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 | June 21

This year’s Serpentine Pavillion, designed by the extraordinary Frances Kere. [MB]

How Comic Sans became the world’s most notorious font. (Thanks to Karen Day.) [MB]

Fold your way through Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous buildings. [BV]

A 257-Year-Old coloring book was discovered in St. Louis. [BV]


Observed | June 20

Accidental Wes Anderson locations, a very colorful and surreal subreddit. [BV]

Robots in art class. [MPL]

The internet is for circles. [MB]

Subtle ways to signal wealth: not designer bags anymore. [MPL]

A sociology of the smartphone. [MB]


Observed | June 19

Rob Walker‘s insightful (and beautifully written) assessment of the importance of the logo. [JH]

“In the visual clamor of a bookstore, the important thing is to be different.” From 2005, John Updike on book cover design. [MB]

IKEA’s posters help you cook dinner. (But what about a soup?) [MPL]

Great assessment by Rick Poynor of the enduring relevance of Emigre magazine. [MB]

Animations that reveal the differences between subway maps and their actual geography. [MB]


Observed | June 16

Anti-Tiger mother strategy (helps) lead to brilliant creative student accepted everywhere! [JH]

Was the design of One World Trade Center a rip-off? [JH]


Observed | June 15

Our very own Jessica Helfand want to start conversations—meaningful ones—with you. Listen! [JH]

I personally disagree with most of the visual suggestions here, but the topic itself is fascinating. What does your email signature say about you? [JH]

The Post Office has released a new series of tactile stamps celebrating sports. Better title: “This Takes Balls”. [JH]

“You don’t need to be a scientist to use machine learning as design material.” Design in the age of the algorithm. [MB]


Observed | June 14

On the topic of the future of classroom design, teachers really do know best. [JH]

Etsy find of the week: “Explosive Contemplation” office chair. [JH]

"In a thriving democracy, the need for protest shapes our public realm and vice versa.” [MB]

The concept of “additive” design in manufacturing, given the rise of 3D printing. [JH]

One of the original designers credited with pioneering the birth the personal computers, Charles P. Thacker, dies at 74. [JH]


Observed | June 13

How science and architecture can work together to create living, breathing buildings. [JH]

Vacation planning alert: design and ... Buenos Aires! Or for a smaller budget: design and ... the nightclub! [JH]

When art schools were art schools. (Thanks to Adrian Shaughnessy.) [JH]

Philatelic protest, one President Trump stamp at a time. [JH]

Good design is marketable business. [JH]



Jobs | June 22