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The A-List Podcast with Michael Bierut

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Michael Bierut, current partner at Pentagram and former employee of the renowned Italian designer Massimo Vignelli. Michael has designed some of the most well-recognized logos in the world, including the Hillary Clinton campaign logo, the Saks Fifth Avenue bag, the Slack icon, and many more.

We are so lucky to have Michael join us in our design series, as we interview some of the industry’s biggest and brightest.

For ten years Michael worked and learned from Vignelli Associates, before joining Pentagram as a partner in 1990. He has won hundreds of design awards and his work is represented in several permanent collections including: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington, DC; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); the Denver Art Museum; the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Germany; and the Museum of Design, Zürich, Switzerland.

In this interview. he divulges how he turned his natural artistic inclination into a giant career in graphic design. Be sure to listen then check out his site for creative inspiration.


Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:56] Intro
  • [1:57 – 4:27] Growing up in non-starstudded Ohio and discovering his drawing talents.
  • [4:28 – 7:20] Serendipitously stumbling on the book “Aim High for a Career in Graphic Design / Art by S. Neil Fujita” at age 14 and starting art as a vocational trade.
  • [7:21 – 12:10] The benefits of social ineptitude and the nerve to push yourself creatively.
  • [12:10 – 17:57] The curse of ‘knowing the rules.’
  • [17:58 – 26:16] For the love of rules and parameters.
  • [26:17 – 28:16] Helvetica and 70’s font style at the University of Cincinnati
  • [28:17 – 33:35] The magnetic pull to New York City and working with mastermind Massimo Vignelli.
  • [33:36 – 36:10] The healthy side of a workaholic.
  • [36:11 – 38:16] Wisdom gained from 10 years with Vignelli and the importance of compelling ideas.
  • [38:17 – 43:08] Leaving Vignelli to become a partner at Pentagram in 1990.
  • [43:09 – 48: ] Working on the top-secret Hillary Clinton campaign logo.    
  • [52:49 – 54:59] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.