Media Partnership / Design Indaba

Michael Bierut talks about logos and why we invest them with meaning

There’s a moment in this film where Michael Bierut comes over all Hayley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense as he declares: “ I can see things in typefaces that normal people can’t.” It’s part of his discussion about how “design can be a lonely thing” and that as you immerse yourself in that world “you’re actually making yourself less normal than regular people.” Filmed at Design Indaba in South Africa last month, this interesting short film moves onto to look at logos and why designers are so interested in them. Using famous examples like the Nike swoosh and the Target, um, target, Michael explains his theory that we’re drawn to them because they’re primitive and yet we invest them with so much meaning. “A lot of what we see when we’re looking at the logo isn’t really happening in the logo; it happens in our own mind,” he explains.

There are few people better able to articulate the role and significance of graphic design in modern society, so this is well worth four minutes of your time.


Michael Bierut: Saks Fifth Avenue


Michael Bierut: Museum of Art and Design logo


Michael Bierut: MIT business cards