For nearly fifty years the Walker Art Center published Design Quarterly, a remarkable magazine dedicated to covering the fields of contemporary architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and product and graphic design. The first twenty-eight issues of the magazine were titled Everyday Art Quarterly and began publication with the opening of the Everyday Art Gallery at the Walker in 1946—one of the nation’s first museum spaces dedicated to modern design. In 1954 the magazine changed its name to Design Quarterly and shifted its emphasis away from consuming design to understanding design’s impact on society and its processes and methods of practice and inquiry. Each issue would be dedicated to an in-depth exploration of a specific subject—a much-needed outlet for publishing important design research.
The changing shifts in taste and subject matter across five decades of the magazine chart a history of design—from a form-follows-function modernism of the 1940s and 1950s and its crisis in the 1960s and 1970s to the affectations of postmodernism in the 1980s and 1990s. Through its diverse topics DQ established an international reputation through a network of guest editors, seasoned writers, and provocative thinkers creating a virtual who’s who of the design world.
In the course of its nearly fifty year history, DQ had just a handful of managing editors, including Hilde Reiss, curator of the Everyday Art Gallery; Meg Torbert, design curator; Peter Seitz, design director; Mildred S. Friedman, design curator; Laurie Haycock Makela, design director; and Martin Filler, design critic.
Following are a selection of issues of Design Quarterly by Andrew Blauvelt, Senior Curator, Design, Research, and Publishing at the Walker. Each featured issue can be downloaded in its entirety.