The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 9, 2017
by Dan
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Goudy & Syracuse: The Tale of a Typeface Found

The tale of rediscovering Sherman, a typeface designed by American type designer Frederic Goudy in 1910 and revived by Chester Jenkins for Pentagram in 2016 for Syracuse University:

April 9, 2015
by Dan
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“I am not one of those designers who are eager to expand the role of a graphic designer”

More wisdom from designer Michael Bierut, this time in an interview with Dave Benton for Behance’s 99U: I have to admit I don’t like working on projects where I sense that the cosmetic side of design is meant to be … Continue reading

March 31, 2015
by Dan
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The Great Discontent: Michael Bierut

The Great Discontent has a really interesting (and long) interview with Michael Bierut about his career in graphic design: The reason I love graphic design is because it’s a way to get paid to learn new things. For example, let’s … Continue reading

March 19, 2015
by Dan
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Michael Bierut : How To… Write a Book About Your Work

In a great interview with Design Indaba, designer Michael Bierut talks about a new book about his work, How to: Use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, and (every once in a while) change the world, to be published later … Continue reading

September 11, 2014
by Dan
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NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue

If you’ve been on Twitter for past couple of days you’ll have no doubt noticed that the design community (or the sizeable type-obsessed segment of it) is very excited that designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, founders of thestandardsmanual.com, have started a Kickstarter project … Continue reading

June 24, 2014
by Dan
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Michael Bierut — The Creative Influence

In this new short film for The Creative Influence documentary series, designer Michael Bierut talks about his mentor Massimo Vignelli, what makes an enduring logo, and how the internet has changed the way we work:

May 7, 2014
by Dan
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Nicholson Baker: “Wrapping Sentences Around Things”

This made a couple of people in my Twitter feed very, very happy today — author Nicholson Baker talking about writing, design and the influence of his parents, who both studied at Parsons School of Design in New York, at Lingua Franca: The … Continue reading

November 20, 2013
by Dan
3 Comments

Michael Bierut: Use Curiosity as a Route into Work

Interviewed at the AGI Open London 2013, Michael Bierut discusses his work, living in New York, and shares some advice for aspiring designers:

May 3, 2013
by Dan
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Massimo Vignelli Makes Books

Massimo Vignelli discusses his approach to book design: [vimeo http://vimeo.com/64811872 w=500] The video was produced by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Aron Fay for Mohawk’s “What Will You Make Today?” campaign, and is accompanied by a limited edition journal that reproduces Vignelli’s grid from the … Continue reading

June 8, 2012
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

A stunning jacket design by the great Isaac Tobin for After Freud Left, published by University of Chicago Press. You can read my interview with Isaac from 2009 here. Bauhütte to Bauhaus — A fascinating overview of the Bauhaus by Frank Whitford, … Continue reading

November 22, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

In the Cube: Michael Bierut and James Biber

In this video for Designers and Books, graphic designer and Pentagram partner Michael Bierut chats with architect James Biber about the books he selected for the site. The setting is the Rachel Whiteread-like library, or “book cube”, in Biber’s architectural … Continue reading

April 1, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

A Swiss Typeface + 2 Italian Designers = New York City — Michael Bierut reviews Helvetica and the New York City Subway System by Paul Shaw for the WSJ: Mr. Shaw is irritated with the widespread belief that the modern … Continue reading

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