Lecture by Michael Beirut

Michael Beirut, a partner at Pentagram who has previously worked with Vignelli Associates for close to ten years as their graphics design Vice President. His talk had graphics design as the subject matter while at the same time trying to open the minds of the students to understand new perspectives about what design is capable of doing.  A vital point made in his lecture was how graphic designers can find happiness by using their artistic skills in service of practical goals. Graphic design to him was an impeccable way to combine literacy, usefulness and art which brought pleasure in his life when his work improved the lives of people, even in the slightest manner. His advice to young designers was to first slow down and assess a problem that they intend to solve. An identity system would aid the designer in knowing who their audience was as oppose to simply designing for themselves. He was of the opinion that the client was always the audience and therefore the goal would be to always please them. The most significant point that he happened to note in identity design was the rise of what he termed as ‘dynamic identity’. According to him, dynamism should revolve around enduring symbols that can be imposed on people’s private interpretations. Simplicity also plays a huge role in creating iconic designs, something that wouldn’t a software tutorial to build. Design, it was said, was to be utilized as a secret disguise to mainly infiltrate whichever world one intended to get into. Doing this over and over again translates ones interest into curiosity which elevates ones work to a level. Being passionate about ones craft is a recipe for success and Beirut refers to this as creating a professional romance with ones graphic design.

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