The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

August 15, 2016
by Dan
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David Carson: All For a Few Good Waves

If you’re not a fan of David Carson’s (in)famous design work, this video is unlikely to change your mind. It is hard, however, to shake the feeling that he’s having the last laugh… Between this and William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days, the surf … Continue reading

April 9, 2015
by Dan
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“I am not one of those designers who are eager to expand the role of a graphic designer”

More wisdom from designer Michael Bierut, this time in an interview with Dave Benton for Behance’s 99U: I have to admit I don’t like working on projects where I sense that the cosmetic side of design is meant to be … Continue reading

March 31, 2015
by Dan
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The Great Discontent: Michael Bierut

The Great Discontent has a really interesting (and long) interview with Michael Bierut about his career in graphic design: The reason I love graphic design is because it’s a way to get paid to learn new things. For example, let’s … Continue reading

March 26, 2015
by Dan
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Annie Atkins and the Secret World of Film Graphics

Designer Annie Atkins talks to Design Week (registration required) about her work on Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, and “the often ‘invisible’ role of graphic design on screen”: “Most of the skills I employ today are things I’ve learnt on set,” … Continue reading

October 20, 2014
by Dan
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Design Matters with Tom Geismar

Kicking off a new season of Design Matters, Debbie Millman talks to pioneer of American graphic design Tom Geismar about how the practice of design has changed since the 1950s:

June 24, 2014
by Dan
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Michael Bierut — The Creative Influence

In this new short film for The Creative Influence documentary series, designer Michael Bierut talks about his mentor Massimo Vignelli, what makes an enduring logo, and how the internet has changed the way we work:

May 6, 2014
by Dan
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100 Classic Graphic Design Journals

A copy of 100 Classic Graphic Design Journals by Steven Heller and Jason Godfrey just landed on my desk. The book will be in stores in the US and Canada later this month, and it looks fantastic: It doesn’t seem … Continue reading

January 28, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Q & A with Steven Heller, Shadow Type

“Dimensional typefaces toy with human perception, challenging the limits of cognition. Whether framed by a subtle tint or a bold silhouette, in color or in black and white, a shadow adds bulk, enabling the words to rise voluminously from otherwise … Continue reading

January 11, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Helen Yentus 3D Slipcase

Helen Yentus, the art director of Riverhead Books, designed two covers for the recently published On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee. The regular hardcover — which is beautiful in itself (see below) — has a hand-lettered jacket. The second, … Continue reading

November 20, 2013
by Dan
3 Comments

Michael Bierut: Use Curiosity as a Route into Work

Interviewed at the AGI Open London 2013, Michael Bierut discusses his work, living in New York, and shares some advice for aspiring designers:

October 18, 2013
by Dan
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Chip Kidd: Obsessed with Batman

In this interview from the AGI Open in London earlier this year, Chip Kidd talks about his work designing books covers, his involvement with comics and, of course, his obsession with Batman: You can read recent interviews with Chip discussing his … Continue reading

October 12, 2013
by Dan
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Design Is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli

Design is One, the new documentary film by Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra about designers Lella and Massimo Vignelli, opened at the IFC in New York yesterday:

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