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The Design Observer Community Sessions

Observed | February 22

The story of Ford’s first African-American designer, McKinley Thompson, who sketched the original 1966 Bronco [BV]


Observed | February 19

Magazines and The American Experience, on view at the Grolier Club in New York. (View the exhibition online here.) [JH]

Bruce Blackburn, designer of the iconic NASA “worm” logo, dies at 82. [JH]


Observed | February 18

Everything you ever wanted to know about stamps, but were afraid to ask. [JH]

The extraordinary, long overlooked story of artist and sculptor, Selma Burke. [JH]


Observed | February 12

NYCxDesign’s inaugural breakout grant will provide a lifeline to three independent designers (or businesses) with a product or project that’s ready to go to market. Applications are due March 26. [JH]


Observed | February 11

For its inaugural year of 2020-2021, Caltech’s Critical Intersections: Conversations on Race, History, and Science online seminar series is dedicated to the history leading up to—and beyond—eugenics. For this week’s event, artists Edgar Arcenaux and Kurt Forman will create a printed artwork in conversation with the topic, which will be mailed to early registrants (who provide their mailing addresses) when registering. [JH]


Observed | February 10

Just in time for Valentine’s Day: our very own Jessica Helfand in the newest issue of Lovers Magazine. [BV]


Observed | February 09

Toying with design, in India (and online) [JH]


Observed | February 07

Our friends Wix launched a great new development tool: EditorX offers powerful collaboration, flexible grids and full breakpoint control. Watch a video of all the new functionality. (Thanks for the demo!) [BV]


Observed | February 04

Beautiful green helix or glass poop emoji covered in trees? You decide. [BV]


Observed | February 03

We seek beauty in nature, art, and philosophy but also in our phones and furniture. Now scientists search for the neural basis of how the brain responds to beauty. [BV]


Observed | February 02

Black Art Library is a resource of rare publications highlighting the work of Black artists. [BV]


Observed | February 01

John Maeda breaks up—then reconciles—with design. [JH]

The 1-year-old company Formr sells furniture made by formerly incarcerated people, using discarded materials from construction sites to help fix America’s massive waste problem. [BV]

“At worst, cover letters strain one’s faith that words convey meaning at all” [BV]


Observed | January 28

Designer Inga Plönnigs new font, Magnet, is the latest family from Frere-Jones Type, a sans-serif in thirteen styles. [JH]


Observed | January 26

What are dreams? Just the theater of the unconscious? Our brains’ attempts to impose a semblance of structure on the chaotic imagery we retain? Random epiphenomena? Responses to potential threats? [BV]


Observed | January 25

How an augmented reality app transformed London into an immersive art gallery. [BV]


Observed | January 22

Eye-watering amounts of money pour into Artificial Intelligence, and new technology empires are being forged before our eyes, but AI is a house divided by a decades-old rivalry. [BV]


Observed | January 19

“Our lives should be marked not by “comps” and metrics and filters and proofs of concept and virality but by tight circles and improvisation and adventure and lots and lots of creative waste. And not just to save ourselves, but to save each other.” [JH]


Observed | January 18

How architects write fictional architecture. [JH]

Beautiful weather rendering from Will MacNeil. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]


Observed | January 14

A New European Bauhaus? [JH]


Observed | January 13

Though it was later determined to be troll-driven, design twitter went bananas this week over the new CIA rebrand. [JH]

Women either decide or strongly influence 70% of all automotive purchases yet are 73% more likely to suffer injury in a car crash, and 17% more likely to die than the average man. A design problem? [JH]


Observed | January 12

Joy, disillusion, success, failure, hiring, finances, office space—just some of the topics in All in a Day’s Work, a new animated series about being an entrepreneur from our friends at Mailchimp in collaboration with It’s Nice That. [BV]


Observed | January 11

When Pac-Man arrived in 1980, it revolutionized gaming. The original game is at the root of a rich design tradition, one that goes well beyond detailed graphics and fluid controls. [BV]

Can the story of a pandemic be told in a single headline every day? David Rainbird collected headlines about the pandemic as a way of making sense of the infodemic that was 2020. [BV]


Observed | January 05

Paul Klee’s notebooks—nearly 4,000 pages of them—are now online. [JH]



Jobs | February 27