Once I criticised Alice Rawsthorn, design critic of the International Herald Tribune, on this blog for focusing too much on the design of physical objects.
I felt bad about it ever since, especially since Alice has over the last few years been responsible for introducing many cutting edge design concepts into the mainstream press, including social design, critical design, service design, eco-design, information visualisation, user interface design, design for public services, etc.
Her latest article -- an excellent reflection piece entitled The demise of 'Form Follows Function' -- convinced me that I need to publicly retract my previous statement, and instead praise Alice for the remarkable job she has done for the design community over the years.
Remarkable though it may be, it's extremely hard to find her contributions on the New York Times website.
Only some of Alice's articles are included on her overview page, including:
- Focusing design solutions on social problems (24 May 2009)
- Let's hear it for quiet design (17 May 2009)
- Reinventing innovation (5 April 2009)
But some of her best stories are not listed there at all (despite being on the New York Times website, albeit without their original visuals):
- Good or bad? The verdict(s) (30 January 2009)
- Creating social solutions for MS patients
- Creative solutions in tough times (28 December 2008)
- New tools to help with information overload (5 December 2008)
- What defies defining, but exists everywhere? (18 August 2008)
- Cars span the globe. So why don't they look better? (4 July 2008)
- Alice Rawsthorn: Four speakers debate the future of design (27 January 2008)
- John Maeda: Rethinking technology and the digital revolution (6 May 2007)
- Alice Rawsthorn on design for the unwealthiest 90 percent (29 April 2007)
- Humanitarian goals, tech-savvy solutions (11 March 2007)
- The digital challenge: Making easy-to-use devices (25 February 2007)
- Apple's quest to put us at ease with technology (26 November 2006)
- Style, function and the imperfect cellphone (22 October 2006)
- A new shape emerges to mark the digital age (16 July 2006)
Worse still, some of her articles seem to have disappeared altogether:
- What technology has taught us at dizzying speed (23 January 2009)
- Recessionary design: a boom time for creative energy (17 November 2008)
- In the creative world, the only constant is change (28 July 2008)
- Making life more complicated (27 March 2008)
- Helping the poor to help themselves (22 February 2008)
- Designing for democracy (7 February 2008)
- Why the overwhelming numbers of design flops? (6 April 2007)
- How sustainable is design? (28 January 2007)
Luckily, a full listing of the articles (with old International Herald Tribune links) can be found on Alice's personal site.
With so many pieces missing from the New York Times website, or very hard to find, it is no wonder that former New York Times and International Herald Tribune reporter Thomas Crampton got very upset and wrote a letter to the publisher a few weeks ago, accusing the newspaper of erasing his career -- a view seconded by Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia.
The issue has still not been fixed. Unfortunately also the design community is now suffering from this major gap created by The New York Times.