Super interesting, over at Design Observer:
[Nuclear physicist Alexander] Langsdorf’s wife Martyl was not a scientist. She was a successful landscape painter, known in the gallery world by her first name. Her fame was even greater within her husband’s circle. As she once said, “I was the only artist these scientists ever knew.” So it was inevitable that when the [Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’] founder, Hyman Goldsmith, needed a cover design for the magazine, he turned to Martyl. It was a low budget job, two colors, a lot of type. There wasn’t much extra room, but Martyl wanted to include an image that would somehow suggest the urgency of their cause.
It’s got to be one of the all-time great examples of a piece of design becoming a political and cultural instrument. What I mean is that it didn’t just package up some other message in a neat way; it was an actual lever of power. Just a teeny-tiny one, but still.