

Communicative efficiency is not the same as communicative empathy, and one of the truly gut-punching limits of social media is how poorly it corresponds to the individual experience of human grief. A primer by Jason Fields. [JH]


Observed | July 22

Futurefeed is an online space where writers, artists, and thinkers are invited to experiment + explore ideas that are important to them over an extended period of time. [JH]


Observed | July 21

Open a new window somewhere in the world. [BV]

The X-Prize Mask Challenge is looking for a face mask that is attractive, innovative, and achieves the filtration efficacy on par with a surgical mask. PS: You also have to be under 25 years old to enter. (Via Kim Baer.) [JH]


Observed | July 16

How Mexico City crowdsourced a map of its riotous informal bus system. [BV]

The atlas of surveillance. (Yes, you read that right.) [JH]


Observed | July 15

Social Matter, Social Design challenges the way we look at, think of, and interact with the social world by emphasizing the role of materiality. [JH]

When governors are graphic designers: a continuing story. [JH]


Observed | July 14

Design For America, the World Design Organization, and IBM team up to launch the COVID Design Challenge. [JH]

A national reckoning: why It is falling to individuals to become their own interim museums and archives. [JH]


Observed | July 10

Together again for the very first time, Microsoft ditches backgrounds for foregrounds—like simulated office desks. [JH]

A new, coronavirus-inspired concoction at Alinea, one of the world’s most famous restaurants, is spurring backlash online. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | July 08

A look inside the typography of the Biden campaign, by Hoefler & Co. [JH]


Observed | July 06

Designer and photographer Margaret Morton, who taught for many years at Cooper Union and at Yale, died last week at her home in New York City. She was 71. [JH]


Observed | July 03

Architect James Biber on backgrounds as the new foregrounds. (Via Adrian Shaughnessy.) [JH]


Observed | July 01

An exhaustive study of house address number styles. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | June 29

Aric Jenkins curated some essential writing on racial inequity and injustice in urban planning and design for Pocket. [BV]

Alice Rawsthorn and Paula Antonelli cohost Design Emergency, a new series on Instagram Live. [JH]


Observed | June 26

In the “you can’t make this shit up” department, from the company once described as a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money, Goldman Sachs releases a new font you’re not allowed to criticize Goldman Sachs with. (H/T Jeffrey Kittay) [JH]


Observed | June 24

The Drift is a new online magazine about politics and culture. (Don’t miss what bores them.) [JH]


Observed | June 23

June 24 at noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern: don‘t miss Rachel Gogel speaking in the Ladies Who Create series from Dropbox. [JH]


Observed | June 10

IBM will no longer offer, develop, or research facial recognition technology. [BV]


Observed | June 01

For the Army Corps of Engineers in 1944, Harold Fisk created extraordinarily beautiful maps of the changing Mississippi River over time. [MB]


Observed | May 29

A brilliant and timely design exploration: Alexandra Bell disrupts perception by rewriting headlines. (Via Lana Rigsby.) [JH]


Observed | May 28

The new book from Scott Berkun, How Design Makes the World, “will help you see design everywhere and question why it works—or why it fails.”—Ellen Lupton. Watch the trailer. [BV]



Jobs | August 08