The Design Observer Group
Observatory

WEEKLY EMAIL: FEBRUARY 03, 2011


Grandma

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JUDE STEWART

Grandma's Matchbook Collection

My grandma collected matches. She scooped them up on business trips from the 1940s through the 80s, while buying ladies’ dresswear for a department store in Louisville, Kentucky. An unapologetic little chimney herself, her rhythm was athletic as a baton toss: one matchbook for the purse, one for the table nestling the smokes. One book burned up on the spot; the other got shepherded into a tall glass jug, slightly larger than a lung, to wait out its unignited life in her basement.
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MICHAEL BIERUT

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mentor, Or, Why Modernist Designers Are Superior

My first job was a place of rules: typefaces you could use, typefaces you couldn't and always on a modular grid. When I arrived there as the most junior of junior designers in 1980, my portfolio couldn't have been more eclectic. Filled with excitable homages to everyone from Wolfgang Weingart to Pushpin Studios, my college-era work begged for a diagnosis of Multiple Designer Personality Disorder. You might have expected me to rebel against the strictures to which I was subjected by Massimo Vignelli, my first boss. Instead, I willingly submitted to them. For ten years. And, as a result, I am a better designer today.
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JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 01.30.11

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
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CULTURE MAGAZINE

A Collection of Vintage Cheese Labels

Our photo essay originates in England, circa 1957. It was there and then that a colorful package of cheese inspired one person (unknown) to start a collection of dairy labels, neatly organized in a scrapbook. His or her now-vintage collection — found orphaned on eBay — is a virtual journal of cheese branding in the mid-20th century.
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ADRIAN SHAUGHNESSY

Down in the Trenches with Kenneth FitzGerald

It’s an odd experience to review a book in which you find yourself to be the recipient of a hearty kicking by the author. It’s even odder to find that you are full of admiration for the writer’s calm-eyed analysis of the design world. But I don’t deserve the kicking: more of this later.
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JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 01.23.11

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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POEM OF THE WEEK

"W, a poem"

A poem about typography by Christian Bök.
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RECENT BOOKS RECEIVED

How To Design a TypefaceHow To Design a Typeface
Design Museum

Of What One Cannot Speak: Doris SalcedoOf What One Cannot Speak: Doris Salcedo's Political Art
Mieke Bal

Managing the Design Process — Concept DevelopmentManaging the Design Process — Concept Development
Terry Lee Stone

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