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Even Generic Design Looks Good, To a Point

In this Summer 1963 issue of Dimensions (see yesterday’s DH), the superb quarterly magazine of Simpson Lee Paper Company, the theme “The Generic Corporation” provokes some curiously prescient and interestingly political examples of possible annual report covers.

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Powers of Ten to the Tenth Power

Steven Heller explains why he was “enthralled ” with Charles and Ray Eames’ “Powers of Ten” documentary and Kees Boeke’s “Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps” book.

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Pictures of War and Peace

With these images of war and peace, Steven Heller shows how the battlefields may change but the visual language has remained constant.

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Hard News in the Icon Age

Sylvain Boyer founded icons times, which he claims “is quite possibly the first iconographic news aggregator.” It provides a new way to read the news by representing each breaking story as an informative icon. Icons times presents a series of icons evolving over time and topics, creating a new language and a new way to read news. I was intrigued by Boyer’s concept and skeptical of its viability, so I asked him to explain:

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Stamps from the Red State

These examples of Chinese stamps are from a stamp book that my parents brought back years ago. There’s something very soothing and satisfying about the design of postage stamps — so small, so intimate.

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Spheres of Information

Data visualization has come a long way since the days of the information wheel. But the wheel is still a delight to use and sometimes a feast for sore eyes. These are some I recently found.

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Those Confounding Maps

Visual Editions has been exploring the rocky terrain of current and future books – design, delivery and platform. Their most recent release, Where You Are is a book of maps and website that collects writing (non-fiction and fiction) and visuals (drawings, photographs, paintings) and tests the common notions of what a map is.

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The Good War, For Design

World War II may have been necessary, but like all wars, the horrors outweighed the fruits of victory. The war also produced well-designed insignia, charts and graphs. Considering that military design is to design what military music is to music, the high level of consistency, imagination and taste contributed to well-designed military regalia.

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(Re)mapping the Ancient World

Imagine the world as a neat rectangle or oval, flat, with wavy blue water on all four sides. A river runs through it, horizontally. At the center is the Roman emperor, sitting on his throne. If you’re used to zooming …

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“Historic” Historic Preservation

I’m a big fan of architectural historic preservation and restoration, and have involved myself and my studio in the saving of three structures that faced imminent destruction. These include railway stations in Skokie, Il, and Scarsdale, NY, as well as …