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  • Your Moment of Design Zen: Taylor & Smith Distilling Co.

    Owners Natalie Smith and Ben Taylor started their spirits business by surprising neighbors on Friday nights with a small jam jar full of gin left on their doorstep. “For the identity we looked to Taylor & Smith’s approach to distillation, drawing upon traditional spirit bottle typographic references,” writes Perkins. When 2020 rolled around and COVID-19 hit Australia, resulting in lockdowns across the country, Taylor & Smith needed a new way to provide their customers with a delicious spirit experience. The collab provided an awareness and sales boost for Taylor & Smith. Taylor & Smith cocktails and spirits can only be shipped within Australia, which leaves this stateside writer longing for the days of 2019 when one could still plan a dream vacation down under.

  • Otl Aicher at Paul Smith

    Imagine my surprise to pass by the Paul Smith on New York’s Fifth Avenue, as I do every morning, and find colorful, “solarized” posters hanging majestically in the display windows—which, upon close examination, prove to be the original series for the 1972 Munich Olympics designed by Otl Aicher.

  • Designer of the Week: David M. Smith

    Smith Name of Studio: The BlkSmith Co. In The Imaginary World Of… by Keri Smith, learn how to push the boundaries of the existing world we live in and encourage yourself to innovate. Smith: For profiles on our brilliant 2015 judges, tips on winning and roundups of last year’s best work, check out our rundown below.

  • Kevin Smith

    Kevin Smith can’t talk about design without touching on collaboration and community. “Nothing we do can happen in a vacuum,” says Smith of his design process. But it’s his play-nice attitude toward the competition that sets Smith apart. Smith’s design aesthetic tends to reflect the spirit of the content but not intrude on it; he knows he has succeeded as a designer when you don’t know he’s been there at all. Unfortunately, book projects don’t pay very well, so for now, Smith is concentrating on his clients, teaching part-time at Parsons School of Design, and building his studio slowly.

  • Q+A: Amy Smith

    How did you gravitate to sustainable design? I love connecting things that are not ordinarily connected and realizing that you can come up with a new device that does something completely different. I’ve always had the intention of doing development work. Have you experienced particular challenges as a female engineer? I never felt those gender barriers. My mother was a math teacher and my father is an engineer. We used to prove the Pythagorean theorem over dinner, so I never felt math was something I couldn’t or shouldn’t do. I get frustrated when someone makes an appeal to me as a woman engineer-you know, as a three-headed freak. When you draw the distinction, you’re reinforcing the mode that it’s not standard. What are some of the key considerations in designing for developing countries? When you’re designing a consumer product for people with less than a dollar a day to spend, affordability becomes extremely important. You also have to understand the cultural context. Someone in Haiti is interested in alternative charcoal production, not because it prevents deforestation, but because they use charcoal every day. They can save money if they make their own, or earn money if they sell surplus at market. Relief work is a really difficult issue. When food is donated to an area where there’s hunger, people stop growing crops. There’s no way you can compete with free. Obviously there are emergency situations, but the donation model tends to make such a mess of local markets. [In all development projects], you have to consider what other aid efforts are going on. Who are the stakeholders? Who’s producing something that’s an alternative to yours? If you wait until the tail end of the [design] process to fit a design into the local infrastructure and environment, you really haven’t done it right. How do you handle the production and marketing of these technologies? It’s not even that I’m a lousy businessperson. I’m an a-businessperson. We’re looking to move in the direction of better dissemination. What are some of the top technological priorities for the developing world? Drinking water is a huge issue. Respiratory infection due to breathing indoor cooking smoke is the number-one cause of death of children under 5. Improving agricultural techniques, so farmers can add value to their crops to get a higher price for them, is difficult to do. Our trade policies don’t allow that to happen. It’s the difference between zero tariffs on raw goods and upwards of 40 percent taxes if you do anything [such as milling wheat into flour] to try to earn a little more on a product. At the policy level, how might you tinker with the machinery of international development? If you could, would you create a cabinet-level post for sustainability? I would love to see the development industry more results-oriented and less monograph-oriented. And one of the big things I have issues with is that we’re almost paid to waste things in our country. Gas, liquor, cigarettes, none of it should be subsidized. If we could appoint someone to address how we as a society can be less consumptive, I’d love to see that happen. What are you working on right now? I’m trying to get a lab set up here so that we can have really focused research efforts, rather than just designing on an empirical basis. [For example], we can look into the mechanisms of charcoal production so we really understand the processes. In terms of the MacArthur, part of it will be used to move projects forward. And then I’m hoping for the flash of inspiration to make a lasting and useful contribution. Maybe it’s setting up a workshop or a training program. I talked to some kids in Haiti who are interested in creating a youth corps that disseminates the technologies we’ve been working on. It’s not going to be pads and pencils for the office supply closet, nor is it going to be a vacation home in the Berkshires. Ted Smalley Bowen is a freelance journalist based in Boston.

  • Patti Smith, Rock Journalist

    Reading the review of Steven Sebring’s eleven-years-in-the-making “Patti Smith: Dream of Life,” the new film about Patti Smith, I was struck by this quote: If you want to know about punk, what it was like to play CBGB when it mattered (or on its final night, as Ms. Smith did in 2006), look elsewhere.

  • Daniel R. Smith, Diplomat of Design

    Smith has set out to explore the poster as a form of dialogue between the city and its supposedly metropolitan polar opposites: Havana, Tehran, and now, Moscow. Following an AIGA-organized trip to Cuba in 2006, Smith was inspired to explore the meaning of imagery in a post-September 11 world. By examining American and foreign design side-by-side, Smith wanted to look at the design parallels between the US and countries often considered to be “the enemy.” Jon Smith’s “Ghostland Observatory” has a similar, angular structure and two reaching hands, one robotic. Daniel Smith: In 2006, I traveled to Cuba and I was really surprised by the work that was being done there.

  • Stewart Smith’s Quiet Critiques

    For Stewart Smith, defining what he does may be the hardest part of his job. After receiving his M.F.A. in graphic design from Yale (“I spectacularly did not fit in”), Smith began producing work that showed both a sense of play and a quiet critique. It’s as if Smith pulled up the anchor of corporate identity and quietly sailed away into the night. It certainly seems to be a jab at the shiny, happy aura of productivity surrounding Apple, though Smith says that wasn’t his intent. Smith is hesitant to answer questions of intent, a reaction to his zine days.

  • Today's Obsession: David A. Smith

    Smith, one of a handful of expert craftsmen who designs, cuts, etches, sandblasts, and gilds glass signage.

  • Designer of the Week: Galen Smith

    Meet Designer of the Week Galen Smith, a lover of graphic design history, ephemera and visual weirdness in the world around us. You may recognize his beautiful graphic design work from the 2015 Regional Design Annual, in which Smith was recognized as representing the top talent from the NYC region.  One of Smith’s favorite projects, which was recognized in the 2015 Regional Design Annual Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?

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