Jessica Helfand and Michael Bierut, writers, graphic designers, and co-founders of Design Observer, will join the Yale School of Management as faculty in design this summer.
In 2003, Helfand and Bierut worked with writer Rick Poynor and author and designer William Drenttel to establish Design Observer, a website with news, features, and essays on design, urbanism, innovation and pop culture.
Helfand and Bierut believe that a quality faculty, solid curriculum, and involvement in the 28-school Global Network for Advanced Management will allow the Yale School of Management to introduce and integrate design across its programs.
“At SOM, we will approach it as one might a second language, introducing theory and practice, defining visual grammar, reframing expression, construction, and craft,” Helfand and Bierut wrote on Design Observer. “Can we move beyond the clichés of whiteboards and Magic Markers, away from Post-It notes and buzzwords, and past the overused promises of ‘design thinking’ to define new ways of exploring the value that design can bring to business—and to a larger world? We think so—and SOM does, too.”
Helfand graduated from Yale with Master of Fine Arts and has taught at the university since 1994. She has written books on subjects like graphic designer Paul Rand and the information wheel. Her book on scrapbooks, titled Scrapbooks: An American History, was named the best visual book of 2008 by The New York Times.
Bierut, a partner with Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy, is a Senior Critic in Graphic Design at the Yale School of Art. With Pentagram, he has led identity and branding strategies for companies like Benetton, Verizon, and the New York Jets, and his work has been added to permanent collections at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.