Design Diary: MoMA Disappoints, Maria Popova Takes a Break, AIGA (Finally) Joins Instagram and More

The week’s best design stories to see you through the weekend.

One of the perks of my new position as managing editor at AIGA is spending my mornings reading design stories and calling it “work.” But not everyone gets to (or wants to) peruse RSS feeds like it’s their job. Consider this a hit list (as well as a few things you may have missed) of the most interesting things I’ve and seen, read and watched this week.

Besides tracking Herman Miller’s expansioninto a “lifestyle” brand and giving birth to AIGA’s first Instagram account @AIGAdesign (follow along to watch our baby grow), this week I...

…hop on the Ivan Chermayeff train and discover more of his stunning work (beyond what's featured on his AIGA medalist page) like these amazing typographic and collage pieces (plus this little bikini-clad lady pictured above) now on view at De La Warr Pavilion in East Sussex, a two hour drive from London we would definitely make if we weren’t all the way across the pond.

 …watch Michael Bierut admit that before Massimo and Lela Vignelli took him under their wing when he was a young designer, he was “naïve and dumb in a way I don’t even think it’s possible to be these days.” He then goes on to explain why simple logos are the ones that endure (and why it takes guts for a designer to go there) and then makes one of the best analogies for logo design I’ve ever heard.

 …discover typographer Beatrice Warde’s wonderfully puffed-up proclamation of the importance—nay, the “sacred ground”—that is a printing office. Published in 1932 as a promotional vehicle for Perpetua (drawn by personal hero Eric Gill), the first few lines read: “This is a printing office/Crossroads of civilization/Refuge of all the arts against the ravages of time/Armory of fearless truth against whispering rumor…” Read the rest—it’s worth it.

…agree with Co.Design’s John Brownlee disagreeing with a video that oversimplifies 24 basic design principles, and concludes with the gem: "Design isn't a science. Just move things around until it feels right.” Design may not be a science, but anyone who drags images and type around a page until it “feels right” and calls themselves a designer should, er, maybe not.

…get sucked into the wormhole of design blogs commenting on the redesign of other blogs, this time of the new NewYorker.com. The perfect antidote? Pretty much anything from The New Yorker's archives. (A word to the haters: it all reads extremely well on any wireframe.) I like this story by Simon Rich, but the editors have some curated lists, too.

…actually want to try this new Simpsons wine (available in Marge and Homer flavors) that, upon further investigation, might not be wine at all (the contents are “secret.”) Which is fine because the Piet Mondrian-inspired bottles are so lovely I don’t think I’d ever want to uncork them.

…am disappointed by the closet-sized space (okay, walk-in closet-sized) where MoMA stuck the new Ray Johnson exhibition. Did I mention it’s in the basement of the education building? Oh, wait, you don't know where that is? Don’t try asking anyone because 99% of the staff doesn’t seem to know, either. Breeze through it and make your way back through the sculpture garden to the museum, where, unsurprisingly, there are plenty of wonderful exhibitions on view.

…am relieved that even blog-aholic Maria Popova is scaling back her work flow (maybe now I'll finally catch up on the Brainpickings backlog in my Google Reader). Anyone who works for themselves or has a time-sucking side hustle and struggles to manage their schedule will be assured by these words:

“I think there is a high correlation between ‘type A’ personalities and people that ‘do their own thing.’ But we typically do that thing within a structure that’s borrowed from the world of working for the man—the only difference is you’re the man now. When you’re your own boss, the demands you place on yourself are probably higher and more intense than any demands anyone else would place on you if you were an employee.“

…indulge my need to obsessively retool my daily agenda in an ongoing attempt to discover more minutes in the day with a new productivity hack that suggests breaking your schedule into 90-minute activity blocks with 30-minute breaks—and a two-hour lunch in between?! I’ll try anything once, I just hope my co-workers don’t start wondering what all the long meetings I’m suddenly taking around noon are about.

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