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Comments (10) Posted 11.21.07 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Jessica Helfand

Thanksgiving Day


merci.jpg

In a small church somewhere in the southern Pyrénées stands a wall covered in fragments of marble and ceramic tile. Declaring gratitude for any of a number of invisible reasons — personal, spiritual — the simple repetition of a single word forms a beguiling tapestry of human anonymity. Who were these people who chose to crystallize their appreciation this way, through words representing any number of thoughts and events and deeds now long gone? Here, "merci" becomes at once a gesture of appreciation and an architectural statement. The letterforms, some shiny and others starting to decompose, coalesce as a single form — a mesmerizing typographic benediction.

Here in America on this day of ritualized thanks, we are reminded that saying "Thank You" is a meaningful, yet all-too-often overlooked part of everyday life. And so we say Merci to all our readers whose contributions we recognize with sincere gratitude. We are nothing without you.


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Comments (10)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT COMMENT >>

In that case I'll say thanks again and apologise this time for calling you William in your Science and Design post!

Type in haste, repent at leisure...
John Coulthart
11.21.07 at 02:21

Thanks to all of the Design Observer writers and staff for their hard work on one of the only sites I must visit daily.
Jw
11.22.07 at 08:16

I am thankful for the daily feasts you put forth. may they continue to be abundant.
Craig
11.23.07 at 01:04

very grateful for so much consistently intelligent and enjoyable writing on design. keep it up!
simple simon
11.23.07 at 09:15

Carl W. Smith
11.23.07 at 11:06

There in America, because of political correctness, people cannot write, that all these "merci's" are for God.

I thought that Thanksgiving is also about that. Otherwise I think the name should be "Thank You Day".
michal
11.24.07 at 10:21

Beaucoup!

Merci!

VR/
Joe Moran
11.24.07 at 07:22

Pyrénées.

(Editor's Note: Thanks. Spelling correction made.)
Geography Guy
11.26.07 at 12:58

Thank you Jessica, Michael, William, Rick, Steven, and all the other contributors for all your hard work on DO. You are greatly appreciated.
Jude Landry
11.26.07 at 03:05

Sometimes the downside of atheism (aside from having to give up the idea that one will live forever in some "better place") is a loss of the idea of gratitude. One can be grateful to others for immediate favors, but what about a beautiful sunset? So, taking my cue from a woman writer whom I heard interviewed a few years ago (alas, I've forgotten who it was), I simply say the words "thank you" when I see, taste, or hear something wonderful. Of course, I'm not thanking some supreme being, but the act of saying those words stops me for a few seconds and causes me to appreciate the moment.
owen edwards
12.08.07 at 08:28


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer and a former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Communications Arts and Eye magazines. A member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director's Hall of Fame, Helfand received her B.A. and her M.F.A. from Yale University where she has taught since 1994.
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS









BOOKS BY Jessica Helfand

Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media, and Visual Culture
Winterhouse Editions, 2001

Scrapbooks: An American History
Yale University Press, 2008

Reinventing the Wheel
Winterhouse Editions, 2002

Paul Rand: American Modernist
winterhouse Editions, 1998

Looking Closer 3
Allworth Press, 1999

More books by contributors >>

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