01.16.20
Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

Episode 118: Excelsior!


With Jessica settling in Los Angeles for her residency at Caltech, Michael describes the 19th-century broadside designed by Brooklyn artist Rusty Zimmerman that New York governor Andrew Cuomo commissioned for his annual State of the State address:



While some designers mocked the governor for his attraction to archaic visual styles. Michael adds that designers have always needed good content strategists, even though they didn’t call them that, to tell effective stories:
If you were a muralist, you could hire someone to do the thematic narrative for your mural, to give you a brief in a way for the mural. And that person would say, “OK, the mural should contain a boat called the Ship of State, navigating around the Reefs of Inequity and it headed towards the Summit of Prosperity.” And that was actually a job you could have: to be the thematic narrative development subconsultant. 

And so one of the problems is, I don't think Cuomo had the best dramatic narrative subconsultant for this particular document.
Also mentioned this week:

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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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