These Words of Wisdom Michael Bierut Gives to Designers is Unexpected, Yet Totally Practical

Read more about the only advice Michael Bierut gives to designers.

Design luminary, Michael Bierut has been saving his notebooks for 35 years. He can look back at phone numbers, sketches, and conversation snippets from design projects dating as far back as 1982.

His archives were essential to the compilation of his book How To and pages from those early notebooks are included in the monograph-design-manual-manifesto that is How To. But the prospect of publishing a retrospective isn’t why he started hanging on to his work.

The benefit to keeping track of his notebooks promised more than fodder for a future book. By holding on to those early design efforts Michael found, “there is a little bit of a glimpse into how process works when you look at something like that.”

In his working life, he and the designers at Pentagram are meticulous chroniclers of every project. But his approach to documenting the designer’s journey isn’t reserved for professional projects alone. In fact, he recommends it to everyone:

“The only advice I give to people, and it sounds egotistical, is really just to save everything.”Thinking Like A Book Designer

Michael sees the act of saving your sketches, holding on to your notes, and chronicling your process as a show of respect for your own work.

He encourages designers to keep their notebooks and sketchbooks orderly and organized. Reviewing old notes and sketches is a powerful way to track you development as a designer and learn more about your good and bad habits.

To hear more from Michael, watch the video below and RSVP for his free class on October 21st at 9:00 am PST.


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Rachel is the content marketing lead for the CreativeLive Craft Channel. Her side hustle is floral design and her day job is awesome. @ms_gregarious.