The accomplishments of the acclaimed graphic designer Michael Bierut are usually first recognised by sight before their names. Bierut, who has been a partner at the Pentagram since 1990, has been influential in shaping the visual language of the world around us, whether its crafting signage for the New York City Department of Transportation or bestowing brands like the New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue, Penguin Random House or the New York Jets, with a definitive tone of voice.
This month, the School of Visual Arts in New York honours Bierut’s creative output with the first retrospective of the designer’s visual communication efforts. Ranging from logos, graphics and exhibition designs to Bierut’s personal sketchbooks, notebooks and other personal works, the inspiring exhibition presents just how deep a graphic designer’s influence can reach.
As its name suggests, ‘The Masters Series: Michael Bierut’ also inaugurates Bierut into the college’s Master Series – an award started by SVA founder Silas H Rhodes in 1988 that has been bestowed on other graphic design luminaries, such as Milton Glaser, George Lois, Deborah Sussman and Mary Ellen Mark. Dedicated to providing exposure for visual accomplishments that often go unrecognized, the award has been given to illustrators, designers, art directors and photographers over the years.
In addition to the exhibition, Bierut also releases a new tome, ‘How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world’, which showcases 35 projects that highlight the breadth of graphic design today. Told in Bierut’s engaging voice, the book is the perfect way to get to know the iconic designer better.