Welcome to the website of author, writer, museum curator, and educator Phil Patton (1952-2015), whose work was particularly influential in the design community. His papers are now housed at the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives of the School for Visual Arts in New York, where he enthusiastically taught in the DCRIT program (now the Design Research, Writing and Criticism Program).

In this reincarnation of his original website, his family hopes to supplement the SVA’s scholarly collection, and to share his insights in other fields – art; architecture; American history, culture, and highways; technology; and military hardware and secrecy (no doubt influenced by his father’s WWII experience). We also hope to capture a bit of his humor and generosity through his stories and artifacts.

This is an ongoing project that will be continuously updated.

Newest addition: Articles by Phil Patton

Explore with us

Visit frequently as we work to capture some of the humor, creativity, and boundless curiosity exhibited by Phil Patton.

Upcoming soon…

Explorations of typology, particularly of everyday items, including his seminal 1995 I.D. Magazine on coffee cup lids and the 2007 exhibit of his collection (now at SVA) at the Cincinnati Art Museum, as well as his collection of “people’s cameras” used during his coursework at SVA.

Museum collaborations, ranging from items from his personal collections loaned to museums, to contributions to catalogs, to curatorial collaborations, often on automotive exhibits.

Extensive writings on automotive subjects.

Southern history and culture, ranging from his oft-quoted American Heritage 1993 examination of the tension between the racism and affection for iconic images of slaves (think Uncle Ben), to his tongue-in-cheek recounting of his role as judge at a possum beauty contest.

Contributions to the fields of art, technology, architecture, graphic design, sports, roadside America, military design, and the cultural fascination with UFOs, among many other topics explored by this author laughingly categorized by his book publisher as “unshelve-able.”

Selections from the thousands of photographs he shot during his career.

Suggestions and comments are welcomed at