Nine best design blogs: Aaron’s short list

This week, we asked our design blogger to tell us which design blogs he obsessively reads himself, and why. Design Observer The most eloquent, erudite and witty design site of them all. Watch especially for...


Design Observer The most eloquent, erudite and witty design site of them all. Watch especially for essays by co-founders Michael Bierut and Bill Drenttel (both graphic designers), and avoid the ones headlined “Places,” which come out of the site’s assimilation of a conservative urban design organization.

Designboom The mothership of design online, Designboom is a sprawling compendium of products, ideas and gossip in all aspects of design. It even has its own online courses and a shop. Most pieces are short and this is not a place for criticism—just for browsing design delights around the world.

Dezeen This is the other major online source for new products, buildings and ideas in design. Slightly more focused than Designboom, it also offers good news and gossip links and a cleaner look.

Tropolism Architect Chad Smith loves New York and all dense cities, and always finds something there to write about, with the goal of “making the hidden city visible.” Criticizing windmills and showing people playing Urban Golf, he alerts us to urban delights and dangers.

Architizer This is the Facebook for architecture. Just a few months old, it has already attracted thousands of architects and designers looking for what is hot and who is hiring. Can skyscraper-induced love be far behind? For the rest of us, the site shows new buildings around the world, complete with location and photographs.

Rhizome “Dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging practices that engage technology,” Rhizome is the last bastion of pure computer-based weirdness. Now housed at New York’s New Museum, it combines heavy intellectual debate with an amazing archive of digital experiments.

Bldg blog Despite its name, this site rarely shows buildings. Geoff Manaugh is fascinated with things like the design of science fiction movies, the history of quarantine sites, tunnels, maps and everything else that makes for strange space. At times and eerie and informative, his blog posts are lengthy and well-written enough to even read well in a book of his work that was published this fall.

Triple Canopy Triple Canopy is more a magazine than a website; it’s a periodic collection of themed projects and texts that draws on art, architecture and literature to get at the deeper meaning of things like planning and borders. A recent article on what urban design means started by showing city plans and then meandered into a Woody Allen joke: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

Archidose “Author, architect and critic” John Hill shows off buildings he thinks are particularly cool. They are are almost always modern, rather austere, and a little warped. An added bonus is that he finds things from all over the world—recently it was a department store in Leicester, England, and as I write this he is highlighting a rather sparse visitor center in Egypt.

Critic, curator and museum director Aaron Betsky curated the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008, ran Rotterdam’s Netherlands Architecture Institute from 2001-2006 and these days, helms the Cincinnati Art Museum. See his previous blogs HERE and check back on Thursday for his next post.