In Britain, a Massive “Carpet” of Words

December 15, 2011

Blackpool Comedy Carpet

Blackpool, England’s “Comedy Carpet” is no joke. Rather it is a mammoth typographical artwork—a concrete plaza—covering 1,720 square meters between the famed Blackpool Observation Tower and the city’s ocean front. For the Atlantic, Steven Heller takes a look at the design, production and installation of this amazing typographic accomplishment.

Designs for Women: GirlApproved Adds Balance to a Man-Made World

December 6, 2011

Good Chemistry Posters

In a post for ,the New York Times TStyle Blog, Steven Heller takes a brief look at the work of Simon C. Page, a London-based graphic designer,who has designed a series of 10 posters for the International Year of Chemistry.

Designs for Women: GirlApproved Adds Balance to a Man-Made World

December 2, 2011

Girl Approved

In a post for ,the Atlantic, Steven Heller takes a look at the work of Heidi Dangelmaier, founder of GirlApproved, an invention and design firm, which proposes to create new products, brands, and technologies based on a fundamental shift in the way we think of design, which “introduces a balance that has been missing in our modern man-made world.”

Khoi Vinh’s Mixel, an Art-Making Tool and New Social Network

November 17, 2011

Khoi Vinhs Mixel App

Steven Heller talks with former New York Times Digital art director Khoi Vinh about the launch of his new app Mixel—an art-making tool that interfaces, as it were, with a new kind of social network, enabling you, me, and anyone who has a penchant for cutting and pasting — making collages — to create and share art. You can read the review of Mixel on the Atlantic.

Maira Kalman on What It Was Like Illustrating Pollan’s “Food Rules”

November 10, 2011

Maira Kalman illustration for Food Rules

Steven Heller interviews Mira Kalman for The Atlantic about her latest collaboration with Michael Pollan in illustrating the book Food Rules.

Graphic Content ’Eames Words’

November 2, 2011

Eames Words A&D Museum Exhibit

The A+D Museum Los Angeles is presenting “Eames Words” (through Jan. 16), an exhibition that highlights the ideas — rather than the creations &mdash of the pioneering designers Charles and Ray Eames, Steven Heller takes a look at the exhibit for his latest post for the New York Times TStyle Blog.

Watch Out for Wooly Mammoths!

October 28, 2011

Stop Think Go Do

Steven Heller breifly introduces a new book collaboration with Mirko Ilic title Stop, Think, Go, Do! which is organized around themes of common actions designed to trigger reactions. You can learn more about the book at Rockport’s site

Roger Law’s Odyssey: From Satire on TV to China’s Porcelain City

October 27, 2011

Roger Law illustration

Steven Heller looks at the career of artist Roger Law for the the Atlantic.

Design Different

October 26, 2011

Julia Cooke of the Village Voice interviewed Steven Heller about his career as a design author, critic and historian.

Design Different

October 20, 2011

Paula Scher Maps

For the Atlantic, Steven Heller talks to Paula Scher about her new book Paula Scher MAPS: Paintings, Installations, Drawings and Prints.

Design Different

October 13, 2011

Tattly Temporary Tattoos

Tattly is a venture by Tina Roth Eisenberg, the designer and design blogger known as Swiss Miss, in a post for The Atlantic, Steven Heller looks at her latest design entrepreneurial effort.

Design Different

October 10, 2011

Steve Jobs poses with the executives who designed the iPhone., Jonathan Sprague / Redux

For Newsweek Magazine’s Daily Beast Blog, Steven Heller contributed his response to the the legacy Steve Jobs has left on the design profession.

The Outrage of a Comic Master: Edward Sorel’s Subversive Career

October 6, 2011

Edward Sorel illustration

In a post for the Atlantic, Steven Heller reports on Edward Sorel’s inspiringly subversive career as a caricaturist and commentator that has spanned more presidents than he can throw a crow-quill pen at. The School of Visual Arts honors Sorel this month with a “Masters Series” exhibition of his illustrations for many of the major magazines.


October 5, 2011

Beijing from Urbanized by Gary Hustwit.

Urbanized, the latest design documentary by Gary Hustwit is the final in an accidental trilogy that includes Helvetica (about the ubiquitous typeface) and Objectified (about the impact of industrial and product design on commerce and the environment). Urbanized, as its title suggests, is about the design of cities. Steven Heller gives a brief review of the film for the New York Times TStyle blog.

Masterpieces of Graphic Simplicity: Pictoplasma’s Character Explosion

September 22, 2011

Pictoplasm digital character

The iconographic digital character, a little masterpiece of graphic simplicity, is so popular now, you can find variations of it swarming websites, billboards, and food packaging, infesting video games, kiosks, and all things digital. Steven Heller looks at the brief and popular history of The Pictoplasm character crusade in a post for the Atlantic.

The Prop Master: Ross Macdonald, Forger for Screens Big and Small

September 22, 2011

Ross Mcdonald movie prop

Steven Helller examines the prop work of Ross Macdonald whose exquisite forgeries — or, more precisely, replicas — are currently seen, if you look closely enough, on the new season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Macdonald is an editorial and book illustrator and typographer who makes props for motion pictures. And he gets “a real rush” from the props he gets for making them.

Sample the Work of Alex Steinweiss, Inventor of Album Cover Art

September 19, 2011

New York Magazine posted a review and some sample spreads including commentary from Steven Heller from Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover, published by Taschen.

An Icon Goes Digital

September 16, 2011

Massimo Vignelli New York Subway Map

In 1972, Massimo Vignelli designed a diagrammatic map for the New York City subway. It was a radical departure. He replaced the serpentine maze of geographically accurate train routes with simple, bold bands of color that turned at 45- and 90-degree angles. For the New York Times TStyle Blog, Steven Heller reports on the return of Vignelli’s iconic map for the MTA’s Weekender Website.

Consumer Eyes

September 15, 2011

National Design Awards

September 14, 2011

2011 National Design Awards

Steven Heller was the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award for “Design Mind”, he attended the White House luncheon hosted by Michelle Obama. Along with fellow NDA winners, including Lifetime Achievement winner Matthew Carter (below), he took part in the second annual Smithsonian Teen Design Fair, hosted by Tim Gunn.

Remembering 9/11: Then and Now

September 9, 2011

9/11 Op-Ed Art by R.O. Blechman

Steven Heller reflects on the art created by designers and illustrators in response to 9/11 in a post for AIGA Voice.

Type Wars

September 7, 2011

For a post in the New York Times TStyle Blog Steven Heller takes a look at the use of Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase’s typeface Avant Garde in comparison to other modernist typefaces.

Let the 80s Roll: In the Design World, Octogenarians Rule

September 1, 2011

Seymour Chwast's adaptation of The Canterbury Tales

For The Atlantic, Steven Heller looks at the careers of several well-seasonsed designers including Seymour Chwast, Tom Geismar, Bob Gill, Peter Knapp, George Lois, Deborah Sussman, Tomi Ungerer, and Massimo Vignelli, all of whom are 80 and continue to produce relevant and inspiring works and continue to practice as they always have.

The Accidental Futurist: Steven M. Johnson’s Alternate Realities

August 25, 2011

Steven M. Johnsons Alternate Realities

Steven M. Johnson is a former urban planner and future trends analyst from California, his recent book, Have Fun Inventing: Learn to Think up Products and Create Future Inventions Easily, is jammed full of ludicrous ideas. Steven Heller takes a look at the history of his alternative design ideas for The Atlantic.

Center for Communication and MEDIA CITY Present: Behind the Image- Graphic Design

August 19, 2011

Steven Heller and Mirko Ilic talk about their research and findings in authoring The Anatomy of Design.

How Can We Be Happy? Two Designers Create a Film to Find Out

August 18, 2011

The Happy Film

Designer/filmmaker Hillman Curtis and designer Stefan Sagmeister have collaborated on a feature-length film for well over a year. The Happy Film was conceived as a documentary that looks at the strategies serious psychologists recommend to improve personal well-being and overall happiness. Steven Heller looks into the effort for a post in The Atlantic.

Menu Design in America, 1850-1985

Menu Design in America, 1850–1985

Steven Heller has recently contriubted the introduction to a new book from Taschen titled Menu Design in America, 1850–1985. The book showcases nearly 800 classic examples of menus spanning this important period of US history, perfectly capturing the changing styles and eating habits of the times.

Cold War Relics: The Wende Museum Saves Communist Design

August 9, 2011

Typewriter from the The Wende Museum

For a post in the Atlantic, Steven Heller interviewed Justinian (Justin) Jampol of the Wende Museum in California which houses, collects and preserves the cultural artifacts and personal histories of Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Typography Sketchbooks

August 9, 2011

Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico

Steven Heller and Lita Talarico have teamed up again on a new book due out from Thames and Hudson later this year titled Typography Sketchbooks, a collection of nearly 120 of the world’s leading typographers and graphic designers who have opened up their private sketchbooks to reveal their creative processes.

In CUBE We Trust

July 28, 2011

A year ago three students, Manuel Krings, Marc Pfaff, Andreas Unteidig, from the Köln International School of Design, sought to test (presumably with tongue in cheek) the design viability of a shiny black cube. They asked product, graphic and architectural designers to critically assess the cube to ascertain how serious or not the “critics” would be when faced with whether to explain or explain-away the object.

The World’s Best Design Magazine?

July 28, 2011

Steven Heller looks at FORM Magazine

For the Atlantic, Steven Heller reveals why he feels that in today’s digital age, the print edition of FORM magazine is still the best network for reporting and critiquing design trends, fashions and innovations.

Lancia Trend Visions

July 22, 2011

Steven Heller was recently interviewed by Lancia Trend Visions an online blog that covers current trends and insights into the future of fashion, design and lifestyle.

Remembering The Man Who Revolutionized Album Covers

July 21, 2011

Steven Heller remembers Alex Steinweiss

Robert Siegel of NPR talks with Steven Heller, the co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author Department at the School of Visual Arts. They discuss the life and the legacy of Alex Steinweiss, who revolutionized album cover art. Heller also contributed the Obituary for the New York Times.

Core 77 Design Awards

July 14, 2011

Watch Steven Heller, Paula Scher, Arem Duplessis, Bonnie Siegler, and Mark Randall present their decision for winner of the Core 77 Design Awards for Graphics/Branding/Identity.

A Father of Web Design, Kept Alive by His Son

July 7, 2011

Ladislav Sutnar catalog design

Ignored for decades, the design pioneer Ladislav Sutnar might have been forgotten—but his son, Radislav, made sure that didn’t happen. In a post for the Atlantic, Steven Heller covers Radislav’s donation to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum of over 22,000 itmes designed by his father.

Graphic Content: Health for Sale

June 24, 2011

Dr. Trikos Lotion, circa 1880, attributed to Emily Levy

Steven Heller’s latest post for the New York Times T-Style blog covers the current exhibition at the PHiladelphia Museum of Art: “Health for Sale: Posters from the William H. Helfand Collection”— a show that offers a wide range of advertising for disease prevention, drug and remedy packaging. Compared to today&rsquos visually bland landscape, packaging and advertising from the past proved to be more interesting with metaphor and allegory playing a much larger role.

Design History Hoodies: Target Embraces Vintage Type

June 30, 2011

Target has recently put together a collection of apparel featuring original, vintage, woodtype creations from The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Wisconsin. You can read about the collaboration in Steven’s post for the Atlantic.

Finally in English: The World’s Best Type Reference Guide

June 24, 2011

Joep Pohlen's Letter Fountain, a handbook that stands out in design publishing's most crowded category, has hit American shelves

Steven Heller posts a review of the typography handbook: Letter Fountain: The Anatomy of Type by Joep Pohlen, for the Atlantic.

Killing Off the Death of Design

June 22, 2011

Steven Heller charts the changing face of the design industry, and how its practitioners went from paper and glue to pixels and iPads for a article in Port Magazine.

Notes from the Underground

June 22, 2011

Rock Magazine and Letterhead

The Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives featured a collection of letterhead, including Rock Magazine, and Interview Magazine from Steven Heller’s collection. You can read the post here.

Big Lie and Little Truth

June 17, 2011

Big Lie and Little Truth: Graphic Design in Propaganda and Branding

If you are interested in joining the event, RSVP by emailing Iron Fists to

Why Google Will Never Beat Old-Fashioned Design Research

June 16, 2011

Steven Heller shares a class challenge he poses to students at the MFA Design Criticism program at the School of Visual Arts in one of his assignements to research a design object without the use of Google. You can read more about the project and the benefits of real-world research in his latest post for the Atlantic.

The King of the Sunday Funnies

June 9, 2011

Peter Maresca's quest to preserve the look and feel of America's original Sunday comic strips by becoming an accidental publisher and printing unusually large books.

Steven Heller interviews Peter Maresca, the publisher of the oversized book celebrating the centennial of Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland. For his post for the Atlantic, Steven Heller talks to Maresca about his latest book adventure Forgotten Fantasy: Sunday Comics 1900-1915.

Do Federal Nutritionists Get Graphic Design? Maybe Not

June 6, 2011

MyPlate, which replaced the Food Pyramid, is pleasing and colorful. But it's a logo, not a chart—and that's a problem.

Steven Heller looks at the new MyPlate inititiave released by the US Department of Agriculture for The Atlantic.

The Real Helvetica: A Designer Restores the Original Font

June 2, 2011

Helvetica wasn’t always the cold, rational typeface it is today. For the first time, someone is bringing back its beauty.

Christian Schwartz, a partner in the type foundry Commercial Type, is steadfastly an Helveticaphile and on June 7 his restoration of the original Helvetica, “Neue Haas Grotesque,” will be released by Monotype Imaging. Steven Heller covers a brief history of the project in a post for the Atlatic.

Graphic Content: Heavy Metal

June 1, 2011

Steven Heller shares some insight on “Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century,” a new documentary by Richard Kegler. It is a video document of the late Jim Rimmer, the Canadian designer of almost 200 typefaces. You can read Steve’s post for the New York Times TStyle blog here.

Pakistan: An Emerging Design Nation

May 26, 2011

A new book shows off the country’s sometimes flamboyant, often nuanced, and nearly always overlooked design culture

With the release of a new book on Pakastan design from Saima Zaidi, a Karachi-based designer and teacher of design history whose book is titled Mazaar, Bazaar (mazaar: a tomb or shrine, usually revering a saint; bazaar: market), Steven Heller examines the usually hand-crafted design work from Pakistan in his latest post for The Atlantic.

The Death of Print: NYC Tries to Save Typographic History

May 13, 2011

Old-school print shops like Bowne & Co. are vanishing. How long will a group of devoted fans be able to cling to the past?

In a post for the Atlantic, Steven Heller investegates the efforts of a group in New York City called Friends of Bowne who are trying to save from extinction one of the few remaining functioning print shops, Bowne & Co., Stationers.

Designing for Destruction: The Rise of the Bomb Shelter

May 5, 2011

How architects, designers, and the government taught Baby Boomers to stop worrying and love protective structures

For the Atlantic, Steven Heller interviews Susan Roy, author of Bomboozled: How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and Its People Into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack (Pointed Leaf Press).

Iran’s Stunning Design Magazine

May 4, 2011

Spread from Neshan Magazine from Iran

Iran’s stunning contemporary graphic design is virtually unknown in the West. Steven Heller has posted some amazing work from Neshan Magazine for the New York Times TStyle blog.

Paul Rand, Painter

May 2, 2011

Paul Rand Paintings

In post for Design Observer, Steven Heller sheds some light on the other creative interests and practices of experimentation of deisgn great, Paul Rand, specifically his interest in painting and water color.

The Most Beautiful Magazine You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

April 28, 2011

Esopus prints some of the most ambitious covers around—and its designer and editor is almost entirely self-taught

Steven Heller looks at the work of Todd Lippy&mdeash; editor, curator, filmmaker and founder of Esopus Magazine which began in 2003. In his post for the Atlantic, Steven Heller looks at the pain-staking, production rich details that go into each issue of Esopus.

Eileen Boxer for Ubu Gallery

April 27, 2011

Eileen Boxer announcements designed for Ubu Gallery

Container List is the blog of the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives, featuring weekly graphics and ephemera from the design archives at the School of Visual Arts. This week, the blog has selected an announcements designed by Eileen Boxer for Ubu Gallery that is part of the Steven Heller collection.

Saving a Mecca of Type: Photo-Lettering Fonts Go Digital

April 21, 2011

The most important typeface company of the 60s—maybe the most important ever—is born again online

For The Atlantic, Steven Heller looks at how the modern type foundry House Industries has purchased the rights to digitize the the popular type specimens of the 1960s from Photo-Lettering.

Graphic Design: History in the Making

April 18, 2011

Steven Heller will be participating in a one-day design conference at St Bride Library, London on Friday 6 May 2011. The conference will investigate the status of graphic design history today, with an emphasis on the making and using of it. Steve’ video presentation will address publishing as a method of writing history, and the need for reflection in an era when speed is of the essence.

George Nelson’s Iconic Ball Clock, and Why I Hated It

April 14, 2011

The perils of editing a design journal (and famous designers), and a hate/love relationship with a mid-century timepiece

In a post for The Atlantic, Steven Heller recounts his meeting with legendary Modernist industrial and product designer George Nelson.

The Next World Design Capital: Ireland?

April 7, 2011

A countrys bid to leave behind stodgy Celtic imagery and get out of the shadow of England, Germany, and Scandinavia

For The Atlantic, Steven Heller takes a look at how Ireland is making a bid name “World Design Capital,” which since 2008 has been so designated every two years by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.

Graphic Content: Out of the Box

April 6, 2011

Hans-Joachim Richard Christoph New England Bricks

In a post for the New York Times TStyle blog, Steven Heller takes a look at the work of Hans-Joachim Richard Christoph (1903-1992), the graphic designer known as Hajo whose work has recnetly been included in the Albany Institute of History and Art’s graphic design exhibition, “Graphic Design: Get the Message!” and a solo show “Hajo: An Artist’s Journey.”

How Hollywood Butchered Its Best Movie Posters

March 31, 2011

Love in the Afternoon Movie Posters

Steven Heller presents some of the great graphic work of Saul Bass who invented some of the most iconic film graphics of the 20th century and how DVDs have destroyed his work in his post for The Atlantic.

Soap: The Next iPad?

March 24, 2011

Savon Lavande Unico Soap

Steven Heller’s latest post for The Atlantic looks at how the design of soap has grown to be about more than just cleanliness.


March 21, 2011

Manifesto Book Cover

Steven Heller has contributed an essay titled Manifesto Wars for the book Manifesto, a 116 page catalogue of designer manifestos. It is a small design bible that was printed in 300 copies.

The Most Technologically Advanced Book for the iPad?

March 17, 2011

The Most Technologically Advanced Book for the iPad?

For the Atlantic, Steven Heller talks to Chris Stevens, author and art director of the iPad app called Alice in New York. The “book,” which has more than 130 “pages,” uses water simulations, particle physics, regular physics, light effects, and sound making it the most advanced book available on the ipad.

How Mighty Ping-Pong Infiltrated Visual Culture

March 8, 2011

How Mighty Ping-Pong Infiltrated Visual Culture

For the Atlantic, Steven Heller talks to Roger Bennett, who is one of the co-founders of ReBoot, a cultural organization for secular Jews, which sponsors publications and events. His Ping-Pong fascination, rooted in design, is helping to trigger a new enthusiasm—and fashion—among the hipster generation. Table tennis has been propaganda. It has been a symbol of suburbia. And images of it have covered ... nearly everything.

Souvenirs as Nazi Propaganda

March 3, 2011

Souvenirs as Nazi Propaganda

For Design Observer, Steven Heller has posted part three in a three part series: Steven Heller on the design practices of the Third Reich. In this final essay, Heller looks at how Hitler made money from Design through the royalties from the sale of souviners. The first essay “The Master Race’s Graphic Masterpiece” and the second “Hitler’s Poster Handbook,”.

Graphic Content | Andrew Byrom

March 2, 2011

Steven Heller’s latest post for the New York Times tStyle Blog centers around the typographic-sculputral work of type designer and professor Andrew Byrom who is a typographic conceptualist, a sculptor by any other name, who creates “experimental” typefaces out of Band-Aids, drinking straws, steel railings and neon lights. He has also turned them into objects like furniture, bathroom fixtures and kites. Check out the post here.

Steven Heller Thoughts on Politics and Design

February 28, 2011

The School of Visual Arts has created a four part short documentary series titled Masters of Design which portrays remarkable professionals from the design field who also enjoy outstanding teaching careers at the School of Visual Arts. In this installment, Alice Twemlow, chair of SVA Design Criticism, talks to Steven Heller Heller about his professional career as art director, writer, educator and critic.

Designing the World of Tomorrow

February 27, 2011

Steven Heller Designing the World of Tomorrow

On Sunday, February 27, Steven Heller gave a presentation at the Albany Institute of History and Art centered on how the 1939 World’s Fair—the second largest American world’s fair and the first to focus on the concept of futurism—affected powerful change in the world of graphic design.

Steve is doing a follow up presentation on Thursday, March 17 at Pratt Institute. To learn more click here.

Raising Heller in the Archive

February 17, 2011

Steven Heller has generously donated a large number of books and a vast collection of his own work to the Milton Glaser Design Study Center & Archives at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Hitler’s Poster Handbook

February 17, 2011

Nazi Graphic Standards

This is a follow up post on Design Observer to the prvious week’s post titled “The Master Race’s Graphic Masterpiece”. For this Design Observer post, Steven Heller looks at Das Politische Plakat which was one in a series of textbooks and manuals issued through the Reichspropagandaleitung for use by party members only.

Hitler as Art Director: What the Nazis’ Style Guide Says About the “Power of Design”

February 15, 2011

Jim Edwards of BNet interviewed Steven Heller about his interest in Nazi propoganda—specifically the use of “Style Guides” in helping to define the graphic application of tyopgraphy, imagery and color for Nazi propoganda.

10 Answers

February 10, 2011

Steven Heller was asked 10 questions from the website 10 Answers which serves up daily interviews with creative minds from around the globe. 10 ANSWERS was founded in New York City by designer and writer, Rebecca Silver. You can check out Steve’s responses here.

The Master Race’s Graphic Masterpiece

February 7, 2011

Nazi Graphic Standards

Steven Heller presents a few examples of Natzi graphic standards manuals for a post on Design Observer.

I ♥ Design: Remarkable Graphic Design Selected by Designers, Illustrators, and Critics

February 4, 2011

I Heart Design: Remarkable Graphic Design Selected by Designers, Illustrators, and Critics

Steven Heller’s latest book titled I Heart Design. will be available in March 2011. I Heart Design is a collection of “favorite” designs as selected by 80 prominent graphic designers, typographers, teachers, scholars, writers and design impresarios. Designs featured include the iconic CBS eye, the stark Kodak identity, the Coca-Cola bottle, and, of course, The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album cover.

Carter Sans

February 2, 2011

Steven Heller review of Carter Sans

Steven Heller writes for the New York Times TStyle blog on the introduction of typeface designer Matthew Cater’s latest typeface Carter Sans.

Why I Write

January 20, 2011

Steven Heller has recently contributed an Essay to a new website and blog, Designers & Books. Designers & Books is devoted to publishing lists of books that esteemed members of the design community identify as personally important, meaningful, and formative—books that have shaped their values, their worldview, and their ideas about design. You can read the essay from Steve here.

My Big Fat Fast Food Feast at Eataly

January 12, 2011

Steven Heller photos from his trip to Eataly

Inspired by a recent trip to the newest New York Italian food market—Eatly, Steven Heller recounts the experience for Design Observer.

A Makeover for the Starbucks Mermaid

January 5, 2011

Starbucks Logo Evolution

Steven Heller reports on the “new” Starbucks logo for the New York Times Week in Review.

Really Tiny Furniture

January 5, 2011

Minature Furniture

Steven Heller shares his personal interest in collecting minature modern furniture replicas in his post for the New York Times TStyle blog.