Copy Cats, 1915

For a dozen years I contributed a small feature in each issue of Print called “Separated At Birth.” The concept was simple: To reveal (or call out, if you prefer) design and designers who were (knowingly or not) overly influenced …

Lissitzky, Cut It Out!

The Lenin Tribune designed by El Lissitzky from 1920-1924 is an oft rebuilt icon of Modern “graphic” Constructivist architecture.  In 1984 (a fitting Orwellian year for celebrating utopia) Paul Groenendijk and Piet Vollaard issued a set of five avant garde …

Stop Accepting Defaults

An interesting confluence of writings in the media: several authors questioning the use of defaults (some several years ago), most using their exploration to define why usage of default systems are a terrible idea. The current overuse of default systems …

What the Heck's a “Guilloche?”

In my never-ending quest to re-integrate ideas of artistry and technology, I’ve been shown another example. Here’s a gorgeous video showing how a guillocheur creates his work. A guillocheur is sort of a machine operator, sort of a craftsperson, sort …

Design Isn't a Job. Discuss.

I’m a big fan of Alice Rawsthorn’s thoughtful writing on design; did everyone see this piece she did for the Times yesterday? It’s full of big implications. She’s discussing a show curated by Ai Weiwei in which designed objects are …

Botany Blueprint: Tara

Specimen #18: Tara (Caesalpinia spinosa) ith its flaming beans and razor-sharp noli me tangere spines, the tree we call, simply, “tara” (Caesalpinia spinosa), is a striking figure, in any landscape. My encounter with tara was by a Pacific tide pool, …

Fail? No, Win!

Hey, weekend, how you doing? Been looking forward to this one ending. This is a silly thing called Going to the Store, by David Lewandowski. There’s not much reason you’d know his name, but you’ve seen his work—he created the …

Sutnar's Controlled Visual Flow

Back in the pre-digital days, when paper companies could afford to produce ambitious promotions (the kind that drove environmentalists crazy, but made designers ecstatic), some of the promotions were more than sales tools. They were and have become seminal documents …

Following Up From Yesterday

Yesterday, David Ramos commented upon my conversation with Adobe’s Lea Hickman: Design curricula are failing to teach students how to work programmatically, and the best response, then, is to make software that tries to compensate for designers’ lack of knowledge? …