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

Amazon >>
An Independent Store Near You >>


“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 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]


Observed | February 16

The Statue of Liberty was modeled after an Arab woman. [MB]

Pratt Institute President Tom Schutte is the recipient of the 21st Rowena Reed Kostellow Award. [JH]

Why symbols matter. [MB]

Detroit, Design and the Future of Work—Detroit’s first exhibition as a UNESCO City of Design  [BV]

A Bug‘s Life meets Mulan and takes the form of this chair. [MPL]

Why do we have Wingdings and Dingbats? This short video explains all! [MB]


Observed | February 15

In the New Yorker this week, Design Observer contributor Rob Walker reviews the new Netflix series on design. [JH]

Charles and Ray Eames: a remembrance. [JH]

Fast Company‘s list of 2017‘s most innovative companies is out! [MPL]

What does industrialization look like? Take an aerial view.. [MPL]

Vasjen Katroi, a designer in Albania, makes a poster a day for a year. [JH]

Can corporate culture be designed? [JH]


Observed | February 14

Ikea’s best designed product of all time, according to it’s design chief. [JH]

If “design” becomes a synonym for “negotiate” we’re all in trouble. [JH]


Observed | February 13

“Almost alone among his countrymen, Johnson carried off his noxious politics with style.” Philip Johnson and the new American Fascism. [MB]

Journalist, curator, and longtime Head of Design at the V&A in London, Kieran Long is named Director of the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. [JH]

From The Atlantic, a deep dive into Apple’s flawless design aesthetic—and why it may just be a myth. [JH]

Madeline Stuart, who has Down Syndrome, designs and launches her own fashion line. [JH]


Observed | February 10

Timely explainer: what does the US Department of Housing and Urban Development actually do? [MB]

Creative dissent is central to political change. [MPL]

Ads, shorts, and the creative process of PES. (You have to watch “Fresh Guacamole.” You just have to.) [MPL]

“Anti-homeless” spikes have been removed in Manchester after locals kept covering them with cushions. [MB]


Observed | February 09

Next week in New York City: the remarkable Cliff Kuang on the untold story of design thinking. [JH]

Wallow in the beautiful custom version of Didot used by CBS in the 1960s, and don’t miss the comments. (Via Alexandra Lange.) [MB]

An interview with Obama‘s White House photographer. [MPL]

Using design to drive student performance. [JH]



Jobs | February 20