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Observer: In a Critical Condition

In this Observer column from Print’s International Design Issue, Rick Poynor discusses the term critical graphic design and explains what it means for designers today.

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Observer: The Well-Read Designer

Deciding which books will fuel your artistic fire is tough. And creating a must-read list for the Designers & Books website is no easy feat either. Read this Observer column to find out how Rick Poynor went about creating his.

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Observer: Pinning Down Pinterest

Rick Poynor explores why Pinterest—despite early criticism—has found its place in design as a respected archive of visual finds.

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Oh, Behave: The Observer Column

Rick Poynor on sexual representation and “Secret Behavior” magazine, created by collage artist James Gallagher. Originally published in the Observer column of the February 2014 issue of Print Magazine.

The Takeaway Effect

  In illustration, less is often less.   A few months ago, a London publisher relaunched its backlist of books by the Japanese cult author Haruki Murakami with a striking new set of covers. Now, I have always thought that …

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Why is today’s rebellious design so well behaved?     Five years ago, the British magazine Creative Review published an article written by its editor, Patrick Burgoyne, with the arresting title “The New Ugly.” The possibility that ugliness in graphic …

Throwaway Culture

Why the visual world is in love with waste Rue de Provence by Jacques Villeglé (photo by Francois Poivret) After a recent lecture, a British artist and publisher named Tony Hayward approached me with a slender book in hand, containing some fine …

Press Print

The latest chapter in the history of designers who self-publish     Illustration by R. Kikuo Johnson  Like many book authors, I have mixed feelings about working with publishers. It’s wonderful to be published, of course, particularly at the start, …

Observer: The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be

What happened to science-fiction graphics?      There was a time when people turned to science-fiction-minded graphic artists to discover what the future would look like. Mid-20th-century visionaries were wild in their imagination, grandiose in their optimism, and, in hindsight, …

Power by Design

  What kind of influence do designers actually have?     Illustration by Oliver Munday   The issue of power goes to the very heart of the graphic designer’s self-image. Graphic designers never feel as though they have enough power. …