Michael Bierut On How To Use Graphic Design


Michael Bierut’s career retrospective — thus far — showcases more than thirty-five noteworthy projects for clients like the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Yale School of Architecture, Saks Fifth Avenue, the New York Jets and The New York Times. Protégé of design legend Massimo Vignelli and partner in the New York office of Pentagram, Bierut has had a varied and successful career serving a broad spectrum of clients.


How to reveals Bierut’s philosophy of graphic design — how to use it “to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world.”


The author walks the reader through each project from start to finish, mixing historic images, preliminary drawings, working models and rejected alternatives, as well as the finished work. Throughout, he provides insights into the creative process, his working life, his relationship with clients, and the struggles that any design professional faces in bringing innovative ideas to the world. The publisher is Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins.

In a recent interview, Bierut responded to being asked if design can change the world? “Every once in a while, even the seemingly innocuous profession of graphic design, can change the world in a big way.  A badly designed ballot, for instance, has delivered the wrong candidate into office at least once in a lifetime. But the world is changed every day in tiny ways too: when a product is made more effective, or a building more hospitable, or a written message more understandable. The legendary butterfly effect … should be as important to designers as the Hippocratic Oath is to doctors. Design changes the world every day.”