best Inspirations and Motivations to BECOMING A GRAPHIC & DIGITAL DESIGNER BY Michael Bierut

 best Inspirations and Motivations toBECOMING A GRAPHIC & DIGITAL DESIGNER

BY Michael Bierut


https://www.artistogram.in/2019/11/inspirations-and-motivations-to.html
 best Inspirations and Motivations to  BECOMING A GRAPHIC & DIGITAL DESIGNER BY Michael Bierut

The decision to become a graphic designer can hit you

on the head like a wave on a beach or sneak into your
consciousness like a fragrant aroma. Whatever the
reason for joining the ranks, inspiration and motivation
must be present. This is not just a job graphic design
is a passion. In these next interviews, designers reveal
the various ways they were drawn into the vortex by
inspirational yet magnetic forces.



 On Being a Graphic Designer

https://www.artistogram.in/2019/11/inspirations-and-motivations-to.html


After graduating in graphic design at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, Michael Bierut worked at Vignelli Associates, ultimately as vice president of graphic design. “I had learned how to design in school, but I learned how to be a designer from Massimo and Lella,“ he says. In 1990, he joined Pentagram, where he designs across disciplines for a wide range of clients. His awards and distinctions are countless: president of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts from 1988 to 1990; president emeritus of AIGA National; Senior Critic in Graphic Design at the Yale School of Art; coeditor of the fi ve-volume series, Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic; cofounder of the website Design Observer; author of 79 Short Essays on Design; member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale; elected to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame; awarded the AIGA Medal in 2006. Last but not least, he was winner in the Design Mind category of the 2008 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards.


When did you know you wanted to become a graphic designer, and how did you achieve that?

I did a lot of art classes in public school in suburban Cleveland where I grew up. I liked going downtown to the art museum, but I liked looking at the covers of 12-inch records even more. Finally, in the ninth grade someone recruited me to do a poster for the school play. I did something entirely by hand and turned it in on a Friday. By Monday morning it was all over the school. It was thrilling, seeing something I had drawn at home on my kitchen table, out there in the world, seen by everyone. It was also fun to work with the drama people, who were entertaining and dramatic, unlike
the art people who were usual circle. Without knowing it then, I decided that Monday morning to be a graphic designer. Th is combination of entering other private worlds and interpreting for those worlds for a broader public, was what excited me then, and it still excites me now. Did you have a clue you were doing graphic design? At that point, I still couldn’t fi gure out what the connection was between thefamous artists who had paintings inthe Cleveland Museum of Art and theless famous people who were creditedon the covers for my favorite bands.Right around then, and pretty much byaccident, I happened to fi nd a book inmy high school library called Aim for a Future in Graphic Design/CommercialArt. It was by a man named S. NeilFujita, whom I would eventually learn had designed the Columbia Records logo and the famous cover of the 1972 novel, Th e Godfather, by Mario Puzo. It was fi lled with profi les of designers and art directors. All of them were
doing exactly what I wanted to do, and it was then I found out that this aspiration had a name: graphic design. I went to our neighborhood public library and looked up “graphic design” in the card catalog. It turns out they had a book by that name. For reasons I cannot fathom, they had a copy of [the] Graphic Design Manual by Armin Hoff man. I’m not sure anyone had ever taken out this book, which was the cornerstone document of design as it was then taught at the Kunstgewerbeschule (“school of arts and craft s”) in Basel, Switzerland. I was enthralled. My parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told them I wanted the Hoff man book. Of course, there was no Amazon, so they called every bookstore in town before fi nally someone said they had it. It turns out this was the wrong book: Graphic Design by Milton Glaser, which had just been published. My parents thought this was close enough and bought it for me anyway.

I ended up going to the College of Design, Architecture and Art, at the University of Cincinnati, which coincidentally had several instructors who had studied under Hoff man in Switzerland. It was a great experience. Right before my senior year, I took a trip to New York and dropped off my portfolio at Vignelli Associates because someone I had interned with had gone to school with someone who was working there. I never expected Massimo Vignelli to look at my portfolio, but he did, and he liked it, and he off ered me a job. You worked for Massimo Vignelli for 10 years. What did you learn
from that experience? I started working for Massimo and Lella Vignelli the week aft er I graduated from college. It was an amazing experience. Everything there was at the highest level: not just the design work, but the clients, the everyday life in the studio. It’s not enough to do great work. You have to get clients to hire you, and then you have to get them to accept your recommendations. This is hard to learn in school. And, to be honest, it was hard to learn from Massimo. Not that he wasn’t a great teacher, but the way he worked with clients was so unique that it wouldn’t really work for anyone other than him. I had to take what made sense for me and combine it with my own style. Th at’s really what happens with every one of your mentors. When you were invited to become a
Pentagram partner, how did you know you were ready? I worked at Vignelli Associates for a little
more than 10 years, which was probably 3 years too long, to tell you the truth. I had gotten past the stage where I had a fantasy of having my own thing withmy name on the door. I liked being
around people, I liked the buzz of a bigger offi ce, and working on my own had very little appeal. Massimo was very generous with me, always giving me credit for my work, allowing me to do a lot of extracurricular activities. As a result, I had begun to build a small reputation as an up-and-coming designer. So when Woody Pirtle asked me whether I would be interested in joining Pentagram as a partner, I was ready. Still, to go from a nurturing and very disciplined environment like Vignelli Associates to Pentagram was a shock. At Pentagram, each partner is autonomous. No one tells you what to do. You sort of have to fi gure it out on your own. It took me a few years to start to fi nd my own voice. It was my second job aft er graduation, and I’ve never had another one. As a designer, what is your greatest strength? I think I’m a good listener. I enter every project with an open mind and wait for someone or something to say that special, unpredictable thing that will lead me to a solution.



And, conversely, what is your weakness? I have a short attention span and a low tolerance for ambiguity. As a result, I tend to rush to a solution and settle for the fi rst thing I come up with. As a result, I’m always grateful when I’m forced to slow down and think again. You are one of the most articulate designers in an increasingly literate field. How does this work as an advantage in your work life? I think that designers tend to expect the rest of the world to be as visually sophisticated as they are, and they’re disappointed when they aren’t. Why is that? It’s not like the whole world is born with four years of design training. So oft en there’s a gulf, sometimes a vast one, between the designers andthe people they work with, or collaborate with, or work for. I learned early on that conversation was the best way to bridge that gap. I listen carefully and then try to explain design in terms that will connect with the person I’m talking to, on whatever the level they’re on. I am articulate, and I’m a good and enthusiastic salesman. But I learned early on that the sooner I stopped trying to sell the other person something, the sooner I’d learn something that might genuinely help me. Is writing like designing? Writing is like designing in that you need a structure, you need an idea, you need the technical skill to execute that idea, and you need to do it with some style that will give pleasure to the person who’s going to read it. Th ese same four elements exist, more or less, in every design project. In both cases, you’re trying to communicate something, oft en to someone you’ve never met. And both disciplines are such fun ways to learn about the world. How would you defi ne a good client? A good client is smart enough to know what he or she thinks about my work, and brave enough to tell me. (My least favorite reaction is something noncommittal like “Hmm . . . you’ve given us all a lot to think about!” I have been really lucky to have many clients who have been smarter than me. I have never missed an opportunity to learn from them. Th e very best are inspiring and are really just as responsible for my success as I am. How would you defi ne a designer who is well suited for Pentagram? Each partner here is responsible for hiring the designers who will work on his or her own team, so there’s no one answer to this. Some of us hire almost entirely on portfolio and craft skills. Others look for designers who can work with clients and take on project management roles. So the designers are diff erent. Because we work in an open-plan offi ce—no one has offi ces, not even the partners—everyone has to get along and work well with others. Because the teams are small, we all tend to work quickly and look for people who can do a lot of diff erent things. Th is is not a place for those who want to close their offi ce door and workquietly on one thing all day.


What do you look for in an assistantor associate designer, given the current requirements?


I look for people who love typography,
who love to read, who have a good
sense of humor, and who just plain
love graphic design as much as I do.

That works as goods  as much 

What job that you’ve recently completed would you say is the most satisfying and challenging?

Last year we did a series of projects for the New York City Department of Transportation that included a citywide pedestrian wayfi nding system, maps for the city’s new bike share program, and redesigning New York’s parking signs. All of these are being rolled out now, and I have to say that
every time I see a new one out on the street—and I usually just encounter one by accident, or someone on my team does and takes a picture—it’s just a great surprise. Th is kind of work is really complicated. We were part of a much larger team of planners, cartographers, product designers, and engineers. Yet the results of the work are simple: every day, for instance, I see someone looking at one of those maps to fi nd their way around town. Being responsible for something that is playing a role, a positive role, in people’s lives is really satisfying. Th e fact that most people can’t even imagine that they are looking at the fi nal outcome of a tremendously complex design process makes the whole thing even more gratifying. Graphic design is no longer just graphic design. 

How do you explain today’s profession?

I know that people tend to have an expansive idea of what graphic design is, but I tend to come back to a defi nition that isn’t that diff erent than what it would have been when I first picked up that copy of Aim for a Future in Graphic Design, 40 years ago: graphic designers combine words and pictures to convey a message. Th e way we combine them has changed, and the messages are always changing, but I still think the basic challenge is the same.

What’s next for you?
I don’t know, but I hope it will be

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