Information Design

Information design has undergone an explosion in recent years, with infographics becoming increasingly widespread and accessible. Everyone seems to be creating their own DIY infographics and information dashboards are increasingly popular. Imprint examines how data visualizations present complex information in an easily digestible way—through interactive data visualizations and other means of data viz graphics.

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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 in on any spot on the planet via Google Earth, it’s sobering to imagine...

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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 our studio’s White Plains, NY, home in the 1926 Bar Building. It’s truly 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...

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Here’s how to win an award – The 1923 Charles A. Coffin Medal.

Readers of my blog posts for Imprint know I’m a loyal fan of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railway, The North Shore Line, an electric interurban railway that ran from Chicago to Milwaukee between the late 19th century and January of 1963. My fascination stems from the fact that during its run, it...

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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 another design, typography and printing no longer exist, while others have surprisingly bridged generations...

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The Century 21 of Kimono Design

In a world where everything looks the same in terms of big-retail fashion, it's refreshing to come across this catalog of Japanese Kimono designs.

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History For The Price Of Peanuts

I can't say I think of Planters' Mr. Peanut as a source of historical data, but this colorful little "Paint Book" from 1935 would seem to indicate otherwise.

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Ludwig Hohlwein’s Fun In The Sun

“Man and Sunlight” is English title of Hans Surén’s book “Der Mensch und die Sonne”, published in 1924; one of many celebrating the German obsession with physical purity and hygiene, nude gymnastics and sun bathing. Surén advocated that men (and women as their mates) dedicate their lives to physical development. Nude gymnastics, he asserted,...