If your main exposure to the world of graphic design consists of swapping between Arial and Helvetica in Microsoft Word, then you need to read Michael Bierut — the perfect author to introduce you to that world. A partner at the big-deal design firm Pentagram and a co-founder of the Design Observer blog, Bierut can still empathize with those of us who wouldn’t know Milton Glaser from Milton Bradley, and his writing conveys this slightly obscure world with passion, wit, erudition, and above all, plainspoken economy.
Consisting of pop-culturally savvy pieces that run just two or three pages, Seventy-nine Short Essays is bound to contain at least one that speaks to your personal tastes: If a piece about the architect Eero Saarinen seems too inside-baseball, just skip ahead to an appreciative reminiscence of National Lampoon or a cool argument that Nabokov’s Pale Fire invented hypertext. As Bierut himself puts it, “Not everything is design. But design is about everything.”
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