(This poster was found on Pinterest)

In the Design Observer Group, I listened to an interview that was published on November 2, 2015, between Debbie Millman and Michael Bierut. Debbie Millman interviews the co-founder of Design Observer, Michael Bierut. In the interview, Bierut talks his book and about his experiences as a graphic designer. Bierut began designing at a young age without even knowing he was doing graphic design. He started off with illustrations and designing for organizations at his school such as the school play. Bierut majored in graphic design at the University of Cincinnati and he later became a partner at Pentagram, in the New York office.

At the beginning of the interview, Michael Bierut talks about laundry, and about his obsession with laundry. He does all the laundry in his house for his family and refers to the process as a “restoration of order”. When I first heard this, I thought it was interesting that he cared about cleanliness and I also thought that it was great that he helped out with the household chores. However, I did not see what laundry had to do with graphic design, or why Millman had asked him about this particular obsession, but I continued to listen. Bierut then explained to Millman, how laundry is this messy thing that becomes clean and how it relates to graphic design.

When you look at a design piece, for example the Graphic Design History Poster above, you see how well structured and well thought out this design piece is. However what you do not see is the “mess” behind this poster. In order to create this poster the designer started off with research. They had to research the history of graphic design and find out all the dates for the different movements in the history. They had to do visual research and find inspirations for their poster design. The designer had to do type and color studies, and then create sketches for the poster, while keeping in mind the layout and grid structure as well. After the first poster designs were produced, the designer might have had to go back and make some edits to the poster, or, they might have gone back to the “drawing board”, and did additional research to create a different poster. All the research for this poster is all apart of a very necessary process and would be classified as the “messy thing” Bierut talks about cleaning. How does one go about cleaning said messy thing? Once all the information is gathered, it is then the graphic designers job to put it all together and wrap it up into one unified design. The final piece is that clean finish that comes after laundry has been washed, dried, and put away. The mess is clean and you are left with a beautiful poster.

It is amazing how a household chore can be compared to graphic design. Michael Bierut forced me to dig deep into the corners of my mind to figure out what he meant. Graphic design is not just a print or a website design, it is also the process behind the designs and without the process the design would not exist.

Click here to view the original interview



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