PROFILE

Michael Bierut


About

Michael Bierut studied graphic design at the University of Cincinnati, and has been a partner in the New York office of Pentagram since 1990. Michael is a Senior Critic in Graphic Design at the Yale School of Art.

Books

79 Short Essays on Design
Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design
Michael Bierut
Princeton Architectural Press, 2007

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“It’s not hard to see why innovation is becoming the design world's favorite euphemism. Design sounds cosmetic and ephemeral; innovation sounds energetic and essential. Design conjures images of androgynous figures in black turtlenecks wielding clove cigarettes; innovators are forthright fellows with their shirtsleeves rolled up, covering whiteboards with vigorous magicmarkered diagrams, arrows pointing to words like ‘Results!’ But best of all, the cult of innovation neatly sidesteps the problem that has befuddled the business case for design from the beginning. Thomas Watson, Jr.’s famous dictum ‘good design is good business’ implies that there's good design and there’s bad design; what he doesn’t reveal is how to reliably tell one from the other. Neither has anyone else. It’s taken for granted that innovation, however, is always good.” — From Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design

Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design brings together the best of designer Michael Bierut’s critical writing — serious or humorous, flattering or biting, but always on the mark. Bierut is widely considered the finest observer on design writing today. Covering topics as diverse as Twyla Tharp and ITC Garamond, Bierut’s intelligent and accessible texts pull design culture into crisp focus. He touches on classics, like Massimo Vignelli and the cover of The Catcher in the Rye, as well as newcomers, like McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and color-coded terrorism alert levels. Along the way Nabakov's Pale Fire; Eero Saarinen; the paper clip; Celebration, Florida; the planet Saturn; the ClearRx pill bottle; and paper architecture all fall under his pen. His experience as a design practitioner informs his writing and gives it truth. In Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design, designers and nondesigners alike can share and revel in his insights.

Interviews + Articles

Interviews

Facing Sideways
Step Inside Design
Adaptive Path: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


Articles

How to Make the Logo Bigger
Core 77, September 9, 2009

From Drawing Board to Desktop
New York Times, February 7, 2009

Stay Up Late
AIGA, October 7, 2005




Observed | May 23

Reframing contemporary urgencies through the lens of design. An interactive exhibition from SVA Products of Design at NYCxDESIGN [BV]

Can a font be a whole brand? YouTube Sans Medium is meant to be. [BV]


Observed | May 22

When TV logos were objects...plus behind-the-scenes of HBO’s model city [MPL]

Olympic/paralympic mascot design proposals for Tokyo 2020 will be judged by ... children. (Download the creative brief here.) [JH]

Crowdfunding now: Paul Rand’s IBM style guide (with optional French translation). More here. [JH]

The visualization of disappointment: one Tumblr site captures every single tearful moment of bachelorette rejection. [JH]


Observed | May 19

The rise of the designer as life coach. [MB]

Meet Gerhard Steidl, the printer the world’s best photographers trust to produce their books. [MB]

What does design share with comedy? (Don’t quit your day job!) [JH]

Every color of cardigan Mister Rogers wore from 1979–2001. [MB]


Observed | May 18

"Back when I was the captain of Oxford University, I would never have dreamed that I would be influencing the Laws of Cricket.” Studying the finer points of cricket bat design—from an orthopedic surgeon. [JH]

Design “can solve a problem in an elegant way,” notes Dr. Brandon Glen, chief executive of Good Design Australia, noting that “it goes well beyond aesthetically pleasing teapots and kettles”. [JH]


Observed | May 17

Apple’s new headquarters: breathtaking design utopia or anal-retentive indulgence? [MB]

“Pay Trump bribes here.” How an artist pulled off an astonishing design coup at Trump’s DC hotel. [MB]


Observed | May 16

Modeling umbrella design on the very particular wings of one insect. [JH]

Entrepreneurs obsessed with design. [JH]

Girls designing rockets. [JH]


Observed | May 15

A futuristic airport terminal at JFK, built in the 1960s, abandoned for years, and soon to be reopened as a hotel. [BV]

Photos from New York City’s subway system as seen in the 70s and 80s. [BV]

Edible sneakers that combine an artist’s love of footwear and sushi. [BV]


Observed | May 12

If you’ve ever doubted that visualization matters to data analysis, you need to see these images. [BV]

Atlanta’s I-85 highway should have been torn down instead of rebuilt. [BV]

The weird words and phrases type designers use to test their fonts. [BV]


Observed | May 11

Five speculative design ideas for the modern car. [JH]

Uncertainty in design. And why igloos are a good example of unselfconscious design. [JH]

A community-based initiative to bring the iconic book, “Vignelli: From A to Z” back into print. Join in! [BV]

New conductive wallpaper reveals the hidden circuitry embedded in your walls. [JH]


Observed | May 10

From 1962–1971, Ralph Ginzburg and Herb Lubalin developed several iconic publications, including the four volume Eros, now completely digitized. [BV]

Hates does not make great. A 7 second protest. [BV]


Observed | May 09

Maybe you‘ll read them now? The iTunes Terms and Conditions as a graphic novel. [BV]



Jobs | May 24