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 | October 23

How the design of bird feeders might have impacted the evolution of bird beak sizes. [JH]


Observed | October 20

It’s Friday. Let’s play! We‘re excited to follow Playtime, a new exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum. [BV]

Scandalous art. [MPL]

Everything you ever wanted to know about storyboarding, but were afraid to ask. [JH]


Observed | October 19

Invision introduces Studio, software for designing on screen. More here. [JH]

“We’re designing relationships now as opposed to designing artifacts.” IDEO sets its sights on AI. [JH]


Observed | October 18

The problem with ‘fast-casual architecture’. [BE]

The race to create the perfect city: the history behind mankind’s need to design ideal urban living. [BV]

Design, dreams—and Blade Runner. [JH]

Design, doodling—and sports. [JH]


Observed | October 17

The current threat level is violet: one nation under cynicism. [BV]

Design and dissent: the reissue. [JH]

Lucienne Roberts: “We’re on a mission to show what graphic design can do.” [MB]

It’s time for companies to let design expand its influence to the core of the business. [JH]


Observed | October 16

It was scary when the graphic designers seized control of the country... [BE]

Does design thinking live up to the hype? Business leaders apparently think so. (Not sure design leaders would agree.) [JH]

Spark Awards: call for entries announced. More here. [JH]


Observed | October 13

Poster Girls! An exhibition of work by forgotten women at the forefront of graphic design. At the London Transport Museum. [JH]

Half the universe’s missing matter has just been finally found. [BV]

Another view of Google, design, and the future. [JH]


Observed | October 12

Rob Walker thinks this is the best headline he’s seen in a while. We agree. [JH]

Can design minimize hate speech? [JH]

Three designers win MacArthur “genius” grants. [JH]


Observed | October 11

Get some advice from your potential future self. [BV]

Three design projects that promote good mental health. [MB]


Observed | October 10

A look at the iconic New York Film Festival poster. [BV]

Do you want to know everything? Oxford has your answer. [BV]

Did you know there are scissors in the MoMA permanent collection? Of course they‘re orange. [BV]


Observed | October 09

School buses: A massive mass transit system in need of a tech upgrade. [BV]

How to train an algorithm to understand a hurricane. [BE]



Jobs | October 23