Health + Safety

Ellen McGirt
It’s Time to Find Your People
Announcing Equity Observer, Design Observer’s new editorial vertical and newsletter focused on the people and ideas redesigning the world for good.


Dana Arnett, Kevin Bethune
S10E9: Kim Erwin
Kim Erwin is the Director of the Equitable Healthcare Lab and Associate Professor of Practice at IIT Institute of Design.


Sara Hendren, Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive S2E9: The Insulin Pump
How does the act of care get designed into our everyday lives—beyond medical procedures and technology, into our relationships, our schedules, our lives? On this episode of The Futures Archive, Lee Moreau and Sara Hendren consider the insulin pump, and discuss what it might look like to think about a medical device in the context of all that’s actually human.


Dana Arnett, Kevin Bethune
S10E1: Ernesto Quinteros
Redefining the boundaries between people, products, and patients: Ernesto Quinteros, the Chief Design Officer at Johnson & Johnson.


Sara Hendren, Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive S2E7: The Refrigerator
On this episode of The Futures Archive Lee Moreau and Sara Hendren discuss designing for health and safety within the everyday context of refrigeration and the mysterious coldscape.


Sara Hendren, Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive S2E4: The Defibrillator
On this episode of The Futures Archive Lee Moreau and Sara Hendren discuss the defibrillator, designing life-saving machines for everyday users, and the power of the power button.



Health Design Thinking



Lee Moreau + David Sun Kong
The Futures Archive S1E9: The Mask
On this episode of The Futures Archive Lee Moreau and David Sun Kong discuss the mask, microbes, and the importance of designing with the microbiome not against it.


Lee Moreau + Devorah Klein
The Futures Archive S1E6: The Toilet
On this episode of The Futures Archive, host Lee Moreau and this episode’s guest host, Devorah Klein, discuss the toilet, privacy, and connections.


Akansha Kukreja
Information Design for Healthcare
The disparity of knowledge between the medical community and general population creates a unique problem for designers.


Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt
S7E3: Sara Hendren
Sarah Hendren is an artist, design researcher, and professor at the Olin College of Engineering.


Michael Bierut
S6E10: Bon Ku
Dr. Bon Ku is assistant dean for health and design at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S5E11: Renata Souza
Renata Souza Luque is the creator of Thomy, an insulin kit for children with Type 1 diabetes.


Mary Badon
Red Light, Green Light: The Invention of the Traffic Signal
The traffic light — invented in 1912 by a policeman in Detroit — has radically impacted the way transportation rules have developed over the past 100 years, all over the world.


Olivia Coetzee
Use Only as Directed: Safety is not Always Safe
The safety pin, the safety match, the safety razor: are these objects as safe as their names suggest?


Michale Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S1E9: Jay Parkinson
Dr. Jay Parkinson is the founder of Sherpaa, an online medical practice.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Mind-Body Problems
Nutrition Facts, Mark Bittman’s food rating system, colon cancer screening, Time Well Spent, Peter Arno, Flat File



John Thackara
When Tech In Care Is Evil
I spent the last two weeks in-and-around a care home in England that looks after people with dementia and terminal illness, and their families – including, this time, mine.


Manuela Aguirre
Design for Care
A review of Design for Care: Innovating Healthcare Experience, a new book by Peter H. Jones. 


The Editors
Records for Life: Rethinking the Immunization Card
In conjunction with World Immunization Week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation challenged the global health and design communities to reconsider the immunization card, classically one of the principal barriers to vaccination.



John Thackara
The Dementia Care Economy
A proposition for the economy of ‘disease-modifying therapy’ for dementia.


John Thackara
Dementia: Care Before Cure
The downside of declaring war on a disease like dementia is to diminish social solidarity. But there are solutions.


Debbie Millman
Debbie Millman on Sleep
Debbie Millman is a designer, author, educator, strategist and host of the podcast Design Matters.


Thomas Fisher
Thomas Fisher on Survival
Thomas Fisher is dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota.


Nicholas Christakis
Nicholas Christakis on Networks
Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity.


Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Upgrade Yourself!
If appearances matter more than ever, as we are constantly told, the personal makeover has become our most fundamental design task.



Observed
Transform 2013: Design Innovation in Healthcare
Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation Transform Symposium will take place September 8-10 2013, in Rochester, MN.


John Thackara
Paranoid But Pretty
A review of Matthias Megyeri's new show at the German Architecture Center, and a review of the question the exhibition inspires: "Are we safer?"



Observed
Celebrate World Toilet Day
2.6 billion people don't have access to a toilet. For them poop can be poison.



Observed
They Go To Die
They Go to Die is a documentary film-in-progress investigating the life of four former migrant gold mineworkers in South Africa and Swaziland who have contracted drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) and HIV while working at the gold mine.


Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum
Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.



Observed
Amend
Minneapolis-based Thesis is a design collective whose efforts to raise awareness about health care reform has led them to creat the Amend wrist band.



Observed
A Public Service Announcement: Collecting Air
A public service spot for the American Lung Association, “Alvin Grimes, Air Collector,” features him with his collection.



John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.



David Stairs
Demythologizing Design: Another View of "Design with the Other 90%: CITIES"
David Stairs reviews "Design with other 90%:Cities"


William Drenttel, and John Cary
Give the Gift of Design this Holiday Season
Tax-deductible gifts for the holiday season: they feel good for the giver, meaningful for the recipient, and provide crucial support for hardworking nonprofits on the ground.



John Thackara
5% Health: The Risk of Catabolic Collapse and Peak Fat in Modern Health Systems
The writer, at Mayo Clinic's "Transform" conference, asks: Are high-end medical systems the best place to focus design's creative capacity?



Jean W. Rosenthal
Project Masiluleke: Texting and Testing to Fight HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Summary of Project Masiluleke case study describing design process for fighting HIV/AIDS in South Africa.



Ernest Beck
San+Co
A pilot project developed for India provides santiation and electricity in a single venture.



Robin Cembalest
Shrink Rap
Mexican designer/artist Pedro Reyes opens a temporary sanatorium in Brooklyn.



Alexandra Lange
On GOOD: Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
If you want parents to use public transportation, first you have to fix the car seat.



Ernest Beck
Project Mwana
A new effort to diagnosis and treat infant HIV/AIDS in remote African regions.



Phil Patton
Sustainable Gold
Phil Patton on the conference “Gold: Substance, Symbol and Significance."



Julie Lasky
Search for the Obvious: Challenge #2
Once again, Acumen Fund is looking for creative solutions to social problems. This time the focus is on mothers.



Julie Lasky
Rock Girl Benches
Rock Girl in Cape Town offers real and symbolic safe places for girls and women.



Julie Lasky
Acumen Sexy Sanitation Challenge
Acumen Fund announces winners of its "Sexy Sanitation" challenge.



The Editors
Sexy Sanitation
Competition brief for Acumen Fund challenge to improve access to sanitation.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Update 09.25.10
Dateline Aspen. An on-going report on progress on the six projects developed at the Aspen Design Summit in November 2009.



Ernest Beck
Camel Mobile Clinic Update
Update on Art Center's Design Matters program, which prototypes a system for transporting medicine on camel back to remote communities in Kenya. Originally published July 18, 2009.



Photo by Pieter Hugo
Permanent Error
Photo by Pieter Hugo of Ghana's Agbogbloshie slum.



Alexandra Lange
Fix the Car Seat
Having just returned from a vacation where the logistics of the car seat were a primary part of trip planning, I have a plea on behalf of all parents, and a challenge for industrial and car designers: FIX THE CAR SEAT.



William Underhill
D-Rev Blue Star Jaundice Treatment
Report on Blue Star, D-Rev's affordable jaundice treatment for newborn babies in the developing world.



Ernest Beck
Es Tiempo
Report on Es Tiempo, a campaign designed to encourage Hispanic women in Southern California to seek annual screenings for cervical cancer.



Jay Parkinson
The Road to Wellville
Recommendations for designing a healthcare system around our nation's health needs — chronic care management, prevention and acute care treatment — not history, doctors and their profitability.



Jonathan Schultz
EyeWriter
Report on the EyeWriter software system, which allows a graffiti artist suffering from ALS to continue working merely by moving his eyes.


Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF Menstruation Challenge
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Menstruation Challenge Project proposed an “eco-system” whereby sanitary pads became a linchpin for local economic growth, for educational programs about health and hygiene and for research into materials that could be adapted to other countries.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: Sustainable Food and Childhood Obesity
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the Sustainable Food Project focused on accelerating the shift from a global, abstract food system to a regional, real food system via a robust portfolio of activities — including a grand challenge and a series of youth-engagement programs.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: CDC and Healthy Aging
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the CDC Healthy Aging Project began with the initial premise to enhance the ability of public health entities to determine whether adults 50 and over have received recommended preventive health services. The Project developed a “5 over 50” concept and brand name, and a new goal: to double the current number of people who are “up to date” with these preventive measures.



Jonathan Schultz
Kick4Life
AIDS education mixes with soccer in plans for a new Lesotho stadium.



Lindsay Stark
Renewal
Aid worker Lindsay Stark's portrait of the ritual purification of a child soldier in Sierra Leone.



Ernest Beck
Emergency Response Studio
Report on artist Paul Villinski's mobile studio, which he converted from a trailer of the type used by FEMA to house victims of Hurricane Katrina.



Andrea Codrington
Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor
Report on the Freeplay fetal heart rate monitor, which won the 2009 INDEX award in the Body category.



Ernest Beck
Peepoobag
Report on Peepoobag, a new self-sanitizing, single-use, biodegradable container for human waste.



Ernest Beck
Chulha Stove

Report on the Chulha stove designed by Philips to reduce indoor air pollution in developing countries.





Mark Dery
Paradise Fouled
Review of Crude, Joe Berlinger's documentary film about a lawsuit filed against Chevron by denizens of the Ecuadorean Amazon.



Karrie Jacobs
A Thousand Points on Light: Part II
Continuation of debate between lighting designer Leni Schwendinger and Dark-Sky advocate Susan Harder about proper illumination of urban, suburban and rural environments.



Karrie Jacobs
A Thousand Points on Light: Part I
Debate between lighting designer Leni Schwendinger and Dark-Sky advocate Susan Harder about proper illumination of urban, suburban and rural environments.



Chappell Ellison
Compulsion: Where Object Meets Anxiety
At the age of 30, my brother turned to our mother and said, “I never thought I’d make is this far.” In his early 20s, he was officially diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).



Alexandra Lange
Cooked
McDonald's McCafe Mocha is just one more reason that America is fat.



Ernest Beck
Camel Mobile Clinic
Art Center's Design Matters program prototypes a system for transporting medicine on camel back to remote communities in Kenya.



John Thackara
Doctors with iPhones
The neighborhood doctor is back — and this time, he has an iPhone.



Observed


The American artist Kehinde Wiley—whose work he describes as “shedding light on the inequities Black and Brown people face in our society,”—has been accused of sexual misconduct. Wiley has denied the charges, but two museums have canceled upcoming exhibitions of his work.

In tandem with this exhibition (on view through the end of January 2025),  a new, five-episode podcast—hosted by British design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn—traces the evolution of Gae Aulenti through the voices of friends, curators, and a range of international architects.

The Los Angeles Design Festival is looking for new board members.

The Obama Foundation is looking for a new VP of Communications.

An Idaho pub owner celebrates “Homosexual Awesomeness Month” because “Pride is too extreme.”

SCOTUS gets it right on tribal health care:  In Becerra v. San Carlos Apache Tribe, the justices ruled that the federal government will have to pay more for health care on the reservations, making it a ruling on sovereignty

Something’s going on at Baraboo High School, y’all. Wisconsin? Thoughts?

Anne H. Berry, whose work focuses on representation and diversity in design as well as ethnic and racial disparities in the field, has been selected to be the next Director of the School of Design in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at UIC Chicago.

Read about the fifty people helping to shape Chicago. (Gensler's Andre Brumfield leads the charge!)

You need a Wall Street Journal digital subscription to view this in its entirety, but the story needs to be shared whether you read it or not: high-profile school shootings, and the fear they spread, are shaping how architects design the modern American school.

Anna Gerber and Anna Holsgrove's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is a new quarterly magazine focused on the relationship between technology and an unlikely trio of influences: ancient wisdom, spiritual practices, and natural intelligence. Their first issue is expected later this summer.

Grace Jun's new book on adaptive, wearable design—Fashion, Disability, and Co-design—is,  in her own words, “a practical book on the intricacies of design with examples of the many ways people can collaboratively work together”. Jun will be speaking on May 31st at Rizzoli Bookstore at 6pm in New York City.  (She was our guest on The Design of Business | The Business of Design back in season two.)

At the Business Design Centre in London, New Designers—now in its 39th year—brings together a whopping 3,000 design graduates every year from over 100 universities. The first week (26–29 June) highlights fashion and costume, contemporary design crafts, textiles, ceramics, glass, jewelry, and precious metalwork. The second week (3–6 July 2024) showcases furniture, product design, industrial design, spatial design, graphic design, illustration,  animation, motion art, digital art, and game design.

In a shocking announcement this morning, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia announces it will cease operations effective on June 7, 2024.

In partnership with the IKEA Foundation, What Design Can Do supports creative climate solutions aimed at fostering a more circular society. The winning projects in their latest challenge—Redesign Everything–include approaches such as bio-cement reef structures that mimic oyster reefs, bead alternatives designed to eliminate microplastics, and the use of agro-industrial fruit waste to create sustainable biomaterials.

Can you taste design? Designer, researcher, and author of Why Fonts Matter Sarah Hyndman has been conducting “typosensory research” experiments into how our senses “sway our perception.” 

A Banksy museum… with no Banksys?

Three Black men are suing American Airlines for racial discrimination, alleging all Black male passengers — none of whom were traveling together — were removed from their departing flight "because a white male flight attendant had complained about an unidentified passenger's body odor.” In 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory warning Black travelers that the airline had a “corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias.” The advisory was lifted in 2018.

How do you know it’s racist if you didn’t watch it? This was largely the response from the three judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, who appeared unmoved by the accusation of a white former manager that his employer, Honeywell International, had fired him for refusing to attend a brief training session on unconscious bias. “It would be very different if your client had watched it and came in and said, ‘I found it discriminatory for the following reasons,’” Circuit Judge Amy St. Eve said to plaintiff Charles Vavra’s lawyer. Vavra sued Honeywell in 2021.

The not-so-quiet panic from climate scientists.

Donald Trump has been framing Chinese immigrants as mostly “military-age” men, here to stir trouble from within. “And it sounds like to me, are they trying to build a little army in our country? Is that what they’re trying to do?” he said in a campaign stop last month. But one immigrant who traveled through Ecuador to the U.S. border told the AP that it’s not true. “It is impossible that they would walk on foot for over one month” to organize an attack, he said. “We came here to make money.” Another, who hopes to make enough to bring his wife and children, said, “This trip is deadly. People die. The trip isn’t suitable for women — it’s not suitable for anyone.” 

“You need to kick that f***ing door down!” Vice President Kamala Harris was the guest of honor at an AAPI Heritage Month event this week and encouraged attendees to break through the barriers they still face. “We have to know that sometimes, people will open the door for you and leave it open, sometimes they won't. And then you need to kick that f***ing door down," as the audience cheered. "Excuse my language," she laughed.

This is why we can’t have nice things. An art installation project called the Dublin Portal experience, a 24/7 live cam and screen offering a real-time link between Dublin and New York City, is being ruined by “a small minority of people” doing “inappropriate things.”

More than 100 high-profile French art world figures have signed an open letter supporting the Palais de Tokyo in Paris after longtime patron Sandra Hegedüs withdrew her funding, saying, “I don’t want to be associated with the new, very political direction at the Palais de Tokyo...dictated by the defence of wokeism, anti-capitalism, pro-Palestine, etc.’” At issue was the show Past Disquiet, which focuses on four “museums in exile” and is constructed as a touring exhibit. From the response to Hegedüs: “These words and these methods, using a popular tribunal on social networks… are dangerous for the art world, for artists and for the freedom of institutions, as well as for our democracy.”

The pageant system is a toxic workplace, according to Miss USA Noelia Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava, who announced their resignations last week. Srivastava said her "personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization," and Voigt cited mental health reasons in a statement, then later accused the Miss America Organization of providing "a toxic work environment ... that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment." Miss Colorado Arianna Lemus resigned in solidarity on Friday, writing that Voigt and Srivastava's "voices have been stifled by the constraints of a contract that undermines their rights and dignity.” 

Democracy, it’s a design thing! Last March, a federal judge ruled that New Jersey’s ballot — a confusing design known as the “county line” system — was likely unconstitutional and couldn’t be used in June’s primary. One county has unveiled their new ballot design, which looks awfully familiar. 

Heading to NY Design Week? Here’s the itinerary. (It’s May 16-23.)

Ann Pizzorusso, a geologist and Renaissance art historian, says she has finally solved one of the art world’s enduring mysteries: where in the world was the Mona Lisa when she was sitting for Leonardo da Vinci? It took her dual expertise to find the clues that were there all along. “Geologists don’t look at paintings, and art historians don’t look at geology,” she says. 

Three chatbots explain themselves

Here’s the first design proposal to replace Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed last March. It's from an all-star team: Carlo Ratti Associati — the architecture firm led by architect and MIT professor Carlo Ratti — WeBuild, an Italian construction group, and Michel Virlogeux, a French structural engineer known for his work with Foster + Partners designing the world’s tallest bridge.  Their version has a longer span, a raised clearance, and the aesthetic of an enduring landmark. “The team hopes to deliver a bridge that is more contemporary visually and is also safe and durable for decades to come.”



Jobs | June 14