Paula Scher & Michael Bierut at the Brand New Conference

The Brand New Conference is underway right now, with a few more minutes left in the lunch break. So far the most inspiring and spirited part of the event was, unsurprisingly, the chat between Armin Vit and the Antony and Cleopatra of design, Pentragram partners Michael Bierut and Paula Scher. Here are my unedited tweets from the conversation — I mostly captured Paula’s comments, but there was a lot of back and forth. It’s not a complete recap by any means, but there are some great ideas in here about clients, partners and doing good work.

  • Paula Scher: if you can fake your way through something 3 times, you’re an expert.
  • PS: Pentagram is a place for makers. We don’t want to be so big & overwrought that you can’t make. Always pushing this.
  • PS: @pentagramdesign is backing. You join to do better work. It’s an org of designers who don’t want to be pigeonholed.
  • Michael Bierut: @pentagramdesign doesn’t have a managing partner. No bosses. Everyone has to remain independent. You have to love the mess.
  • PS — client relationship: it’s all about structure and who is god. I want to get to them fast. Get to the decider.
  • PS: my best work has been when a client calls me directly. You can tell a lot about a client in how they get to you & hire you.
  • PS: it’s like dating. If you try to break up with a client, they want you. It’s all about relationships.
  • PS: The longer you design, the easier it becomes. The 34 years is real. It’s getting approval that’s the hard part.
  • PS: I like being scared. Being “too professional”, being pat – you need to fail a bit, otherwise it’s boring.
  • PS: Planning w/ purpose. You enhance the mapping w/ spirit & personality. Bringing something more than the brief to the project.
  • PS: strategy is universal but intuition is what brings character to design. This is why we’re good.
  • PS: reputation vs repetition. The great reputation doesn’t make it easier. It’s the doing over & over that helps.
  • PS: The Met’s in-house team is great but they hired an ad agency & quality went down. What sucks is that’s what everyone sees.
  • PS on partners: what’s great is that there are 17 of then & that mitigates what’s disgusting about each of them.
  • PS on partners: our only business strategy is that new people change us. It’s the most important thing we do.

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