Fall in Love with Fabric Samples

Donald Brothers was a storied Scottish firm that produced amazing fabric designs. Feast your eyes on a selection today.
Alex Steinweiss

Album Cover Artwork Was Super Boring before Alex Steinweiss

Inspired by the Bauhaus and WPA posters, the midcentury designer all but invented the modern record-album cover.
A poster advertising the IV Review of Polish Short Films, organized by the Zygzakiem Cinema Club in Warsaw, January 11-14, 1976.

Polish Posters in the RISD Library Collection

Posters are part of a tradition of object-based learning at the Rhode Island School of Design.
A woman on a conference call in front of a bookcase

The Timeless Art of the Bookcase Flex

Flaunting a massive collection of books did not start with work-from-home videoconferences.
A variety of vintage orange plastic items

The Revolutionary Past of Plastics

When plastics were first invented, they seemed to promise a utopian future.
Design 513, Damask, 1956 and Design 104, Printed Silk and Fortisan Casement [curtain fabric], 1955, by Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fraught Attempt at Mass Production

The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright famously loathed commercialism, and yet he (reluctantly) designed commercial homewares to be mass-produced.
Closeup of a colorful zipper with metal teeth

How WWI Made the Zipper a Success

A money belt with a zipper became an instant success among WWI U.S. sailors, whose uniforms did not have pockets. Almost all initial zipper sales were for the money belts.
Seaweed William Kilburn

Are You Wearing Seaweed?

Are you wearing seaweed? People have been for hundreds of years, in sizing, patterns and fibers, although they might not have known it.
Car junkyard

The Birth of Planned Obsolescence

Before WWII, American businesses began embracing “creative waste”—the idea that throwing things away and buying new ones could fuel a strong economy.
blue and teal linoleum floor

Why People Once Loved Linoleum

Linoleum, which was created by pressing cotton scrim with oxidized linseed oil and adding cork dust and coloring, became instantly popular.