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

Taking (Some of) the Mystery Out of The East

So my son is getting married. In Bejing. To a charming young Chinese woman. And I’m designing the invitations. The first place I turned to for inspiration was my Longman Chinese-English Visual Dictionary of Chinese Culture, an essential reference tool …

Art Brut: An Inside Look at "Outsider Art"

It was found in attics and closets. It was drawn on ledger pages at turn-of-the-century mental institutions, made at tables in day treatment centers, and put together after a day’s work at the factory from junk scavenged from dumpsters. It’s …

Soda Bottle Island

Other people build houses on land. Richart Sowa, a carpenter and former British rock-band guitarist, has designed and constructed a whole island. This self-sustaining environment for living, about 20 meters (66 feet) in diameter, floats just off Isla Mujeres, Mexico, …

The End of Print? Not So at This One-Man Recycling Studio

It is estimated that the average worldwide per-capita use of paper is 110 pounds per person per year. On Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, a laid-back Caribbean island off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula—best known for good snorkeling and for …

Say Yes To The Dress

I remember the professor in Art History 102 at UCLA pointing to the slide in the darkened lecture hall, telling the students that the painting was satire. She pointed out the relatively huge sizes of the dog and the dwarfs—the …

Kiko Farkas Talks About His Curvaceous “Marca Brasil”

You may have been seeing a lot of the BRASIL logo lately. In 2014, Brazil will host the World Cup, and last July, the Brazilian Tourism Ministry (Embratur) embarked on a worldwide campaign aimed at tripling tourism over the next …

The Rally to Restore the Magic Marker

Was it the rally against insanity? The rally to restore fear? The march to keep fear alive? No one was quite sure, but 215,000 people showed up on Saturday—and had a really good time. It was part concert, part giant …

“In the Office I Think. In the Garden I Do.”

“In the office I think. In the garden I do.” So explains New York environmental graphic designer David Gibson about the garden he and actor and comedian Rich Kiamco, have designed and nurtured at their country house in Ferndale, New …