Blog Profile / Social Design Notes

Filed Under:Arts / Graphic Design
Posts on Regator:118
Posts / Week:0.3
Archived Since:March 30, 2008

Blog Post Archive

From Museum Bot to Catalog Bot

Running a handful of museum bots that post random images to Twitter, one quickly gets a sense of the eccentricities of of various collections and catalogings: the MoMA bot has surfaced many Louise Bourgeoise prints, the Victoria & Albert...Show More Summary

The Uses of Radicalism

This interview with radical historian Eric Foner is full of goodness. The focus is on Reconstruction and its interpretation, and this bit on the function of radicalism speaks clearly to the present: “The abolitionists show you that a very small group of people can accomplish a lot by changing the discourse of the country. Show More Summary

Suicide Rate for Black Children Surges

Three months ago, I read a story in the NY Times with a chilling lede: the suicide rate among black children has nearly doubled since the early 1990s, while the rate for white children has declined. The story haunted me, and when the Harper’s Index repeated the statistic it prompted me to track down the source. Show More Summary


Activist and journalist Leah Borromeo interviews two members of Lapiztola, a street art collective from Oaxaca about the roots of the 2006 uprising and their visual response: You can see more of their work up at

Imagining Worlds

In September 2014, the National Book Foundation awarded Ursula LeGuin its Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to recognize a lifetime of literary achievement. In her acceptance speech LeGuin had this to say about...Show More Summary

Protests in 2014

A week ago I tweeted a link to a stunning collection of dramatic photos from protests around the world in 2014. It was an amazing year: Ayotzinapa, Bangkok, Catalonia, Euromaidan, Ferguson, Hong Kong, Taksim… But it bugged me that such...Show More Summary

A Brief History of the Umbrella Movement

There have been some fantastic graphics coming out of Occupy Central in Hong Kong, but this brief chronology of the Umbrella Movement in comics is one of my favorites thus far. It was drawn by Dolly for Passion Teens Weekly.

Protests in Popular Culture enter the Culture of Popular Protests

It’s fascinating seeing elements of pop cultural representations of protests enter the visual vocabulary of real political protests in the streets: “Do u hear the people sing?” a banner at the protest in Hong Kong now is a line from a song about protest in Les Misérables, that hugely successful musical set during French Revolution. Show More Summary

Other Things to Know I Learned from Kindergarten

Perhaps you’re familiar with the poem All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It’s a classic of American infantilism, that “values” and “innocence” are more important than thinking. I’m all for the sharing and wonder celebrated in the original, but it’s notable the teachers are conspicuously absent. Show More Summary

First Things First 2014

On the 50th anniversary of the 1964 design manifesto, and in the spirit of its 2000 refresh, here is a 2014 update addressing the social impact of design in the digital age. Added to my growing list of design manifestos.

On Culture its Consequences

From an interview with Molly Crabapple: “Art can change the world, but seldom in the way it intends, and seldom the art that people think would have that effect. I keep thinking of the Guy Fawkes mask Dave Gibbons drew. In discussions of what art is radical, mainstream comics are seldom brought up. Show More Summary

The Success of Non-Violent Civil Resistance

In 2008, Erica Chenoweth conducted a study of violent and non-violent civil resistance between 1900 and 2006. Among her findings: Non-violent campaigns worldwide were twice as likely to succeed as violent insurgencies. This trend isShow More Summary


Fantastic post on Demos on the importance of building power vs charity. I hate to give away the punchline (it's a short post—go read it now) but this really nails it: “Certain kinds of everyday heroism will always be important and unavoidable,...Show More Summary

The Wonderful Web of Oz

Did L. Frank Baum anticipate the Internet in 1920? I’ve been reading some of the Oz books to my little girl. These are great magical fairy tales and are available in the public domain and easy to find online. Glinda of Oz is the last of 14 that L. Show More Summary

When Troy Saved Its Library with a Book Burning Party

A guerrilla marketing campaign uses outrage to drum up social media and mainstream media coverage, and dramatically redirects the framing of a proposed tax increase to save the local library. Hoaxing the people you want to support you is a risky proposition. But this time it paid off. (via)

Les Casseroles

I love this image by illustrator Matt Forsythe. It nicely captures the spirit of the protests in Montréal last May. As The Globe and Mail notes: “Those clanging pots, known as les casseroles, were initially seen as just another tactic,...Show More Summary

Myths and Movements

From Big Books and Social Movements: A Myth of Ideas and Social Change (PDF) by David Meyer and Deana Rohlinger: “Mythic accounts shorten the incubation time of social movements and omit the initiating efforts of government and political organizations. Show More Summary

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