Object of the Day

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Sketchbooks and the Power of Process
Designers of all varieties—architects, graphic designers, painters—are aware of the importance and utility of sketchbooks in the creative process. The blank canvas of a sketchbook page allows the design process to occur in real time and encourages documentation of ideas that might otherwise be fleeting. The significance of sketchbooks as part of the creative process...
Summer Straw
Sample books, originally created for commercial, educational, or scientific purposes, have become valuable guides to understanding the products, technological processes, materials, aesthetics, provenance, and use of objects manufactured in the past. Both the Museum and Design Library have extensive collections of sample books containing diverse groups of samples ranging from paint chips to lace. This...
Weaving the Extraordinary Out of the Ordinary
Vermelha, Portuguese for “red”, comes from the Latin vermiculus, or “little worm”, in reference to the Kermes vermilio, a scale insect used to make the color crimson. This is the source of the Vermelha Chair’s name, a vibrant, brightening shade of red that is both jarring and mesmerizing. Designed by Brazilian designers – and brothers...
A Modern Identity
This 1947 print by graphic designer Alvin Lustig presents an early logo design for the Hollywood animation production studio United Productions of America (UPA), founded in 1943 and primarily active through 1960. The graphic identity’s bold black circle with its vertical brown band embraces a simple and modern approach to portraying a classic film reel,...
Now Entering Lines Forest
Lines Forest is a recently acquired wallpaper I am happy to write about. The design somewhat resembles a circuit board with its minimal rendering of design elements but the title clearly sets the record straight that this is a forest, though not necessarily one containing trees. The design is composed of strong verticals along with...
God's trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse. Written by James Weldon Johnson.
The Prodigal Son (of the Jazz Age)
This illustration is featured in a book of poems by James Weldon Johnson titled, God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse. Published in 1927, it emulates traditional African-American religious oratory. The seven sermons were inspired by memories of sermons by black preachers heard by Mr. Johnson while growing up. Johnson described the trombone as “the...
Modern Pioneer
A pioneer of modern design, Ruth Reeves was at the forefront of American textiles throughout her career, perpetually interested in the discovery of a national American voice in design. After studying at Pratt and the San Francisco School of Design, Reeves traveled to Paris, where she lived between 1921 and 1927. In America, the field...
Rebajes: A Life Made of Copper
In 1922, Francisco Torres arrived in New York on a steam ship from his hometown of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, at the age of sixteen. Despite being an unaccompanied minor, he convinced immigration authorities to allow him to enter the United States by speaking the fluent English he learned from a native Virgin Islander living...
Album Cover Creatures
The Talking Heads are depicted alongside mountains, animals, and bell towers on the cover of their 1985 release Little Creatures. Lead singer David Byrne is Atlas, holding the globe, while the other band members are behind him. Graphic designer Tibor Kalman used a painting by Georgian folk artist Howard Finster as the basis of the...