Paula Scher Gets Serious for TED

Paula Scher’s lecture “Great Design Is Serious (Not Solemn)” from last May’s Serious Play conference is today’s featured TEDTalk.

‘A Number of Numbers’ Is Very Short-Listed

The Number of Numbers site designed by Michael Gericke and his team is today’s recommendation from Very Short List: Science. “This clever, beautifully designed slide show and quiz…takes us through seven early tallying systems and poses a single, simple question on each page. How many moons orbit Mars? How many lives does a Felis catus have? The answers are right in front of you—but written in ancient numeral systems you must decode.”

Pentagram Recasts the Republican Brand for ‘Newsweek’


Pentagram was one of four design firms asked to “resurrect” the beleaguered Republican Party brand for an exercise in Newsweek’s special end-of-year issue, on newsstands now. Our concept, designed by Michael Bierut, makes use of the “re-” prefix to create a family of words that define the party’s core values and emphasize the power of transformation.

“The two party system only works when you have two strong parties,” says Bierut, a lifelong Democrat. “This theme isn’t meant to redefine the GOP — another appropriate ‘re’ word — but simply provide a context for that redefinition. The party of Lincoln deserves it.”

New Work: The Hub


As part of his ongoing work for Witness, Harry Pearce has created the identity for The Hub. Conceived as a “YouTube for human rights”, The Hub is the world’s first participatory media site focused on the protection of human rights, providing a network for users to upload, share and discuss videos, photos and audio.

Peter Gabriel, the founder of Witness, appeared on BBC News this morning to explain the rationale behind the project. The launch coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Watch Gabriel’s video here.

To Tell the Truth

Paula Scher contributes an essay to the December/January issue of Monocle for its special 2009 Global Forecast. Scher’s piece, “Truth Be Told: How to Rule in 2009,” looks at the language used by our leaders and its effect on foreign policy. Following the presidential election, Scher writes: “Call me an optimist, but I believe we may have reached a time in history when our major expectation of leaders is that they talk to us intelligently, as adults…I believe that the public will finally perceive strength in honesty and reason, rather than swagger.”

The essay is posted on the Monocle site (subscribers only) or read it here in full after the jump.

A Holiday Classic


It’s our own It’s a Wonderful Life, but with less crying: Pentagram’s redesign of Christmas from 2006 (ah, happier times!) will re-air on Studio 360 this weekend. Our New York partners collaborated to rebrand the holiday as “x.mas.” Read the original blog post here. The rebranding was also featured in The New York Times.

Listen to the broadcast here:

Detroit’s New Model


This past weekend Studio 360 aired a segment about the Detroit Institute of Arts’ groundbreaking program to make its permanent collection more engaging to visitors, part of a larger museum expansion and reinstallation that opened last fall. Reporter Zak Rosen interviewed Lisa Strausfeld about her design of the museum’s interactive installations, including the immensely popular Art of Dining, and noted that a year after the renovation, attendance is up by 60 percent.

Listen to the segment here:

Luke Hayman Remakes the Ravens


When Fox Sports ranked the best looking NFL uniforms last year, the Baltimore Ravens almost came in last, which is why GQ asked Luke Hayman to redesign the team’s notoriously ugly helmet as part of its September article “73 Reasons We’re Living in a New Golden Age of Football.” Getting rid of the cartoon-like graphics, Hayman created an intimidating raven’s head complete with glowing red eyes, a look that “would scare the shit out of the opposition.”

James Biber Remakes Starbucks for ‘Architect’


The July issue of Architect magazine asked five architects, including James Biber, to redesign Starbucks in light of the company’s recent downturn. (Shares have fallen by 42% in the last year, and the company has announced its plan to shutter 600 stores.) Biber, who is featured on the cover caffeinating in New York’s City Bakery, proposed an environment that caters to a range of experiences—from fast to slow, from social to private—within a setting redesigned to be simple, efficient and universal. The approach even includes a new name for the chain: *$.

Biber’s complete proposal after the jump.

How Many Designers Does It Take to Choose a Typeface?


Angus Hyland, Domenic Lippa and Paula Scher have contributed to Fifty Designers’ Current Favourite Typefaces, a project created by Create/Reject to help raise money for the UNICEF Myanmar Cyclone Children’s Appeal in the wake of Cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar (Burma) on 2nd May 2008.

The book is available online for £3 GBP and 100% of the cover price goes to UNICEF. Londoners can also pick the book up from Artwords on Rivington Street and Koenig Books in Charing Cross Road.