Author Archives: Ellen Shapiro

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. Her website is She blogs about garden design, horticulture, food and travel at


The Mandela Poster Project

Graphic designers in 70 countries created more than 700 posters to celebrate Nelson Mandela's life and legacy for The Mandela Poster Project. 95 selected posters are now on display.


Looking Back: Working with Herb Lubalin on U&lc

Herb Lubalin was not only a boss, but was a mentor and father-figure to Ellen Shapiro. She, along with Ilene Strizver and Jason Calfo, talk about working with the legendary Herb Lubalin at U&lc.

Pencil to Pixel, Exhibit by Monotype

Relive the Beauty of Pencil to Pixel

Did you miss “Pencil to Pixel,” a one-week popup exhibit of artifacts representing more than 100 years of typeface design? Check out these fabulous photos.

Formal Design Education Is Necessary for Practicing Designers. Yay or Nay?

It was the third Designer’s Debate Club event. The Parsons Tishman Auditorium on West 12th Street was packed last Wednesday with people eager to hear what well-known designers and design educators would have to say about the necessity of formal design education. Co-sponsored by AIGA/NY and organized by Designer’s Debate Club founders Jon Troutman,...

“Things that Appeal to Me on a Personal Level”: A Visit to the E/AB

When some people visit New York City, they head to Dylan’s Candy Bar, a store that groups its offerings in such categories as chocolate, gummy candy, jelly beans, and nostalgic candy. For me, visiting the E/AB Fair (Editions/Artists Books) was like being in the best candy store of all: An inspirational store that could...

“The Happy Show” Goes International

On January 8, Stefan Sagmeister’s “The Happy Show” opened at the Design Exchange in Toronto, where it will be on display until March 3. Toronto is the second venue for this exhibition, which The New York Times called “a virtual funhouse of didactic interactive displays.” It drew large crowds at the Institute for Contemporary...

To CertifyD, or Not to CertifyD? That Is the Question

“Is the title ‘designer’ meaningful or meaningless?” asks Esteban Pérez-Hemminger, an MS in Communication Design candidate at Pratt Institute. In his thesis project, CertifyD, which calls for an open dialogue leading to the professional certification of graphic designers, Pérez-Hemminger suggests that the title “designer” has become almost meaningless. And he wants that to change. His...

Le Corbusier: Architecture Meets Fine Art Meets Graphic Design

“In his lifetime, Le Corbusier made 7,000 works on paper and 450 oil paintings.” So explained Eric Mouchet of Galerie Zlotowski, a Parisian art gallery that specializes in early-20th-century art, especially Cubism, with a special focus on Le Corbusier. The conversation took place two weekends ago at The Salon: Art+Design at New York City’s Park...

Ten (or More) Things You Didn’t Know About Herb Lubalin

1. His name was pronounced Loo-ball-in, with the accent on the loo. 2. He was color-blind and ambidextrous. 3. Although he ultimately rejected advertising in favor of graphic design, as an agency art director at Sudler & Hennessey he was a key figure in advertising in the 1960s, introducing expressive typography into print advertising....