Eyes on Iran

Taarof is a Persian term that describes a certain kind of social negotiation among Iranians. “It’s this game that starts off whenever you see friends,” says Afsoon Talai, “this exchange and back and forth.” Talai is the visual editor of …

Netanyahu Bombs at the U.N.

If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were a stand-up comic, he couldn’t have been funnier. Yet sadly for him, the visual aid he surprisingly introduced during his U.N. General Assembly speech last week, illustrating the serious need to draw a …

A Nose for Controversy: Jerusalem's Af Magazine

Jerusalem is not an easy place to be an artist. Inevitably, every doodler, printmaker, painter, and sculptor who works in the Holy City finds his or her creative output filtered through the lens of Israeli politics. And you can hardly …

Independent Voices: Singapore's Unique Design Community

“Without a common written or spoken language then, graphic design became a means to communicate to this multiracial community,” writes Justin Zhuang in the introduction to Independence: The History of Graphic Design in Singapore Since the 1960s. The book, commissioned …

Roadside Beautification: Japanese Gas-Tank Art

In the 1970s, the peace artist and former Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Corita Kent painted the Rainbow Mural on a gas tank in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Driving into Boston, this landmark made you smile. Since then, he Japanese have been doing …

Seeing the Olympics from a Different Perspective

As Londoner Gareth Hague commented in this space in early July, the pomp and national pride that usually marches in during every Olympic cycle has been supplanted by ridicule, aggravation, and protest, thanks to an Olympics that is, as the …

The Education of a Typographic Innovator

Rolando G. Alcantara was born and raised in Torreón, an industrial city in north-central Mexico. He attended a technical high school there. Since childhood, he’d planned to become a doctor—a radiologist, like his mom. A few weeks ago, he received …