The Designer’s Guide To

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A continually updated collection of design articles covering graphic, brand identity and packaging design, design strategy, criticism, history and advice. Curated by Richard Baird.

A Fine Balance

Erik Spiekermann talks about symmetry in design. Originally published in Blueprint and republished online by Design Observer.

Bred To Be Boring

Harry Woodrow explores the effect an abundance of inspiration has on the risk taking attitudes of today’s designers.

Critical Graphic Design: Critical Of What?

Francisco Laranjo discusses critical design for Design Observer.

The Main Failing Of Design School: Kids Can’t Think For Themselves

Michal Bierut looks at the failings of design school.

Blurring The Lines

Michael Johnson talks about the blurred line between reality and what could have been in brand identity design.

The Vignelli Canon

Vignelli Associates talk about semantics, syntactics, pragmatics, discipline, appropriateness, ambiguity, timelessness, responsibility and equity in design.

Criticism = Love

Alexandra Lange pens an open letter to Swissmiss designer and blogger Tina Roth Eisenberg on the topic of design criticism.

Graphic Design Criticism As A Spectator Sport

Michael Bierut explores ‘Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport’ for Design Observer.

Why Breaking Free From Expectations Is The Key To Good Design

PSFK take a look at the work and processes of Pentagram partner Paula Scher and how she believes that breaking from from expectations is the key to good design.

The Sins Of St. Paul

Michael Bierut lodges a number of complaints about Paul Rand as a model for graphic design practice.

An Insiders Guide To Design Presentation

Michael Johnson of Johnson Banks provides insight on the design presentation.

Pretty Ugly

Patrick Burgoyne interviews Pretty Ugly editors Martin Lorenz and Lupi Asensio on intentionally ugly design.

What A Failed Branding Pitch Looks Like #1

Gemma Germains of Well Made Studio explains what a failed pitch looks like.

Thoughts On The New

Khoi Vinh shares his opinion on the new site design.

The Art Of Busy

Gemma Germains explores the preoccupation designers have with being perceived as busy.

Reputations: Massimo Vignelli

R. Roger Remington looks at Modernist designer Massimo Vignelli’s lasting reputation for magazine Eye.

Eric Gill Got It Wrong; A Re-evaluation Of Gill Sans

Ben Archer re-evaluates Eric Gill’s sans-serif typeface Gill Sans.

Grids From Typography

1910 writes about their grid-based approach to type layout.

Audio: Interview With Bob Gill

Debbie Millman interviews designer, illustrator, copywriter and film-maker Bob Gill for her series Design Matters on Design Observer.

It’s Only A Matter Of Time Before The Design Bubble Bursts

Lucas Verweij explains why he believes that it is only a matter of time before the design bubble bursts.

At Home With: Eric Spiekermann

Erik Spiekermann talks with Font Font about printing presses, his most hated typefaces and what led him to become a typomaniac.

Why We Don’t Need New Fonts

Peter Biľak discusses the idea that we don’t need any new fonts.

Helmut Schmid Interview

Designculture interviews international graphic designer and typographer Helmut Schmid.

The Whitney Identity: Responding To (W)hat?

Francisco Laranjo explores what he describes as the ambiguity and ambivalence of Experiemental Jetset’s Whitney brand identity rationale for Design Observer.

Much Ado About Niceness

Maria Bustillos writes for The New Yorker on BuzzFeed’s decision not to publish negative reviews, something I think relates well to design criticism.

Audio: Canned Brand

On The Grid discuss pre-made brand identities.

What To Do When You Get A Design Placement

Harriet Beesly helps new designers get to grips with placements.

Helvetica vs Lobster

Richard Baird looks at saturated typefaces in identity design.

Rebranding Your Agency: Pros And Cons

Dario Grandich explores the pros and cons of rebranding a design agency for Creative Review

Are The Right Questions Being Asked Of Design?

Martin Roach asks whether the right questions are being asked of design.

How The Guggenheim Got Its Visual Identity

Caitlin Dover explains how the Guggenheim got its visual identity.

How To Rebrand And Not Get Burnt

Simon Manchipplooks at how to rebrand without getting burned for Design Week

It’s As Simple As Truth And Personality

Bluemarlin explore truth and personality in packaging an brand identity design.

Type And Brand, Brand As Type

Johnson Banks publish an adaptation of Michael Johnson’s type and brand talk given at Ampersand NYC conference.

Is It The Responsibility Of Brands To Tell The Truth?

Martin Roach looks at the relationship brands have with the truth.

Design The Logo Last

Eric Karjaluoto explains why he thinks designers should create the logo last.

This is My Process

Michael Beirut talks about design process.

The Original Paradox

Kate Cullinane looks at the desire for originality in design.

A Critical Approach To Typefaces

David Březina takes a critical approach to typefaces.

Starting With Identity

Berger & Föhr explain why they start with identity.

What They Didn’t Teach You About Identity Design In Design School

Paula Scher writes about brand identity design in design school for Identity Forum.

Contour Bias: Making Design Feel Right

Studio Jubilee look at making design feel right.

How To Get Design Press

Gemma Germains from design studio Well Made looks at how to get design press.

Video: A Conversation With: Bob Gill

Gemma Germains from design studio Well Made looks at how to get design press.

Video: A Conversation With Pentagram

Eddie Opera talks to Image of the Studio about Pentagram’s philosophies.

Why Are Big Brands Proud To Skimp On Design?

Design Week questions why big brands are proud to skimp on design.

The Saturation Of Material And Print Technologies In Design

Richard Baird explores the accessibility and saturation of material and print technologies in branding.



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