By Arry Schofield — 

To wrap up the annual American Institute of Graphic Arts Louisville Design Week, AIGA medalist Michael Bierut delivered a keynote speech at the Speed Art Museum.

While working under the world-famous Vignelli, also an AIGA medalist, Bierut said that even though he was the lowest man on the totem pole, he was treated with nothing but respect.

“If you were a designer – even the lowest of the low, like me – Massimo (Vignelli) treated you with a huge amount of respect,” Bierut said in an essay.

This is now evident in Bierut himself, taking the time to meet with students, and looking at sketchbooks that were brought to his book-signing.

In many interviews, Bierut often says that he learns more from his students and interns than anyone else.

“When you’re someone like Michael, you don’t have to say that,” Speed design manager Carrie Donovan said.

Following his book, “How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world,” Bierut included anecdotes from his career, each centered around a lesson he took away from it.

From creating a logo of the Doomsday Clock for the Atomic Scientists, reviving a historic typeface for Syracuse University and changing the face of New York City children’s libraries, Bierut encouraged every audience member to do their best in their field.

The Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign designer said that he feels a sense of pride when he see’s his design in the real world.

“I would say that’s what makes me the most proud, when my work in the world. I remember seeing Saks Fifth Avenue bags after I made the design. If I’m feeling sly, sometimes I’ll try to take a picture and share it with the other designer I worked on the project with,” Bierut said.

After the keynote speech Thursday, Bierut wrapped up his time in Louisville with a lunch talk at Sullivan University.

Photo Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons