What Number Brush Did You Use?

In the pre-computer days, comps were painted or drawn, or sometimes collaged, in rough form. Art school emphasized hand skills, lettering with brush and gouache. The following painted “sketches”—from a collection of over 50 found in LA by my colleague …

Great Album, Feeble Cover

You can’t tell an album by its cover. And you can never predict what Bob Dylan is really doing next. His latest album, Tempest, is amazing—possibly the best in decades (especially the title song, a rambling historical ballad about the Titanic …

Corn Pone and Politics

Cornstarch is a fine, powdery starch produced by grinding, washing, and drying the endosperm of the corn until it reaches that powdery state. Cornstarch is gluten-free. It is also a staple that has become a lightning rod in corn politics. …

Elegantissima!

Louise Fili is the most elegant woman I know—no exaggeration—so I had to smile when I learned the title of her monograph was Elegantissima (Princeton Architectural Press). She’s also the most Italian Italian-American I know. (She gets Italian cable!) Louise …

Still Life with Trash

Proving that one man’s trash is another man’s limited-edition silk-screen print, Dan Ibarra and Michael Byzewski, of the Minneapolis-based studio Aesthetic Apparatus, are putting a new spin on up-cycling. Seeking inspiration for a workshop, the duo, revered creators of band …

About to Explode . . .

On June 22 and 23, at 10 a.m., thousands of fireworks went up in auction. Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania, had what must be a day of the rockets red glare, with more cracker packs than you could light in …

Family Band's Kim Krans on Juggling Art, Music, E-Commerce, and More

Husband-and-wife team Kim Krans and Jonny Ollsin have no shortage of creative talent. Indeed, as proprietors of the always expanding online universe The Wild Unknown and cofounders of the appropriately named Family Band, they give off the impression that everything becomes …

Italian Graphic Design, Molto Squisito!

The TDM5: Grafica Italiana exhibit at the Triennale Design Museum will close in February 2013  (video here).  If you can’t make it there, the stunning catalog has just been published by Corraini Edizioni. Edited by Giorgio Camuffo, Mario Piazza, Carlo …

Toxic Nostalgia

“I LOATHE nostalgia!” The provocative opening sentence of the legendary magazine editor Diana Vreeland’s 1984 memoir, D.V., would find few supporters today—as a culture, we currently ADORE nostalgia. Design, from I.D. and the digital world to graphics and architecture, is …

What's Even More American Than Apple Pie?

The Fourth of July is America’s one-day Mardi Gras. Independence Day is commemorated with all-American things: dogs and burgers, apple and cherry pie, fries and potato salad, parades and picnics, beer and beer—and fireworks galore. Nothing’s more American than Chinese firecrackers, …