About Ellen Shapiro

Print contributing editor Ellen Shapiro is principal of Visual Language LLC in Irvington, NY. She has been designing for her whole life and writing about design for more than 20 years. She blogs about design, gardens, food and travel at dig-it-blog.com

The Handwriting Is on the Wall

“I love typography!” That’s the way Chavelli Tsui answers the question, “What brought you here? Tsui is a graphic designer born and raised in Hong Kong who recently received her BFA in communication design from Carnegie-Mellon University. With 28 cohorts …

The Education of a Typographic Innovator

Rolando G. Alcantara was born and raised in Torreón, an industrial city in north-central Mexico. He attended a technical high school there. Since childhood, he’d planned to become a doctor—a radiologist, like his mom. A few weeks ago, he received …

Back to the AIGA/NY Past: Recollections on 30 Years

What can you learn from 12 big-name designers about 30 years of New York design history? You can learn that everyone sees things in a different way and brings his or her own spin to the table (or to the …

Talking “Eames Words” with Deborah Sussman

“The world knows about the chairs, the films, the toys,” Deborah Sussman said. “But the world does not know what Charles and Ray said, what they loved, what they had for breakfast. They found uncommon beauty in common things: a …

Why Is This Haggadah Different from All Other Haggadot?

“If I touch the letters, I think and I hope that people will be touched by them.” So said Israeli graphic and type designer Oded Ezer yesterday in a 1.5 hour NY—Tel Aviv Skype interview with me about The New …

Tristan Schmitz: New Name on the New York Design Scene

He arrived in New York last September with his wife, their kitten, and two suitcases. The next morning, he reported for work as the new senior designer at Chermayeff & Geismar. That doesn’t happen every day. I recently had the …

State of Deception

What is the role of the printed word and image in collectively inciting societies to brand certain members and groups as evil, and to convince the citizenry to condone—if not incite—murder? During a recent visit to the United States Holocaust …

Portrait of The Artist (1881-1973) as a Young Man

I’ll never forget an object I saw in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona 25 years ago: Picasso’s first-grade reader. He’d filled the margins with pencil drawings: animals, birds, people. Next to the book in the glass case was a teacher’s …

The Ultimate Brand Extension?

Product packaging spotted at the Wumart (I kid you not) in Beijing. Are these REAL Pepsi briefs, or is this the ultimate in knockoffs? I asked Lisa Francella, senior director of Visual Identity and Branding Extension at Pepsico, Inc., in …