Author Archives: Rick Poynor

Observer: Counter Points

In the perennially careful world of graphic design, where most people avoid potentially embarrassing slugfests with colleagues at any cost, a good argument is rare to find. Yet a public clash of views and even a bit of righteous anger from time to time can be useful, because it helps to establish the allegiances,...

Observer: Not Dead Yet

For a medium that is regularly pronounced to be living on borrowed time, the magazine seems to be in a surprisingly perky state of health. If you took the industry’s temperature by scanning the racks in Borders, you might find it hard to credit that there is any problem at all. London branches of...

Observer: Easy Writer

— Speak Up, the first of the graphic design blogs to make any kind of impact, is not what it used to be. Don’t take my word for it, though. The news comes from the site’s irrepressible founder, Armin Vit, writing in a recent post titled “Speak Up: Now What?” In the past year...

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Observer: Critical Omissions

Rick Poynor takes issue with the "Forms of Inquiry" exhibition and the term critical design. And the curators respond to his initial ideas.

Observer: Paper Trails

I was traveling back to London from the French region of Provence when I saw the posters. The Eurostar train leaves from Avignon; I had some time to kill before its departure, so I left the bags at the station and wandered in the direction of the Cours Jean Jaurès, which leads into town....

Observer: Encyclopedia Erratica

  “One of the key features of graphic design is it involves selecting the appropriate image making tools out of it’s ability to generate meaning rather than preference.” You probably had to read that sentence twice, and even if you did, you are almost certainly wondering what it is supposed to mean. Apart from...

Observer: Strained Relations

The French curator and writer Nicolas Bourriaud’s book Relational Aesthetics is the most influential work of art criticism to appear in the past decade. First published in 1998 and translated into English in 2002, it’s a fashionable art-world bestseller that can be found in any gallery bookshop. Bourriaud defines “relational aesthetics” as a theory...