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Michael Bierut
Essays | Biography | Interviews & Articles | 79 Short Essays on Design | Contact

What Bill Knew

William Drenttel hated to be thought of as a business guy, but he knew a lot about business...and love.

READ MORE | COMMENTS (1)

And May All Your Christmases Be Carefully Staged So As To Appear White

Creating a wondrous Christmas experience night after night 50 times a year is both magical and aggravating. A New York City Ballet dancer tells all.

READ MORE | COMMENTS (9)

Chromatophobia

I still remember the moment when I began to realize that I had a case of chromatophobia, fear of color. From my earliest days as a designer I loved black and white. Such authority, such decisiveness. To this day, any collection of my favorite personal projects — posters, book covers, identities — marks me as a follower of Henry Ford, who famously told buyers of his Model T that they could have whatever color they wanted as long as it was black.

READ MORE | COMMENTS (12)

Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport

Thoughtful criticism of graphic design once seemed to have a bright future. These days, it's no more than a series of drive-by shootings punctuated by the occasional lynch mob, conducted by anonymous people with the depth of barroom philosophers and the attention span of fruit flies. So many designers can be articulate, inspiring advocates for the power of design. Where are their voices?

READ MORE | COMMENTS (67)

Positively Michael Patrick Cronan

Michael Patrick Cronan embodied energy, optimism and the blind, thrilling faith that everything was going to turn out okay. He died last week at 61, following a five-year struggle with cancer. Michael Bierut remembers his friend and colleague.

READ MORE | COMMENTS (22)

Style: An Inventory

Style was never discussed when I was a student. There was a vague sense that genuine style emerged unconsciously in its own time, like breasts or facial hair. Trying too hard would derail the process and result in something less than authentic. What a wonderful promise: within each of us is a unique voice that will reveal itself, but only through patience and practice. But where does style come from? Put more broadly, why do people do what they do? And what does it mean?

READ MORE | COMMENTS (6)

The Typeface of Truth

Is there a typeface that inclines us to think that anything set in it is true? Errol Morris has done an experiment, and has concluded the answer is yes.

READ MORE | COMMENTS (17)

I Love the 80s

On Sunday, September 16, 1984, everything changed. There had been stylish productions before, but none exhibited the obsession with surface gloss that characterised the cop show that debuted that evening: Miami Vice. It was common knowledge that the show's production designers had been issued a blanket edict: "No earth tones," and every aesthetic decision had to conform — or else. As much as any design artifact, the show defined an era.

READ MORE | COMMENTS (11)

The Poster that Launched a Movement (Or Not)

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which reaches a critical moment this week, began with that most conventional of graphic forms, a poster. The trouble is, hardly anyone has ever seen it. In the age of social media, does political graphic design matter?

READ MORE | COMMENTS (7)

Designing, Writing, Teaching: Not My Real Job

In this funny and entertaining video, Designing, Writing, Teaching: Not My Real Job, Michael Bierut outlines the little decisions that led him to the work that he is doing today.

READ MORE | COMMENTS (4)

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.


Recent Video


Designing, Writing, Teaching: Not My Real Job

Designing, Writing, Teaching: Not My Real Job

Michael Bierut gives an outline of his life and work: a video for a D-Crit lecture at SVA in NYC.


Recent Book



Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design
Michael Bierut
Princeton Architectural Press, 2007
Buy This Book >>


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