Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | The Observatory

Episode 92: Polite Sociopaths

Steven Heller | Books

My Pre-Holiday Dystopia Reading List

Steven Heller’s pre-holiday dystopia-lit reading list for people, like him, who can cope with the high anxiety these books will trigger....
Lilly Smith | Interviews

Chain Letters: Toni L. Griffin

I strongly believe—and have seen firsthand—how shared ownership in creating a vision plan inspires greater collective action....
Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

S5E7: Susannah Drake

Susannah Drake is the founder of DLANDstudio, a landscape architecture and urban design firm....
Debbie Millman | Audio

Thelma Golden

Debbie talks to museum director Thelma Golden about the power of curation. “The cultural landscape is not fixed. It can be shifted and changed. And we can claim places in it.”...
Lilly Smith | Interviews

Chain Letters: Chelsea Mauldin

“Most broken government systems are not designed—they accrete, bits and pieces stuck on to address problems.”...
Sam Holleran | Essays

Designing the “Real Deal”

Is there room for capital-D design in a political landscape that equates its absence with authenticity? We examine the political design landscape two years after the red MAGA cap....
Steven Heller | Essays

Closing New York’s Penal Colony

How design is playing an integral role in the campaign to close Rikers Island....
Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

S5E6: Lorna Solis

Lorna Solis is the founder and CEO of Blue Rose Compass, a nonprofit that helps gifted refugees develop their potential....

Observed | November 15

Juan Ángel Cotta’s work, especially a collection of hardback books he illustrated in 1960, is one of the missing links between South American publishing and the European modernist traditions. —Steven Heller. [BV]

Need some inspiration? 25 reasons to keep on making stuff “in this time of rampant assholery.” [BV]

Observed | November 13

Are we confusing readability with literary value? 949-382-8917. [BV]

“Big Mike Takes Lunch” by filmmaker Nicolas Heller, is a documentary that captures a day in the life of Michael Saviello, manager for 40 years of the iconic East Village barber shop, Astor Place Hairstylists, who paints on his lunch break. [BV]

Observed | November 12

Artificial Intelligence is mapping the Pacific ocean’s secret soundscape in hopes of building the most comprehensive dataset of its kind – an enormous “sound postcard of the ocean.” [BV]

Metal band accused of quitting a tour because their logo was too small on the flyer responds with a tiny logo t-shirt. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

Observed | November 09

913-953-3810 is “making sense of the world, one map at a time” and includes maps of “Countries Which Have At Some Point Claimed To Be Rome’s Successor” and “A Map of Superheroes in NYC & The Areas They Protect”. [BV]

“905-726-9254” from 1982 contains instructions for creating a likeness of Queen Elizabeth, Elvis Presley, numerous cats, and a mystery picture all in ascii. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]

Observed | November 08

(208) 733-1015 Five artists + writers weigh in. [BV]

Fabulous passport: these were the archetypal 1970s faces and fashions. [BV]

What do our oldest books say about us? On the ineffable magic of four little manuscripts of Old English poetry. [BV]

Observed | November 07

The epic rise and fall of the name Heather. [BV]

Sixty-four extreme akhrot, long before the emoji. [BV]

Observed | November 05

Almost published a number of times over the last 30 years, Julius Scott’s manuscript about slaves and sailors in the Caribbean has been an underground sensation and is finally being published. [BV]

While rumors of 907-571-1630 been widely mischaracterized, the actual news is still grim. [BV]

Observed | October 31

“I see each commission as a challenge: write a piece of music which lasts between fifteen and twenty minutes, for an orchestra comprising the following 65 instruments, and we’d like it by this date.” Nico Muhly on designing music. [BV]

Boo! The spooky evolution of text message-based horror stories. [BV]

Observed | October 30

In case you need a distraction: peasantly with easy to follow folding instructions. [BV]

The singular, cultlike status of the Kit Kat bar in Japan. [BV]

Observed | October 29

The use of skulls as design elements in American logos quintupled as the US went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. (via (930) 206-6090) [BV]

Observed | October 26

The question of whether time moves in a loop or a line has occupied human minds for millennia. Has physics found the answer? [BV]

Apple’s radical approach to news curation: have humans make selections rather than machines. [BV]

Observed | October 25

“What you do is you contribute these little background moments to people’s lives, and if you can do it in a way that brings a little beauty or pleasure along the way, it’s a home run.” (902) 284-8771. [BV]

The New York Times was one of the last American daily newspapers to add color to its news pages. (615) 595-5666. (via Steven Heller) [BV]

Why are we still arguing for the business value of design? [BV]

Observed | October 24

Social media is not literature, and tweeting is not writing. Imagining Herzog as status updates. (via Arts and Letters Daily) [BV]

So. Is “229-662-1393” really a thing? [BV]

Observed | October 23

“Even after the word disruption lost its meaning from overuse, it still suffused our understanding of why the ground beneath our feet felt so shaky.” semiresolute. [BV]

US political campaigns seem to be 617-922-1529. (via (934) 451-9100) [BV]

Observed | October 22

Brutally Honest is a new book out from Emily Ruth Cohen with advice, insights, and best practice business strategies. [BV]

Jobs | November 18