Category Archives: design

Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Afrika

By Saki Mafundikwa (2006)

Afrikan Alphabets will lead you to uncharted places in Afrikan cultures. This book is about the highly graphic pictographs, ideographs, and scripts devised and designed by Afrikans themselves. In Afrika, the harmony of art, nature and spirit is the rule, not the exception. In terms of the graphic arts, alphabets designed by Afrikans show that the spiritual line is free and unencumbered by the rule of the grid. Afrikan alphabets express ideas, systems of thought, cultural imperatives, aesthetic preferences, and spirit. They are one of the important keys to help unlock what has been kept hidden from so many for so long. These alphabets with their deeply meaningful graphic constructions show the intelligence and ingenuity of Afrikan peoples.

Posted in culture, design, history, language, typography

Fluxus Forms: Scores, Multiples, and the Eternal Network

By Natilee Harren (2020)

While today the Fluxus collective is recognized for its radical neo-avant-garde works of performance, publishing, and relational art and its experimental, interdisciplinary approach, it was not taken seriously in its own time. With Fluxus Forms, Natilee Harren captures the magnetic energy of Fluxus activities and collaborations that emerged at the intersections of art, music, performance, and literature. The book offers insight into the nature of art in the 1960s as it traces the international development of the collective’s unique intermedia works — including event scores and Fluxbox multiples — that irreversibly expanded the boundaries of contemporary art.

Posted in art, culture, design, history, media, music, printmaking

Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists, 1934–-2000

Edited by Elizabeth G. Seaton and Jane Myers (2015)
This highly original study offers the first comprehensive, critical overview of a company that expanded the audience for American prints, ceramics, and textiles throughout the 20th century.

Link to Illustrated Index of Associated American Artists Prints, Ceramics, and Textile Designs: AAA Index

Posted in art, culture, design, exhibition, history, printmaking

The Storm of Creativity

By Kyna Leski (2015)
Although each instance of creativity is singular and specific, Kyna Leski tells us, the creative process is universal. Artists, architects, poets, inventors, scientists, and others all navigate the same stages of the process in order to discover something that does not yet exist. All of us must work our way through the empty page, the blank screen, writer’s block, confusion, chaos, and doubt. In this book, Leski draws from her observations and experiences as a teacher, student, maker, writer, and architect to describe the workings of the creative process.

Posted in architecture, art, design, education, theory

Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter (2015)
Since the turn of the millennium, the Internet has evolved from what was merely a new medium to a true mass medium – with a deeper and wider cultural reach, greater opportunities for distribution and collaboration, and more complex corporate and political realities. Mapping a loosely chronological series of formative arguments, developments, and happenings, Mass Effect provides an essential guide to understanding the dynamic and ongoing relationship between art and new technologies.

Posted in art, culture, design, exhibition, history, language, media, technology, theory

The Gutenberg Revolution: How Printing Changed the Course of History

By John Man (2009)
In 1450, all Europe’s books were handcopied and amounted to only a few thousand. By 1500, they were printed and numbered in their millions. The invention of Johann Gutenberg had caused a revolution: printing by movable type. Born in 1400 in Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg struggled against a background of plague and religious upheaval to bring his remarkable invention to light. His story is full of paradoxes: his ambition was to reunite all Christendom, but his invention shattered it; he aimed to make a fortune, but was cruelly denied the fruits of his life’s work. Yet history remembers him as a visionary; his discovery marks the beginning of the modern world.

Posted in culture, design, history, language, media, printmaking, technology, typography

Design Life Now: National Design Triennial

By Barbara Bloemink, Brooke Hodge, Ellen Lupton and Matilda McQuaid (2006)
The exhibition catalog inaugurates Cooper-Hewitt’s new self-publishing venture. The publication includes a foreword by director Paul Warwick Thompson; original essays by co-curators Barbara Bloemink, Brooke Hodge, Ellen Lupton, and Matilda McQuaid; a designer profile of each of the 87 designers featured in the exhibition; and more than 300 images, most in full color. The book is designed by COMA (Cornelia Blatter and Marcel Hermans), who are also featured in the exhibition.

Posted in architecture, art, culture, design, exhibition, media, technology, typography

Craft in America

By Jo Lauria and Steve Fenton (2007)
The companion book to the PBS series of the same name, Craft in America highlights the work of America’s most interesting craft artists past and present. Illustrated with more than 200 commanding images and signature objects from furniture, wood, ceramics, and glass to fiber, quilts, jewelry, metal, and basketry, this definitive work shows how crafts, long admired for their marriage of functionality and creativity, also reflect our nation’s history and the remarkable people who passed on their traditions.

Posted in art, design, history

Emigre No. 70 the Look Back Issue: Selections from Emigre Magazine 1-69

By Rudy VanderLans (2009)
During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, graphic design was experiencing one of its most exciting and transformative periods. The Apple Macintosh computer had been introduced, design schools were exploring French linguistic theory, the vernacular had become a serious source of study and inspiration, the design and manufacture of typefaces was suddenly opened up to everyone who could use a computer, and for the first time in the United States, New York City was no longer the place to look for the latest developments in graphic design. And in Berkeley, California, across the bay from Silicon Valley, Emigre magazine, like no other, recognized the significance of the events, and became both a leading participant and a keen observer of this innovative international design scene, generating a body of work and ideas that still resonate today.

Posted in design, theory, typography

Makers: A History of American Studio Craft

By Janet Koplos and Bruce Metcalf (2010)
Here is the first comprehensive survey of modern craft in the United States. The book follows the development of studio craft–objects in fiber, clay, glass, wood, and metal–from its roots in 19th-century reform movements to the rich diversity of expression at the end of the 20th century. Keeping as their main focus the objects and the makers, Koplos and Metcalf offer a detailed analysis of seminal works and discussions of education, institutional support, and the philosophical underpinnings of craft.

Posted in art, biography, design, history