studied graphic design at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, graduating summa cum laude in 1980. Prior to joining Pentagram in 1990 as a partner in the firm’s New York office, he worked for ten years at Vignelli Associates, ultimately as vice president of graphic design.
His clients at Pentagram have included The New York Times
, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Harley-Davidson, The Museum of Arts and Design, United Airlines, The William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, Mohawk Paper Mills, New World Symphony, Princeton University, the New York Jets, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Morgan Library and Museum.
He has won hundreds of design awards and his work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Montreal. He has served as president of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) from 1988 to 1990 and is president emeritus of AIGA National. He also serves as on the boards of the Architectural League of New York and New Yorkers for Parks. Michael was elected to the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 1989, to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 2003, and was awarded the profession’s highest honor, the AIGA Medal, in 2006. In 2008, he was named winner in the Design Mind category of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards.
Michael is a Senior Critic in Graphic Design at the Yale School of Art, and a Senior Faculty Fellow at the Yale School of Management. He writes frequently about design and is the co-editor of the five-volume series Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design
published by Allworth Press. His commentaries about graphic design in everyday life have been heard nationally on the Public Radio International program “Studio 360” and his appearance in Helvetica: A Documentary Film
is considered by many that movie’s funniest moment. Michael is a co-founder of Design Observer, and his book 79 Short Essays on Design
was published in 2007 by Princeton Architectural Press.
bierut [at] pentagram.com