Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Science


08.09.12: Michael Bierut

The Typeface of Truth
What are the implications when Errol Morris declares the typeface most likely to induce credulity is Baskerville?
READ MORE

07.28.12: Alexandra Lange

Hiking the Museum
Ennead Architects’ new Natural History Museum of Utah works to make natural history seem like the ongoing process of discovery that it is, layering geology and topography, paleontology and interactivity.
READ MORE

05.04.11: Alexandra Lange

Science Gets Around to Architecture
Why are we still privileging scientific studies over visual thinking?
READ MORE

04.07.11: Rob Walker

On Radiolab: the Sound of Science
“Radiolab,” a public radio show that breaks from public radio sensibilities, not least in its striking sound.
READ MORE

12.13.10: Carl Schoonover

Portraits of the Mind
The book, Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century (Abrams) documents this overlooked dimension over two millennia of obsession with the brain.
READ MORE

01.12.10: Michael Bierut

Designing the Unthinkable
For more than fifty years, there have been arguments against nuclear proliferation. The Doomsday Clock translates all the arguments to a simple visual analogy.
READ MORE

06.03.09: Alan Rapp

Personal Space
Robert Sommer’s Personal Space: The Behavioral Basis of Design was published in forty years ago, and its compact title concept — an invisible but perceptible security zone surrounding an individual — caught on. But where is Sommer now? A recent study in Perception finds that listening to music on headphones alters our sense of sociospatial relations. Until these more contemporary strands of inquiry result in a truly new analysis of how we perceive our interpersonal zones today, Personal Space is now available in a new edition, with some additional commentary by Dr. Sommer, from Bosko Books in the UK
READ MORE

05.14.09: Mark Lamster

Triumph of the Will (Or, Everything Old Is New Again)
In the New Yorker this week, Jonah Lehrer writes about a psychological study suggesting that self control, or the ability to delay gratification, more strongly correlates with long-term success than intelligence.
READ MORE

04.15.09: Lorraine Wild

Will Burtin: Design and Science
Will Burtin’s story is presented in Design and Science: The Life and Work of Will Burtin. Like all of the emigré “pioneers,” Burtin brought an amazing amount of talent and energy (along with plain old ambition) to his modernist approach.
READ MORE

10.16.07: Jessica Helfand

Science and Design: The Next Wave
Scientists probe and manipulate and channel and divide; they split and fuse and spike and engineer; but most of all, they look. As a designer, to spend any time with scientists is to become at once profoundly aware of our similarities and devastated by that which divides us.
READ MORE

05.28.07: Jessica Helfand

My Dirty Little Secret
Gardening is its own infuriating design challenge. You fret and you rethink and you second-guess yourself constantly, and then for one delirious, thrilling moment something blooms and you feel utterly triumphant. And then it dies and you are back where you started.
READ MORE

03.22.07: William Drenttel

International Polar Year
In what may turn out to be the biggest international scientific project to date, an army of thousands of scientists will spend the next two years studying the Arctic and Antarctic as part of the International Polar Year, which officially begins this week.
READ MORE

09.21.06: Jessica Helfand

Death 'N' Stuff
Smoking Kills: The label days it all. Or does it? Once the allegedly chilling skull and crossbones is marketed as a decorative pattern on a silk bowtie, its credibility as an mark of peril seems, well, somewhat questionable, begging the question: have we become so bored by life that we've inadvertently become inured to death?
READ MORE

08.14.06: William Drenttel

Threat Advisory Pandemic Alert System (TAPAS)
How do we measure the danger level from the Avian Influenza A (H5N1) virus? What we lack is that one Tom Ridge-like bit of inspiration that would lend clarity to these confusing times. We took our cue from a certain John James Audubon. Herewith, one option for Homeland Security. Yes, we know: it's for the birds.
READ MORE

04.18.06: William Drenttel

Weather Report: 53 Degrees F. Heavy Snowfall Predicted
The weather is fucked up. "Science is a way of making sense of the world. Design is a way of making the world make sense."
READ MORE

12.16.05: Jessica Helfand

Face Value
Facial transplants mapping our future: how much is the world of design responsible?
READ MORE

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?
READ MORE

04.28.05: Jessica Helfand

Greer Allen: In Memoriam
Designer, critic, pundit and historian, Greer Allen was Senior Critic in Graphic Design at Yale School of Art. He designed publications for The Houghton Library at Harvard, the Beinecke Library at Yale, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and a number of other distinguished cultural institutions around the country. Greer Allen died last week after a short illness. He was 83.
READ MORE

04.24.05: Rick Poynor

Eduardo Paolozzi, 20th Century Image-Maker
If a visual artist created more concentrated, exhilarating images of science, technology and the media realm during the mid-20th century than British artist Eduardo Paolozzi, then I would like to see them. Paolozzi, who died on 22 April aged 81, was first of all a sculptor, but the screenprints he produced in the 1960s rank as masterpieces of the medium.
READ MORE

01.02.05: The Editors

Understanding and Action

READ MORE

09.09.04: Jessica Helfand

Under The Microscope

READ MORE

04.20.04: Jessica Helfand

One Person, One Vote, One MRI?

READ MORE

02.05.04: William Drenttel

Call for Entries: Periodic Table of the Elements
Jessica Helfand and I are building a collection of Periodic Tables and hope to publish a book on their scientific, visual and cultural history.
READ MORE

02.04.04: William Drenttel

Uut, Uup and Away
What happens when we discover new elements, especially ones on the outer fringes of the periodic table? Where did Uut and Uup come from?
READ MORE

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS