Recent “Design News” Posts

  • Sep 19
  • 0

Helvetica/Objectified/Urbanized: The Complete Interviews Book

Greetings, friends. Over the past eight years I’ve had the pleasure of having conversations with an incredible group of designers for Helvetica, Objectified and Urbanized. But while each conversation might last two hours or more, we only get to use maybe two minutes of it in the film. So if you’ve watched my three documentaries, you’ve actually only seen 3% of the conversations we recorded. That means there are almost 100 hours of amazing interviews that we weren’t able to show you. So we’re going to release the full text of these interviews in a book! And we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to make it happen. You can get all the details here.

The book will include in-depth discussions with designers and thinkers like Paola Antonelli, Alejandro Aravena, Chris Bangle, Michael Bierut, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Neville Brody, Tim Brown, David Carson, Matthew Carter, Candy Chang, Yung Ho Chang, Wim Crouwel, Ellen Dunham-Jones, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Dan Formosa, Sir Norman Foster, Naoto Fukasawa, Jan Gehl, Jonathan Hoefler, Jonathan Ive, Hella Jongerius, Bruce Katz, David Kelley, Rem Koolhaas, Rahul Mehrotra, Bill Moggridge, Marc Newson, Oscar Niemeyer, Enrique Penalosa, Michael C. Place, Rick Poynor, Dieter Rams, Karim Rashid, Alice Rawsthorn, Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher, Erik Spiekerman, Davin Stowell, Jane Fulton Suri, Massimo Vignelli, Rob Walker, Hermann Zapf, and many more… over 75 of the world’s most creative and innovative people.

We want this book to be the most comprehensive design interview book ever published, an invaluable resource for designers, design educators, or anyone interested in the creative process. We’ve got lots of great rewards, so we hope you’ll back the project now and join us in making this happen.


Categories: Design News, Film News, Merchandise

  • Jun 25
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The Olympic City photo book available now

Gary Hustwit and Jon Pack’s new photography book The Olympic City is now available to order online, through the project website or Amazon.

The Olympic City is an ongoing photography project by Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit that looks at the legacy of the Olympic Games in former host cities around the world. Hosting the Olympics has become a way for a city to show itself off on an international stage and generate toursim dollars, and cities spend millions or billions for the privilege. But after the events are over, the medals have been handed out, and the torch is extinguished, what’s next? What happens to a city after the Olympics are gone?

This 240-page limited-edition hardcover book features approximately 200 photos from the project and a foreword by New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, and is designed by award-winning graphic designer Paul Sahre. A special edition version that includes original photo prints, and an ebook version are also available.

The book is a limited-edition of 1,000 copies, and most of them are already sold. Get a copy now.

Categories: Design News, Merchandise

  • Jul 29
  • 7

The next film: Urbanized

Five years ago I began work on my first documentary, Helvetica, which looked at the worlds of typography and graphic design, and their impact on our visual environment. After Helvetica was released in 2007, I had the idea for a second film, Objectified, which focused on industrial design and product design, and our relationship with the manufactured objects that surround us. While working on Objectified, I realized I wanted to make a third film that would also examine how design affects our lives, and began thinking of the films as a “design trilogy” of sorts.

The third documentary in this trilogy is about the design of cities. Urbanized looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design, featuring some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. Over half the world’s population now lives in an urban area, and 75% will call a city home by 2050. But while some cities are experiencing explosive growth, others are shrinking. The challenges of balancing housing, mobility, public space, civic engagement, economic development, and environmental policy are fast becoming universal concerns. Yet much of the dialogue on these issues is disconnected from the public domain.

Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized will frame a global discussion on the future of cities.

Urbanized is currently in production and will premiere in 2011. We’ll be releasing more details about the cities, projects, and people featured in the film in the next few months, along with a proper site. Once again I’ve teamed up with cinematographer Luke Geissbuhler, and I hope you’ll follow along as we complete the film and finish this third exploration into the role of design in our lives.

For the time being, my Twitter feed is probably the best way to keep up with news during this process. Comments, questions, suggestions? info[at]urbanizedfilm[dot]com


Categories: Design News, Film News

  • Mar 12
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Design Indaba

“Documenting Design” L to R: Eames Demetrios, Doug Pray, Michael Bierut, Gary Hustwit

I’ve just returned from two weeks in Africa, partly to attend the fantastic Design Indaba conference in Cape Town. I was on a panel called “Documenting Design” along with my friend Doug Pray (Scratch, Art & Copy) and Eames Demetrios, filmmaker and grandson of Charles and Ray Eames. The conversation, which was moderated by designer and Helvetica show-stealer Michael Bierut, was too short! It was one of those situations where after 30 minutes I thought we were really getting into an interesting discussion about the creatives processes of designers, and our processes as filmmakers. After the panel, Eames, Doug and I sat down for the Design Indaba video crew and continued the discussion for another 45 minutes, so hopefully they’ll post that video on their site soon.

One of the most surreal moments of the conference happened during a dinner train trip the organizers had planned for all the speakers on the Blue Train. Along with dinner and drinks, there were blackjack tables in one car of the train where guests could partake in some play money gaming. Being a man who loves his cards, I joined in, but suddenly found myself sharing a blackjack table with Martha Stewart. She may know paint chips, but she don’t know blackjack. When she hit a 14 against the dealers 6, I was like, “Martha, Martha, Martha…” shaking my head. Somehow she ended up winning though… go figure.

I also presented screenings of Helvetica and Objectified, the first time the films had been shown publicly in South Africa. Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows, and special thanks to the Design Indaba team for such a great experience.


Categories: Design News, Musings

  • Apr 21
  • 0

Objectified in America, this Friday

“The story of America for the past 60 years is essentially tied to the story of our stuff. From cars to clothes to refrigerators that simulate the Arctic better than, well, the Arctic, we as a culture love our objects. But as economic and environmental tides shift, we’re faced with the fact that we simply can’t continue as we have been. You might rightly argue that we’ve designed our way into this mess, but can we design our way out? Join Dwell editor Aaron Britt and our panel of thought-leaders for a discussion that touches on how we relate to the objects in our lives, how they shape the world around us, and what we can do to about it.”

If you’re in the Bay Area, please join us at a panel discussion (with drinks) this Friday evening:

Objectified in America:
Design, Consumerism and Sustainability in Our Changing Economy

With panelists Gary Hustwit, Bill Moggridge (IDEO), Philip Wood (Citizen: Citizen), and Tom Dair (Smart Design), moderated by Dwell Magazine’s Aaron Britt.

Friday, April 24th, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
AutoDesk Gallery
1 Market St. Suite 200
San Francisco
Get tickets.

Categories: Design News

  • Mar 24
  • 0

Experimental Jetset at the Walker Art Center

If you’re in Minneapolis/St. Paul, you need to go to this tonight. And if you’re not in the Twin Cities, you can watch it live on the web, from 7pm to 9pm, CST. Snuggle up with your laptop and watch some serious Dutch punk rock modernists in action. It might be a lecture, or maybe they’ll just sit on stage and spin records? You never know with the Jetset…

Categories: Design News, Musings

Chris Bangle leaves BMW

Big news in the car design world: Objectified cast member Chris Bangle has left BMW after 16 years as the company’s design chief. “Bangle’s plan to pursue his own design-related endeavours beyond the auto industry marks the start of a new phase in his life while maintaining strong ties with the BMW Group,” BMW said in a statement.

More coverage via Auto Week, Wired, Business Week.

Categories: Design News

Helvetica event at the Philoctetes Center

This Saturday in New York City, the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (whew) presents Helvetica: Typography and Literacy: a free screening of Helvetica and all-star roundtable discussion. The film will screen at 1pm, followed by a roundtable at 2:30pm with myself, lettering artist Christopher Calderhead, New York Times Magazine Art Director Arem Duplessis, calligrapher Elinor Aishah Holland, and artist Elaine Lustig Cohen, moderated by SVA design god and man-of-a-thousand-design-books Steven Heller.

Four big reasons to go:
1) It’s free (first come, first seated)
2) This roundtable is going to be crazy
3) It might be the only public Helvetica screening I’ll be participating in this year
4) The Philoctetes Center got burned in the Madoff scandal, lost their funding, and could really use your support

Helvetica: Typography and Literacy
Saturday, January 10, 1pm
247 E. 82nd Street, NYC

Hope to see you there,

Categories: Design News, Helvetica

Get hip to the Jetset

Dutch design activists and musicologists Experimental Jetset have (finally!) updated their website and online archive, which gets us caught up on the last three years of their output. Why the wait? A) They’ve been busy, uhm, designing lots of things, and stressing out about it. And B) They write detailed essays about the process, design strategy, and philosophical underpinnings of every project, with meticulous photos. I like the preview mode, where you can view thumbnails of their entire archive on one page. Great stuff, guys!

And I really want the “I Want Less” T-shirt. Yes, I appreciate the irony of the preceding sentence.


Categories: Design News

Design world notes:

IDEO and Smart Design help Ford with fuel efficient design thinking.

Core77 picks 77 Design Gifts under $77

MUJI Award 03 winners announced

Throwback item: Pentagram redesigns Christmas circa 2006:

Categories: Design News

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Rent or download Objectified and Helvetica on iTunes now.