I’m following Michael Bierut on Twitter now because I like him.

Once we get past the Hell Week that is Finals Week in iMedia, I’m going to read the rest of the essays on design by Michael Bierut. He makes me laugh while making me think and teaching me something.


4: How To Become Famous

I think the only issue I have with Michael Bierut is his discouragement of using confetti in design projects. If I were a judge of a design competition and one entry involved confetti and glitter shooting out of a cannon (or envelope)…automatic winner. Just me? So other than that minor lapse in judgment on Bierut’s part, I love all other points he makes…like what to do to become famous and do great design work. One simple suggestion was to simply “do lots of work.” Easy enough right? With a lot of practice makes a lot of perfect? Did you know to truly become an expert in something, you need to put in 10,000 hours of work? Taking this iMedia program into account, I’d say I only need about 1,000 more hours of work to become an expert in this field.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But some days, I feel like that’s how much we work.

Anyway, if I made myself do something for 3 hours every day for 10 years…I would become an expert. It could be something so simple as designing stationary for a friend or making my own beer just to make my own labels. That sounds FUN! Did you know the way to a girl’s heart is through a bong of beer?

Oops, that’s me. I wouldn’t suggest trying it on any other girl. Except my college roommates.

One other point he made was to make sure you always have something cool-looking you can do when you can’t come up with any other solutions. You need to have a fall back when everything else is just failing. I need to work on this. I don’t think I have any amazing fallback when I have a mental and creative block and am running short on inspiration. Sometimes I color-coordinate my bamboo drawer full of Keurig K-Cups, but I don’t think that will be winning any design awards any time soon.

 29: Vladimir Nabokov: Father of Hyptertext

Vladimir Nabokov – Vladimir Vodka – Senior Week – Club H2O – Vomit – Pavement – Chasing Pavement – Adele – Music – Festivals – Summer –  Facepaint.

Hyptertext in a nutshell. I need to read Vlady’s book Pale Fire.

How does this relate to design? One simple idea can lead to a string of random thoughts and eventually lead to that crazy place that holds the answer to your design problem.

31: Information Design and the Placebo Effect

It’s the classic case where some girl is dancing topless on the top of the bar 2am only to find out there really was zero alcohol in the 10 drinks she had been supposedly getting sloshed off of the whole night.

The placebo effect.

Bierut provides another example: A report in the New York Times about the push-to-walk buttons that are mounted on poles at over 3,000 street corners in New York City, despite bearing official-looking signs that read “To Cross Street/Push Button/Wait for Walk Signal/Dept. of Transportation,” it appears that at least 2,500 of them have not worked for the last fifteen years. Yet we dutifully wait for them every day to tell us when it’s sufficiently safe to cross and not be hit by a Ford F-150.

So basically what I take from this…whatever information we include in our designs will be taken as The Truth by the general public. Be careful what you publish.


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