debbie millman

Monday, March 31, 2008

Why I Love Imogen Heap

This is an amazing performance by Imogen Heap singing acapella "Just For Now" at Studio 11 for Indie 103.1FM. Talk about multi-tasking...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Turn Off Your Lights at 8pm For One Hour

Earth Hour information can be found here.

Can one still blog with the lights out???

You Look Pretty

I often imagine what it would be like to be other people and I envision what it would be like to be in their skin for a day. I do this with celebrities or scientists or artists and politicians or athletes or friends, and wonder what it would be like to be someone with the profoundly magical talent of Joan Didion or the beauty of Sophia Lauren or the brave, courageous defiance of Nelson Mandela. I consider how I would behave and if I would make similar choices and decisions. I contemplate if I would continue to live life as they do or if I would conduct myself differently.

I also tend to do this with less noble characters; I find myself fantasizing about what it would be like to be silly television characters and imagine myself as a real life Sidney Bristow on Alias or Christina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy or Bette Porter on The L Word. Would I make the choices they do? Would I cheat? Would I kill? Would I wear fabulously skimpy outfits and take advantage of my newfound athletic prowess or knack for foreign languages?

It feels strangely exhilarating to slip on someone else’s perception for a brief time and inhabit the elusive construct of their norms. I imagine living someone else’s life without my own fears or insecurities and I play with the notion of what would be possible with their beauty or brilliance or balls. I never consider that these characters have any flaws; I imagine that their lives are perfect. They are never unhappy, they are never frustrated, they are never depressed and they are always unfailingly beautiful.

The concept of beauty has been a subjective archetype since the dawn of man. Trends come and go, perceptions change and evolve, and with each passing fad we still seek to achieve this infinitely immeasurable ideal of what is beautiful. Though we have no empirical answers or common definitions, the quest remains a constant.

Last week, while sitting in an airport waiting for yet another delayed flight, I got bored trying to get my wireless internet to work and shut my computer in utter frustration. I looked around and observed the other travelers: some were eating fast food from Styrofoam boxes, some were leafing through trashy magazines, some were tapping out messages on blackberries. Others were yapping loudly on cell phones or arguing with the gate agent. I saw well-dressed people, people in dirty sweat pants, boys in expensive sneakers, women in stiletto heels. I even saw someone wearing a pink wig. As I continued to scan the close-knit crowd, I came upon a young black woman sitting with two children. She seemed to be in her early thirties. Her face looked as if it had been severely burned and was tight and heavily grafted. Clumps of hair on her head and parts of her hands were missing; they too were severely burned and grafted. Yet she sat laughing with her children, and as they cavorted together, I wondered what had happened to her. Was she a victim of 9/11? Was she in a terrible car accident? Was she once beautiful? Was she happy to be alive? I had so many questions I wanted to ask, but knew I never could.

Once we all got on the plane, the pilot broadcasted more delays. In the air, the he reported even more. It was a small aircraft and as the flight attendant finished making her announcements and apologies, she looked around. “Look at all these miserable faces!” she proclaimed. Surprised at her unexpected candor, everyone laughed. But I couldn’t help but wonder what the burned woman thought. I searched for where she was sitting, and saw she was all the way in the back row with her children. She had her arms around them and she was looking down. In that moment, my heart broke.

I have thought about this woman every day since that trip. I think about her as I berate myself for being too fat or hating my hair or wishing I looked younger or prettier. I thought of her on Wednesday as I walked through the West Village in New York City. It was a sunny, crisp day, and as I felt the wobbly cobblestones under my feet, I watched the people walking past me and wondered who they were and where they came from. Suddenly I noticed a woman coming towards me. She was a middle-aged woman, likely in her late forties or early fifties. She was still dressed for winter, and as she approached, I saw that she was actually wearing two coats. Her hair looked like a big birds nest and she was carrying a bag full of tattered newspapers. She was criss-crossing the sidewalk and seemed to be talking to herself. As we neared each other, she saw that I was looking at her and she marched towards me. Unsure of what she wanted, I held my handbag tight. As she came closer, I saw that she had a thick, deep, dark scar on the outside of her hand. She came right up to me and asked me what I was looking at. Nervous about her proximity, I quickly responded, “nothing.” And then, before I knew it, she got even closer. Two inches from face, she demanded, “Tell me I look pretty.” Without blinking an eye I responded: “You look pretty.” And then she put her hand into her mouth and bit down hard on her scar.

As she quickly walked away, I realized that in comparison to less fortunate people, she could be considered pretty. To many, many more, she would seem frightening or sick or sad. But when this strange woman with two coats and bad hair heard she was pretty from a total stranger, for one small moment it was all she needed to hear, and she seemed very willing to believe it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Design Matters Today with Abbott Miller

Twice Magazine

It is Friday again! That means that Design Matters is live at 3 PM ET. My guest today is the wonderful Abbott Miller.

Abbott Miller is a designer, writer, curator, and educator whose projects are concerned with the cultural role of design. Before joining Pentagram as partner in 1999, he was director of Design/Writing/Research, a multidisciplinary studio whose interest in the public life of the written word has taken shape through books, magazines, exhibitions, symposia, and media projects. The studio pioneered the concept of the “designer as author,” undertaking projects in which content and form are developed in a symbiotic relationship.

His exhibitions and publications include The Process of Elimination: The Bathroom, the Kitchen, and the Aesthetics of Waste; and Swarm, done in collaboration with Ellen Lupton; and Printed Letters: The Natural History of Typography. Other exhibitions include “The 30th Anniversary Covers Tour,” a traveling exhibition for Rolling Stone magazine; “Geoffrey Beene Unbound,” a retrospective of the clothing designer's career at the Fashion Institute of Technology; “Up, Down, Across: Elevators, Escalators, and Moving Sidewalks” at the National Building Museum; “RockStyle” and “Lennon: His Life and Work,” both at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Open Road Tour, a centennial exhibition that traveled the world from 2002-2003; and “The Couch: Thinking in Repose” at the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna. He has designed graphic identities for the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, Mohawk Paper Mills and the Noguchi Museum. Other projects include the exhibition catalogues Matthew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle for the Guggenheim and Scanning: The Aberrant Architectures of Diller + Scofidio for the Whitney Museum of American Art; and a program of publications for Steuben Glass. Miller is the editor and designer of the visual and performing arts journal 2wice.

His most recent projects include a book on Charles and Ray Eames, produced for Vitra; a catalogue for the upcoming exhibition “Superheroes” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the exhibition design for the new Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI, to open in July of this year. Miller is also working on a book and exhibition produced with the world’s largest conservation group, The Nature Conservancy, that focuses on design and sustainably harvested materials in various parts of the world.

Miller's work has been acknowledged with numerous awards, including his design for 2wice, which was named Magazine of the Year by the Society of Publication Designers (SPD), and for Dance Ink, which received a gold medal from the SPD and was nominated twice for a National Magazine Award. In 1994 Miller––together with Ellen Lupton––was awarded the first annual Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design. He is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale. Miller has taught design at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland since 1997. His work and critical writing has appeared in Eye, Print, I.D., Émigré, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Journal of Graphic Design. He is the co-author, with Ellen Lupton, of Design/Writing/Research: Writing on Graphic Design. A survey of his design work, Open Book: Design and Content, will be published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2009.

Design Matters airs live weekly on the Voice America Business Network, now the industry leader in Internet talk radio. The show was voted a "favorite podcast" on PSFK's Marketing Podcast survey and was recently voted 9th out of over 300 entries for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s People’s Choice Award. The show is also available as Podcasts on iTunes, where over 100,000 people now download the show every month.

Design Matters is from 3-4PM EST and you can view the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from a myriad of locations:

You can go here, through the Sterling link:

Or you can go here, through the Voice America link:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Magical Sex

I truly hate slugs--especially since I have a garden and they frequently try and sabotage whatever I am trying to grow. However, this video give me a new appreciation for their existence: it features two leopard slugs mating. The film is from the BBC Life in the Undergrowth documentary and is narrated by David Attenborough.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


A very short film titled Pink by Charlie White (love the irony). The credits are longer than the film, but it is still very entertaining...and a nice warning to be careful with what you surround yourself with...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why I Love Miranda July

Miss July

This instructional video, How To Make a Button, was made by Miranda July and Saul Levitz. July also directed the award-winning film Me and You and Everyone We Know in addition to several shorter movies. Her website describes her as a "performance artist"--all of which is true--but we know her best from her pieces of fiction and the slim yellow collection of them she put out last year titled No One Belongs Here More Than You, the cover of which was designed by my dear friend John Fulbrook III.

Directed & Edited by Saul Levitz

Written & Performed by Miranda July

Guest Performance by Xochi Ong

Shot by Hisham Abed

Via the always wonderful Dorothy Surrenders

Sunday, March 23, 2008



My dear dear friend Marian Bantjes, standing in front of an Andres Serrano print that I have in my apartment. She is holding a copy of this week's New York TImes Magazine which just so happens to feature an article with her typography alongside Serrano's photographs. And yes, she is in her pajamas.

It is also her birthday. Happy Birthday, Marian!

Photograph by Rick Valicenti

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The beverage company Schweppes has released “Burst,” an ad that combines water balloons with ultra-slow-motion technology to produce a minute and a half of pure wonder.

Directed by Garth Davis and produced by the Australian agency George Patterson Y&R, “Burst” is set to the sounds of the Cinematic Orchestra. The advertisement uses extreme slow motion to capture brightly colored water balloons at the moment they’re bursting — resulting in everything from gloriously rubbery close-ups to a near-angelic ring of water haloing a young man’s head.

Via the uber cool Very Short List.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Visiting Artist at Old Dominion University

Kenneth Fitzgerald's Student Posters
Posters designed by Haruka Takemoto

I will be the visiting artist at Old Dominion University on Thursday, March 20, and will be presenting a lecture titled "Why We Brand, Why We Buy" at 7:00pm in the Diehn Fine & Performing Arts Center, room 136. Sponsored by the ODU Art Department's Visiting Artists Program, the event is free and open to the public.

The posters above are examples from Kenneth Fitzgerald's final class project from his students at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. The assignment for the students was to listen to the Design Matters show of their choice and to design a series of three posters for each of the designers interviewed.

The complete series of posters from 2006 and 2007 are here.

Thank you to all the students for doing such inspiring work and for listening to the shows! I am looking forward to meeting you!

Friday, March 14, 2008

We Create Our Technology. Our Technology Recreates Us.

Client No. 9

It is possible that one could argue that the YouTube era didn’t really begin in February of 2005 (the month the site was launched), or even in 2003 (the year in which William Gibson deftly outlined the basic framework of a similar site in his novel Pattern Recognition). One could make a case that the YouTube era was born on March 3, 1991—way before Netscape or America Online or web standards existed. This is the day that Rodney King was brutally beaten by several Los Angeles policemen and the day that George Holliday, a private citizen who happened to be looking out of his window when the beating occurred, captured the entire episode on videotape. And while some might suggest that YouTube's crowning achievement is the appointment of YOU as Time Magazine's Person of the Year, history may suggest that the defining moment for the toddler brand was the moment the uncensored, unedited cell phone footage of the hanging of Saddam Hussein was posted to the site.

In analyzing the videotape of the Rodney King beating, one could assess it as a serendipitous recording of a tragic event. But when the 35-second film was released to the public, it sent shockwaves and horror throughout the nation. It quickly became a defining moment both in the politics of law enforcement and in domestic race relations. The video was an example of inverse surveillance, and the filming of real-life events by “real people” has quickly become one of the leading indicators of cultural trends. The way in which the general public has utilized the mass availability of information for cultural discourse is now highly measurable. Michael Richard’s racist diatribe, Senator George Allen's racial slurs, Geraldine Ferrarro’s bigoted remarks, the downward spiral of a Miss America contestant, even Rosie O’Donnell’s split screen debate with Elizabeth Hasselbeck on The View are all examples of how the impact of instantaneous access can influence a career or ruin a political campaign in less than a day, often in mere hours. Political blogger Ed Driscoll says it best: "In an era of demassified individual publishing, the safety net that the liberal mass media provided its favorite sons no longer exists.”

We are now living in an age of behavioral transparency. We participate in a culture of speed to market, speed of thought, speed of satiation. We can now shop, watch movies, pay bills, meet a soul mate, hire an escort or have sex online. This lack of personal privacy and mass consumption of information has changed the way we relate, perceive and live. I look around and witness the immersion of our lives and our culture into a fascinating galaxy fueled by technology. And what I see is this: our whole world can be compressed into a singularity of pixels. Winston Churchill once said, “We create our buildings, then our buildings create us,” but I believe that nearly the same thing can be said of technology: We create our technology and our technology recreates us.

Funnily enough, what hasn’t changed in all of this electronic and intellectual advancement is the fact that we are still human. WE are not machines. Though we are the composers, the inventors, the arbiters and the instigators of these new mediums, we have yet to be able to outsmart them. We still react to the information that is provided or uncovered by our inventions. Despite the progressive nature of this innovation, the standards of our humanity remain deeply entrenched, consistent and predictable.

Just a few days ago, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was another in a long line of sanctimonious politicians that was caught, literally and figuratively, with his pants down, for spending $80,000 with a 22-year-old prostitute named Ashley Alexandra Dupre. We’ve learned a lot about Ashley since the news broke, mostly from her defunct MySpace page and her blog. We also learned that Spitzer was undone by both his lust and a telephone wiretap. Perhaps the public wouldn’t be so outraged if Spitzer hadn’t been so duplicitous. Perhaps his indiscretion and criminal behavior are not the cause of our collective culture shock. Eliot Spitzer was a governor who pretended he was a machine; that he was above the very laws he crusaded. But Eliot Spitzer is only human, like all of us, and ultimately, he got caught in a real-life event. And in doing so, he displayed a profound disregard for the standards set up to organize our lives. Perhaps it is really his hubris that is at the heart of our vehement condemnation.

As we compose our views of reality online and from TV shows, as we weave our myths, hopes and dreams into our profiles on Facebook and Bebo, as we project our fantasies and lusts on MySpace and YouTube, as we tap out our needs and demands into our Blackberry’s and iPhones, as we choose our political and cultural leaders based on savvy public relations and brand campaigns, let’s remember our frailty and strengths and foibles and failings. Let’s remember our humanity. And let’s try and be careful. But if you can’t, please try and ensure that there are no video cameras or cellphones near by.

Design Matters Today with Jeffrey Zeldman

mr. zeldman

It is Friday again! That means that Design Matters is live at 3 PM ET. My guest today is Jeffrey Zeldman.

One of the first web designers, Jeffrey Zeldman has had a profound impact on the medium and the profession. In 1995, the former art director and copywriter launched one of the first personal sites and began publishing widely-read tutorials on methods and principles of web design. In 1998 he co-founded The Web Standards Project, a grassroots coalition that persuaded Microsoft and Netscape to support the same technologies in their browsers. That same year he began publishing A List Apart “for people who make websites.” It has become one of the most respected and influential magazines in the field. Jeffrey has written many articles and two books, notably Designing With Web Standards (now in its second edition), and is a favorite of lecture audiences around the world. In 2005, he and Eric Meyer co-founded An Event Apart, a traveling conference on design and code. Zeldman sits on the Advisory Boards of the SXSW Interactive Festival, Rosenfeld Media, and the Dandelife Social Biography Network, among others. A biographical listing in the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, plus extensive results in search engines and social ranking networks such as Google (2,360,000 results at last count), Technorati, and, testify to his pervasiveness across the medium.

Design Matters airs live weekly on the Voice America Business Network, now the industry leader in Internet talk radio. The show was voted a "favorite podcast" on PSFK's Marketing Podcast survey and was recently voted 9th out of over 300 entries for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s People’s Choice Award. The show is also available as Podcasts on iTunes, where over 50,000 people download the show every month.

Design Matters is from 3-4PM EST and you can view the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from a myriad of locations:

You can go here, through the Sterling link:

Or you can go here, through the Voice America link:

Or you can go here, through the Designers Who Blog link:

Lots of choices.

Please note that you will need Windows Media Player or the equivalent program to listen in, but you can download the technology for free here:

Or finally, you can listen to this show, or any of our previous shows, as a Podcast on iTunes, for free. To listen to the Podcasts, you can do either of the following:

Subscribe manually, by going to the iTunes advanced menu, then select "Subscribe to Podcast," then enter the following: as the feed.

Or simply do a search on the iTunes music store Podcast directory for “Design Matters.”

Everyone is welcome to call in live and toll free--the number is 1.866.472.5790.

MANY THANKS TO ADOBE FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF DESIGN MATTERS and to all of our wonderful listeners.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stroke of Insight, Stroke of Genius

Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened -- and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery.

One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor's brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness, and so forth. Amazed to find herself alive, Taylor spent eight years recovering her ability to think, walk and talk. She has become a spokesperson for stroke recovery and for the possibility of coming back from brain injury stronger than before. In her case, although the stroke damaged the left side of her brain, her recovery unleashed a torrent of creative energy from her right.

Dr. Taylor recounts the details of her stroke and the amazing insights she gained from it in a riveting 18-minute video of her speech at the Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference in Monterey, Calif., last month. Her fascinating lecture includes a detailed explanation of the differences between the left and right sides of the brain, complete with an incredibly cool prop — a real human brain.

How many brain scientists have been able to study the brain from the inside out? I've gotten as much out of this experience of losing my left mind as I have in my entire academic career.
--Jill Bolte Taylor

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Men Of Shame And The Women Who Love Them

John and Maureen Dean
The Original: Nixon aide John Dean testifying at the Watergate hearings in 1973. His wife Maureen Dean sits behind him the entire time and is almost always in the television frame. In 1975, she wrote a book about the experience.

the spitzer's
New York Governor Eliot Spitzer speaks to the media with his wife Silda Spitzer at his side while delivering an apology to his family and the public following reported links to the Emperors Club VIP prostitution ring March 10, 2008 in New York City.

Larry Craig
Idaho Senator Larry Craig and his wife during the bathroom sex solicitation scandal, August 2007

David Vitter
In early July 2007, Louisianna Senator David Vitter's phone number was included in a published list of phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates, a company owned and run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, also known as the "D.C. Madam", which is accused by the U.S. government of being a prostitution service.

Larry Foley
Florida Rep. Larry Foley, accused of sending sexually explicit messages to Congressional pages, surrounded by his family as he goes into court. He was once known as a crusader against child abuse and exploitation, 2006

Jim McGreevey
New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, who had an extramarital affair with a male employee, apologizes with his wife Dina beside him, August, 2004.

The Clintons
The Classic: The Clintons, now and forever

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Countdown Begins

July is going to be a banner month.

Via my friend Shalimar Luis.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Girls Night Out

Several weeks ago, I was invited to a join some friends for a “girls night out.” Despite the fact that I am not much of a girl about town, let alone a girl’s night out girl about town, despite the fact that the majority of the women invited were a good ten years younger than me, and despite the fact we were congregating at a beer house AND I don’t drink beer, I agreed to go. I did this primarily because I genuinely like the very sweet woman who organized the outing and one of the other invitees was a designer I deeply admire and hadn’t seen in some time.

When I go out, I often feel a pervasive sense of discomfort. Albeit my gregarious and outgoing nature, I really hate small talk. I don’t enjoy standing around, drink in hand, asking people silly little inconsequential questions about inconsequential minutia. I have a near pathological disdain for shooting the breeze and an even harder time endlessly chit-chatting about any and all of the following: the weather, baby showers, dieting, engagement rings, office politics, American politics, traffic, vacations, summer homes, sports, airport security and rent control. But I often find myself engaged in these types of conversations because this is what is polite and expected and I don’t want to be rude or unsocial. But deep down, even when it might seem otherwise, I have a hard time believing that I fit into most social situations. Despite decades of analysis, I often feel that my clothes are unkempt or my hair is too frizzy or too flat or my ideas are half-baked or all wrong.

It was with a bit of trepidation that I made my journey into this girls night out, which became even more challenging when I found out en route that the designer I was eager to see wasn’t feeling well and was no longer joining us. I forlornly tapped out a text message to another friend. “How can I go without her?” was my plea, and in an attempt to console me he responded by questioning whether I really had to go. And of course, I knew I did. Didn’t everyone? This was the third cardinal rule of girlfriends. The first cardinal rule is, as everyone knows, you can’t go out with your friends ex. Ever. The second cardinal rule is, as everyone knows, you can’t break a date with a girlfriend for a boy. Ever. And finally, the third cardinal rule is, as everyone knows, you can’t cancel a night out with the girls at the last minute because the only person you feel comfortable with can no longer make it. So, of course I went anyway.

What is it, really, that connects people? Why do we feel safe and secure and loved by some people and judged or ostracized by others? Is it about common values? Is it about shared assumptions? I often think that people have invisible antenna’s that secretly start signaling when you meet someone with this mysterious mutuality. And then suddenly you find yourself in the midst of a, “you know that they know that you know that they know” mutuality. And that’s when the real fun begins.

Sometimes, mutuality takes time to take hold. Many years ago, in my sophomore year of college, I found myself living in a dorm with a group of girls that seemed to be everything I wasn’t: light and breezy and happy and they all looked great in tight Jordache jeans and torn, ‘80s rock and roll t-shirts. We were six Jewish girls living together, in three bedrooms, a yellow kitchenette and a tiny one-shower bathroom. My roommate, Aileen, was a petite woman with cascading black curls, a thick Long Island accent, bad posture and a lukewarm demeanor. I tried to settle into a life there, and decorated one side of my shared bedroom with Roger Dean’s Yes posters and a well-worn copy of Robert Mapplethorpe’s famous photograph of Patti Smith, whose evident armpit hair confused them, at best. The first few weeks were fairly agonizing. Aileen tried to include me in their outings and antics, but I made myself scarce in the suite, and instead found myself spending time with a group of Grateful Dead heads I had met in the college record store. And when a room opened up in a dilapidated, dingy house they were renting off campus, I jumped at the chance to move in. I joyfully told my suite mates I was leaving, and only Aileen seemed glum. I packed up my things, I took down my treasured Patti Smith photo and as I pulled my posters off of the wall, Aileen started to cry. It had never occurred to me that she too might have felt like an outsider and my moving out only further cemented her already fragile center. I suddenly felt awful and promised I would come by to visit her and we would do something special.

Weeks went by and I got consumed with my new friends. We started a band and I found myself in a heady world I had only dreamed about. I felt included and I felt understood and I felt happy. Every couple of days I would remind myself to go and visit Aileen, and then the days would come and go and I’d put it off visiting for another day. Finally, we made a date for breakfast, and I gallantly insisted on bringing fresh muffins and biscuits over to her at the dorm. The morning of our meeting I accidentally overslept, and by the time I got to the bakery, it was threadbare. I picked out a few misshapen rolls, jumped on the bus and made my way over to the campus. By the time I got to the suite, all but one girl was gone. When I asked for Aileen, the girl shook her head. “She had to go to class,” she said with the slightest sliver of contempt. “You’re too late.”

As I walked back to the bus, I berated myself for being late. And I hated myself for being utterly selfish. Twenty-five years later, I’m still ashamed of my behavior. And despite my best efforts, I find I still forget that I live in a world where other people worry about fitting in and being comfortable and being liked. But I am trying to change that.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Design Matters Today with Laurie Rosenwald

design and illustration by laurie rosenwald

design and illustration by laurie rosenwald

design and illustration by laurie rosenwald

It is Friday again! That means that Design Matters is live at 3 PM ET. My guest today is Laurie Rosenwald.

Laurie Rosenwald is the World’s Most Commercial Artist and principal of Rosenworld’s motto is “No job too big, No job too small, No job too medium.” The studio’s areas of expertise include drawing, graphic design and typography. They are also very good at book jackets, packaging and posters. And animation. And portraits. Laurie also designed a typeface, in collaboration with Cyrus Highsmith, called “Loupot.” It is available from

Actually there is no studio, Miss Rosenwald usually works alone, and rosenworld doesn’t exist. In spite of this, was launched in 1995. Please visit! In addition to her design and illustration work, you will find some rather fascinating essays, including "Enormous Blonde Herring-scented Nauseatingly Fair-minded Nymphomaniacs in Clogs." and "Mutant Bastard Yucky Colors of the Apocalypse." Her children's book, "And to name but just a few: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue" was recently published by Blue Apple Books. It is very good. At least "Cookie" magazine thinks so. And Scholastic Parent and Child named it as one of the years best books.

Laurie teaches an incredibly popular workshop called "How to Make Mistakes on Purpose". It's not what you think it is. It’s not good to describe it, because people shouldn’t know what to expect. She has taught it all over the world, from Stockholm to Starbucks. It was a big hit at the AIGA "Next" Conference, where 200 people took part. But it's not just for designers. Anybody can do it. There are some workshop details at, but not many. The people that hold the workshop can know about it, but not the participants. She makes them swear "omerta" (the Mafia Code of Silence) after they've done it. Or send an e mail to

Rosenwald does graphic design for IKEA, animation for Sundance Channel and Noggin, and drawings for The New Yorker magazine. She has some other good clients too, such as Ogilvy, J. Walter Thompson, Sony Music, BHV Paris, Vintage Books, Coca Cola, Bravo, Nickelodeon, Conde Nast, Little Brown, Houghton Mifflin, and Knopf. She does quite a bit of advertising work in Europe because they don't understand her here.

Design Matters airs live weekly on the Voice America Business Network, now the industry leader in Internet talk radio. The show was voted a "favorite podcast" on PSFK's Marketing Podcast survey and was recently voted 9th out of over 300 entries for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s People’s Choice Award. The show is also available as Podcasts on iTunes, where over 50,000 people download the show every month.

Design Matters is from 3-4PM EST and you can view the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from a myriad of locations:

You can go here, through the Sterling link:

Or you can go here, through the Voice America link:

Or you can go here, through the Designers Who Blog link:

Everyone is welcome to call in live and toll free--the number is 1.866.472.5790.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Cher and David Bowie Singing Every Song Ever Written

This video is why I love You Tube. This video is what happens when Matter and Anti-Matter collide. It is crazy and unbelievable and amazing.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Our Very Own National Treasure: Miss Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman Documentary, Directed by Nick Bilton.

More about Maira Kalman:
Maira Kalman's wise, witty drawings have appeared on numberless New Yorker covers, in a dozen children's books, and throughout the pages of The Elements of Style. Her latest book, The Principles of Uncertainty, is the result of a year-long illustrated blog she kept for the New York Times. The book is filled with carefully observed moments and briskly captured thoughts, an omnivore's view of life in the modern world.

Thanks to my dear friend Dane Benton for sending me this video.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Humans Are Just Machines for Propagating Memes

The Funniest Website Ever

the funniest website on the internet

This site features a scientific approach to highlight and explain stuff white people like. They are pretty predictable.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Are you a Shopaholic?

Are you a Shopaholic?

Good article about shopping addictions on LiveScience here, as well as a comprehensive overview comparing scales to measure compulsive buying from the Association for Consumer Research here.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


These days, it seems as if everyone who is young wants to be older, and everyone who is old wants to be younger. Teens and ‘Tweens are in a mad race to reach the legal drinking age, models in magazines are 14 but made up to look like adults and young members of MySpace pretend to be older in order to appear cool. Meanwhile, more people than ever before are trying to look younger. The cosmetic surgery industry is currently a $15 billion industry just in the United States; last year alone over 12 million youth-inducing beauty procedures were performed, including over 300,000 eyelid lifts.

Most of my life I wanted to be older. Somehow I felt that older was happier; and when I was younger I would fantasize all sorts of scenarios for my future. Whenever I did, the imaginary story lines included a swanky pad to live in, a brilliant boyfriend who spoke Spanish and really fabulous white shag carpeting. I was so consumed with “growing up,” I recall feeling as though I achieved something special just by going into the third grade! I’ll never forget the few months before school started that year. I spent the summer at sleep away camp, and as I made my way from the canteen to the cabin I shared with a gaggle of 8-year-old girls, I remember feeling a profound sense of pride at my made-up milestone. And as I watched the sun slice and bounce its way across the shallow, little lake that was connected to the campground, I planned my very grown-up “first day of school outfit” in my mind.

When I was about 13 or 14 years old, I stumbled upon a copy of my father’s Playboy subscription, and when no one was looking, I snuck the magazine into my room, opened it right up to the centerfold and gaped. I had never seen a grown up woman look quite that grownup before, and I couldn’t believe that I would ever, ever, ever look that way. After I analyzed all of the pictures, I started reading about Miss January or July or whatever month it happened to be, and found out everything I could ever possibly want to know about this particular Playmate's likes and dislikes and what turned her on and off in the little hand-written survey that accompanied the photographs. I was riveted by the elaborate details of this totally foreign creature as I evaluated her vital statistics, including her measurements, her weight and her astrological sign. When I got to her age, I did a double take. She was only a few years older than me! How was this possible?? How could she look so sexy and alluring and ethereal? How could she look like such an ADULT? In my wildest, most rampant imagination, I couldn’t conceive of ever looking that grown up no matter how grown up I got.

Last week the reverse occurred, twice. The first was while making my way through the new show at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, “Design and the Elastic Mind” with my friend Paul. As I was wandering through the exhibit, he motioned me over to an installation he was admiring. As we stood marveling at the work, Paul smiled and pointed down. When he saw I was confused by what he was smiling at, he directed me to the age noted on the plaque in front of the piece. The artist was born in the 1980s. We shook our heads in disbelief and considered how amazing it must feel to have a piece of artwork in a museum while still in one’s twenties. But privately I felt jealous, envious and old as I realized that at 46 years old, I could easily be the artist’s mother.

The second instance occurred while browsing through a magazine store and coming upon a recent copy of Playboy. Having not leafed through an issue in decades, I picked one out of the rack and turned to the centerfold, and once again I was shocked by what I saw. First of all, I couldn’t imagine where all of her pubic hair went, and I wondered if she felt chilly without even a landing strip to warm her. When did sexy turn into completely hairless? Furthermore, I couldn’t believe that this particular Playmate was born in 1987. 1987! In 1987, I was grooving to Madonna in Danceteria and getting ready to get married. This didn’t seem possible.

I am not sure when exactly the tables turn on what we wish for as we age. What is the tipping point when age goes from being something coveted to something to scorn? At what point in one’s life does age change from being a desirous aspiration to a dreaded monster?

Some people say that age is a state of mind, but I'm in the monster camp. A few days ago, I watched the movie “In The Valley of Elah,” and I found a strange comfort in the way Tommy Lee Jones councils a young boy about being scared with a story about David & Goliath:

The first thing David had to fight was his own fear. He beat that; he beat Goliath. Because when Goliath came running David just planted his feet, took aim and waited. Just a few more steps and Goliath would have crushed him...and he let fly with that rock. Do you know how much courage that takes? That's how you fight monsters, you lure them in close you look them in the eye and you smack them down.

Perhaps it has to do with expectations. Maybe I’m feeling old simply because I am not as young as I used to be and that scares me in the same way monsters do. Perhaps I am doomed to want what I can’t have. And perhaps it is all about perspective. Last night, while surfing through the latest news about the race to the White House, I started reading an article attempting to deconstruct why Barack Obama is so popular with young people. The author of the article suggested age might be a factor; after all, he was the youngest, most vibrant and most charismatic candidate of the group. When I realized that I had no idea how old Senator Obama actually was, I looked it up and was confronted by the odd realization that we are exactly the same age. I am exactly the same age as the man likely to be the next President of the United States. Maybe, if I am lucky, there’s hope for me yet.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Is something funny?

No, no, no. Nothing, it just so, it is just those belts look exactly the same to me. I am still learning about this stuff, and…

This… stuff. Oh, okay, I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select, I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you are trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about whatever you put on your back but what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002 Oscar De La Renta did a selection of cerulean gowns and then I think it was Yves St. Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets and then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers and then filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs. And it is sort of comical to think that somehow you made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry, when in fact, you are wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room, from a pile of… stuff.

From the film The Devil Wears Prada, where "fashion is not just about utility. An accessory is merely a piece of iconography used to express individual identity."



Via my dear friend Mark Kingsley
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