Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

Episode 94: Women of the Year

For this episode, Michael and Jessica talk about some favorite things of the year, including the works of two pseudonymous authors “who examine the life of young girls in a changing world”: Elena Ferrante, whose quartet of Neapolitan novels has been adapted into the HBO series My Beautiful Friend, and Olivia Jaimes, the latest (and first woman) cartoonist to take on the daily comic strip Nancy.

Michael says he loves the look of the series, which is filmed largely on a soundstage,
I found myself thinking a lot about De Chirico particularly. There are lots of perspectival shots where you see these colonnades, views toward the horizon that just seems both desolate and surreal in that De Chirico way. And it just makes everything seem like this really funny, eerie, hypnotic to me combination of real and artificiality...
As for the visual presences of the books, Michael says the American edition of the Neapolitan quartet is
just waiting to be a design class assignment: Fix these covers. People say they're exactly the right covers because, like the author and the subject matter, they have a stealth effect on you. They look like harmless romances, then you open them up and you find you’re absorbed into this amazing, hermetic world that she creates...

Also mentioned this week:
Subscribe to The Observatory on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app, or follow Design Observer on Spotify or Soundcloud.

Posted in: Arts + Culture, 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.

Jobs | July 19