The Bottle’s the Thing: The Branding Evolution of Soda Pop

My fascination with brand design started with the soda-pop realm. I’d always loved leafing through old magazines and usually paid more attention to the advertising in them than the articles. Because my father had a collection of Life magazines beginning with the first issue in 1936 and continuing through the World War II years,...

Keeping Everyone in the Loop: 50 Years of Chicago “L” Graphics

A recent visit to Chicago reminded me of how enamored I am of its rapid transit. It’s so much a part of what makes Chicago unique and exciting to me. Chicago is one of those cities with a “sound” to it—San Francisco being another—and the elevated “L” system is the reason why. Much of...


April Nuclear Fools’ Day

Steven Heller examines the modernist design aura of "Fallout Protection: What to Know and Do About Nuclear Attack."

The Vintage Speedball Textbook

I once found a set of Speedball pen nibs as a kid. I was familiar with conventional pen and ink usage, but had never seen nibs like this before. It wasn’t until taking a calligraphy course in college (with Professor Don Anderson, author of “The Art Of Written Forms”) that I ran across them...


Little Red Books Take Manhattan

Thanks to collector Justin G. Schiller, many editions of The Quotations of Mao Zedong are now on display in NYC. Read his thoughts on The Little Red Book.