05.25.18
Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

Episode 81: American Royalty


When Tom Wolfe died earlier this month, much of the conversation was about Wolfe’s journalism, his fiction, his character.

Tom Wolfe was also a design writer. His breakthrough piece of New Journalism was “There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,” about custom car culture, and he went on

Michael says that, when he began writing more about design, Wolfe was a model:

There was a kind of writing that was in trade magazines like Print and Communication Arts that was sort of like this quasi-fawning reportage. There was another kind of design writing that seemed to be very academic. And neither of them represented the way I actually felt about design.

I was thrashing around for models of people that could really write about design in a way that was lively and made it sound fun and even funny. Then I started reading Tom Wolfe.

Also mentioned this week: Subscribe to The Observatory on Apple Podcastsoryour favorite podcast app, or follow Design Observer on Soundcloud.

Posted in: Arts + Culture, The Observatory


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