Steven Brower

Inventive Designers with U.S. Patents

According to the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office in 2012 alone, there were 542,815 applications for patents with 276,788 patents granted. Since 1790, there have been 7 million patents issued total, when Samuel Hopkins was awarded the first patent for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer. That patent was signed...


Tightly Stitched Fashion for Women

Before they were even enfranchised, women were tightly stitched from hair to toe. Imprisoned in their own bodies, these were what passed for liberating fashions in 1893 — just 120 years ago.


The End of Cursive Handwriting?

Most states no longer include teaching cursive handwriting in their common core standards, which begs the question of whether the end of cursive is nearing?


Old School vs. New School

In an effort to pull students away from the confines of a screen, they were tasked to design a poster for a play by Shakespeare by hand and also by computer. These were critiqued in a side-by- side comparison of the two efforts.

Special Delivery: U.S. Postal Service Passes Legibility Test

I greeted last week’s announcement of the cessation of Saturday services for the United States Postal Service with mixed emotions. It would be altruistic of me to claim this was only due to concern for the myriad workers that would are being displaced, but that wouldn’t be entirely honest. Rather, there were selfish reasons...

Profiles of Inspiration

Last year, I got to visit one of my old haunts, the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, for the first time in over a dozen years. Since the permanent collection has changed little over the years, it was good to see old friends. Standing before one, I found a familiar visage that I...

The Lost Comics of Artist Jacob Landau

Last year I took my art appreciation class at Monmouth University to see an exhibit of work at the library there. On display were prints by the artist Jacob Landau; the university is the recipient of a large collection of his work. The art was very political, very graphic, and very 1960s à la...

Promises Made: The 1964-65 World’s Fair

For kids of my generation, 1964 was a seminal year. That February the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for three consecutive Sundays. And the following April, the World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, New York. For an impressionable 12-year-old, both events held a promise for the future and impacted...

Farewell, Joe Kubert: An Interview with the Great Comic Book Artist

The influential comic book artist Joe Kubert died on August 12. Kubert was one of the pioneering golden-age artists that contributed to the comics art form right up to the present. Remarkably, he began his career when he was barely in his teens, when he inked his first story, for Archie (although his exact...

Joseph Schwartz Makes the Case for K-12 Design Education

Joseph Schwartz grew up in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and attended the School of Visual Arts. Since 2003, he has been teaching computer graphics and design at Spotswood High School in New Jersey. I first met him in 2008 at a design educator’s conference at Kutztown University, Pennsylvania, where I was the keynote speaker....