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Pentagram

‘Culture Is Not Always Popular: Fifteen Years of Design Observer’

Publications — Mar 26, 2019

A new book coedited by Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand collects the best writing from the influential platform for design criticism.

In 2003, Design Observer launched a forum for critical reflection, debate, and writing about design and culture, which has since become one of the most influential platforms in the field. Culture Is Not Always Popular: Fifteen Years of Design Observer is a retrospective of the website, edited by co-founders Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand with Jarrett Fuller and published by MIT Press. The book collects 66 of the best essays, illustrations, investigations and texts from DO so far (selected from the 6,700 articles, 900 authors and 30,000 comments published to date), all examining the way that design shapes―and is shaped by―our lives.

Design Observer recently celebrated the book’s publication with a party at Pentagram’s offices in New York. Contributors, friends and fans gathered to raise a toast and look forward to the next 15 years. Photographs by Ricky Cheung.

Order Culture Is Not Always Popular here.

The party at Pentagram’s studio in New York. Zoom Enlarge

The party at Pentagram’s studio in New York.

Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand sign books. Zoom Enlarge

Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand sign books.

Natasha Jen, Giorgia Lupi, Gabriele Rossi and Jessica Helfand. Zoom Enlarge

Natasha Jen, Giorgia Lupi, Gabriele Rossi and Jessica Helfand.

Jan Wilker and Paula Scher. Zoom Enlarge

Jan Wilker and Paula Scher.

Tobias Frere-Jones and Bobby C. Martin, Jr. Zoom Enlarge

Tobias Frere-Jones and Bobby C. Martin, Jr.

Jarrett Fuller, Michael Bierut and Kathleen Meaney. Zoom Enlarge

Jarrett Fuller, Michael Bierut and Kathleen Meaney.

Scott Starrett, Krista Gampper and Hanna Kim. Zoom Enlarge

Scott Starrett, Krista Gampper and Hanna Kim.

Bob Gill and Seymour Chwast. Zoom Enlarge

Bob Gill and Seymour Chwast.

Brian LaRossa. Zoom Enlarge

Brian LaRossa.

Victoria Milne and Karrie Jacobs. Zoom Enlarge

Victoria Milne and Karrie Jacobs.

Rory Simms, Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed. Zoom Enlarge

Rory Simms, Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed.

Alexandra Lange. Zoom Enlarge

Alexandra Lange.

Camila Perez, Sonsoles Alvarez and Sachi Chandiramani. Zoom Enlarge

Camila Perez, Sonsoles Alvarez and Sachi Chandiramani.

Gabriele Rossi, Giorgia Lupi and Lorenzo Fanton. Zoom Enlarge

Gabriele Rossi, Giorgia Lupi and Lorenzo Fanton.

Michael Bierut and Erleen Hatfield. Zoom Enlarge

Michael Bierut and Erleen Hatfield.

Willy Wong. Zoom Enlarge

Willy Wong.

Dinah Fried and Suzanne Holt. Zoom Enlarge

Dinah Fried and Suzanne Holt.

Michael Bierut makes a toast. Zoom Enlarge

Michael Bierut makes a toast.

Gabriele Rossi, Jesse Ragan, Anne Ferril and Leif Huff. Zoom Enlarge

Gabriele Rossi, Jesse Ragan, Anne Ferril and Leif Huff.

Tucker Viemeister. Zoom Enlarge

Tucker Viemeister.

Aron Fay, Jonny Sikov and Joe Marianek. Zoom Enlarge

Aron Fay, Jonny Sikov and Joe Marianek.

Jesse Reed and Deva Pardue. Zoom Enlarge

Jesse Reed and Deva Pardue.

Andrew Hearst and Michael Bierut. Zoom Enlarge

Andrew Hearst and Michael Bierut.

Tobias Frere-Jones and Hjalti Karlsson. Zoom Enlarge

Tobias Frere-Jones and Hjalti Karlsson.

Seymour Chwast. Zoom Enlarge

Seymour Chwast.

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