It’s easy to get design tunnel vision. But designers don’t exist in a void, they’re the creators of culture and a new frontier of the connection between society and art.

Here we present a set of articles about pushing boundaries in art and design. What’s going on in the contemporary world and how you as a designer can expand your understanding of how the craft of design touches every part of life. How can you bring design thought to everything you do?

This list is by no means comprehensive, but compiled of the most relevant topics we’ve clicked through during the last year. We would love to see what you have all been reading about for the last year, and how you want to bring those ideas into 2016!


Articles - Tech

How to Design the Future (Aeon)

Technology fact and fiction — how do they inform one another in a way that allows us to design our own futures? Aeon examines the fictionalization of technology, often expressed through film, and how it impacts the real technology developed today.

Virtual Reality Lets You Live the News Instead of Reading It (Gizmodo)

The New York Times debuted their virtual reality world of journalism in 2015. This new way of storytelling allows the viewer to be completely visually immersed in a story, with an “emotional impact” that goes above and beyond words and pictures on a page. Gizmodo explores how it’s done and the potential repercussions of this new development in storytelling.

The Internet of Things is Everywhere, but it Doesn’t Rule Yet (Wired)

What exactly is “The Internet of Things” and how is it impacting our lives? It’s the smart world, or the world of connected gadgetry. It means that someday soon possibly everything you touch is going to be somehow seamlessly connected to the internet. Wired explores the dilemmas facing this inevitable new world as it grows.

Tower of Babble: The Emoji Paradox (Print Magazine)

It’s easy to glean multiple meanings from many of the symbols in one of the world’s most widely-used languages. Does the ambiguity of these happy/sad faces, pineapples, and flamenco dancers represent bad design? Print Magazine gives it a thought.


Article - Art

An Appraisal: Scott Rothkopf, Chief Curator at the Whitney, Recalls Ellsworth Kelly (The New York Times)

It was big news this late December when renowned artist Ellsworth Kelly passed away – prompting dozens if not hundreds of articles on his significant influence. The New York Times takes on this challenge in both a personal and professional way, through the eyes of the Whitney’s Chief Curator.

The Year in Art Crime (The Creator’s Project)

From stolen paintings and graffitied sculpture to violent human tragedies, Vice’s The Creators Project has rounded up the less positive side of art and design in 2015.

Miranda July (The Believer)

What is the life of an upredictable creative like? Unpredictable – of course. Here’s a glimpse into Miranda July’s, an author, actor, director, and artist by The Believer.

A New Generation Of African Artists Have A Bold Vision For The Future (NPR)

One of the best ways we have of expanding our own artistic practice is in finding inspiration from others. Here’s a great example from NPR, detailing the work of contemporary African creators featured in a current exhibition at the Guggenheim Bilbao.

Graphic Design

Articles - Design

Why You Hate Google’s New Logo (The New Yorker)

Google debuted a new serif-free logo back in September, and The New Yorker has taken a critical look at the new design. Is the new typeface clean and elegant, or childish and overrated?

A Day at Pentagram New York: an insight into the partners, politics and personalities (It’s Nice That)

What is it like to work in one of the most famous design firms in the world? It’s Nice That got a writer inside the firm’s Manhattan office for a day, to learn about the good and the bad of what goes on behind the doors of the Pentagram powerhouse.

The Floppy Disk Is Dead, But You Still Use It Every Day (Paste Magazine)

Why are icons represented by bygone technology? Paste Magazine gives us a look into the psychology behind using a magnifying glass to indicate search functionality.

Criterion at Thirty (The Paris Review)

An interview by the Paris Review with the head art director and design of The Criterion Collection to talk about the publication celebrating their thirtieth anniversary —in design. What is it like to try and design covers for some of the most famous films of all time?

Big Ideas

Articles - Ideas

Looking Back At The World Changing Ideas Of 2015 (FastCo)

The perfect urban bike, universal basic income, uncomfortability— what ideas had the biggest worldwide impact in 2015? Which are going to continue to change the world in 2016? FastCo takes a look back at their predictions from March to see what progress has been made.

No Noise, Only Sound (Guernica Magazine)

What essential parts of our lives do we overlook every day? Even an article so short as this book review by Guernica Magazine can make the reader think. Like example John Cage pondering sound as a way to make us better tune into the world.

5 Breakout Designers of 2015 (Artsy)

Is design growing to be more and more inclusive? From women in design, to designers around the world, here are some of the best up-and-coming minds in all sorts of mediums from all sorts of backgrounds, collected as according to Artsy.

All Stories Are the Same (The Atlantic)

Is there a universal story structure? This exerpt on The Atlantic from John Yorke’s Into the Woods delves into the thing that winds through every part of our lives – how we tell a story.

Let us know what art and design issues interest you in the upcoming year!

Featured image by Mikhail Pavstyuk