New York City

The great artist is their own greatest creation, they say. If you’ve dipped down below the street in New York City where the cell phone don’t shine, and if you got to where you wanted to get, you’ve been influenced by his work designing New York’s simple and eye-catching subway map. Massimo Vignelli was generous, driven, and worked to make life more beautiful for himself and for the people in this world.

Mr. Vignelli understood that beauty is a way of seeing things in the world. Proportion, balance, space — the movement of the eye — these things are free, simple and clean. You can learn to see them by slowing down, paying attention, savoring the details. His work helped make our world more beautiful, and a world filled with beauty is a place we all want to care for, participate in, where there’s somehow more time to see and do together.  

Massimo Vignelli made things. But more importantly, he brought us closer to one another. Today we’re writing all our thank yous and goodbyes to him in Helvetica.  


Downtown LA
The gesamtkunstwerk is alive and thriving. LA Chapter’s Exquisite Surfaces x Commune tiles honor the Viennese secession and issue a loving send-up to the Modernists who forever altered Los Angeles in the ‘20s. They function as angle-driven visual consorts rather than adornments, suggesting you follow their broken lines from the restaurant’s floor, across its walls to the ceiling and back down again. Like petroglyphs from a history that’s yet to be written.  

Downtown LA

The gesamtkunstwerk is alive and thriving. LA Chapter’s Exquisite Surfaces x Commune tiles honor the Viennese secession and issue a loving send-up to the Modernists who forever altered Los Angeles in the ‘20s. They function as angle-driven visual consorts rather than adornments, suggesting you follow their broken lines from the restaurant’s floor, across its walls to the ceiling and back down again. Like petroglyphs from a history that’s yet to be written.  


Copenhagen, Denmark

“The popular magazines were all saying that one couldn’t build a summer home for less than $25,000. So I contacted Life magazine and said, ‘well, I have one.’”

Jens Risom on the inexpensive design of his 1967 Rhode Island cabin.


Well, it’s finally Cyber Monday again. Today the stuff on our online shop is cheaper-than-usual. Use code MONDAY and have all the things for twenty percent off. 

Well, it’s finally Cyber Monday again. Today the stuff on our online shop is cheaper-than-usual. Use code MONDAY and have all the things for twenty percent off. 


This weekend, designers took over the second floor of Ace Hotel Portland for Content, creating audible, tactile and scent-based installations and blowing our minds for the fourth year running.

Among the many noteworthy appearances were Bridge and Burn’s clean and classic clothing, Cloth and Goods’ indigo wares and Norwood hats, the latest and greatest project from the inimitable Antonio Brasko. Crazy Wind swept us away with swaths of Japanese kasuri textiles, and OLO Fragrance raised a tent among the pines in which we contemplated their dark and magical scents. 

Bobby Bonaparte of LiFT Label had a good time, too — “Portland is burning with creativity,” he says. “The vibe of Content remains fresh and underground.” 

  

Photos from Lavenda Memory, Jen Vitale, Shelley Buche and Angela Tafoya, respectively. See #content2013 on Instagram for more.


The Heads of State are a pack of three art-savvy wolves illustrating and designing their asses off in Philadelphia. Their poetic use of iconography, touch of colorblindness, love of facial hair and wholesome humor lands them clients as gargantuan as Nike and as petite as Wondermade Marshmallows in Orlando, Florida. Dusty, Jason and Woody will be talking October 21 at RE:DESIGN/Inspire in LA about how they stay inspired during what can be a rigorous creative process for a small team. The conference is a chance to peer into the creative worlds of nearly two dozen thinkers, makers and shakers including Noreen Morioka, former president of AIGA Los Angeles, and Jeff Castelaz, president of Elektra Records — get in on it.

The Heads of State are a pack of three art-savvy wolves illustrating and designing their asses off in Philadelphia. Their poetic use of iconography, touch of colorblindness, love of facial hair and wholesome humor lands them clients as gargantuan as Nike and as petite as Wondermade Marshmallows in Orlando, Florida. Dusty, Jason and Woody will be talking October 21 at RE:DESIGN/Inspire in LA about how they stay inspired during what can be a rigorous creative process for a small team. The conference is a chance to peer into the creative worlds of nearly two dozen thinkers, makers and shakers including Noreen Morioka, former president of AIGA Los Angeles, and Jeff Castelaz, president of Elektra Records — get in on it.


London rooms are shaping up.

London rooms are shaping up.

Ace Hotel London Shoreditch

Ace Hotel London Shoreditch


Sometimes our walk-throughs of old buildings are intense — this room was semi-intact, on the windowsill was a folded up piece of newsprint with the horserace info of the day…. someone sat in this chair — waiting for that phone to ring — for who knows how long and no one ever moved a thing since they — you know…..disappeared into the ether….Modernism was born from being afraid and spooked by this sort of thing. Pretending that no one dies and that things never change. Well they do — and they do — and there is nothing wrong with it. Watch it and feel it passing through you — it’s called the present and it’s moving. It does not stand still and never will.
- Roman and Williams

Sometimes our walk-throughs of old buildings are intense — this room was semi-intact, on the windowsill was a folded up piece of newsprint with the horserace info of the day…. someone sat in this chair — waiting for that phone to ring — for who knows how long and no one ever moved a thing since they — you know…..disappeared into the ether….Modernism was born from being afraid and spooked by this sort of thing. Pretending that no one dies and that things never change. Well they do — and they do — and there is nothing wrong with it. Watch it and feel it passing through you — it’s called the present and it’s moving. It does not stand still and never will.

- Roman and Williams


Bibliothèque Design, just down the street a piece from Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, paid tribute to English engineering draftsman Harry Beck who in 1931 created the (now somewhat altered) present-day London Underground Tube map, uncommissioned, in his off-duty hours from the Tube’s Signals Office. As originally presented in Beck’s brief, Bibliothèque used only two colors, red for the Central line and black for the Northern Line, deleting those lines that require colors not loyal to the brief, leaving only a constellation of tentatively connected coordinates.
Beck’s radical proposal to create a stop-to-stop guide for Londoners rather than a geographically accurate representation of stop locations on a city map was seen as radical, even ridiculous, and was met with skepticism (like most good ideas). But the idea was posed to the public with a small pamphlet two years into Beck’s campaign and was, as they say, an instant classic.
Beck’s influence is recognized by graphic designers some seventy years later as a catalyst for user-friendly information design that followed its own instincts and logic, rather than cohering to established visual communication norms. A.A. Degani, in A Tale of Two Maps, suggested this year that Beck’s configuration of a “relaxed grid … which has a certain rhythm and charm” is “somewhat similar to the grid used by modern artists (such as Piet Mondrian’s painting Composition With Yellow, Blue and Red).”
Before such blue ribbons were awarded, Beck’s success with the Tube map alone boosted his confidence and conviction such that in 1951 he presented the Paris city government with a Beckified version of the Metro map he had drawn up in the late thirties, some fifteen years earlier. They thought the map scandalously radical and rejected it without public input — they weren’t to use a diagrammatic transport map until 1999. Poo poo, Paris! Beck’s iconic style is now the norm for transit and urban rail companies the world over.
Hats off to those who show up uninvited and reinvent the game.

Bibliothèque Design, just down the street a piece from Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, paid tribute to English engineering draftsman Harry Beck who in 1931 created the (now somewhat altered) present-day London Underground Tube map, uncommissioned, in his off-duty hours from the Tube’s Signals Office. As originally presented in Beck’s brief, Bibliothèque used only two colors, red for the Central line and black for the Northern Line, deleting those lines that require colors not loyal to the brief, leaving only a constellation of tentatively connected coordinates.

Beck’s radical proposal to create a stop-to-stop guide for Londoners rather than a geographically accurate representation of stop locations on a city map was seen as radical, even ridiculous, and was met with skepticism (like most good ideas). But the idea was posed to the public with a small pamphlet two years into Beck’s campaign and was, as they say, an instant classic.

Beck’s influence is recognized by graphic designers some seventy years later as a catalyst for user-friendly information design that followed its own instincts and logic, rather than cohering to established visual communication norms. A.A. Degani, in A Tale of Two Maps, suggested this year that Beck’s configuration of a “relaxed grid … which has a certain rhythm and charm” is “somewhat similar to the grid used by modern artists (such as Piet Mondrian’s painting Composition With Yellow, Blue and Red).”

Before such blue ribbons were awarded, Beck’s success with the Tube map alone boosted his confidence and conviction such that in 1951 he presented the Paris city government with a Beckified version of the Metro map he had drawn up in the late thirties, some fifteen years earlier. They thought the map scandalously radical and rejected it without public input — they weren’t to use a diagrammatic transport map until 1999. Poo poo, Paris! Beck’s iconic style is now the norm for transit and urban rail companies the world over.

Hats off to those who show up uninvited and reinvent the game.

Harry Beck Paris Metro Map


Because travel is a question. Courtesy of Niko Skourtis, Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, who have archived online the entire New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual designed in 1970 by Massimo Vignelli. 

Because travel is a question. Courtesy of Niko Skourtis, Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, who have archived online the entire New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual designed in 1970 by Massimo Vignelli. 


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