Jen Cohlman Bracchi

Sutnar On the Grid


Published in Prague for only four years (1926-1930), these issues of the rare Czechoslovakian periodical, Výtvarné snahy [Art Endeavors], feature covers designed by Ladislav Sutnar during 1928 and 1929.  Relevant to the National Design Library’s rare and special collections for both content and graphic design, they also support Cooper-Hewitt Museum’s Sutnar archives and holdings, representing his earlier work while still living in Prague.
Ladislav Sutnar, New Typography, Czech

Picturing Language


Without much thought or effort, I’ve been reading images inspired by Otto Neurath’s International Picture Language for most of my life.  No doubt you too have encountered derivatives of these informative symbols which can be found across the globe and online, from airport signage to The Noun Project.  Considered an early pioneer of infographics, Neurath translated complicated data into easily readable pictograms. 
data visualization, information visualization, inforgraphics, ISOTYPE, symbols

Stairway to Modernism: Thérèse Bonney Collection


Upon first glance it is difficult to tell if we are looking up or down this spiral staircase.  Clean lines intersect with natural light, casting shadows that create a deceptive flattening effect from this vantage point. What appear to be stairs descending counterclockwise with no railing is actually the underside of the staircase designed to mimic the stairs above.   
Art Deco, modernism, Robert Mallet-Stevens, paris, Architecture, staircase, photograph

Inside wonders: A Japanese pattern book


Patterns found in nature have influenced human creativity for millennia and continue to inspire designers today. Can you guess what natural forms were used to create the designs in this pattern book? Published in Kyoto by Unsōdō in 1913, its bold calligraphic lines, sweeping curves, and organic forms share characteristics with both Japan’s Rinpa and Europe’s Art Nouveau movements.  However, these shapes were derived in a new and unique way by a scientist, not a designer.
pattern book, Japan, shells