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 | March 28

Hungarian government could ban Heineken‘s red star logo over communism concerns. [MPL]

Annals of material culture: the Bodlean Library at Oxford mounts an exhibit of ledgers revealing what famous people once paid for shoes. [JH]

New one-pound coin in Britain is designed by a 17-year-old! [JH]

Design as tourism : Sweden edition. [JH]


Observed | March 27

The smartphone with a mission to be used less often. [MPL]

Mike Monteiro: Ethics can‘t be a side hustle. (Thanks to Ashleigh Axios.) [MB]

Target is redesigning to take on Amazon. [MPL]


Observed | March 24

A history of the zipper. [MPL]

Designer vs Developer: Google‘s YouTube and podcast series aims to help bridge understanding. [MPL]

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on the early days of design at Apple. [JH]


Observed | March 23

Norway has redesigned its banknotes: here’s a preview. (Via Kevin Hicks.) [JH]

Gurafiku founder Ryan Hageman on Japanese graphic design. [MPL]

How a photo of a tour van became a “lovely graphic tool” in the hands of Harry Pearce. [JH]

The US Supreme Court rules that design elements can be copyrighted ... if you’re a cheerleader, that is. [JH]


Observed | March 22

10 notebooks for designers. (And they‘re not all Moleskines.) [MPL]

All of Frida Kahlo‘s anguish, beauty, and pain in, what else, 160 FridaMoji. [BV]

A collection of East German beer and drink labels. [MB]

"The standards of good design don’t change when designing for doing good.” Why the Resistance doesn’t need another logo. [MB]

“So now is a good moment to think about how protest works and what it can achieve.” An exhibition on the visual history of protest opens tomorrow at the Imperial War Museum in London. [JH]


Observed | March 21

Why Christopher Gray was the witty architectural historian everybody loved. [BV]

The Resistance has a logo. [MB]

Chicago gang business cards from the 70s and 80s. [MB]

Roman Mars ranks government logos. [MPL]

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, artistic expressions of mathematics over seven centuries. [MB]


Observed | March 20

Black + blue + swoosh = space logo. Cosma Schema wants to blast this to outer space. Meanwhile, SpaceX wants to have internet in space. [MPL]

“That is the great learning tool and the great joy of life: this idea that you sit down and out of nothing, you create something.” On the 50th anniversary of his iconic poster for Bob Dylan, an interview with Milton Glaser. [MB]

Trump’s budget is an assault against creativity in America. [MPL]

A mesmerizing data visualization of educational attainment in America. [MB]

Boot, wheelbarrow, thimble: out. Penguin, ducky, Tyrannosaurus rex: in. [MB]


Observed | March 17

Groovy textiles. [MPL]



Jobs | March 28