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Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research

Sections About Ellen Lupton

About Ellen Lupton is a writer, curator, and graphic designer. Her most recent books are D.I.Y: Design
Books It Yourself (2006) and Thinking with Type (2004). She is director of the graphic design MFA
Research/Projects program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. She also is curator of
Essays contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, where she
Interviews has organized numerous exhibitions, each accompanied by a major publication, including the
National Design Triennial series (2000, 2003, 2006), Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the
Table, 1500–2005 (2006), Solos: New Design from Israel (2006), Skin: Surface, Substance + Design
(2002), Graphic Design in the Mechanical Age (1999), Mixing Messages (1996), and Mechanical
Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office.

Books in the works include D.I.Y. Kids (with Julia Lupton) and Graphic Design: Structure and
Experiment (with Jennifer Cole Phillips and MICA students and faculty). She is the co-author
with Abbott Miller of several books, including Design Writing Research (1996) and The Kitchen,
The Bathroom, and the Aesethetics of Waste (1992).

Lupton is a 2007 recipient of the AIGA Gold Medal, the highest honor given to graphic designers
in the U.S.
Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research

Sections About Ellen Lupton

About *** What makes a typeface “good”?
Books Currently, most fonts created in the open source spirit are produced for small or underserved
Research/Projects linguistic populations. Such fonts are “good” in the moral sense. In the future, designers may
Essays choose to make free fonts in the service of other social needs as well. For example, in develop-
Interviews ing countries graphic designers who seek to build a typographic culture in their home regions
require more than a bare-minimum typographic vocabulary, and they often rely on pirated
typefaces to do so. A richer selection of legitimate free fonts, clearly labelled and promoted as
such in an educational way, might help to build respect for the larger commercial ecology of
typeface design.

****Is a typeface a meaningful gift to humanity?

In the scheme of things, a typeface may seem like a small gift, so maybe designers and software
companies should devote their charitable efforts to more urgent causes. However, I believe that
typefaces are valuable, powerful, and beautiful cultural tools, worthy of legal protection and
deserving of the price they bring in the Western marketplace. Moreover, a gift of typography
makes good on a unique body of skill, knowledge, and passion.
Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research

Sections Books
Skin: Surface, Substance, and Design
Research/Projects Inside Design Now
Essays Thinking With Type
Design Writing Research
Thinking With Type
The organization of letters on a blank sheet -- or screen -- is the most basic challenge facing
anyone who practices design. What type of font to use? How big? How should those letters,
words, and paragraphs be aligned, spaced, ordered, shaped, and otherwise manipulated? In this
groundbreaking new primer, leading design educator and historian Ellen Lupton provides clear
and concise guidance for anyone learning or brushing up on their typographic skills.

Thinking with Type is divided into three sections: letter, text, and grid. Each section begins with
an easy-to-grasp essay that reviews historical, technological, and theoretical concepts, and is
then followed by a set of practical exercises that bring the material covered to life. Sections
conclude with examples of work by leading practitioners that demonstrate creative possibilities
(along with some classic no-no's to avoid).

Design Writing Research

This critical study of graphic design and typography is a source for anyone interested in the art
and history of books, letterforms, symbols, advertising, and theories of visual and verbal com-
munication. A section on theory considers the centrality of the written and printed word to
post-structuralism and deconstruction. A wide range of design practices are discussed, from the
history of punctuation and the origins of international pictograms to the structure of modern
typography. A section on media looks at the role of design in mass communications with essays
on stock photography, visual journalism, illustration, advertising and vernacular design cultures.
The book closes with history, a section organised as a time line spanning 200 years of design in
America. These historical case studies show how the modern profession of graphic design
emerged in response to cultural, political and economic developments in the US.
Skin: Surface, Substance, and Design
Every object has a skin. Thick or thin, smooth or rough, porous or impermeable, the skin is the
line between the hidden inside and the outside we experience. Skin: Surface, Substance, and
Design presents products, furniture, fashion, architecture, and media that are expanding the
limits of what we understand as surface. Reflecting the convergence of natural and artificial life,
this provocative and stimulating book shows how enhanced and simulated skins appear every-
where in our contemporary world. Designers today manipulate the relationship between the
inside and outside of objects, garments, and buildings, creating skins that both reveal and
conceal, skins that have depth and complexity as well as their own behaviors and identities.
This book accompanies a major exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in
New York.

Inside Design Now

Inside Design Now takes the pulse of American design in the new millennium, providing a
fascinating tour of cutting-edge trends in architecture, interiors, landscape, fashion, graphics,
and new media.

Featuring eighty emerging and established designers, Inside Design Now illustrates the most
innovative and provocative thinking in design today. Each designer’s work is presented with a
double-page spread and a series of full-color images. Essays explore the role of the designer in
today’s culture, contemporary ideas of beauty and functionality, and what the future holds in the
realm of design.

Sensuous materials, lush patterns, and exquisite details come together with new technologies,
pop imagery, and fresh approaches to scale, color, and construction in the works reproduced in
this volume.
Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research


Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research

Sections D.I.Y. Kids

About Princeton Architectural Press is proud to present D.I.Y. Kids, a book by Ellen and Julia Lupton
Books forthcoming in Fall 2007. Illustrated with real artwork by real children, D.I.Y. Kids engages
Research/Projects young people in making stuff, from binding their own books to sewing their own clothes. It’s
Essays packed with fun ideas for making stickers, logos, clothespin dolls, box buildings, graffiti furni-
Interviews ture, ribbon accessories, and other cool projects. Each is explained with step-by-step instructions
and colorful photographs of great designs and the kids who made them. The activities—rated by
difficulty, time, mess, and cost—are intended for ages 7–12, but can easily be modified to suit all

D.I.Y. Kids aims to trigger imaginative play, without requiring fees, teams, or a minivan. It’s for
parents, teachers, aunts and uncles, friends and baby-sitters, neighbors and citizens—anyone
who wants to create a better world not only for, but also with, the next generation. Most of all, it’s
for kids who want to make their mark (and make a difference) by exercising the arts of design
with wit, intelligence, and style.
Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research

Sections D.I.Y. Kids

Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research

Sections Design Your Life

About is a blog hosted by Ellen and Julia Lupton. We invite visitors to apply
Books ideas from design theory and practice to some of the basic problems of daily living, from
Research/Projects organizing a household and thinking creatively in the workplace to achieving a relaxed and
Essays satisfying domestic life.
Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research

Sections Design Your Life

Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research

Sections Essays Interviews

About Bathrooms and Kitchens Bierut, Michael
Books Birth of the User Bureau
Research/Projects Book Selling Carson, Carol Devine
Essays Critical Wayfinding Cohen, Elaine Lustig
Interviews Deconstruction Cooper, Muriel
Design from Israel De Bretteville, Sheila
Designer as Producer Drenttel Doyle Partners
Eccentric to Whom Drucker, Johanna
Fluid Typography Frere-Jones, Tobias
Going Public Friedman, Dan
Gummy World Goldberg, Carin
Intermediacy Hoefler, Jonathan
Mechanical Age Isley, Alex
Modern Design Theory Kunz, Willi
Powerpoint Do’s and Don’ts Lupton, Ellen (1998)
Reskilling the Art Student Lupton, Ellen (2006)
Savage Diary Lupton, Ellen (2007)
Science of Typography Rock, Michael
Skin Scher, Paula
The Producers Tobias, Jennifer
Underground Matriarchy Wild, Lorraine
Women Graphic Designers Woodward, Fred
Zukin, Sharon
Ellen Lupton: Design Writing Research

Sections Links
About Design Life Now
Design Your Life
Links D.I.Y. Kids

D.I.Y. Kids Blog Spot

Ellen Lupton Essays

Ellen Lupton Interviews

Free Font Manifesto

Thinking With Shakespeare

Thinking With Type