Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

Episode 67: Guns N’ Tote Bags

When Jessica saw the New York Times interactive editorial that catalogued 521 mass shootings in America from the June 2016 attack on an Orlando nightclub that left 49 dead and this month’s mass shooting in Las Vegas that eclipsed its body count, she wrote,

Colored squares, lovely though they are, will not result in policy change. Is there a design intervention that can?

“We're always just one clarifying diagram away from showing exactly what the problem is,” Michael says as they appraise the barrage of grim infographics that followed Las Vegas. He thinks that the problem is more fundamental than showing exactly what the problem is:

I’m not sure that there's a way to dramatize the data in a way that will change hearts and minds — and, by the way I think particularly it's that first part of the equation.

After guns, Michael and Jessica get into tote bags. But not necessarily together, like this one:

And mentioned

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Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.

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