Rick Poynor is a writer, critic, lecturer and curator, specialising in design, photography and visual culture. He founded Eye, co-founded Design Observer, and contributes columns to Eye and Print. He is Professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading in the UK.



























































































































































































































11.05.10
Danzig Baldaev’s Prison House of Flesh
Fuel’s
Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia, which appeared in 2004, was a shrewdly judged piece of publishing. The meticulous ink drawings of tattoos made by Danzig Baldaev, a prison guard from 1948 to 1986, had a horrible fascination for viewers safe in the knowledge that they would never have to endure anything as harsh, perilous and sadistic as the Soviet penal system.
















































Observed | April 14

Everything you need to know about what’s happening in type today, from Monotype. [BV]

A collection of hand-lettered Marvel Comics titles, curated by Reagan Ray. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | April 13

Plagiarism? Target? Discuss! [JH]

When good design makes bad cities—and how it can make them safer for women. [JH]


Observed | April 12

Behold: the cyborg—sorry, fashion mask. [JH]


Observed | April 08

The Huntington Library has a history of inequity. Can it pivot toward inclusivity? (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | April 07

Memory as inventory: a beautiful tribute in the New York Times. [JH]


Observed | April 06

Overlooked no more: The IBM Poster Program: Visual Memoranda features work by Ken White, John Anderson, Tom Bluhm and photographer Rodger Ewy among others like, um, Paul Rand. [JH]


Observed | April 05

Blending is the new branding. (Blend = Brand ± Transparency ± Framing ± Bespoke ± Blur) [BE]


Observed | April 01

Harvard’s GSD Introduces its own design imprint. [JH]

Voices: Black Graphic Design History is a free two-part webinar series through the four MICA William O. Steinmetz ’50 Designers-in-Residence. To register click here and here. [BV]


Observed | March 31

Designing with the devil. [JH]


Observed | March 29

“Professional designers, evangelists — they all took the opportunity: ridiculing, discrediting, alienating, exposing clean styles and templates, usurping the right to make design decisions.
And they succeeded...” (h/t Ethical Futures Lab) [BE]


Observed | March 26

Brand mascots, cruelty, and humiliation: the Duolingo owl and theory of change. [BE]

When less is more. [JH]


Observed | March 25

Annals of design absurdity: Zara models feature poses that make the clothes impossible to figure out. [JH]


Observed | March 24

As representations of the collective power of local people banding together, the exhibit Meeting Hall Maine aims to instill an appreciation and desire in others to preserve vernacular structures as democratic forums for generations to come. [BV]


Observed | March 23

In an effort to provide more fonts accessible to everyone, the Indian Type Foundry introduces Fontshare. [JH]


Observed | March 22

Disney now qualifies its classical film library with “advisory” disclaimers that seek to recognize (and name) racial bias and othering. [JH]


Observed | March 19

Brilliant! (via Shaun Borstrock) [JH]

Color correction and its relationship to racial bias. (Via Dori Tunstall.) [JH]


Observed | March 18

A brutally honest perspective on the current—and precarious—state of design culture with Design Observer’s co-founder Jessica Helfand. [BV]


Observed | March 17

Everything you ever wanted to know about faces on currency. [JH]


Observed | March 15

Bravo and congratulations to Lawrence Azerrad for his latest Grammy win for the album packaging of for Wilco’s “Ode to Joy” [BV]


Observed | March 10

Yohokama-based Masayoshi Matsumoto is a balloon genius. [JH]


Observed | March 05

The Center for Urban Pedagogy now has a program in Public Access Design. Meet their newest design fellows here. [JH]


Observed | March 04

On the brink of nuclear war, America’s bold response to the Soviet Union depended on Juanita Moody, an unknown spy agency operative, whose story can at last be told. [BV]


Observed | March 03

For his piece Quantum Fluctuations: Experiments in Flux, London-based artist Markos R Kay set out to visually express a quantum interaction – a phenomenon that’s notoriously unobservable. [BV]


Observed | March 02

The beautiful, origami-like art of letterlocking. [JH]


Observed | March 01

See what other people are reading—quite literally. [JH]



Jobs | April 15