Design for the Real World is an inside look at the hidden genius of everyday things - lipstick, sheetrock, tea bags, ballparks - from Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, public radio's weekly guide to what's happening in the culture. Produced by Public Radio International and WNYC.

Recently in Design for the Real World

Design for the Real World: Diner

Friday, January 16, 2009

Culinary Arts Museum curator Richard J.S. Gutman explains why an American classic from the aluminum age never goes out of style. Produced by Kathryn Eident.

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Design for the Real World: Santa

Friday, December 19, 2008

Design guru Steven Heller explains how Father Christmas became branded as a jolly bearded old man in a red suit.

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Design for the Real World: Spacesuit

Friday, December 12, 2008

At MIT, Dava Newman studies how humans move in micro-gravity; we call it outer space. She describes how she went about designing a new spacesuit that’s streamlined for maximum performance. Produced by Erin Davis.

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Design for the Real World: Whisk

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wylie Dufresne loves state-of-the-art equipment, but his favorite kitchen tool is modest: the whisk. We asked an expert, Gourmet Magazine’s style director Corky Pollan, what makes a whisk really mix and beat.

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Design for the Real World: Elephant and Donkey

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kevin Kallaugher, better known as KAL, has been the cartoonist at The Economist for 30 years. He explains how the donkey and elephant came to represent the parties, and charts their evolution in our culture. Produced by Gretta Cohn.

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Design for the Real World: Interstate Signs

Friday, October 17, 2008

On America’s first highways, road signs were hand-painted on wood. When interstates became standardized, so did the typeface. But in all sorts of conditions it still looks fuzzy. Designer Don Meeker helped bring signage back into focus. Produced by Derek John.

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Design for the Real World: Water Bottle

Friday, September 12, 2008

Early humans hollowed out gourds to carry their water. Today we drink melted icebergs housed in crystal-studded bottles. Is this progress? Elizabeth Royte tracks the evolution of the water bottle. Produced by Catherine Epstein.

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Design for the Real World: Rock Band T-Shirt

Friday, August 29, 2008

Today rock band T-shirts are sold at major retailers, to kids who weren't alive when classic rock was born. But when music writer Johan Kugelberg was growing up in Sweden, wearing the Sex Pistols or Ramones on your chest was its own act of rebellion. Produced by ...

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Design for the Real World: Boxed Wine

Friday, August 01, 2008

If you're heading outside for a picnic this weekend, don't forget your box of wine. That's right, box. It may call to mind sorority parties and bad hangovers, but design curator Ellen Lupton thinks that boxed wine deserves a second look. Produced by Katie Rolnick.

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Design for the Real World: Government Model .45

Friday, July 04, 2008

Firearms expert Gary James explains why a pistol made a century ago is still being used by American forces and law enforcement. Produced by
Dennis Nishi.

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Design for the Real World: Skateboard

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lately writer Philip Nobel has been obsessing over skateboards, specifically long boards: a sleek update to the wide "trick"-oriented boards popular in the 80s and 90s.

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Design for the Real World: KitchenAid mixer

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cookbook author Meredith Deeds gets passionate about the kitchen tool that revolutionized baking and became a status symbol in the process. Produced by Kim Gittleson and Jillian Goodman.

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Design for the Real World: Tea bag

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tea historian Jane Pettigrew explains why the world has never recovered from an American innovation. Produced by Deanna Kashani.

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Design for the Real World: Sticky Fingers

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stefan Sagmeister is an award-winning graphic designer who grew up in Austria and has designed album covers for the Rolling Stones and Talking Heads. When we asked him about his favorite album cover of all time, Sagmeister picked a notorious design by Andy Warhol: The Rolling Stones’

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Design for the Real World: Backpacks

Friday, September 21, 2007

Design for the Real World: Backpacks

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Design for the Real World: Interstate Signs

Friday, September 14, 2007

On America’s earliest highways, road signs were hand-painted on wood. When interstate highways became standardized, so did the typeface. But in all sorts of conditions it still looks fuzzy. Graphic designer Don Meeker helped bring highway signage back into focus. Produced by Derek John.

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WEB BONUS: Judith Dupre's favorite bridge

Friday, August 17, 2007

Judith Dupre talks about the innovative Penobscot Narrows Bridge in Maine.

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Bridges

Friday, August 17, 2007

This summer’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis shook us in a deeper way than other failures of infrastructure. Guest host Julie Burstein talks with structural engineer Guy Nordenson and cultural historian Judith Dupre about why bridges resonate in our collective imagination.

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Design for the Real World: Parachute Drop

Friday, July 27, 2007

Graphic designer Steven Heller tells the story of a seaside landmark known as the "Eiffel Tower of Coney Island."

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Design for the Real World: Swimming Pool

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, offers a brief history of taking the plunge. Produced by Hadara Graubart.

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