Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut

Event participation

Founder of Clarity


Michael Bierut studied graphic design at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, graduating summa cum laude in 1980. He worked for ten years at Vignelli Associates before joining Pentagram as a partner in 1990.

His clients at Pentagram have included The New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue, Mastercard, Bobby Flay Bold Foods, Princeton University, MIT Media Lab, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Wildlife Conservation Society, Poetry Magazine, Archewell, and Verizon. As a volunteer to Hillary Clinton’s communications team, he designed the H logo that was ubiquitous throughout her 2016 presidential campaign.

Michael served as president of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) from 1988 to 1990 and is president emeritus of AIGA National. He also serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York and the Library of America. Michael was elected to the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 1989, to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 2003, and was awarded the profession’s highest honor, the AIGA Medal, in 2006. He was winner in the Design Mind category at the 2008 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards. In 2016, he was the Henry Wolf Resident in Graphic Design at the American Academy in Rome.

Michael has been a lecturer in the practice of design and management at the Yale School of Management and a senior critic in graphic design at the Yale School of Art; a class on daily creativity he taught for five years at Yale, The 100 Days Project, has since become a worldwide phenomenon. He is a cofounder of the website Design Observer and is the coeditor of the five-volume series Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design published by Allworth Press. Two collections of Michael’s essays, 79 Short Essays on Design (2007) and Now You See It (2015) were published by Princeton Architectural Press. A new and expanded edition of the monograph on his work, How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry and (every once in a while) change the world, originally published in 2015 by Harper Collins, will be available later this year.