Michael Bierut: Use curiosity as a route into work (video interview)

In 2013 I went to London to attend the AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale) Open Conference held at the Barbican Theatre, and got to interview one of the world’s greatest living graphic designers and design teachers, Michael Bierut. He’s also a partner at Pentagram Design in New York.

From the information design challenge presented by the charts of Billboard magazine, to saying it’s more important to read well than to draw – Michael Bierut shares his insights.

All you really need is your curiosity and your optimism and you can become a designer this minute.

In an interview at AGI Open 2013 in London, Michael Bierut speaks about his groundbreaking projects and the changing nature of graphic design. At AGI Open London 2013, Pentagram partner Michael Bierut tells us about his career highlights, projects that have been of great interest to him and his advice for aspiring graphic designers.

Bierut fell in love with New York City at age 16 and knew it was where he wanted to live and work. The highlights of his career include projects that saw him playing a role in creating a lasting mark in the city: “It’s such a thrill,” he says. These projects include the building signage for New York Times, graphics for SAKS Fifth Avenue shopping bags and pedestrian wayfinding systems throughout the city.

The redesign of the iconic Billboard magazine is one Pentagram project that’s stirred up the most interest for Bierut. It’s the Bible for the pop music industry, says Bierut The redesign of the magazine – and in particular its renowned pop charts in the back of the magazine – provided Bierut with a unique and interesting challenge in information design. Bierut believes that there is always something interesting about a project and the people you work with and the ability to be curious about this will shape the way work is done going forward. All you need is curiosity and optimism and you can become a designer this minute, says Bierut.

Speaking on how the design industry has changed over the years, Bierut concludes by saying it was once more important to be able to draw in order to be a graphic designer. Now, he says, “It’s more important to read.”