More Intelligent Design

You don’t have to wear black and have an MFA, or spring for pricey journals, to get the latest insider thinking from the design world. Here, expanding on the feature in the magazine, are seven smart blogs worth following.


Blog: Design Observer,
Who writes it: A group of seven design heavies that includes contributors to Print and I.D., a trustee of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and Pentagram’s Michael Bierut.
Why you should read it: Though academic at times, this smart blog hosts a thriving community: Most of the posts by these savvy insiders prompt a dozen or more responses. We’re also fans of the two-pronged approach: Writers pen their own lengthier entries, and “the editors” file a briefer, link-focused roundup of articles, news and other blogs.


Blog: Simplicity,
Who writes it: John Maeda, professor of media arts and sciences, MIT
Why you should read it: Maeda, one of Fast Company’s 2004 Masters of Design, believes ardently that design’s ultimate mission is to simplify. Whether arguing for simpler computer programming, undergraduate curricula, or shopping–or merely musing about the simpler things in life–Maeda’s focus gets at the heart of design’s promise.

Blog: Core 77,
Who writes it: A random group of industrial designers and design fans
Why you should read it: Billing itself as the “Industrial Design Supersite,” this group blog is part of Core77’s larger site, which includes industrial-design related job listings, conferences and discussion forums. While we would have set up the blog to allow comments, the quick-hit, often photo-laden entries offer a great view to what’s hot and what’s hip.

Blog: Metacool,
Who writes it: Diego Rodriguez, an instructor at Stanford’s who works for IDEO
Why you should read it: With a special focus on design as it applies to business, Rodriguez’s blog is a must-read for anyone who wants to incorporate design thinking into their work. Rodriguez’s posts include musings on books he’s read, companies practicing smart design (such as Nikon reissuing a classic camera), or cool, gotta-have-it products, which he honestly titles “Unabashed Gearhead Gnarlyness.”


Blog: Noise Between Stations: A Business Design Blog,
Who writes it: Victor Lombardi, a principal at the Management Innovation Group, a research group and strategic consultancy in New York
Why you should read it: Like Metacool, Noise Between Stations is a blog about design thinking, and how it can help people in business–most posts are a collection of interesting articles on innovation and creativity. Worth checking out is Lombardi’s page of inspiring quotes about business and design, which features such luminaries as Patrick Whitney of the Institute of Design, the University of Toronto’s Roger Martin, and Fast Company‘s own Bill Breen!

Blog: IDFuel,
Who writes it: Five industrial designers based in Chicago, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh
Why you should read it: A smart, often stirring blog, the writers post about smart new industrial design, design basics and design trends they’re seeing, and where they’re turning for inspiration. From single-celled algae called diatoms to the story of a man who plants acorns, IDFuel reminds us that inspiration for design is all around us.

Blog: Design Sponge,
Who writes it: Grace Bonney, who works at the Loukin Company, a consulting firm
Why you should read it: The design magalog of the blogosphere, Bonney’s blog is a daily collection of hip paper products, furniture, artists and housewares (this girl loves pillows). Though a little sugary and over-enthusiastic, the product-heavy site is pure eye candy for anyone in need of a sweet design fix.