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 | January 19

The photobooks that inspire Peter Funch. [MPL]

It really is all about context. (And consequence.) [JH]


Observed | January 18

Spooky design job title of the day: hotels are now offering Instagram “butlers” to help you get that perfect shot. [JH]

Arab designers. All women. All amazing. [JH]

The secret weapon of the Starbucks logo is asymmetry. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | January 17

Inside one of America‘s last pencil factories. [MPL]


Observed | January 16

Design, Hong Kong, and the future. [JH]

IKEA invents the pregnancy test advertisement. [JH]

Is interface design to blame for the false Hawaii missile alert? [JH]


Observed | January 15

How good design can improve peoples’ lives: a look back at the design history of the baby transport system. [JH]

A new year’s resolution from Gizmodo: they’re going to write more about design. [JH]

Design is ... more than a department ... more than a phase ... more than a feeling! McKinsey explains. [JH]


Observed | January 12

Edith Wharton’s design legacy. [JH]

Cycling their way from Europe to Asia, two women are researching the history and contemporary uses of paper. [JH]


Observed | January 11

Is an artistic “hobby” the key for scientific fame? [JH]

Extraordinary visual evidence of climate change: a worthy Oscar contender, and a cautionary tale of epic scale. [JH]


Observed | January 10

E-waste graveyards. [MPL]

Up next: countertop dishwashers. [MPL]

What Google Street View tells us about income. [MPL]


Observed | January 09

If we do say so ourselves, the brilliant Craeft review from Michael Bierut on NYTBR is worth a read. [BV]


Observed | January 08

Raising Places: how the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is helping to support design. [JH]

Probably 2017’s best song about furniture design. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

What will graphic design look like in 2018? [JH]


Observed | January 05

Intelligent design—for robots. [JH]


Observed | January 04

In the wake of the net neutrality decision, should cities build internet networks? [BV]

The most stolen books according to indie bookstore owners: Joan Didion, Kerouac, Vonnegut, Bukowski, and somewhat surprisingly, ethics books from the philosophy section. [BV]


Observed | January 03

The design of the City of Oakland’s tree logo was inspired by a pair of cufflinks. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | January 02

In Malawi, a Dutch firm uses local materials to create affordable equipment for hospitals. [JH]

In Brooklyn, Smith and Reed maintain Order, and Standards: a terrific write-up in Hyperallergic. [JH]


Observed | December 22

The pitfalls of office design. [JH]



Jobs | January 20