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 | August 21

Peter Saville’s iconic album covers. [BV]

“Conservatives, broadly speaking, are incapable of communicating visually.” [MB]

How Richard Florida’s Creative Class has failed to deliver. More here. [MB]


Observed | August 18

A stunning midnight walk through the neon-hued streets of Asian cities. [BV]

The knitted pink pussyhat, a pro-European Union poster campaign, and a lending library of protest banners have been named some of the best designs of the year by the Design Museum in London. [BV]

Did McDonalds leak the iPhone 8 design? [BV]


Observed | August 17

The Midwest visionaries who built the literal Home of Tomorrow in the 1930‘s were brothers. [BV]

Think your commute is bad? Real time schadenfreude: a transit map of the whole world. [BV]

Prince now has his own Pantone color, inspired by his custom-made Yamaha purple piano. [BV]


Observed | August 16

Sure, it’s sponsored content: but it’s in Popular Science! Design hawked as a bundle of mastery. [JH]

A geography Professor maps best eclipse-viewing locations to waffle proximity. For real. More here. [JH]

In Spain, one designer builds a secret studio under a bridge. [JH]


Observed | August 15

Not all cities have a budget for design, but Atlanta’s department of urban planning is showing why they should. [BV]

Hilarious recipe videos in the style of famous directors: Wes Anderson inspired smores, Tarantino inspired spaghetti and meatballs, Michael Bay inspired waffles and more. (via Jason Kottke) [BV]


Observed | August 14

Google’s incendiary diversity memo now has its own website. [JH]

Design = growth strategy: John Madea explains. [JH]

Type lost, type found: a lovely story. [JH]


Observed | August 11

Mary Lund Davis: architect, furniture designer, and champion of modernism in the Pacific Northwest. [BV]

America’s past time is more than just hot dogs and foul balls: Major league baseball has a long but little-known history of rebels, reformers, and radicals. [BV]

More on Calibrigate: Lucas de Groot responds! [MB]


Observed | August 10

Through Don Draper’s eyes: a tour of the Time & Life building of the 1960s. [BV]

MIT developed a fabric that can fold into origami-like shapes when inflated. [BV]

#TBT: The glory days of ‘80s metal magazines. [BV]


Observed | August 09

A European design company tried to make a case for the design appeal of the swastika before it was made infamous by the Nazi party. It failed. [JH]

Jessica Helfand on logo color choices: “If a solution only works in color, then it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t carry its weight.” [BV]

Land Rover’s design head Gerry McGovern hates how many cows have to suffer in order to realize his design goals, so he’s introducing some new alternatives—like wool. [JH]

A neuroscientist becomes a designer. [JH]


Observed | August 08

“History of the Typewriter as Recited by Michael Winslow” traces 88 years of typewriter sounds, from 1895 to 1983. You have to hear this. [BV]

The story of a town moved for New York City’s water system. [BV]

City of sprawl, city of neighborhoods. City of wealth and poverty, celebrity and anonymity. Photographing Los Angeles. [BV]



Jobs | August 21