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03.06.14: Chappell Ellison

You’ll Never Guess the Amazing Ways Online Design Writing and Criticism Has Changed
A call to support better desgn journalism.
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02.11.14: Alexandra Lange

Premature Demolition
The Folk Art Museum, David Adjaye's market hall, and the first addition to the Morgan Library. If three makes a trend, then premature demolition qualifies.
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02.04.14: Rick Poynor

Why Tatlin Can Never Go Home Again
Raoul Hausmann’s photomontage Tatlin at Home is much pinned on Pinterest, but what has become of the original?
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01.13.14: Rick Poynor

The Compulsively Visual World of Pinterest
I have always liked Pinterest’s exclusively visual focus and unlimited boards structure. A week ago I joined.
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12.30.13: Alexandra Lange

Year of the Women
A year-end wrap-up of my favorite stories. The common theme? Women and the making of design.
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10.21.13: Alexandra Lange

Where We Work
A Kickstarter for co-working space Makeshift Society points to the light, space and tools creative freelancers need to be productive.
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09.24.13: Alexandra Lange

Learning New Tricks
Harvard doesn't have any design courses, but I've found new friends in "material culture." What it's like for a critic to go back to school.
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06.10.13: Alexandra Lange

That Personal Touch
In the age of the digital signature, what does script mean?
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06.04.13: Alexandra Lange

Praise the Partner(s)
Salute Denise Scott Brown because she deserves it, but let's not forget the other partners.
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06.03.13: Alexandra Lange

Home Improvement
The Sweethome, where Consumer Reports and Amazon product reviews meet.
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05.14.13: Alexandra Lange

Anxiety, Culture and Commerce
Is the museum store a distraction or an enticement?
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03.18.13: Alexandra Lange

Instagramming Around Australia
Lessons from contemporary Australian architecture, plus what I saw on Instagram.
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03.07.13: Alexandra Lange

After the Museum: The Tumblr
To create metamuseum.tumblr.com, a multi-museum, multi-curator Tumblr @MADMuseum, I saw it as a kind of curatorial game: Show Me What You’ve Got.
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01.14.13: Michael Bierut

Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport
Michael Bierut on logo redesign outrages, what they mean, and why we should demand more.
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12.10.12: Mark Lamster, Alexandra Lange

Lunch With The Critics: Third-Annual Year-End Awards
Idiosyncratic awards bestowed on architecture, design and media.
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11.21.12: Alexandra Lange

3rd Annual Holiday Card Review
Holiday card designs for 2012 reveal the social media preoccupations of their buyers, whether it is Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or old-fashioned (perhaps Downton Abbey-inspired?) stationery.
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10.14.12: Alexandra Lange

Shopping With Sandro, and Other Tumblr Delights
Digitizing the Miller House Collection, and other museum and corporate visual archives on Tumblr.
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09.25.12: Rob Walker

Crowdcrit vs. Apple Maps
An instant Tumblr responds to Apple's maps app, and demonstrates the art of the creative takedown.
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08.21.12: Alexandra Lange

Critics Critical Criticism
Meta-criticism all over the blogosphere (but why only about books?)
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07.31.12: Alexandra Lange

The Critical Olympics
What the best sports commentary does is just like criticism: it makes you care about the previously abstract.
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06.15.12: Alexandra Lange

The Charismatic Megafauna of Design
Identifying the "charismatic megafauna" of design and the critical uses of their popularity.
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06.09.12: Alexandra Lange

Introducing Strelka Press
On Strelka Press, a new "digital first" publisher of longform architecture and design criticism.
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05.02.12: Alexandra Lange

Against Kickstarter Urbanism
You can Kickstart an edible spoon, but not a city.
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11.03.11: Rick Poynor

This Post has Been Declared a Link-free Zone
Links can greatly enrich an online text, but are they also a counterproductive distraction from reading?
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09.13.11: Alexandra Lange

Thinking in Tumblr
Don't write a book, make a Tumblr.
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09.06.11: Alexandra Lange

Stop That: Minimalist Posters
Make a minimalist poster, see your work travel the digital world.
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08.31.11: Alexandra Lange

Announcing LetsGetCritical.org
My new blog collects the best arts & culture criticism, essays and reviews.
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07.13.11: Rick Poynor

The House That Design Journalism Built
Printed design magazines continue to fail and close. Where does that leave design writing and criticism?
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07.07.11: Alexandra Lange

Would You Like Words With That?
A meditation on how we shop, organize and get rid of stuff online.
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06.08.11: Rob Walker

Dedigitization
“Digital goods” are increasingly seen as having real value. Increasingly, though, things from the digital world are crossing over into physical manifestations that can be bought and sold.
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06.01.11: Alexandra Lange

An Atlas of Possibility
The Institute for Urban Design's By the City/For the City project provokes crowd-sourced possibilities for New York's future.
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05.21.11: Alexandra Lange

Vicarious Thrifting, via Twitter
On the lively, effective and erudite thrifting community on Twitter.
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04.12.11: Alexandra Lange

All That Glitters (and Swoops)
What reviews of aberrant design and Van Cleef diamonds have in common: the death of the design show.

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03.07.11: Alexandra Lange

Reading Out Loud
The disappearing physical on-ramps to reading.
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02.21.11: Alexandra Lange

Neat Freaks
Organizing things neatly = what IBM, Ray Eames, Herbert Matter and Tumblr have in common.
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02.17.11: Alexandra Lange

I Was an Unhappy Hipster
In a renovation by an architect, for a critic, the bookshelves can be a battleground.
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01.09.11: Rob Walker

Ghosts in the Machine
Everyday we are busy producing fresh masses of life-affirming digital stuff. What happens to this “stuff” when we die?
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12.22.10: Alexandra Lange

Shopping D/R at Etsy
Want to recreate D/R this Christmas? Etsy provides the goods.

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12.01.10: Rob Walker

Inside the Wild, Wacky, Profitable World of Boing Boing
How four people who do exactly what they want run one of the most popular blogs on the planet.
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11.24.10: Alexandra Lange

Criticism Kerfuffle 2010
There are people trying to write their way to a future of architecture criticism. But it isn't just the writing that's the problem.
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11.05.10: Rick Poynor

Adventures in the Image World
This is a blog about visual culture. It reflects my interests, enthusiasms, concerns and bêtes noires across the spectrum of visual phenomena.
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08.03.10: Adrian Shaughnessy

Publishing in the Age of the Internet
Design/Research, published by Unit Editions, are collectable "papers" which, focus on design and visual communication, from the past, by placing it in a future context.
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06.02.10: Alexandra Lange

Bloggers in the Archive
Geoff Manaugh’s announcement, on BLDGBLOG, that he would be blogging from the CCA this summer irritated me, partly because the idea is not brand new.
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05.21.10: Alexandra Lange

The Anti-Enthusiasts
Design Blogs: The Vacuum of Enthusiasm, my Design Observer manifesto on what the world of design on the internet needs, lives on in the comments.
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05.16.10: Alexandra Lange

The Naive Tumblr
The recent changes on Tumblr are brilliant and not intuitive.
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04.02.10: Alexandra Lange

Design Adjacent
There’s a theme in the comments on my Design Observer piece on design blogs, The Vacuum of Enthusiasm, that there is little for me to say about.
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03.29.10: Alexandra Lange

On DO: Design Blogs: The Vacuum of Enthusiasm
As part of my new strategy of writing the conversations that go on in my head, I critique design (and architecture, to some extent) blogs today on Design Observer.
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03.15.10: Alexandra Lange

Playground Apps
I wonder if the young, male inventors of foursquare haven’t missed a big market: moms.
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02.01.10: Mark Lamster

Observing Design
I'm pleased to announce that I've joined the distinguished slate of contributing editors to Design Observer, what I consider to be the premier site on the web for writing on design in its many disciplines.
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09.11.09: Alexandra Lange

Just Looking
My new favorite source of procrastination is Reference Library.
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09.09.09: Alexandra Lange

Healthy Home
My project involving vintage paper placements was featured on Ohdeedoh.
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09.09.09: Alexandra Lange

Grounded
Alexandra Jacobs's feature on Zappos didn't address my burning question: Why is Zappos so ugly?
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08.17.09: Rachel Berger

Significant Objects: #1 Mom Hooks
Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. The third of five stories is by Rachel Berger...
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08.17.09: Teddy Blanks

Significant Objects: Porcelain Scooter
Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. The fourth of five stories is by Teddy Blanks...
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08.17.09: Jessica Helfand

Significant Objects: Elvis Chocolate Tin
Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. The fifth of five stories is by Jessica Helfand...
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08.17.09: Adam Harrison Levy

Significant Objects: Star of David Plate
Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. The first of five stories is by Adam Harrison Levy...
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08.16.09: Alexandra Lange

Shelf Life
Lizzie Skurnick's Shelf Discovery is a new book about rereading classic teen novels with an adult eye.
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07.29.09: The Editors

On Comments
Reader comments are an important part of our site, with many visitors enjoying them as much as the original articles. So keeping the discussion as interesting as possible is to everyone's advantage. Here are the rules for comments at Design Observer.
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06.01.09: Alexandra Lange

Why This blog?
I am starting a blog, because some opinions are too hot for casual conversation.
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03.11.09: Jessica Helfand

My Facebook, My Self
But as projections of ourselves, one's Facebook identity, made visible through one's photo albums, inhabits a public trajectory that goes way beyond who and what we are.


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10.15.08: Dmitri Siegel

Design by Numbers
Dmitri Siegel discusses Stephen Baker's new book The Numerati and how data-mining and personalized content may impact design.
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02.07.08: Adrian Shaughnessy

Look and Feel / Nip and Tuck
If clients are happy to refer to the output of graphic designers as look and feel, where's the harm?
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12.27.07: Steven Heller

What's In A Name?
In only a few short years, blogs have significantly evolved. And if blogs, and the people who engage with them, are to be respected, then we should all know who everyone is, and everyone — whoever and whatever they have to say — should not hide behind the digital veil.
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06.06.07: Adrian Shaughnessy

The 2012 Olympic Logo Ate My Hamster
Designers often bemoan the lack of coverage given to graphic design in mainstream media. Yet when design catches the attention of journalists and commentators it usually results in a vicious mugging rather than hearty praise.
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08.29.06: William Drenttel

What Ever Happened to Half.com, Oregon?
But back in 1999, in its Netflix-like heyday, Half.com was hot. And it did something quite remarkable. As a publicity stunt, it bought a town and renamed it. Someplace in Oregon. I wondered what ever happened to Half.com, Oregon — the first dot com city in the world?
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08.17.06: Dmitri Siegel

World 6.0: Same as the Old World?
Edward Castronova's recent book Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games sheds some light on the increasingly tangled relationship between MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games) and the game of life.
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08.03.06: Adrian Shaughnessy

Living Without The Internet
The "community" that I find on the internet is the communality of shared enthusiasms for marginalised subjects.
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11.10.05: Rick Poynor

Emigre: An Ending
Issue 69 of Emigre will be the last. In its heyday, it was the most consistently interesting design publication produced by anyone, anywhere. By 1990, it was one of those magazines you simply had to get hold of and read straight away.
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07.01.05: Rick Poynor

We Are All Editors Now. Or Are We?
Many designers aspire to be editors. But being an editor is not simply about choosing some things you like and throwing them together. Editing is about deep engagement with content and the construction of meaning.
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05.30.05: William Drenttel

Maps of Cyberspace
It is the internet that has changed our perception of space, precisely because the sheer volume of interconnectivity is beyond our imagination, whether it be language-based, data-based, or community-based. Add black holes and photographs of asteroidal moons around Jupiter, and our world seems increasingly expansive. Yet, if we cannot map it, how can we understand it?
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01.02.05: The Editors

Understanding and Action

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12.03.04: Jessica Helfand

Time, Space and The Microsoft Colonialists
If Microsoft displayed its marketing genius by introducing "Spaces" three weeks before Christmas, its failure as a compelling editorial product — as evidenced by its restrictive format, its templated narrowcasting, its uninspired design parameters — illuminates its ultimate weakness: these spaces have nothing to do with space, in all its rich, fascinating and deeply human complexity.
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09.24.04: Jessica Helfand

Gentlemen Prefer Blogs
Watching Annie Duke beat out a half-dozen male competitors in the World Poker Tournament this week, I experienced an odd case of déjà vu. It wasn't because of some Proustian memory of my own poker prowess — far from it, infact. Rather, what I felt was an odd sort of parallel universe with something I've been ruminating about for some time: namely, my presence here on Design Observer as the sole female contributor, and the scarcity of women who regularly participate in discussions here on this site.
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01.11.04: Michael Bierut

Vladimir Nabokov: Father of Hypertext?
The innovative narrative technique developed by Vladimir Nabokov for his 1962 novel "Pale Fire" -- essentially a single epic poem with footnotes and commentary -- anticipated hypertext, the internet, and the interconnected world of blogs.
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01.02.04: Jessica Helfand

Mind the Light, Light the Mind
As I began to describe Quaker Meeting for Worship — where one sits in silence for some period of time, in a large room with any number of other congregants, and where one stands to speak, on virtually any topic, when moved to do so — I realized that this presented a compelling metaphor for blogging.
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12.16.03: William Drenttel

Design URLs
As a service to our readers over the holidays, here is a list of the twenty URLs we found to be available, and more interestingly, the close to one hundred URLs we found to be taken.
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11.12.03: Jessica Helfand

Implausible Fictions
At what point does the designer's interpretation threaten to skew, or misrepresent or somehow implausibly amplify information in a manner that might be considered irresponsible?
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