ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 3/30/2020

In timely 'Lines,' Shantell Martin seeks to understand "who we are at the core, as people"

DATE 3/29/2020

Natasha Gilmore's Staff Pick Reading List for Sheltering-in-Place

DATE 3/27/2020

Cooking much? 'Dimes Times' offers clean, optimistic recipes for emotional eating

DATE 3/24/2020

The Experience and sensation of isolation in 'Edward Hopper: A New Perspective on Landscape'

DATE 3/24/2020

Social distancing in the landscapes of Edward Hopper

DATE 3/21/2020

The next best thing to seeing 'Judd' at MoMA is reading 'Judd' from MoMA

DATE 3/20/2020

A new facsimile edition of 'Yvonne Rainer: Work 1961–73'

DATE 3/19/2020

Ruth Adler Schnee's exuberant textiles and interiors shine in 'Modern Designs for Living'

DATE 3/18/2020

'Jeff Divine: 70s Surf Photographs'

DATE 3/16/2020

In 'Jordan Casteel: Within Reach,' fundamental and expansive humanity

DATE 3/14/2020

"Less pretty, more beautiful." Nicholas Cullinan on 'Elizabeth Peyton: Aire and Angels'

DATE 3/14/2020

POSTPONED: Jeff Divine '70s Surf Photographs' launch at Arcana

DATE 3/13/2020

New remastered facsimile edition of Weegee's classic 'Naked City'

DATE 3/13/2020

Science and spirit, mind and matter in 'Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future'

DATE 3/12/2020

Trust and revolution in Martine Fougeron's 'Nicolas & Adrien. A World with Two Sons'

DATE 3/12/2020

POSTPONED: ICP presents Martine Fougeron and Sasha Bush in conversation, followed by a signing of 'Nicolas & Adrien'

DATE 3/10/2020

In 'Genealogies of Art,' the history of visual art in flowcharts, family trees, diagrams and info graphics

DATE 3/9/2020

Dorothy Iannone's 'Story of Bern' facsimile edition is a staff pick for Women's History Month

DATE 3/8/2020

Celebrate Women's History Month with 'Mickalene Thomas: I Can't See You Without Me,' back in stock from the Wexner

DATE 3/7/2020

Nan Goldin's 'The Other Side' is a Staff Pick for Women's History Month

DATE 3/6/2020

In 'The Way West,' the primal power of youth in a western landscape

DATE 3/6/2020

NYC launch event for 'Peter Kayafas: The Way West' at Gitterman Gallery

DATE 3/5/2020

Back in Stock! 'Louise Bourgeois: The Spider and the Tapestries' is a staff pick for Women's History Month

DATE 3/4/2020

BACK IN STOCK! Georgia O'Keeffe: Watercolors

DATE 3/3/2020

Celebrate Women's History Month with Sister Corita Kent, whose International Signal Code Alphabet screams to the heavens that freedom is vital

DATE 3/2/2020

In 'Last West,' poet Tess Taylor responds to Dorothea Lange

DATE 3/1/2020

Monica Ahanonu to sign 'Icons: 50 Heroines Who Shaped Contemporary Culture' at Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles Bookstore

DATE 3/1/2020

Staff Picks for Women's History Month

DATE 3/1/2020

Celebrate Women's History Month with this new monograph on Kiki Smith

DATE 2/29/2020

In 'O, Write My Name,' Black History via Harlem Heroes

DATE 2/27/2020

Tony Conrad's Writings: Constance DeJong and Andrew Lampert at McNally Jackson

DATE 2/27/2020

Jordan Peele's notes bring insight to 'Get Out: The Complete Annotated Screenplay'

DATE 2/26/2020

'Genealogies of Art, or the History of Art as Visual Art' is an intellectual delight

DATE 2/25/2020

Cover-to-cover provocation in 'member: Pope.L, 1978–2001'

DATE 2/24/2020

Surprising, previously unseen works on paper by Barkley L. Hendricks

DATE 2/23/2020

Betye Saar featured today on CBS Sunday Morning

DATE 2/22/2020

Fabulously idiosyncratic and humorous, 'Who Is Michael Jang?' reviewed in the 'Washington Post'

DATE 2/21/2020

In 'Nicolas & Adrien,' memory transcended and a mother's gift of love

DATE 2/20/2020

Behold Ellsworth Kelly's final masterpiece, 'Austin'

DATE 2/20/2020

Save 75–85% at our 2020 LA Showroom Sample Sale!

DATE 2/19/2020

Gorgeous, substantial, slipcased 384-page 'Agnes Denes: Absolutes and Intermediates' is NEW from The Shed

DATE 2/18/2020

Inequities and shared humanity in the prints of Alison Saar

DATE 2/17/2020

For Washington's Birthday, the textiles of American Modernist Marguerita Mergentime

DATE 2/17/2020

'Joyful Designs: Rediscovering the Textiles of Marguerita Mergentime' at Palm Springs Modernism

DATE 2/16/2020

Celebrate Black History with 'Gordon Parks: Muhammad Ali'

DATE 2/15/2020

'New York: Club Kids' Los Angeles Launch & Signing at The Standard

DATE 2/15/2020

Peter Berlin cocktails and signing at Tom of Finland, Los Angeles

DATE 2/15/2020

Prescient, playful hardcore self-portraiture in 'Peter Berlin: Icon, Artist, Photosexual'

DATE 2/14/2020

In Todd Gray's work, beauty as weapon and comment on colonialism

DATE 2/13/2020

Get 'A *New* Program for Graphic Design' by David Reinfurt at the CAA Conference in Chicago

DATE 2/12/2020

See Peter Saul at the New Museum, read 'Pop, Funk, Bad Painting and More'


BOOKS IN THE MEDIA

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 6/7/2016

Inside Design for People: Interview with Scott Stowell

In his funny, clear preface to the new design monograph, Design for People: Stories About How (and Why) We All Can Work Together to Make Things Better, Scott Stowell of Open writes, “As a designer (and as a person), I want the things I make to tell you about themselves. I like bright colors, clean shapes, and friendly words. Big type. Hard edges. No fuss. I try to be clear, whether I’m making a philosophical argument, a set of instructions, or a joke. 'What is it? It’s this.'" Whether he's explaining a complex design project for a major company like Google, Bravo, or Brooklyn Bridge Park, geeking out on industry terms like "gradient" or "grid," or just tipping his hat to influences as diverse as Battle of the Network Stars and his old boss and mentor, Tibor Kalman, Stowell presents a lively, democratic portrait of his own work, Open and the design process itself. Below is a Q&A on the newest page-turner from Metropolis Books.

Inside Design for People: Interview with Scott Stowell

CORY REYNOLDS: I love your fun, simple, quiet graphics for Brooklyn Bridge Park! I live nearby, and walk through it every week. I used to wonder what designer had gotten that huge job, with miles of waterfront paths, numerous sports facilities and now a marina, and, quite simply, didn’t fuck it up. Can you tell me how you arrived at the design?

SCOTT STOWELL: In the book, our former Brooklyn Bridge Park client says something about us making design “part of the thing,” as opposed to something extra. That’s a goal of mine in all of our work. A sign in a park is actually in a park. It’s just one element in people’s field of vision. So it can’t (and shouldn’t) be or do everything. It needs to fit in, to be aware of its relationship to its environment and the people who use it. I feel the same way about all the things we make, including the book.

Inside Design for People: Interview with Scott Stowell

CR: The book is funny. Humor and wit are clearly important to Open.

SS: They are. For me, every project is a chance for people to interact. That happens in face-to-face meetings, in correspondence, and even through the work itself. Jokes (or details or facts or stories) help people understand each other in all those situations.

CR: The glossary is wild. It's 15 pages, sporadically illustrated and idiosyncratic. It's some of the best reading in the book.

SS: The glossary started as a way to accommodate all kinds of readers. Everybody knows about different things. So you might not know what a “baseline grid” is, or who “Milton Glaser” is, or why it’s illegal to offer unpaid “internships.” I wanted to let people know about things like this without bogging down the stories (or taking up too much space in the chapters). It ended up also being a way for me to tell more stories.

Inside Design for People: Interview with Scott Stowell

CR: I love the way you personalize. Like your glossary entry for CMYK: "This stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black: the four-colors of ink in four-color process. I don't know why K stands for black, but when I freelanced at the New York Times, I remember the art directors there called black key."

SS: Thanks. I learned about CMYK (and four-color process) early, thanks to my Dad. He worked as a printer (a “stripper,” actually—a pre-press guy) for about 40 years. When I was a kid, he brought home press proofs, color-separated film, printed samples, and stuff like that. I was fascinated with all of it. The thing is, everything (including a book like Design for People) is made out of a multitude of tiny parts: halftone dots, different colors of ink, pictures, words, ideas.

CR: You refer to Citi Bike in the glossary, but it’s not one of the projects featured in the book. What did you do?

SS: I use Citi Bike almost every day, so I was super excited when Open got hired to rename, rebrand and relaunch their parent company. Now they’re called Motivate and their tagline is "Get going.” Later they asked us to redesign the instruction panels on all the Citi Bike stations, so we took the opportunity to rewrite them. Now they don’t just explain how the stations work, but how bike share works, too.

Inside Design for People: Interview with Scott Stowell

CR: You designed another Metropolis Book – Design Revolution by Emily Pilloton. I’ve always considered that book a model of clarity.

SS: That project started when I spoke at a conference in San Francisco years ago. I think Emily Pilloton was just out of school, but she was speaking there too. After my talk she strode up to me and told me “my name is Emily Pilloton, and you’re going to design my book.” I was not about to disagree.

CR: Cute! Can you explain the origin of the book's title, Design for People?

SS: Years ago, I kept trying to define Open (the studio, not the regular word). It seemed that other studios had a “thing” that they did. What was ours? When making things, I’ve always thought about what regular people would think. Could that be our thing?

I’ve been inspired by many other books with similar titles: Design for the Real World, Designing for People, Streets for People, etc. The phrase “Design for People” became a way for me to describe what we do at Open that was specific and universal at the same time.

At first, “Design for People” was a noun: as I said, a description of our work. When I started thinking about making this book, it became a verb, too: a suggestion for others to do the same.

Inside Design for People: Interview with Scott Stowell

CR: Numerous voices are at play in each project chapter so there’s a sort of 360-degree perspective.

SS: Yes. Although my voice (as seen in the instructions, the preface, the chapter intros, and the back matter) is a kind of guide through the book, the narratives in each chapter were constructed out of hundreds of individual interviews by Chappell Ellison and Bryn Smith to each tell a coherent story, like a documentary film or a radio play.

CR: In some cases, failures are addressed with even more relish than success.

SS: Chappell and Bryn made sure to cut out praise whenever possible. We didn’t want this book to be a sales brochure.

Inside Design for People: Interview with Scott Stowell

CR: You write in the glossary that the online organizing program Basecamp paid for your honeymoon. Can you explain?

SS: Open has been using Basecamp for over ten years. A couple of years ago, I received a package of beautifully-designed travel-themed ephemera from them. They were offering an all-expenses-paid trip for two to one of about a dozen destinations, and all I had to do was let them know where I wanted to go. I couldn’t believe it. As it turns out, my wife and I were planning a belated honeymoon in Paris for our first anniversary. We sent Basecamp our receipts. They reimbursed us. This was an incredibly delightful, unexpected reward for being a loyal client, and the most amazing part is that it wasn't publicized at all. Basecamp did this for about 50 people, and this interview might be the first time anybody else has ever heard about it. I hope that someday I could be that thoughtful.

Inside Design for People: Interview with Scott Stowell

CR: To me, as much as the book is about everyone who participated in every featured project, and as much as Open is always about the team, it’s also a portrait of you.

SS: I think every project is the product of all the people involved in it. Our work is the evidence of our relationships. A couple of hundred people have been part of this book, and even more were part of the work in it. But I’m the only person who intersected with all of it. So I guess you’re right!

Inside Design for People: Interview with Scott Stowell

CR: Having heard you speak and having read the book, it's clear that you think very quickly and clearly. At Open, you take huge, hairy design problems and distill until you're left with what feels like the most simple and obvious solutions. But conversely, you also seem to love taking ideas apart. You're not afraid of making a big mess before cleaning up.

SS: I like to figure out why things are they way they are and how they were put together. I hope Design for People has enough clues in it for curious people to figure out why it is the way it is and how it was put together.

CR: The book is designed to work. It’s sort of hyper functional. Captions pop out. Texts are really short and to the point.

SS: If you’re the kind of person who likes to read a whole book from front to back, you’ll be rewarded by a story arc with a beginning, middle and end. If you want to keep it in your bathroom and read a chapter or a page or a column at a time, Design for People also works that way—every chapter, page and column have their own story arcs too. If your eyesight isn’t perfect, the type is still readable (we tested it). And if you want to throw it in your bag and take it with you, you won’t ruin it.

A lot of other books (especially books about design) are beautiful, impressive and well-made, but also elitist, fragile and unreadable. Design for People is made for people to use.

Design for People

Design for People

METROPOLIS BOOKS
Flexi, 6.75 x 9 in. / 256 pgs / 1,000 color.




ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com