The Design Observer Twenty






Rob Walker writes about technology, design, business, the arts, and other subjects. His column The Workologist appears in The New York Times Sunday Business section. Previously he wrote the Consumed column for The New York Times Magazine, and has contributed to many publications. He is co-editor (with Joshua Glenn) of the book Significant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things, and author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are.    

















































































































































10.03.08
Subconscious Warm-Up
The Speedo LZR Racer suits worn by
Michael Phelps and other world-class swimmers. Promoted as a design breakthrough and worn by the most victorious Olympian in history, it offers a potent blend of functional promise and emotional aspiration.












04.08.07
Back to Basics Egg & Muffin Toaster
In a recent issue of The 
M.I.T. Sloan Management Review, Michael Schrage, a business writer and an M.I.T. researcher, challenged what Bruce Greenwald, has said about the fate of all innovative technologies: “In the long run, everything is a toaster.”




















Observed


Brian Collins on design clichés. [JH]

The Tate Modern’s “public” viewing area allows museum visitors to look straight into the homes of the residents of a nearby building: interested readers can nerd out on the forty-seven page ruling that explains why a design decision can fall prey to the laws of public nuisance. [JH]

Lou Dorfsman and Al D’Amato’s powerful advertisement from 1962: an appraisal. (Via Natalia Pangaro.) [JH]

Remembering Carin Goldberg. [JH]

Coming soon to The Design Museum in London, an exhibition on design and history—organized by the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. [JH]

Will the future of design be collaborative? Figma’s Yuhki Yamashita thinks so. [JH]

Designers and layoffs. [JH]

Proving that America really is in crisis, the US State Department changes its official font to Calibri. Discuss! [JH]

The artist whose book covers distilled the nineteen-eighties. (via Mike Errico) [JH]

Ruth Adler Schnee, one of the more important textile designers of midcentury modernism, dies at 99. [JH]

In Denmark, thinking—and designing—out of the (grey) box. [JH]

Jerald Cooper’s aim is to make architecture and design more accessible by using layman’s language to break down barriers typically set up by white academics with advanced degrees. [JH]

Corn husks were just the start: a Mexican designer in London writes his own rules. [JH]

Wieden+Kennedy London launches standalone branding and design studio—called—NOT Wieden+Kennedy. (Play their logo generator yourself, here.) [JH]

Inclusive design, at Microsoft. [JH]

Best design stories of 2022, from The Guardian. [JH]

Penmanship, cursive, handwriting—what’s the point? [JH]

Set on half an acre in the lovely hamlet of High Falls, New York, the studio that once served Marc Chagall is for sale. [JH]

After escaping from a creatively-repressed and unsatisfactory graphic design career, Sticht became a public safety officer at the University of Rochester. (There’s hope for us all!) [JH]

Weird and wonderful artifacts, via Jason Kottke. [JH]

Design fiction—a speciulative pracrtice that combines science fiction, design thinking, and foresight—might be the next innovation in business. [JH]

For the love of drawing. [JH]

Design and sex. [JH]

Design nerds—rejoice! [JH]

In the latest issue of Print, Paul Sahre discusses his grammy nomination with Debbie Millman. [JH]

Both standard and limited collector’s editions of MuirMcNeil’s System Process Form are now available at Volume, together with a range of uniquely seductive rewards.

Also from Volume: a never-before-seen selection of Paul Burgess photographs documenting the British band, Pulp. Compiled by Burgess and Louise Colbourne, This Is Hardcore is available for pre-purchase now. [JH]

We were sad to hear that the visionary George Lois, died last week. He was 91. [BV]

Chicago Design Through the Decades opens today and runs through the end of the year. The project starts with Art Deco in the 1920s and goes through the 2020s with digital portraits produced using neural networks. [BV]



Jobs | February 05