The Boston Globe recently ran the first print ad announcing the November 16th opening of Harvard Art Museums.

Index 04


Issue 04 of Index is out and 05 is underway.

Everything I Know about Graphic Design

Index—a magazine for the Harvard Art Museums

Index_01-01 Index_01-04 Index_02-01 Index_02-08 Index_03-01 Index_03-05


Index is a magazine for the Harvard Art Museums. Each printed issue (three so far) features a different color, determined by the date on which it’s published. Online the color changes every day.



SPARE is a modest short-term artist residency program and resource center for Risograph printing, small-scale publishing, and bookmaking.” They are in Chicago. I was happy to participate (along with Linus Bill, David Bodhi Boylan, Steffen Bunte, Dante Carlos, Jay Cover, Thad Kellstadt, and Tim McMullen) in their first postcard series. Additionally, SPARE included print samples and registration tests on the reverse of the postcards and on a variety of smaller, separate cards. You can buy the series from their store.



MATERIAL exists as a platform for the artist’s voice. Each issue brings together a different group of artists who write, as well as a new collaboration with a graphic designer. During the production of this third issue, our designer Zak Jensen put forth the idea of concatenation—the act of linking together, or the state of being joined. The cover (Eight Takes Sense—Yes, Hooks a Kitchen House, A Surrealists’ Leash, Visual Oeuvres…) is a concatenated sentence which employs one word from the title of all eleven texts, and also functions as the table of contents for the journal.

Concatenation (c.1600, from L.L. concatenatus, pp. of concatenare “to link together,” from com- “together”+ catenare, from catena “a chain”) seemed an appropriate word for our editorial method. An unlikely assemblage of texts becomes connected through this process; uncanny linkages emerge. Wyeth appears twice. Performances interact. In this issue: voices that duel, voices that parrot, voices that hypothesize, translate, and meditate, voices that speak simultaneously. As Roland Barthes writes, we have assembled these textual events, as “pleasure in pieces; language in pieces; culture in pieces,” to build upon one another into something new.*

This third issue includes contributions from Farrah Karapetian, Paul Zelevansky, Renee Petropoulous, Nate Harrison, James Welling, Natalie Häusler, Harold Abramowitz, Shana Lutker Stephanie Taylor, Alice Könitz, Frank Chang, and Emily Mast.

Get a copy online from MATERIAL, Textfield, Motto Distribution, or at a bookstore near you (if you’re in Amsterdam, Basel, Berlin, Copenhagen, Chicago, Geneva, Lausanne, London, Los Angeles, Malmö, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seattle or Zurich)!

*Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text, trans. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang, 1975), p. 51

U.S. Campaign Design System 2012

Election day in the U.S. has come and gone. Over the preceding months, the focus of the presidential race was of course on the nominees from our two main political parties—a dichotomy visualized as blue/red and vocalized ad nauseum. Just as predictably, the branding of both campaigns centered around red, white, blue and stripes (What, no stars this year?), amounting to a lot of eloquent graphic equivocation. See my previous post, Recto Reverso, for evidence of the tradition.

As a hypothetical solution, this design system suggests a way of creating political-position-based visual identities for all candidates. The approach eschews red-white-and-blue and stars-and-stripes (We know what country you’re campaigning to lead.) in favor of more diverse and individualized representations.

The design is built on a biaxial spectrum known as The Political Compass, which uses both economic and social scales as an alternative to the more simplistic left/right model. The Political Compass has plotted seven of the 2012 presidential candidates on the spectrum by comparing a series of propositions with the voting records, statements and actions of each candidate. I’ve added a color spectrum to The Compass in order to derive a color specific to each political position and have also created a basic typographic treatment which skews text toward that same point on the spectrum. A combination of the two could produce any communication materials needed for the campaigns. In this post are brief examples for the top five candidates from this year’s election:

1. Barack Obama, Democratic Party, 61,713,086 votes
2. Mitt Romney, Republican Party, 58,510,150 votes
3. Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party, 1,139,562 votes
4. Jill Stein, Green Party, 396,684 votes
5. Rocky Anderson, Justice Party, 34,521 votes
*Roseanne Barr of the Peace and Freedom Party came in fifth place, ahead of Anderson, with 51,714 votes. However her position was not identified by Political Compass™ and so she was, unfortunately, also excluded here.

Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal

Perspecta 45: Agency

Editors Kurt Evans, Iben Falconer and Ian Mills
designed with Mylinh Trieu Nguyen

Architecture has always been intimately intertwined with its social, political, and economic contexts; major events in world history have had correspondingly dramatic effects on the discipline. The Great Depression, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Hurricane Katrina, for example, were all catalysts for architectural response and resulted in a diversification of the architect’s portfolio. Yet far too often, architects simply react to changes in the world, rather than serving as agents of change themselves.

This issue of Perspecta — the oldest and most distinguished student-edited architectural journal in America — takes a broader view, using the concept of agency to explore the future of architecture. The retreat from liability, the barricade of theory, and the silos of specialization have generated a field that is risk-averse and reactive, rather than bold and active. Instead of assuming that architects can only throw up their hands in despair, the editors of this issue of Perspecta invite them to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

In Perspecta 45, prominent architects, scholars, and artists investigate how architects can become agents for change within their own discipline and in the world at large.

Contributors: Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Nader Tehrani, Ines Weizman, Jaime Lerner, Urban-Think Tank, Stefano Boeri, Peter Eisenman, Michael Osman, Darryl Collins, Vann Molyvann, Enrique Ramirez, Rania Ghosn, Victor Van Der Chijs, Bjarke Ingels, Jan Kempenaers, Andrew Shanken, Keller Easterling, Timur Galen, Perspecta 45 & Pierluigi Serraino, Thomas Auer, Joshua Vanwyck & Erik Olsen, Preston Scott Cohen, and Ariane Lourie Harrison

Perspecta is the Yale Architectural Journal, published by the Yale School of Architecture and distributed by the MIT Press. Get it at the MIT Press or Amazon or maybe even a physical bookstore like Hennessey + Ingalls in LA, William Stout in San Francsico, or McNally Jackson, Spoonbill & Sugartown, St. Marks Bookshop, and Van Alen Books (among others) in New York.

The Book Remains the Same

I love this GIF Mylinh made of the Yale MFA Photography Catalog we designed last year. You can see more images of the book in this previous post.