Democracy

James Cartwright + Lilly Smith
Flipping the Script
How two progressive organizations, Tactical 2017 and Flippable, use open-source data and strategic voting, and why that might dictate the future of our elections.


Lilly Smith
Artifact: 2000 Palm Beach County Ballot
This article is the first in a new and ongoing Design Observer series, Artifact, which takes one piece out of AIGA’s Design Archives and asks a design expert in the topic being observed to reflect on its current impact in the present. This week: Marcia Lausen looks at the 2000 Palm Beach County Ballot.


Laetitia Wolff
Design for Democracy: Building Community Power
Design articulates choice at a time when there are seemingly no choices or only binary choices.


James Cartwright
Can Demagogues be Designed out of Democracy?
Dutch transition designer Rudy van Belkom and Irish digital design agency FrontEnd are leading the charge to combat democratic dissatisfaction. Is it a pipe dream, or can we design a different way?



Cheryl Heller
Social Design Helped Women Win Equality in Iceland. And So?
Forty-three years ago, Icelandic women used social design principles to implement "The Long Friday" strike for gender equity. As Cheryl Heller explains, the past has never felt more present.


Bonnie Siegler
Signs of Resistance
This book is a collection of visual expressions of resistance throughout American history. They include broadsides, postcards, posters, greeting cards, sculptures, paintings, ads, book covers, magazine covers, handmade-signs, projections, and the back sides of scrap paper.


James Cartwright
Architecture for the People: Bryan C. Lee is Taking Trust Back into Public Spaces
“Architecture is the most democratic and the least democratically used tool.”


Lilly Smith
For She Should Run, Politics Today are all About the Brand
Lesley Stordahl, Creative Director at CBX, explains how the design agency worked with non-profit group She Should Run to develop their brand and set strategies to meet lofty goals (like getting 250,000 women to run for elected office by 2030). “For women, we need to continually design knowing that a woman needs to see herself reflected there—see that it’s not just a man’s game.”


James Cartwright, Lilly Smith
When Design Comes Second
Women’s History Month 2017 is coming to a close, and perhaps this year more ever, is ending with an ellipsis rather than a definitive period.



Observed | June 19

How punk rock changed the course of design history. [BV]

Adobe is releasing five fonts based on designs by Bauhaus figures, “lost to history”, which have been revived by German typographer Erik Spiekermann and a group of students. [BV]


Observed | June 14

The history of the 1940 Emeco 10-06 Navy Chair, made of bent aluminum, and strong enough to withstand an 8-story drop from a Chicago window. [BV]


Observed | June 13

Massimo Vignelli’s unused maps for the D.C. Metro are amazing. [BV]

A tale of two hats from Steven Heller. [BV]


Observed | June 12

About two years ago Brooklyn-based polymath Robby Kraft started using algorithmic code to design new origami patterns and they are astounding. [BV]

Herb Lubalin was born 100 years ago. To celebrate, join in to republish Herb Lubalin: American Graphic Designer (1918-81). [BV]


Observed | June 11

Super freaky recently declassified NSA security posters. Seriously. [BV]


Observed | June 07

Encyclopædia Britannica wants to fix false Google results with actual facts. [BV]


Observed | June 06

“Working with children, after all, was the rare field in which women’s gender was seen as an asset rather than an obstacle. As children gained their own spaces, their own toys, and their own diminutive furniture, beginning in the nineteenth century, refining, proselytizing, and testing designs meant for children was women’s work. We see their influence everywhere.” Alexandra Lange on the hidden women of architecture and design. [BV]


Observed | June 04

Lab100 is a new type of medical clinic that will use data science to predict and prevent medical conditions instead of diagnosing and treating issues after-the-fact. [BV]

What if your surroundings never went in the garbage? Taking recycling to the next level. [BV]

What New York can learn from Europe about designing a city for people instead of cars. [MB]


Observed | June 01

Jaron Lanier was there for the creation of the internet and is convinced that social media is toxic, making us sadder, angrier, and more isolated. [BV]


Observed | May 31

#TBT: The retro-futuristic movie posters of Laurent Durieux. [BV]


Observed | May 30

What happens when speculative design goes corporate?...At its most disturbing, it’s a way of giving a company’s employees permission to think the unthinkable—to grapple with how omniscient and powerful that corporate entity might become. [BV]

An explainer video from 1923—when films were still silent and the discovery of Pluto was 7 years in the future—about Einstein’s theory of relativity. [BV]


Observed | May 29

Arbys wants you to download their font, Saucy_AF, to “say it with sauce”. [BV]

It wasn’t until the 1990s that public libraries realized their most loyal patrons were teens—and started giving them room to act like teens. Alexandra Lange explores young adult architecture. [BV]


Observed | May 28

Meghan Markle has been granted her own coat of arms; its design was approved by the Queen. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | May 24

“Design in this century has little use for anything that can’t be quantified. And yet, here is Apple’s App Store, presenting new, original illustrations several times a week.” [BV]


Observed | May 23

Bill Gold, the seminal designer who created posters for some of Hollywood‘s most famous movies—from A Streetcar Named Desire to The Exorcist—has died. [LS]

Pilot and photographer Christiaan van Heijst captures his stunning view of weather from the cockpit. [BV]

Goodbye Philip Roth, designer manqué. [BV]


Observed | May 22

Sadly we must say goodbye to Robert Indiana, who brought his world-famous LOVE sculpture to NYC in 1971. [BV]

Adherents to Design Thinking believe it will save higher ed. Are they delusional? [BV]

Adieu Interview. Almost 50 years after it was founded by Andy Warhol, the magazine is shutting down. [BV]


Observed | May 18

A Qin dynasty document from the third-century B.C.E, titled “The Volume of Crime Scene Investigation—Burglary,” pointed up fingerprints as a means of evincing whodunnit: The surprising history (and future) of fingerprints. [BV]


Observed | May 16

Glamour shots of chickens. [BV]

This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents The Ark. [BV]



Jobs | June 21