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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 …

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I Sing the Body Schematic

Taschen’s latest mammoth volume, Fritz Kahn by Uta and Thilo von Debschitz is about a German doctor, educator, popular science writer and information graphics pioneer whose work translating the human organism into accessible human metaphors and analogies, has all but fallen into oblivion. Here is an excerpt.

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The Forgotten Typographic Art of Price Tags

Next to cash register receipts, common price tags are arguably the most taken for granted pieces of graphic design. Many today are rendered by computer, so why bother showering them with respect. Some are, of course, handwritten without the flair of a true letterer. And most are stock designs that come from a few different business stationery outlets that sell various merchant necessities.

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Design Without Design

One of the most fascinating aspects about building a design history (especially graphic design history) is finding and tracing an artifact from the past to present. So many large and small companies and firms that practiced in some way or …