79 Short Essays on Design

The first essay I read was Bierut’s “How to Become Famous.” DEFINITELY agree with him on his points. “Never describe the slides people are looking at” and “Never read your speech.” I hate it when people give a presentation and just read what’s on the PowerPoint!

In “How to Do Great Design Work,” I was intrigued that he said you only need to produce three pieces of work a year to “become famous.” I would certainly hope artists produce many more pieces than that, for practice’s sake. His advice sounds a bit obvious but hey, he’s a professional, he knows what he’s talking about.

In “Information Design and the Placebo Effect,” Bierut did a good job at making me think about something so arbitrary as an elevator button or crosswalk signal as a cultural icon. He’s right though – we spend each day following signs and listening to instructions, but do we actually NEED half of them? It’s almost like we’ve become a herd of sheep, listening to what rewards or motivates us but not always knowing why. Maybe next time I step into an elevator, I won’t press the close button and see what happens. Livin’ life on the edge, for sure.

In “ITC Garamond,” Bierut makes the Garamond font sound like a deadly disease you would never want to catch. I never actually thought someone could write that much on their hatred of a font, or a font in general for that matter. But I think that’s Bierut’s appeal. As a both a writer and a designer, he is able to articulate what he sees by transcribing it to text. I’m definitely going to be doing some reading of my own learning more about his work.

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