Books


Amplifying Accessibility and Abolishing Ableism: Designing to Embolden Black Disability Visual Culture
An excerpt from from An Anthology of Blackness: The State of Black Design.


Adrian Shaughnessy
What is Post-Branding: The Never Ending Race
A review of What is Post-Branding: How to Counter Fundamentalist Marketplace Semiotics.


Hannah Carlson
Schiaparelli’s Pockets
Sensible aspects of clothing are “no sooner put into use than put into play,” dress historian Ann Hollander observed.



On Fighting the Typatriarchy
"My intent was to make a typeface that stands for the strength of a woman at different times in her life. In Indian culture, a woman is expected to be the powerhouse of responsibilities." An excerpt from Feminist Designer.


Stuart Walker
Design Criticism
An excerpt from Stuart Walker’s new book Design for Resilience.



William Kentridge: Prints and Posters
A taste of the first installment in an epic catalogue of William Kentridge’s linocuts, etchings, monotypes, posters, and more.


Adrian Shaughnessy
Hello Human
A review of Michael Horsham’s Hello Human: A History of Visual Communication, out now from Thames & Hudson.


Jessica Helfand
Henry Leutwyler: International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
An interview with photographer Henry Leutwyler that explores his photographic record of some of the nearly 30,000 objects in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva.


Manuel Lima
The New Designer: Design is Local
An excerpt from Manuel Lima’s latest book, The New Designer.



Susan Magsamen, Ivy Ross
Your Brain on Art: Creating Community
An excerpt from the book Your Brain on Art by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross.


Don Norman
Design for a Better World
An excerpt from Don Norman’s new book, Design for a Better World.


Dana Arnett, Kevin Bethune
S10E12: Decolonizing Design
Decolonizing Design: A Cultural Justice Guidebook is a guidebook to the institutional transformation of design theory and practice by restoring the long-excluded cultures of Indigenous, Black, and People of Color communities.


Daniella Zalcman
What We See
The inaugural book from Women Photograph, What We See, is a broad survey that represents the equally broad careers of our members.


Pamela Hovland
Ecological by Design: A History From Scandinavia
Dr. Kjetil Fallan’s "Ecological by Design: A History From Scandinavia" is a book I will be thinking about for a long time.



A Story Made of Pictures
An excerpt from A History of the World (in Dingbats) by David Byrne.




Snails & Monkey Tails
There are countless books that can teach you the alphabet, but almost none that focus on the tiny designs that run interference among the letterforms: those easily overlooked punctuation and typographic symbols.


Sloan Leo
The Infrastructure of Care: Community Design, Healing & Organizational Post-Traumatic Growth
This essay interrogates the relationship between power, decision-making, and organizational healing. It asserts that community design as a practice offers a theoretical framework for organizational dynamic healing that structurally enables those harmed to set the pace and nature of resolution and repair.


Maurice Cherry
Make the Path by Talking
The Birth of Revision Path: The year is 2006.


adrienne maree brown + Lesley-Ann Noel
This Is Our Time!
adrienne maree brown on design, liberation and transformation as told to Lesley-Ann Noel.



Health Design Thinking




Our Will to Live
An excerpt from Our Will to Live, a new book out from Steidl featuring 250 rarely seen concert posters, programs, portraits and scenes rendered by imprisoned artists of the Terezín prison camp.



Jens Risom: A Seat at the Table
An excerpt from Vicky Lowry’s new book "Jens Risom: A Seat at the Table", out this week from Phaidon.



Debbie Millman
Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei joins Debbie Millman to discuss his new memoir 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, depicting a century-long epic tale of China told through a story of his family.


The Editors
Woman Made
A new story of women product designers is told in Woman Made.



Tucker Viemeister
Drama
A review of Drama, a new opus from David Rockwell, by Tucker Viemeister.



A Photographer at a Wedding
Midwife. Funeral director. Wedding photographer. You meet them once on a delicate day. They quickly slip into the inner circle of a family to perform their role during this rite of passage, and then they are gone.



Clara Istlerová, Her Work and Life




äntrepō: Volume 1
äntrepō is a studio project by the DC-based design practice Spaeth Hill.


Robert Finkel + Shea Tillman
The IBM Poster Program
IBM’s mid-century corporate creative direction usually brings to mind Paul Rand, but it’s staff graphic designers and photographers developed posters as a platform for elevating internal communications and initiatives within the company.


Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt
S9E4: Na Kim
Na Kim is an associate creative director at the book publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Susan Yelavich
Beings: Unruly Things, Golems, Cyborgs
Stories of the supranatural would seem to be among those childish things it is long time we put away. But somehow we never do.


Kaleena Sales
Teaching Black Designers
The vibrant complexities of the urban landscape create visual impressions in the mind, eventually serving as a mental library of stored images to use or reference when necessary.


Ellen Lupton
Confidence Equity
Are we born with confidence, or do we earn it? If we don’t have it, how can we get it?



Origins of Design Patents
Although the story of design patents is closely intertwined with that of industrial design, in fact design patents predate the emergence of industrial design as an organized professional discipline by nearly a century.



Sign Painting
In the last ten years or so we have truly witnessed a resurgence of the sign painter’s craft.


The Editors
Self-Reliance
To think through making, to know yourself better through the process of producing something.



The New Art of Making Books
Founded in Philadelphia in 2016, Ulises is a collectively run art bookstore and exhibition space, who edited the recently published Publishing As Practice.


Jason Hill
Artist as Reporter
In the 1940s the New York daily newspaper PM’s experimented with the then already "lost art" of sketch reporting.


Sean Adams
How Design Makes Us Think
An excerpt from Sean Adams’ new book "How Design Makes Us Think".


Augusta Pownall
Rational Simplicity: Rudolph de Harak, Graphic Designer
An interview with Richard Poulin, the long-overdue first comprehensive monograph of Rudolph de Harak’s work.


Adrian Shaughnessy
Impact
Today, we use the internet and social media feeds to stay abreast of developments, but we used to rely on the design press. Already, most of the major players have left the stage. Will the few remaining stalwarts be around in 10 years’ time?



Covering Black America
Decades ago, the great artist, poet, musician, and author Gil Scott-Heron famously proclaimed, “The revolution will not be televised.” He was right...It was, however, delivered monthly to newsstands and Black homes within the pages of Ebony.


Steven Heller
A Month With President Obama
I spent last month, approximately three hours-a-night, seven-days-a-week, with President Barack H. Obama.


Steven Heller
Imagine, Observe, Remember
The poetically enigmatic title says it all: Imagine, Observe, Remember; it is a book about process, memory, remembrance and interpretation.


Jessica Helfand
On Learning
What resonates most unequivocally here is Emerson ’s plea for individuality—that iron string—the sovereignty of selfhood.



Steven Heller
Milton Glaser’s First Last Hurrah
Sketch & Finish illustrates Glaser’s teaching agenda, which is to say, one makes sketches to explore the unknown.


Patrick Fry
Magic Papers
Magic is largely a solitary endeavour, but the channels of its tips and tricks had a little-known heyday around a hundred years ago.


Jessica Helfand + Claire Weisz
On Architecture
Herewith, the first in a series of conversations with artists, architects, photographers, cinematographers, designers and makers of all kinds, from all over the world.



Word Rain
In fall of 1969, a strange and brilliant book came into the world.



Steven Heller
The Influence of Nightlife on Design
Cabarets, cafes, and nightclubs are as essential to the development of Modern avant garde art and design movements as are galleries, salons, and museums.


Steven Heller
Let’s Give Thanks for Books About Magazines
If you love print magazines and bemoan their demise Steven Heller has seasonal gift suggestions for you.


Steven Heller
The Novel That Took Me Down Jojo’s Rabbit Hole
Steven Heller interviews the author of "Caging Skies", the novel the new film Jojo Rabbit is based on.



Steven Heller
Dave King (RIP)
Last January I thought I had received an email from a ghost.



Steven Heller
Booklover’s Guide to Le-Tan
Steven Heller on illustrator Pierre Le-Tan and his daughter Cleo Le-Tan’s A Booklover’s Guide to New York.



Steven Heller
The Motivational Industrial Complex
This publishing season I’ve found three motivational books, each on the benefits of creative activity that, despite the biases noted above, I would suggest you read, if only to be entertained.


Jonas Banker + Ida Wessel
Process
The purpose pf this book is to reveal how physical sketching intertwines with critical thinking in the creative process, well beyond theoretical design jargon.


Steven Heller
The Bauhaus is Forever
You can never have too much Bauhaus.


Debbie Millman
Austin Kleon
Debbie talks with Austin Kleon, who describes himself as ’a writer who draws’.


Alex Cameron
On The Graphic Design Reader
Teal Triggs’ and Leslie Atzmon’s The Graphic Design Reader is as challenging as it is necessary.


Steven Heller
Don Wall: Brave New Book Design
Steven Heller talks to architect Don Wall about his radical book from 1971: Visionary Cities: the Arcology of Paolo Soleri.


Brian LaRossa
Why it Matters to Me if Designers Read and Write
Literacy means being an engaged and responsible citizen. It means building sympathy and empathy. It means being radically curious and pursuing meaning with a sense of purpose.


Ken Gordon
Designers Like You Should Read Machines Like Me
People, you might have noticed, are wracking their brains to understand artificial intelligence.


Debbie Millman
Elizabeth Gilbert
Debbie talks with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love about the love of her life and her latest book City of Girls.


The Editors
Whose Book and Cover Designs are the Best of 2018?
Announcing the 2018 50 Books | 50 Covers selections.


Brian LaRossa
Should Book Publishing Leave New York City?
America’s publishing trade took root and flourished in New York because the city’s cultural and geographic conditions created an optimal environment for that to happen.


Steven Heller
Seymour Chwast: Few Words, Many Letters
Seymour Chwast, a man of few words, wishes there were more than 26 letters in the alphabet.


Ken Gordon
In the Future, Life Online Could Be “The Trial”—Unless We Design Something Better
The Trial is seen as prophetic by many.


Steven Heller
Photographing Science
The role that image makers have in the fields of science and engineering is more vital, especially now.


Steven Heller
Born to be Posthumous
Your book on Edward Gorey has been a long term journey for you. I know why I want to spend time reading it, but why did you want to invest so much of your life in Gorey’s head?


Jon Contino
Branding Baseball By Hand
Baseball, survivial, tradition, make-believe: the most exciting way to spend an afternoon.



Observed


Sara Little Turnbull was tiny but fierce (she stood a not-very-towering 4'11). The designer once described as “corporate America's secret weapon” was a leading practitioner for more than six decades, and remains an inspiration to countless women in design, technology, and (notably) in science. On her podcast, Lost Women of Science, American journalist Katie Hafner discusses the woman, the legend—and the N-95 mask.

Following President Biden's  2021 executive order to transform the customer experience, agencies have been rethinking how they can create organizational change and best practices—even at NASA—where design is leveraged in an effort to both build and sustain trust.  

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer. During a biopsy, a sample of her cancerous cells were collected without her knowledge. Education around Lacks has increased recently, and a statue and historical marker were dedicated to her last year in her birthplace of Roanoke. Now, a statue design contest is underway: they'll be accepting submissions until March 15. 

Goodbye war rooms, corner offices and—yikes—physical libraries, which have allegedly “gone the way of the landline and the Dictaphone” in law offices. Post-pandemic, with remote and hybrid work on the rise, a more collaborative, equitable spatial allocation means a more flexible, and some say more productive workplace. 

Can design be a catalyst for societal progress? Asmita Kerkar thinks it can. Her design philosophy is hinged on nurturing spaces that foster empathy and facilitate community engagement, grounded in a commitment to sustainability and inclusivity. She channels her passion into creating equitable environments, bridging the gap between design and social change

I love it. What is it?

Following the light. Letting the actors move. Envisioning—and sculpting—a mood. Jack Fisk, the production designer behind There Will Be Blood, The Revenant, and Killers of the Flower Moon, among many other award-winning films, explains it all

Tyler Perry puts the planned $800 million expansion of his studio in Atlanta on hold after seeing OpenAI’s text-to-video model Sora, which debuted Feb. 15. “Being told that it can do all of these things is one thing, but actually seeing the capabilities, it was mind-blowing,” he said. With AI, there’s no need to travel to locations or build specialized sets. The future impacts are concerning, he says. “[A]s I was looking at it, I immediately started thinking of everyone in the industry who would be affected by this, including actors and grip and electric and transportation and sound and editors, and looking at this, I’m thinking this will touch every corner of our industry.”

The racism in the yield curve: Groundbreaking research from Destin Jenkins, an assistant history professor at Stanford University, reveals how the $4 trillion municipal bond market has historically excluded Black taxpayers and disproportionately benefited infrastructure projects in white communities. (Jenkins’s research focuses on the American state, racial capitalism, and the built environment; you can watch him explain his research in a recent fireside chat with bond professionals here.)

Tesla is recalling 2.19 million vehicles because of a problem with a font. If you don’t think design matters at this point, you can’t be helped.

There’s a lot of plastic hidden in our clothes. Like, a lot.

Singapore is set to require all flights departing the country to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2026.

What’s in a label? Well, the truth, mostly. Lawsuits filed against  Gorton’sALDIConagraBumble Bee Foods, Mowi, and Red Lobster are challenging Big Fish to back up the sustainability and eco-friendly labels they put on their seafood products and brands. “From what I see, there’s a good chance at least some of the companies defending themselves are engaging in false advertising, although they may not realize what they’re doing,” says Arlin Wasserman, the founder of sustainability consultancy Changing Tastes.

Nex Benedict, a transgender teen from Oklahoma, died the day after their peers assaulted them in a school bathroom. They had been bullied for ages, but the assaults began in earnest a few months after Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill in 2022 that required public school students to use bathrooms that matched the sex listed on their birth certificates. This piece from the Independent provides essential context for the assault and details of Benedict’s life.

Chatbot versions of Adolph Hitler, Donald Trump, and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski are among 100 chatbot “characters” on the busy far-right social network Gab. Most of the characters are playing to type, spewing conspiracies about COVID-19, vaccines, U.S. elections, climate change, Holocaust denial, and more. It goes downhill from there.

“People came here or already lived here, young people with lots of energy and ideas and ideals who wanted to start things,” observes Syd Staiti, Executive Director of Small Press Traffic, a Bay Area poetry organization and archive. They're turning 50 this year—and they're not alone! Bravo to all the hard-working artists and arts organizations on this list—and here's to the next 50.

Self-disruption allows companies to stay ahead of the curve, anticipating and responding to changing market dynamics rather than reacting defensively; it fosters a culture of innovation, encouraging employees to think creatively and take calculated risks; and it can even open new revenue streams and markets, ensuring long-term sustainability. Sam Aquillano, the former Executive Director of the Design Museum in Boston, explains it all.

In New Jersey, the ballot is structured in a way that favors endorsed candidates. Three candidates are making a persuasive case on why this might be a critical design problem.

TikTok has become a target of parents, policymakers and regulators who are concerned about the company’s data-collection practices and the platform’s effect on young people’s mental health—including whether there is a risk for addictive design.

Australia's first moon rover rover will collect samples of lunar soil known as regolith, from which NASA will attempt to extract oxygen — a key step toward establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon and producing rocket fuel to support future missions to Mars. And they need design help.

Thai graphic designer Chalermpol Jittagasem has created a new typeface family to help immigrants improve their English pronunciations. “I've seen so many Asian Americans subjected to truly cruel shaming for speaking English with a strong accent and incorrect pronunciation, even though they, like me, are living in the most diverse state in the US,” he says. 

Design Justice AI was announced in 2023; the Global Humanities Institute is sponsored by the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and the Mellon Foundation and is a partnership of four university-based centers at Rutgers, University of Pretoria, Australia National University, and University of Connecticut. Things are gearing up for a summer meeting in Pretoria; bookmark and follow along. 

Marsha Ann Maytum, founding principal of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects (LMSA) and longtime champion of environmental, social, and justice causes, has died at 69. “Her quiet, tenacious brand of leadership is notable, especially in a profession where ego often proliferates,” says architect Kim Gould.  “It is as if her enormous humility gave her a change maker superpower, to the point that thinking ‘what would Marsha do’ is something others actually do.”

“But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean.” Miranda Priestly, the deliciously vicious fashion editor from The Devil Wear Prada, will be back in the U.K. spotlight in a new musical adaptation of the novel and film from Elton John. Vanessa Williams will be playing the devil herself

Restoration AI? Architects and designers have been using AI to help manage large data sets and visualize ideas for better decision-making. But can AI tools also help assess structural damage in aging infrastructure and underresourced communities? 

Anywhere this is a camera, this is a risk

In Chicago: A Love Supreme.

“For decades, Charlene Prempeh writes, ”Black designers have been sheathed in an invisible cloak.” Her new book uncovers just a few of the cracks and erasures and oversights: from postwar African-American cartoonist Jackie Ormes, to mid-century West African riffs on “Tropical Modernist” architecture pioneered by John Owusu Addo and Oluwole Olumuyiwa, to the rise of more recent Black British fashion stars like Bianca Saunders and Samuel Ross, this is one exhilerating (and expansive!) list.

Glen Weldon—host of NPR's buzzy Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast— calls the Yorgos Lanthimos film Poor Things a weird and intoxicating and unforgettable “visual tasting menu”—and makes his own (rather compelling) case for why it should win this year's Oscar for Production Design.

Design-led accessibility … at Starbucks.



Jobs | February 27