Advice for filing taxes, plus planning for them year round

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Illustrations by Tala Safié

By Margaret Rhodes

With tax deadlines on the horizon, we’re shifting our attention — albeit, just slightly — away from type design and smart graphics, and towards money and the IRS. It’s been said that taxes are certain. What’s less certain is how to do them, especially if you’re a freelancer, small studio owner, or just so extremely right-brained you can’t tell a pay stub from a 1099.

Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the IRS shifted this year’s tax deadline from April 15 to July 15. If you’re all set, you can still proceed with your return as if the April 15 deadline is still in effect; if you need a bit more time, now you’ve got it. Whatever your situation, to guide you in the right direction, we consulted with three seasoned accountants, all of whom have (and love) designer clients. They passed on handy instructions and salient advice for filing annual taxes, as well as planning for them year round. …

Reality-bending AR lenses imagined by a new generation of designers are redefining our relationships with our digital selves

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Johanna Jaskowska’s Beauty 3000 filter

By Ritupriya Basu

In Ines Alpha’s world, everyday faces turn into futuristic landscapes. Through a mere swipe, the face filters imagined by the self-styled ‘3D makeup artist’ zaps us into a fantastical future, one where quivering, translucent fins sprout out of cheekbones, and curling lines of liquid metal sketch looping patterns on bare skin. “I’ve always been drawn to making reality seem more fantastic than it is,” says Alpha.

Moving past the earlier wave of dog faces and exaggerated physical features — doe eyes, plump lips — Alpha is part of a new generation of digital designers whose surreal creations are not only remapping our relationship with social media, but also changing our perception of identity and beauty. Their fantastical experiments hint at their radically different ideas about the scope of AR filters — while shifting the focus to notions of identity and self-expression, they’re simultaneously redefining beauty in both the digital and the physical realm. …

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Crop from ‘Leprosy’ poster-leaflet, 1955, Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection, University of Reading

A look back at the positive impact communication design can have in matters of life and death

By Lucienne Roberts

Whether employed to warn or impart information about symptoms, prevention, and infection, graphic design plays a significant role in the front-line response to infectious disease, making life-saving messages accessible to all. Examples of this can be seen in the bold graphics used to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and in the NGO campaigns during the 2014 and 2015 Ebola outbreak. …

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Illustration: Erin Aniker

Designers need a methodology that helps them weigh the benefits of using a new technology against its potential harm

By Caroline Sinders

AI is going to radically change society. It will do so in exciting and even life-saving ways, as we’ve seen in early projects that translate languages (in your own voice!), create assistant chat bots, make new works of art, and more accurately detect and analyze cancer.

But AI will also alter society in ways that are harmful, as evidenced by experiments in predictive policing technology that reinforce bias and disproportionately affect poor communities, as well as AI’s inability to recognize different skin tones. The potential of these biases to harm vulnerable populations creates an entirely new category of human rights concerns. …

The first generation of voice assistants are feminized and domestic — can designers help to make the next generation any different?

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Still from animation by Roberta Leoni/@_robertaleoni

By Madeleine Morley

In an episode of the beloved animated 1960s sci-fi sitcom The Jetsons, Mrs. Jetson decides that housework is becoming too much for her to handle on her own. She doesn’t have time to run errands while balancing caretaking with frequent trips to the beauty salon, so she heads to “U Rent-a-Maid” and brings home a Rosie. Rosie is a metal tin on wheels donning a maid’s apron and feather duster that helps cook, organize, and entertain the kids. This robot maid is kind of helpful, but mostly it makes lovable and hilarious mistakes. …

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Bernie Sanders’ 2020 logo under an illustration.

Sanders’ logo is distinctly Americana, but is that enough to convince Americans to buy in?

By Hunter Schwarz

Bernie Sanders’ campaign logo is one of the defining visual representations of socialism for many Americans, but look a little closer, and it rejects some of the most well-known tropes of socialist design. The standout color of socialist images is red, while the Bernie wordmark is most often set in blue. The wavy lines in Sanders’ logo are reminiscent of a toothpaste brand, and they stand in stark contrast to the sharp angles and shapes seen often in socialist posters. While socialism is sometimes described by critics as un-American, Sanders’ logo is pure Americana.

Sanders’ branding attempts to introduce a new kind of visual vocabulary for democratic socialism, one that deviates from the popular image of what socialism is supposed to look like. It imbues his candidacy with a sense of familiarity and accessibility, and suggests his ideas are as American as it gets, despite detractors who say otherwise. “It’s important to remember Bernie Sanders at the time, first of all, was not as widely known a figure as he is now,” said Ben Ostrower, founder of the creative agency Wide Eye, who designed Sanders logo in 2014, before the senator announced he was running for president. Plus, Ostrower adds, “The label ‘democratic socialist’ wasn’t in the public vocabulary.” …

‘Video game history doesn’t know how to make sense of her except to single her out’

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Credit ‘King’s Quest’

By Perrin Drumm


— — — — — ENTER COMMAND?￾

If you’re a computer programmer or digital designer over the age of 40, this is probably how the future began for you. Two simple sentences and a cursor, blinking like a heartbeat, waiting for your command. To anyone else, it might read more like the beginning of an odd and boring story, but the format will be familiar to all those who have ever dabbled in microcomputing. It was the same way all text-based computer games started: a bare-bones setup and an invitation to venture forth, uncover the clues, and win the game. But it wasn’t just the text, flashing on the screen of an 8-bit Apple II that shot out like a siren call from the wild — it was the graphics. …

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Jaime Levy showing off Cyber Rag II (center), Photo by Michael Levine; from left: Cyber Rag, winter 1990; Cyber Rag II, summer 1990; Cyber Rag III, New Year’s 1991; Electronic Hollywood, fall 1991; Electronic Hollywood II, the “Riot” issue, 1992. Photo by Frank Miles.

With her interactive floppy disks and zines, the Silicon Alley star was ‘basically making websites offline’

By Claire Evans

Jaime Levy’s real name is not Jaime. She won’t tell me what her real name is, only that her parents named her after a Beatles song, and that she hates the Beatles — wishes they’d never existed — and so she’s Jaime, a nod to Van Halen, of all things, and the bionic woman, Jaime Sommers, her “idol” when she was just a punk kid growing up in the haze of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. Jaime Levy is, in all things, self-made. And when what she wants doesn’t exist, she makes that, too.

As a graduate student at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program in the early years of New York’s new media renaissance, she figured magazines would go electronic soon enough; in 1990, she started publishing her own interactive floppy disks, point-and-click magazines full of sound collages, rants, gig reviews, and games. The zines Cyber Rag and Electronic Hollywood made her famous in the emerging cyberculture, and when the web finally caught up, she adapted her DIY interaction design to online publishing, becoming creative director of, one of the first magazines to properly make use of the new medium’s affordances. Word was scene-altering: The first time the New York Times ran a feature on web browsers, it used Word as its example site, and even the Netscape browser had a button pointing straight to it (the button was labeled “What’s Cool?”). The site’s icon-rich design, heavy with streaming audio, experimental layouts, and interactive experiences, was so ahead of its time that it had a tendency to crash browsers. …

8 lessons from graphic props master, Annie Atkins

By Perrin Drumm

Just say her name and most graphic designers will inwardly ooh and ahh: Annie Atkins, that art department star of some of the most visually rich films and series made today (Joker, Bridge of Spies, Isle of Dogs, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The French Dispatch, West Side Story). But she didn’t start there. Her film world roots stretch back to her school days, when she studied to be a director. It wasn’t until she discovered that she had more of an affinity for finessing a film’s minute details than say, working with actors and running a set, that she rerouted her career. …

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Images: Gráfica Ilustrada del Uruguay

Gráfica Ilustrada del Uruguay showcases rare work from the ’60s through the ’80s that mixed expressive illustration styles with polished design

By Emily Gosling

Put the word “design” in front of the name of some countries, and it becomes shorthand for a certain aesthetic. Scandinavian design evokes calm, sensible minimalism; Dutch design, a bold, often conceptual approach. Swiss design generally connotes tight grids and typographic rigor.

Uruguayan design may not have such a direct connotation, but as evidenced by the platform Gráfica Ilustrada del Uruguay (GIU), the country’s graphic design history is fascinating, and one worthy of study. The groundbreaking design and designers that have emerged from the South American country are less familiar than their U.S. and European counterparts, for a number of cultural and geopolitical reasons. There’s the fact that graphic design wasn’t recognized term (let alone profession) in Uruguay until relatively late in the 20th century, as well as the skewed nature of design history taught in contemporary arts education even inside the country. …


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The best new work by the world's most exciting designers - and the issues they care about, from @AIGAdesign's Eye on Design.

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