161- Show of Force

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

During World War II, a massive recruitment effort targeted students from the top art schools across the country. These young designers, artists, and makers were being asked to help execute a wild idea that came out of one the nation’s most conservative...


160- Perfect Security

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The pursuit of lock picking is as old as the lock, which is itself as old as civilization. - But in the entire history of the world, there was only one brief moment, lasting about 70 years, where you could put something under lock and key—a chest,


159- The Calendar

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A month is hardly a unit of measurement. It can start on any day of the week and last anywhere from 28 to 31 days. Sometimes a month is four weeks long, sometimes five, sometimes six. You have to buy a new calendar with new dates every single year.


158- Sandhogs

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eighty years ago, New York City needed another tunnel under the Hudson River. The Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge could no longer handle the mounting traffic between New Jersey and Manhattan. Thus began construction of the Lincoln Tunnel.


54- The Colour of Money (R)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

United States paper currency is so ubiquitous that to really look at its graphic design with fresh eyes requires some deliberate and focused attention. Pull a greenback out from your wallet (or look at a picture online) and really take it in.


157- Devil’s Rope

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

In the mid 1800s, not many (non-native) Americans had ever been west of the Mississippi. When Frederick Law Olmstead visited the west in the 1850s, he remarked that the plains looked like a sea of grasses that moved  “in swells after a great storm.


156- Coin Check

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

design, coin, military, clip art, recognition, challenge, currency, medal, honor


155- Palm Reading

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

design, city, landscape, tree, palm, architecture, California, Los Angeles


154- PDX Carpet

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

design, carpet, rug, PDX, airport, cult, pattern, foot, selfie, rendered, panther


153- Game Over (R)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

design, video games, a life well wasted, sims, archive, ea land, apocalypse


152- Guerrilla Public Service

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

design, road, sign, highway, freeway, wayfinding, signage, caltrans, transportation


151- La Mascotte

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

design, costume, mascot, sports, baseball, Phanatic, Phillies, Muppet, Youppi, Max Patkin


150- Under The Moonlight

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In 1885, Austin, Texas was terrorized by a serial killer known as the Servant Girl Annihilator.  The murderer was never actually found, but he claimed eight victims, mostly black servant girls, all attacked in the dark of night. The very,


149- Of Mice And Men

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

If you are looking at a computer screen, your right hand is probably resting on a mouse. To the left of that mouse (or above, if you’re on a laptop) is your keyboard. As you work on the computer, your right hand moves back and forth from keyboard to mo...


148- The Sizzle

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The first trademark for a sound in the United States was issued in 1978 to NBC for their chimes. MGM has a sound trademark for their roaring lion, as does 20th Century Fox for their trumpet fanfare. Harley Davidson tried to trademark the sound of their...


147- Penn Station Sucks

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

New Yorkers are known to disagree about a lot of things. Who’s got the best pizza? What’s the fastest subway route? Yankees or Mets? But all 8.5 million New Yorkers are likely to agree on one thing: Penn Station sucks.


146- Mooallempalooza

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

As you probably know, 99% Invisible is a show about the built world, about things manufactured by humans. We don't tend to do stories about animals or nature. But our friend Jon Mooallem writes brilliant stories about the weird interactions between ani...


145- Octothorpe

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

If you want to follow conversation threads relating to this show on social media—whether Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, Tumblr—you know to look for the hashtag: #99pi. In our current digital age, the hashtag identifies movements, events, happenings,


144- There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Hanging in the garage of Fire Station #6 in Livermore, California, there’s a small, pear-shaped light bulb. It is glowing right now. This lightbulb has been glowing, with just a couple of momentary interruptions, for 113 years.


143- Inflatable Men

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

You see them on street corners, at gas stations, at shopping malls. You see them at blowout sales and grand openings of all kinds. Their wacky faces hover over us, and then fall down to meet us, and then rise up again. Their bodies flop. They flail. -