Uncovering the mysteries of everyday design with the hosts of ‘99% Invisible’

A photo illustration with author photos on the left, book cover on right.
Roman Mars (top) and Kurt Kohlstedt co-authored the book “The 99% Invisible City.”
Courtesy Images

An old proverb states: “Some people see more in a walk around the block than in a trip across the world.” Learning to observe the world with that kind of lens is the goal of Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt, authors of the new book “The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design.”

Inspired by their popular podcast of the same name, the book investigates the details of objects we see every day. Why are manhole covers round? Why are traffic lights red on top and green on the bottom? What is the origin story behind the common drinking fountain?

MPR News host Kerri Miller, Mars and Kohlstedt spoke about the wonder and mystery hidden in the ordinary urban landscape


  • Roman Mars, host and creator of “99% Invisible” and co-author of “The 99% Invisible City” 

  • Kurt Kohlstedt, producer of “99% Invisible” and co-author of “The 99% Invisible City”

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