Master class: School of Visual Arts presents the first retrospective for graphic designer Michael Bierut

New York’s School of Visual Arts in New York honours the graphic designer Michael Bierut this month with the first retrospective of his visual communication efforts
New York’s School of Visual Arts in New York honours the graphic designer Michael Bierut this month with the first retrospective of his visual communication efforts
(Image credit: Stan Narten)

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), Saks Fifth Avenue (opens in new tab), Penguin Random House (opens in new tab) or the New York Jets (opens in new tab), 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’ (opens in new tab) also inaugurates Bierut into the college’s Master Series (opens in new tab) – 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.

Bierut, who is a partner at the Pentagram, has been influential in shaping the visual language of the world around us,

Bierut, who is a partner at the Pentagram, 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 aesthetic

(Image credit: Stan Narten)

The exhibition is part of the SVA's Master Series

The exhibition is part of the SVA's Master Series - an award started by SVA founder Silas H Rhodes in 1988 dedicated to providing exposure for visual accomplishments that often go unrecognized

(Image credit: Stan Narten)

‘The Masters Series: Michael Bierut’ showcases a wide array of logos, graphics and exhibition designs

‘The Masters Series: Michael Bierut’ showcases a wide array of logos, graphics and exhibition designs as well as Bierut’s sketchbooks, notebooks and other personal works

(Image credit: TBC)

A sampling of posters designed by Michael Bierut

A sampling of posters designed by Michael Bierut

(Image credit: Stan Narten)

Bierut has worked for an array of educational institutions such as the Yale School of Architecture and MIT Media Lab

Bierut has worked for an array of educational institutions such as the Yale School of Architecture and MIT Media Lab

(Image credit: Stan Narten)

Notebooks and sketchbooks give a glimpse into Bierut's creative process

Notebooks and sketchbooks give a glimpse into Bierut's creative process

(Image credit: Stan Narten)

More pages showcasing how Michael Bierut's mind works

More pages showcasing how Michael Bierut's mind works

(Image credit: Stan Narten)

INFORMATION

‘The Masters Series: Michael Bierut’ runs until 7 November 

Photography: Stan Narten

ADDRESS

SVA Chelsea Gallery (opens in new tab)
601 West 26th Street,
15th floor
New York City

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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.