The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 8, 2016
by Dan
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Richard Sapper’s Vision of the Future

At Curbed, Alexandra Lange discusses the work of German-born industrial designer Richard Sapper, and a new book about his work published by Phaidon: When Los Angeles-based designer Jonathan Olivares first met Richard Sapper in 2008 in Milan, Sapper’s adopted home, he … Continue reading

June 22, 2016
by Dan
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RAMS: The First Feature Documentary About Dieter Rams

Gary Hustwit, the director of the documentaries Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized, is making a feature-length documentary about the life and work of designer Dieter Rams: You can support the production on Kickstarter.

February 10, 2014
by Dan
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Richard Hamilton, Pop Art and Braun

Also writing at The Guardian, Fiona MacCarthy on British pop artist Richard Hamilton: Among the design cognoscenti of the period, Braun products were the creme de la creme, the must-have objects. I remember a time when no trendy living room would seem … Continue reading

February 24, 2012
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Blown Covers — The New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly has a Tumblr (pictured above:  “Eustace at a Stoplight—Right?,” by David Urban) Spanking — Charles McGrath remembers the late Barney Rosset in the New York Times: Mr. Rosset was far from … Continue reading

September 23, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Peirene Press is small independent publisher in the UK specializing in previously untranslated contemporary European novellas. Their most recent series of books, designed by Sacha Davison Lunt, has been short-listed for the 2011 British Book Design and Production Awards in … Continue reading

July 20, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Furious — Writer and herstorian Trina Robbins talks to Imprint about her new book on pioneering female cartoonist Tarpé Mills and her newspaper strip Miss Fury: I’ve always been a lover of noir and of good adventure strips in the noir mode, … Continue reading

June 8, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

A little late on this, but 50 Watts has posted the winners of  Polish Book Cover contest. Will Schofield’s co-judges were Aleksandra and Daniel Mizieliński, editors of 1000 Polish Book Covers, and Peter Mendelsund. All the amazing entries are here. … Continue reading

May 25, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Line o’ Type — John Hendel celebrates 125 years of Linotype at The Atlantic: A German immigrant named Ottmar Mergenthaler invented [Linotype] in the 1880s and continued to promote and expand its use until dying in Baltimore in 1899. The … Continue reading

May 13, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Canadian book designer Bill Douglas annotates one of his favourite covers for the newly launched Toronto weekly The Grid. Tools of the Trade — Jonathon Green, author of the three volume Green’s Dictionary of Slang and the somewhat more compact … Continue reading

December 2, 2010
by Dan
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Dieter Rams and Vitsœ: 10 Principles of Good Design

Mark Adams, Managing Director of Vitsœ, discusses Dieter Ram’s 10 principles of good design and the elegant 606 Universal Shelving System with Cool Hunting: And for those of you who just need to see a little more of the 606 … Continue reading

July 2, 2010
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Dieter Rams book by graphic design graduate Daniel Bartha: This project was a book I created around the ten most important principles for what Dieter Rams considered was good design. Taking on board these elements myself, I took away as … Continue reading

March 29, 2010
by Dan
1 Comment

The Abolition of Built-In Obsolescence

A nice short video about Dieter Rams’ design philosophy and the recent exhibition of his work at the Design Museum London: What has this got to do with books? Well, it’s a timely reminder to care about what we make… … Continue reading

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