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 | February 25

Triumph of the Will and the cinematic language of propaganda. [MB]


Observed | February 24

The clock that tells time with hair. [MPL]

This just in from the department of life improvement: an app to, sort of, eliminate filler words—like, so! [JH]

Ignacio Pallares-Sevilla’s Instagram feed unites artists from disparate worlds: his double-exposures happen inside the camera, not through Photoshop, and the results are spectacular. [JH]

Yale School of Architecture student Melinda Aaron teams with industrial designer Laura Koven to launch AVA—a simple design system for yoga practitioners. [JH]

16 architects of color speak out about the industry’s race problem: “America has a lot of work to do”. [BV]

Paul Shaw is researching his definitive book on W.A. Dwiggins, and is posting his work in progress, including the origins of the Metro typeface and his work on Harper’s Magazine. [MB]


Observed | February 23

Five designers (including our co-founder Michael Bierut) illustrate global children‘s health stories you should know about. [BV]

Ending this Sunday, By the People: Designing a Better America at the Cooper Hewitt. [BV]

Curbed has an in-depth look at race and architecture, and the profession’s diversity problem. [BV]

Front Page News! NYT Since 1852, Under A Minute. [MPL]


Observed | February 22

Symbols of hate, and why they endure. (Via Christopher Simmons.) [JH]

The depressingly rapid decay of a neglected piece of ambitious modern architecture. [MB]

“One badly kept secret is that hardly any art school graduates go on to become professional artists. If you have decided to be one of them, give yourself a pat on the back. Next, develop a reputation as a team player.” Artists on pain, struggle, and eventual success. Also, um, stamina! [JH]

Iconic furniture = timeless investments? The Evening Standard thinks so! [JH]


Observed | February 21

The alienating personal technology device of the Victorian age: umbrellas. [MB]

Dutch author and illustrator Dickl Bruna, creator of the exquisite series of Miffy books, has died. [JH]

Students in Norway consider the future of prison design. [JH]

Are the decorative arts making a comeback because of 3D printing? [JH]

“Instead of asking what the design should look like, I wish we’d asked, ‘What can we do for you?’” What Robert Hammond learned from the High Line. [MB]

"Design is not an object or thing. Design is not taste.” An interview with Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic. [MB]


Observed | February 20

The Batbot Xtreme takes toy design to another level. [MPL]

Gerald Haltom‘s original 1958 sketches for the peace symbol. [MB]

Ugly buildings always photograph better at night (and other confessions of a former design magazine editor). [MB]

How Steven Heller redefined the design world. [MB]

Happy President‘s Day...? Ten times that Trump stirred up the design and architecture world. (And counting.) [MPL]


Observed | February 17

As the White House aims to stifle climate science, cities cooperate globally and plan locally, standing up to climate change. [BV]

The crude, vulgar, and celebrated art of Jean Dubuffet. [MPL]

Donald Judd on the relationship of artists and politics, 1970. [MB]

The most despised piece of furniture in the world has a name: Peggy. [MB]



Jobs | February 27