The History of the Olympic Pictograms: How Designers Hurdled the Language Barrier

Infographic design first appeared at the Olympics in 1948, when the games were last in London


The End of Swimsuit Design Innovation

Cognoscenti Coffee pop-up at the Hotel Normandie

An Architect-Turned-Barista Draws a Fine Line Between Brewing and Design

As the finale to our coffee series, we talk with Yeekai Lim, an entrepreneur from Los Angeles, about coffee, design, and the common ground(s) they share

Detail of Sightglass Coffee’s roaster

How Maker Culture is Reshaping Retail Design

A San Francisco coffee shop pulls back the curtain to expose the process behind each cup served in their expansive warehouse space

A diagram of how the K-Cup works

Coffee Pods, An Instant Classic

Single-serving coffee pods are the most recent form of instant coffee. Its history is much shorter than the espresso shot, though just as inventive

The Starbucks Reclamation Drive-Thru in Tukwila, Washington

Coffee Retailers Reinterpret the Container Store

Jim Starry's patent drawing for the Starport airport design

The Airport Design Utopian

What ever happened to the Starport, the brainchild of Jim Starry that re-imagined the airport?

The cover to Brian Eno's Ambient 1: Music for Airports

Music for Airports Soothes the Savage Passenger

Brian Eno's Music for Airports is a sound environment created specifically to complement the experience of waiting in an airport terminal

The r-TWR remote air traffic control center

Saab Reinvents Air Traffic Control With a Digital Panorama

With Saab's new digital panorama, the local air traffic controller may soon go the way of the technical support specialist


How a Federally-Regulated Safety Message Distinguished a Brand

If you've flown Virgin America, you've seen its distinctive safety video. But what's the story behind it?

Uniforms for Pan Am (1969-1971), United (1968-1970), and Southwest (1995-2004)

Judging an Airline by its Uniform

What flight attendant uniforms say about airline brand identity, cultural attitudes, and passenger psychology

A design diagram for the interior of the Stratocruiser

The 86-Year-Old Company that Still Designs Your In-Flight Experience

Seattle-based design firm Teague has designed every Boeing aircraft interior since the 1940s, from the post-WWII Stratocruiser to the 2009 Dreamliner

Lean-On-Me Tray with hot entree

A More Efficient Airline Meal Tray

A recent innovation in the design of the airline meal tray has resulted in massive savings. Maybe the next innovation should focus on the actual food

Drylands design students walking a ditch in the Embudo Valley

Designing Democracy Around a Ditch

How a ditch irrigation system in the arid Southwest became the backbone of local democracy

A stepwell in India

Rebuilding Rainwater Collection in India

From one conservationist's perspective, harvesting rainwater doesn't mean high-tech strategies—traditional techniques have been around for centuries

A public drinking fountain in Rome

Making Water Use Visible

Could the design of a Brita filter help us with controlling how much water we waste?

Image from an animated graphic showing satellite readings of groundwater fluctuations around the world.

Groundwater, Gravity and Graphic Design

An important piece of science recently popped up in Times Square, in the form of a 19,000-square-foot interactive map by a Dutch information designer

A future vision of Fresno, California, as proposed by architect Darin Johnstone and environmental consultant Mark Merkelbach

Futureproofing California Farmland

Design teams propose new models for farming and suburban development in California's water-scarce Central Valley

Design by Henry Dreyfuss for Delman Shoe Company, 1929

From the Smithsonian Collections: Famous Footwear

Famous footwear of the Smithsonian collections, from Chinese foot-binding booties to Dorothy's ruby slippers

Nike's new Flyknit running shoe

The High-Tech Minimalist Sock-Shoe

Nike's latest innovation promises to improve runners' comfort, help the environment, and revolutionize shoe manufacturing

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