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Where to begin? Let's not even talk about the fonts. Or the grid. Or the tricked-out heart dingbat or the color palette or, heaven help us, the struggling bezier curve. It's the magic metaphor that slays us. That, and the gloves. Oh, and the fruit. And did we mention the photography?


Celebrate Design

100 Years of Design from AIGA on Vimeo. Video by Second Story, part of SapientNitro. Music by Andrew Ashwood.

In case you haven't heard, AIGA celebrates its Centennial this year. There have been events and exhibitions since January, with more to come — including the (sold out) Centennial Gala this Friday. Online, AIGA has created — “100 Years of Design” — where select design works provide historical context alongside interviews with leading designers and significant moments in AIGA’s history. This video was created to promote the new site. We're delighted that among the many deserving designers considered "living masters" they chose to highlight Clement Mok, Milton Glaser, and our very own Jessica Helfand.


Tiny PMS Match

Matching items in the world to Pantone chips is nothing new. There's the Brazilian artist who matched skin tone to Pantone colors. We've blogged an artist who matched food to Pantone colors, as well as an artist who made Pantone chips out of food. So we weren't sure we cared when we found this Instagram page by designer Inka Mathew (@greenink ) who is matching tiny objects to PMS colors. Much of it is exactly what you'd expect: precious little flowers or small pieces of candy. But every once in a while you come across one that catches your eye.

Pantone 189 color match. This Metoprolol Tarta, a blood pressure control medication. My husband is taking this tablet since April 2013. He's taking steps to better his health now so he can stop taking this medication. Update: He's off this medication! Even ran a half marathon.

Now you know the Pantone colors of Fruit Loops:

Let's hope for more surprises.


A Neue Font We Don't Need

Image via Comic Neue

Last week saw the wide publication of Comic Neue — an updated version of the much maligned Comic Sans. Despite some praise — AdWeek claims it to be "a new version of Comic Sans that might not make you vomit" — there's a lot of disdain for the new font. Some of our favorite is from Jezebel:
It doesn't matter how hard you try to be friends. Comic Sans is still that dopey, moronic imbecile who farts at the dinner table and makes wisecracks about blaming it on the dog. UGH SHUT UP COMIC SANS, WE KNOW IT WAS YOU WHO JUST FARTED. Because Comic Sans is a constant, never-ending continual fart at the sacred table of typography.So along comes Comic Neue. Comic Neue wants to turn the Dairy Queen of fonts into Le Cirque.

Read all of "Comic Neue Is Nothing More Than the Demon Bastard Child of Comic Sans".


Mysteries of the Vernacular

Mysteries of Vernacular: Pants from Myriapod Productions on Vimeo.

Mysteries of Vernacular is a video series from Myriapod Productions that contains 26 etymological installments, one for each letter of the alphabet. The topics inclue assassins, clue, hearse, inagurate and jade. One of our favorites "Pants" is above.


Future Mavericks

There's an empty shipping container at Future in Half Moon Bay, CA and they're is looking to fill it with some summer design interns for their program: Future Mavericks.

Housed at the Silicon Valley Ingenuity Lab (just minutes away from Mavericks big wave break and 25 minutes drive from San Francisco), Future Mavericks is a 3-month, unpaid adventure in unlocking human ingenuity to make clever, original, and practical use of existing resources to solve pressing challenges and drive positive change.

Future Mavericks offers real projects — with an expectation of real results — coupled with mentorship to ensure the internship is mutually beneficial. Selected interns will join a team of 4-6 students and recent graduates from across the country.

While Future Mavericks is unpaid, the participants are housed at the Lab in Half Moon Bay, CA. Part times jobs are available from local businesses. And Future is able to offer freelance projects from time-to-time.

Interested? Know a great candidate? Contact Future:


Glaser Goes Psychedelic

If you're watching the premiere of the last season of Mad Men this Sunday, you may notice some familiar-ish graphics. That's because the key art for Season 7 was created by Milton Glaser, based on some of the work he became known for in the 1960's and 70's, now frequently described as 'psychedelia'.

In a profile of the collaboration on The New York Times, Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men said:
“I grew up with a poster by Milton in my house, which my parents bought at MoMA,” said Mr. Weiner, 48, describing a 1966 promotion for WOR-FM radio, now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, showing five Beatles-esque performers rendered in a wildly colorful style that evoked both Art Deco and hard-edge painting."
Milton Glaser's studio has created a limited-run of archival pigment prints of this poster for sale. Printed on 22 x 17" velvet fine art paper, and limited to an edition of 200, these works are each signed and numbered by Milton.

Read about the Mad Men Key Art in The New York Times.
Purchase the print here.


Fast Thinking

You'd think this was another riff on the role of the image in popular culture, a nod to the power of the viral, a reminder that we all share the same guilty pleasures brought upon by all things paparazzi.

But you'd be wrong.

Look and read: a slapstick fall captured as a slow-motion sideshow? Or an example of how accelerated exposure times tell a different story? You be the judge.


2014 Porto Summer Editorial Design Course

Twelve people. Four critics. One remarkable city. Add spectacular typography, extraordinary food, affordable wine and a climate that most people simply dream about. There's a city and an ocean, a famous bridge, an exquisite train station, and a chance to think about nothing but your own development as a visual thinker and maker.  

Seriously, what more could you ask?

Herewith, why you should seriously consider the 2014 Porto Summer Editorial Design Course.  
(Deadline: May 4.)

Porto Design Summer School / The City

Porto Design Summer School / The Group

Porto Design Summer School / The Program

Porto Design Summer School / The Purpose

Porto Design Summer School / Editorial Design


Shape: A Film About Design

Shape is a short film that is part of MakeShapeChange, a project aimed at young people to get them thinking about how the world is made around them and where design fits in. There is a wealth of design information on the site including this statement:
Design is a simple thing that we can all use. Creative thinking for a practical purpose. Being able to imagine a stone as a spearhead, a cave as a house or a rock as part of a wall. It's a bridge between what something is and what it could be. Between the things we make and how we use them. It's not the whole story of the world we make around us, but it's an important part. It's always been there, helping us progress, and making things work better. 
 The poject was comissioned by Pivot Dublin. Learn more about the project.


Bistrophobie Poster

© Emmanuel Chirache

Can a poster shut people up? Locals in a bistro-dense corner of Paris would like to think so. According to Time Out Paris there's a fued between some residents of a bisto-dense neighborhood and the proprieters. The late-night bistro owners have come up with the term "bistrophobe" to describe their complaining neighbors, the neighbors in turn have taken to putting up posters to remind patrons to be quiet.



Typolitic is a new website that presents some of the best typographic student work from undergraduate design courses around the world. It features invaluable contributions from several leading designers, typographers and writers whose work is referenced in students’ courses. This commentary provides a unique ongoing pedagogical forum with a fascinating feedback loop between the studied and the student. Also commenting are several guest experts from outside the field. It argues implicitly for the teaching of typography and design generally as an intrinsically political medium. And its basic ambition is to encourage many more of these kinds of projects so that they may become the seeds of emancipatory practice. Check it out.


See America

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
by Emily Kelley

Over 75 years ago the government first commissioned posters to showcase the country's most stunning natural features under the banner "See America". The Creative Action Network (CAN) has set out to do it again by launching a new version of See America, a crowdsourced art campaign, enlisting artists from all 50 states to create a collection of artwork celebrating our national parks and other treasured sites.

To date the project has collected over 500 posters, and a significant portion of any proceeds go directly to the artists. To see all the posters, or to learn about contributing, click here.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site by Kwesi Ferebee

Everglades National Park by Megan Kissenger 


The Design Office 2014 Summer Fellowship

The Design Office in Providence, Rhode Island, was founded in 2007 to answer the creative needs of independent designers by providing office space, shared equipment, community and resources. 

The fellowship
exists to encourage recent graduates of bachelor's and master's programs in design (or fields related) to continue their own body of work within our community of independent practitioners. The Office will provide support, a well-stocked library of design theory and inspiration, as well as printers, plotters, and production tools to develop their projects


Inge Druckrey + Sister Corita Kent on Film

Sister Mary Corita Kent in the studio.

On Friday, April 4th, the Department of Graphic Design at Yale University will be showing Teaching to See and Learning by Heart, two short films on the work and teaching of Inge Druckrey and Sister Corita Kent. A discussion with Inge Druckrey and Barbara Glauber, moderated by Pamela Hovland will follow.

Inge Druckrey is a designer and educator. She is one of the first people who brought the Swiss school of design to the United States and has been teaching for over 40 years. Teaching to See is a documentary film by Andrei Severny focusing on Inge’s approach to design and education. The film was produced by Edward Tufte.

Corita Kent, aka Sister Mary Corita Kent, (1918-1986) was an artist, educator and active member of the Roman Catholic order of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles. During the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, she created several hundred posters, book covers and murals, often combining popular culture and spiritual texts in her work. She worked almost exclusively with silkscreen as a medium for her socially-engaged art making. Her work is held by a variety of well known institutions and private collectors including The Whitney, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It's free! 7:00 pm in The Design Atrium at 1156 Chapel Street, New Haven, Connecticut. More informtion here.

Inge Druckrey in a still from the film Teaching to See.


Design and Violence Debate

Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman

Design and Violence is an ongoing online curatorial experiment at the MoMA that explores the manifestations of violence in contemporary society by pairing critical thinkers with examples of challenging design work. Contributors' weekly essays have been published since November 2013, creating a body of opinion and a set of case studies that spark discussion and bring the ambiguous relationship between design and violence to center stage for designers and the people they serve — all of us.

On Thursday the first debate of the exhibit centers upon The Liberator, the world’s first 3-D printed gun. The gun’s designer Cody Wilson and Design Observer's Rob Walker will deliver debate motions, after which will follow a discussion focused on open-source design, the limits of gun laws and rights, and our assumptions about the ethics of design. The debate will be moderated by Design and Violence co-curator Paola Antonelli.

More info and tickets here.


The Hilda Stories

The Hilda Stories: The Receptionist from Herman Miller on Vimeo.

In a new video series from Herman Miller, Hilda Longinotti, George Nelson’s longtime aide-de-camp, recounts some of the greatest anecdotes from her 21-year run at the legendary New York City design atelier. The first of four videos, animated by Damien Florébert Cuypers, premiered today. In “The Receptionist”, Longinotti reflects on how answering a random job listing in the New York Times  set her on a life-changing course. Coming tomorrow, March 26 is “Bon voyage, George!”: A piquant portrait of office hijinks and the repercussions of playing hooky at the George Nelson office. Next week's videos are “The Case of the Missing Warhols” and “The woman on the Marshmallow Sofa”.



In Deventer, the Netherlands, a routine real estate deal and demolition became the site of innovation and new intelligence in urban design. Not all of the endings were happy ones. Matthew Stadler’s Deventer narrates the messy, compromised, human reality of architecture and planning. As architecture dissolves into the blurry middle ground between individual art practice and urban planning, the profession's discourse falls apart.

On the occasion of Deventer's New York City launch the Syracuse University School of Architecture presents ‘Architecture & Narrative’ at the Fisher Center. Stadler (by skype) will present his work and, along with Bouw and Jimenez Lai (author of Citizens of no place : an architectural graphic novel), will discuss how “the ways we write about architecture permanently shape and change what architects do." Dean Michael Speaks will moderate the discussion.


A Love Letter to the City

In 1999, Stephen Powers stopped writing graffiti and dedicated himself to being a full-time artist. He used his Fulbright grant in 2007 to paint the streets of Dublin and Belfast. From there, he teamed up with other sign mechanics and executed a large-scale mural project in his hometown of Philadelphia titled A Love Letter for You.

Those signs as well as his hand-painted love letters on the walls and roofs of Brooklyn, Syracuse, Sao Paolo, and Johannesburg are collected in a new book A Love Letter to the City.

All this month he's been has been leaving his mark on New York’s Strand bookstore — as he says, “sneaking around the aisles and painting little love letters to reading and writing.” Tomorrow, March 25th, he will finish up his paintings to coincide with a book launch party at 7pm.

(Images from the book provided by Princeton Architectural Press.)

Photo Credit: Steve Powers

Photo Credit: Matthew Kuborn

Photo Credit: Matthew Kuborn

Photo Credit: Flavio Samelo

Photo Credit: Adam Wallacavage


Complaints Posters

Poster, Y'KNOW?, 2014. George Lois, artist. In Complaints! An Inalienable Right, an exhibition organized by The Wolfsonian–FIU and curated by Steven Heller in conjunction with Power of Design 2014: Complaints.

Opening today, as part of the Power of Design 2014: Complaints conference, is the exhibition Complaints! An Inalienable Right, curated by author, design critic, educator and Design Observer friend Steven Heller. Topics addressed include the dumbing down of language, AIDS, people who stop at the top of escalators, Congress, global warming, certainty, smokers, work and many more.

The Wolfsonian-FIU's Power of Design blogger, Shawn Clybor talked to Heller about the exhibition.
Shawn Clybor: As a leading authority on graphic design, what connections do you see between complaints and design?

Steven Heller: Designers are supposed to (but don’t always) improve their worlds. Complaining is a road into that process. The complaint triggers the design. In the case of posters, we are asking the designers to translate their complaints into word and picture, type and graphics. But the trick is to not make it a whine. We need to learn something from the complaint, not just ingest it and let it sit like a heavy piece of flanken.

Read the full interview here.

Poster, This is an EX parrot, 2014. Philip Brooker, artist. In Complaints! An Inalienable Right, an exhibition organized by The Wolfsonian–FIU and curated by Steven Heller in conjunction with Power of Design 2014: Complaints.




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