Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

The Observatory: The Inevitable

On this episode, Michael and Jessica talk about death (not taxes): how designers have to think about preventing death and representing death, and whether death is “just another design challenge.” Also, the color blue.

Also discussed:
By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV and Other Object Lessons by Ralph Caplan
The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
Michael Massimi on Thanatosensitivity
• Jon Mooallem on Paul Bennett redesigning death in California Sunday
• Brendan Kiley on Katrina Spade’s Urban Death Project
The New York Times on Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning by Spencer Finch
Blue: Color and Concept at the Beinecke library
Blue Times at the Kunsthalle Vienna
Manual: Blue from the RISD Museum
• Jessica’s course on blue

Home page image: Mr. Fincher's watercolor blues. Credit Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times

Posted in: The Observatory

Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand 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.

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