Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

150 Years, 7 Minutes, 6 Seconds

Explaining the 2008 financial crisis has proven more difficult than stemming it, but Michael Lewis and Planet Money have gone a long way in using words to unpack collateralized debt obligations for those who don’t trade them for a living.

Now Timothy Geithner, who ran the New York Fed when the crisis began and then became Secretary of the Treasury, is asking business-school students to make seven-minute infographic videos that explain what happened. He also invited Jessica to help judge them, and Jessica and Michael to talk about information design to the students.

Watching the three finalists, seven minutes can be a long time. As Michael says:
Some of the best pieces of information design are quite simple, beguilingly simple, and I think people who have mastered complicated fields of study sometimes resist that simplification. But it can be very useful to hold yourself to that standard.
Michael and Jessica also discuss University of Waterloo student Ariana Cuvin’s winning design in the contest to create a logo to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation—and the strong reaction to it from the design community.

Also mentioned:

  • Martyl Langsdorf
  • Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
  • Michael on the Doomsday Clock
  • Jessica’s book Reinventing the Wheel
  • Bruce Blackburn’s bicentennial logo

    MOO is also the sponsor of this episode. Learn more about Moo Letterpress business cards.

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  • Posted in: Business, Graphic Design, The Observatory

    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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