Health + Safety

Ellen McGirt
It’s Time to Find Your People
Announcing Equity Observer, Design Observer’s new editorial vertical and newsletter focused on the people and ideas redesigning the world for good.


Dana Arnett, Kevin Bethune
S10E9: Kim Erwin
Kim Erwin is the Director of the Equitable Healthcare Lab and Associate Professor of Practice at IIT Institute of Design.


Sara Hendren, Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive S2E9: The Insulin Pump
How does the act of care get designed into our everyday lives—beyond medical procedures and technology, into our relationships, our schedules, our lives? On this episode of The Futures Archive, Lee Moreau and Sara Hendren consider the insulin pump, and discuss what it might look like to think about a medical device in the context of all that’s actually human.


Dana Arnett, Kevin Bethune
S10E1: Ernesto Quinteros
Redefining the boundaries between people, products, and patients: Ernesto Quinteros, the Chief Design Officer at Johnson & Johnson.


Sara Hendren, Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive S2E7: The Refrigerator
On this episode of The Futures Archive Lee Moreau and Sara Hendren discuss designing for health and safety within the everyday context of refrigeration and the mysterious coldscape.


Sara Hendren, Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive S2E4: The Defibrillator
On this episode of The Futures Archive Lee Moreau and Sara Hendren discuss the defibrillator, designing life-saving machines for everyday users, and the power of the power button.



Health Design Thinking



Lee Moreau + David Sun Kong
The Futures Archive S1E9: The Mask
On this episode of The Futures Archive Lee Moreau and David Sun Kong discuss the mask, microbes, and the importance of designing with the microbiome not against it.


Lee Moreau + Devorah Klein
The Futures Archive S1E6: The Toilet
On this episode of The Futures Archive, host Lee Moreau and this episode’s guest host, Devorah Klein, discuss the toilet, privacy, and connections.


Akansha Kukreja
Information Design for Healthcare
The disparity of knowledge between the medical community and general population creates a unique problem for designers.


Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt
S7E3: Sara Hendren
Sarah Hendren is an artist, design researcher, and professor at the Olin College of Engineering.


Michael Bierut
S6E10: Bon Ku
Dr. Bon Ku is assistant dean for health and design at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S5E11: Renata Souza
Renata Souza Luque is the creator of Thomy, an insulin kit for children with Type 1 diabetes.


Mary Badon
Red Light, Green Light: The Invention of the Traffic Signal
The traffic light — invented in 1912 by a policeman in Detroit — has radically impacted the way transportation rules have developed over the past 100 years, all over the world.


Olivia Coetzee
Use Only as Directed: Safety is not Always Safe
The safety pin, the safety match, the safety razor: are these objects as safe as their names suggest?


Michale Bierut + Jessica Helfand
S1E9: Jay Parkinson
Dr. Jay Parkinson is the founder of Sherpaa, an online medical practice.


Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Mind-Body Problems
Nutrition Facts, Mark Bittman’s food rating system, colon cancer screening, Time Well Spent, Peter Arno, Flat File



John Thackara
When Tech In Care Is Evil
I spent the last two weeks in-and-around a care home in England that looks after people with dementia and terminal illness, and their families – including, this time, mine.


Manuela Aguirre
Design for Care
A review of Design for Care: Innovating Healthcare Experience, a new book by Peter H. Jones. 


The Editors
Records for Life: Rethinking the Immunization Card
In conjunction with World Immunization Week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation challenged the global health and design communities to reconsider the immunization card, classically one of the principal barriers to vaccination.



John Thackara
The Dementia Care Economy
A proposition for the economy of ‘disease-modifying therapy’ for dementia.


John Thackara
Dementia: Care Before Cure
The downside of declaring war on a disease like dementia is to diminish social solidarity. But there are solutions.


Debbie Millman
Debbie Millman on Sleep
Debbie Millman is a designer, author, educator, strategist and host of the podcast Design Matters.


Thomas Fisher
Thomas Fisher on Survival
Thomas Fisher is dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota.


Nicholas Christakis
Nicholas Christakis on Networks
Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity.


Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Upgrade Yourself!
If appearances matter more than ever, as we are constantly told, the personal makeover has become our most fundamental design task.



Observed
Transform 2013: Design Innovation in Healthcare
Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation Transform Symposium will take place September 8-10 2013, in Rochester, MN.


John Thackara
Paranoid But Pretty
A review of Matthias Megyeri's new show at the German Architecture Center, and a review of the question the exhibition inspires: "Are we safer?"



Observed
Celebrate World Toilet Day
2.6 billion people don't have access to a toilet. For them poop can be poison.



Observed
They Go To Die
They Go to Die is a documentary film-in-progress investigating the life of four former migrant gold mineworkers in South Africa and Swaziland who have contracted drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) and HIV while working at the gold mine.


Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum
Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.



Observed
Amend
Minneapolis-based Thesis is a design collective whose efforts to raise awareness about health care reform has led them to creat the Amend wrist band.



Observed
A Public Service Announcement: Collecting Air
A public service spot for the American Lung Association, “Alvin Grimes, Air Collector,” features him with his collection.



John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.



David Stairs
Demythologizing Design: Another View of "Design with the Other 90%: CITIES"
David Stairs reviews "Design with other 90%:Cities"


William Drenttel, and John Cary
Give the Gift of Design this Holiday Season
Tax-deductible gifts for the holiday season: they feel good for the giver, meaningful for the recipient, and provide crucial support for hardworking nonprofits on the ground.



John Thackara
5% Health: The Risk of Catabolic Collapse and Peak Fat in Modern Health Systems
The writer, at Mayo Clinic's "Transform" conference, asks: Are high-end medical systems the best place to focus design's creative capacity?



Jean W. Rosenthal
Project Masiluleke: Texting and Testing to Fight HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Summary of Project Masiluleke case study describing design process for fighting HIV/AIDS in South Africa.



Ernest Beck
San+Co
A pilot project developed for India provides santiation and electricity in a single venture.



Robin Cembalest
Shrink Rap
Mexican designer/artist Pedro Reyes opens a temporary sanatorium in Brooklyn.



Alexandra Lange
On GOOD: Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
If you want parents to use public transportation, first you have to fix the car seat.



Ernest Beck
Project Mwana
A new effort to diagnosis and treat infant HIV/AIDS in remote African regions.



Phil Patton
Sustainable Gold
Phil Patton on the conference “Gold: Substance, Symbol and Significance."



Julie Lasky
Search for the Obvious: Challenge #2
Once again, Acumen Fund is looking for creative solutions to social problems. This time the focus is on mothers.



Julie Lasky
Rock Girl Benches
Rock Girl in Cape Town offers real and symbolic safe places for girls and women.



Julie Lasky
Acumen Sexy Sanitation Challenge
Acumen Fund announces winners of its "Sexy Sanitation" challenge.



The Editors
Sexy Sanitation
Competition brief for Acumen Fund challenge to improve access to sanitation.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Update 09.25.10
Dateline Aspen. An on-going report on progress on the six projects developed at the Aspen Design Summit in November 2009.



Ernest Beck
Camel Mobile Clinic Update
Update on Art Center's Design Matters program, which prototypes a system for transporting medicine on camel back to remote communities in Kenya. Originally published July 18, 2009.



Photo by Pieter Hugo
Permanent Error
Photo by Pieter Hugo of Ghana's Agbogbloshie slum.



Alexandra Lange
Fix the Car Seat
Having just returned from a vacation where the logistics of the car seat were a primary part of trip planning, I have a plea on behalf of all parents, and a challenge for industrial and car designers: FIX THE CAR SEAT.



William Underhill
D-Rev Blue Star Jaundice Treatment
Report on Blue Star, D-Rev's affordable jaundice treatment for newborn babies in the developing world.



Ernest Beck
Es Tiempo
Report on Es Tiempo, a campaign designed to encourage Hispanic women in Southern California to seek annual screenings for cervical cancer.



Jay Parkinson
The Road to Wellville
Recommendations for designing a healthcare system around our nation's health needs — chronic care management, prevention and acute care treatment — not history, doctors and their profitability.



Jonathan Schultz
EyeWriter
Report on the EyeWriter software system, which allows a graffiti artist suffering from ALS to continue working merely by moving his eyes.


Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF Menstruation Challenge
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Menstruation Challenge Project proposed an “eco-system” whereby sanitary pads became a linchpin for local economic growth, for educational programs about health and hygiene and for research into materials that could be adapted to other countries.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: Sustainable Food and Childhood Obesity
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the Sustainable Food Project focused on accelerating the shift from a global, abstract food system to a regional, real food system via a robust portfolio of activities — including a grand challenge and a series of youth-engagement programs.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: CDC and Healthy Aging
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the CDC Healthy Aging Project began with the initial premise to enhance the ability of public health entities to determine whether adults 50 and over have received recommended preventive health services. The Project developed a “5 over 50” concept and brand name, and a new goal: to double the current number of people who are “up to date” with these preventive measures.



Jonathan Schultz
Kick4Life
AIDS education mixes with soccer in plans for a new Lesotho stadium.



Lindsay Stark
Renewal
Aid worker Lindsay Stark's portrait of the ritual purification of a child soldier in Sierra Leone.



Ernest Beck
Emergency Response Studio
Report on artist Paul Villinski's mobile studio, which he converted from a trailer of the type used by FEMA to house victims of Hurricane Katrina.



Andrea Codrington
Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor
Report on the Freeplay fetal heart rate monitor, which won the 2009 INDEX award in the Body category.



Ernest Beck
Peepoobag
Report on Peepoobag, a new self-sanitizing, single-use, biodegradable container for human waste.



Ernest Beck
Chulha Stove

Report on the Chulha stove designed by Philips to reduce indoor air pollution in developing countries.





Mark Dery
Paradise Fouled
Review of Crude, Joe Berlinger's documentary film about a lawsuit filed against Chevron by denizens of the Ecuadorean Amazon.



Karrie Jacobs
A Thousand Points on Light: Part II
Continuation of debate between lighting designer Leni Schwendinger and Dark-Sky advocate Susan Harder about proper illumination of urban, suburban and rural environments.



Karrie Jacobs
A Thousand Points on Light: Part I
Debate between lighting designer Leni Schwendinger and Dark-Sky advocate Susan Harder about proper illumination of urban, suburban and rural environments.



Chappell Ellison
Compulsion: Where Object Meets Anxiety
At the age of 30, my brother turned to our mother and said, “I never thought I’d make is this far.” In his early 20s, he was officially diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).



Alexandra Lange
Cooked
McDonald's McCafe Mocha is just one more reason that America is fat.



Ernest Beck
Camel Mobile Clinic
Art Center's Design Matters program prototypes a system for transporting medicine on camel back to remote communities in Kenya.



John Thackara
Doctors with iPhones
The neighborhood doctor is back — and this time, he has an iPhone.



Observed


Everything you ever wanted to know about the origins of Dutch design (but were afraid to ask).

A meditation on the history of design—and the rise of strategy—from Jarrett Fuller.

A meditation on analog beauty—and vernacular signage—from Elizabeth Goodspeed.

Richard Stengel makes a compelling case that journalism should be free to save democracy. “According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, more than 75% of America’s leading newspapers, magazines, and journals are behind online paywalls. And how do American news consumers react to that?” (Subscription required.) 

Please, please, pleaseget some sleep.

The Supreme Court allows Idaho to ban transgender health care for minors. For now.

Historically, we’ve invested huge resources to keep cities and nature separate. But we now know that the health of the soil and the health of people are the same story. So, what does this have to do with design? Join the unstoppable John Thackara and Milan Politecnico professor Ezio Manzini today at 11 am ET as they discuss this critical—and surprisingly overlooked—environmental issue.

Conducted through audio interviews, Ana Miljački's I Would Prefer Not To is an oral history project on the topic of the most important kind of refusal in architects’ toolboxes: refusal of the architectural commission. (Miljački, an architectural historian and theorist, is also Director of the Critical Broadcasting Lab at MIT.) Produced in conjunction with the Architectural League of New York, this podcast features conversations with a number of fascinating practitioners including Diller + Scofidio's Elizabeth Diller, WXY partner Claire Weisz (who we interviewed in Season Three of The Design of Business | The Business of Design) and Nina Cooke John (a Season Nine guest).

This past winter, a diverse cohort of students from the MADE Program at Brown + RISD and Harvard immersed themselves in a wealth of data provided by the City of Boston with the mission of uncovering novel, meaningful, and joyful perspectives on navigating and understanding the urban environment. Their resulting projects—a series of interactive exhibits ranging from envisioning the evolving contours of the coastline to revealing the secret lives of the city’s trees—will be on view this week at the Boston Museum of Science.

Designers are leaving corporate life in droves, re-designed out of their own jobs. “The strategic design gold rush is over,” reports Robert Fabricant.  So, where are they going? “[A} new class of platforms and networks have emerged, including NeolDesign Executive CouncilChief Design Officer School, Design Leadership Job Board, and Design Leaders.” This isn’t a bad thing, he says. “These platforms specifically target ‘fractional’ design leaders who are looking to support one another, collaborate on projects, better communicate their value, and source new income-generating opportunities, both individually and collectively.” 

A new project designed to amplify Indigenous-owned businesses on Google Maps and Google Search gets high marks from Huitzilli Oronia, a Chicana designer from Denver, Colorado, and the creative production agency Hook.  Oronia contributed Google’s Indigenous-owned attribute icon and associated launch materials to the initiative. “This wasn’t just another campaign; it represented an opportunity to help Indigenous business owners share their heritage and foster deeper connections between the businesses and their consumers,” she says.

Yet another social app built around talk, not text! 

Faith Ringgold, the multimedia artist whose soaring work documented race, class, family, community, justice, and the African American experience in the U.S., has died. She was 93. Her work included painting, sculpture, mask- and doll-making, textiles, performance art, and children’s literature. “Few artists have kept as many balls in the air as long as Faith Ringgold,” the New York Times art critic Roberta Smith wrote in 2013. “She has spent more than five decades juggling message and form, high and low, art and craft, inspirational narrative and quiet or not so quiet fury about racial and sexual inequality.”

Nike is under fire for its “needlessly revealing and sexist” Team USA women’s track and field kit. “Wait, my hoo haa is gonna be out.”

AI is rewriting the internet. Here’s what to expect from Microsoft’s Copilot, Google’s Gemini, and OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4. “These AI tools are vast autocomplete systems, trained to predict which word follows the next in any given sentence. As such, they have no hard-coded database of ‘facts’ to draw on — just the ability to write plausible-sounding statements. This means they have a tendency to present false information as truth since whether a given sentence sounds plausible does not guarantee its factuality,” says reporter James Vincent. Yay! The future sounds…?

The National Governors Association has launched a new Health Equity Learning Network to support policy solutions and share strategies to reduce health inequities in the U.S.

Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist who became known for his groundbreaking work in bias, heuristics, and how people make decisions, has died at 90. Kahneman became widely known for his 2011 book Thinking, Fast and Slow, which aimed to “improve the ability to identify and understand errors of judgment and choice, in others and eventually ourselves, by providing a richer and more precise language to discuss them.”

Maqroo means readable: Leo Burnett Dubai agency has partnered with Omantel telecom network to create a new dyslexia-friendly Arabic font. “Arabic is one of the oldest and most beautiful languages in the world. With 12 million words it is also the most complex, making it even harder for those with dyslexia to learn it,” says Leo Burnett Dubai art director Abdo Mohamed. (It’s also beautiful.)

Wicked looks good.

The much anticipated Humane AI Pin has arrived, an expensive, subscription-based wearable chatbot — or “second brain” — that nobody seems to like very much. Yet, I guess.

Who will represent working-class life?documentary about the UK-based photographer Tish Murtha is asking important questions about which stories are told visually — and supported by the art establishment — and why. “She showed the reality of poverty and deprivation in communities where the misery of unemployment had been allowed to settle by the Westminster political classes who considered it a price worth other people paying for the boon of undermining trade union power,” writes Peter Bradshaw. “But in capturing the faces, particularly the faces of children, Murtha showed her subjects’ humour, optimism and refusal to be cowed.”

An employee who worked as an art installer secretly hung one of his own paintings in the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, and we’re not that mad about it. “He was carrying tools; that’s why he went totally unnoticed,” said Tine Nehler, a museum spokesperson. “As a technician, he was able to move around all areas of the building outside of opening hours.”

Marian Bantjes critiques the design and logic (and design logic) of the food pyramid (and pyramids in general).

Lesly Pierre Paul’s New Vision Art School turns to the arts as a way to continue local traditions and keep neighborhood children out of gangs. 

Tahnee Ahtone joins the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City as Curator, Native American Art. She was previously the Director and Curator at the Kiowa Tribal Museum in Carnegie, Oklahoma.

News we love: founded in 2002 by Nínive Calegari, a teacher, and McSweeney's founder (and author) Dave Eggers, 826 Valencia receives a $1 million donation from Yield Giving, a massive philanthropy effort by Amazon co-founder MacKenzie Scott.

Next week, Case Western will host design anthropologist Christina Wasson, who will deliver the 2024 Applying Anthropology to Real World Problems Lecture. Entitled The Participatory Design of Indigenous Heritage Archives, Wasson will describe how she has adapted participatory design methods to develop archives that preserve indigenous languages. (Thursday, April 18, at 4 p.m. in Mather Memorial Building, Room 201.)

Margerete Jahny belonged to a rare demographic of industrial designer: she was East German—and female—and according to design historian Günter Höhne, she was the first East German industrial designer, of any gender, with a university education.

New “networks” and “platforms” targeting “fractional” design leaders who are looking to support one another, collaborate on projects, better communicate their value, and source new income-generating opportunities, both individually and collectively. More on the reinvention design leaders are facing, by Robert Fabricant.

Democratic state lawmakers in Colorado are ending the practice of anonymous surveys to determine which bills should live or die. The change to make all parts of the survey public comes months after a judge ordered lawmakers to stop using their previous secret ballot system to prioritize legislation because it violated Colorado’s open meetings law, reports the Longmont Leader.



Jobs | April 22