Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Distinctions

Introducing Design at Yale School of Management

Design Observer co-founders Jessica Helfand, left, and Michael Bierut

We're delighted to announce that beginning on July 1, we will both join the Yale School of Management as faculty in design.

What does it mean to teach design in a business school? We see it as reinforcing our commitment to teaching design as a humanist discipline. At SOM, we will approach it as one might a second language, introducing theory and practice, defining visual grammar, reframing expression, construction, and craft. 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.

The School of Management seems to us a fitting home for this important work. Founded in the early 1970s, SOM pioneered a cross-disciplinary system for training effective and ethical leaders in business, government, and the nonprofit sector. Today, with an international faculty, a solid core curriculum, and a Global Network for Advanced Management, SOM is perfectly positioned to both introduce —and integrate—design across its curricula.

This is the beginning of something new and exciting, but also an extension of our work as Senior Critics at the Yale School of Art. (It’s also a natural evolution of what we started here at Design Observer more than a decade ago.) We remain, as ever, committed to exploring design’s potential impact across multiple disciplines and within a larger and increasingly complex world.

We look forward to sharing updates here about our new initiatives at Yale, and welcome your input.

Comments [1]

This is very intriguing, and long overdue. Congratulations to you both. The program is in very good hands and I look forward to reading more as things progress.
Tim Smith

Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.

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