Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts and co-founder of the MFA Design Criticism program. He writes the "Visuals" column for The New York Times Book Review, "Graphic Content" for T-Style's "The Moment" blog, and The Daily Heller for Print magazine. He is the author or editor of over 140 books on design and popular visual culture.



I started teaching while I was still in my twenties, and wasn't much older than the continuing ed students in my first class.


Motorway Signs: Selected by monika parrinder

There's an oft-quoted motorway sign that when heading out of London on the M1, simply points north.

Topic: Environmental Design

Letters in Pompeii: Selected by mauro zennaro

I saw for the first time this picture in Edward M.

Topics: Design Reference, Type

Requiem for 500 Thousand: Selected by krzysztof lenk

This Polish poster was designed by Leszek Holdanowiczin 1963 for the documentary movie Requiem for 500 Thousand, on the history and tragic end of the Warsaw Ghetto under German occupation during World War II.

Topic: Profiles

Deborah Buck: Buck House

Deborah Buck, proprietor of Buck House in New York, is an artist and designer.

Topic: Profiles

Constantin Boym: Souvenirs at the End of the Century

Constantin Boym was born in Moscow, studied design in Italy, and in 1986, founded Boym Partners Inc.

Topic: Profiles

polar bear (1928): Selected by george tscherny

We are all familiar with the work of Isamu Noguchi (1904–1986): his lamps, gardens, playgrounds, the "amoeba" coffee table, stage sets for Martha Graham, and most of all his sculpture.


Newsweek: Selected by bonnie siegler

As the death toll of magazines continues to ring, Ihave become especially romantic about the covers of yesteryear.

Topic: Design Reference

The Urban Studio: Anatomy of a Successful Project

James Victore, Advertising and Design, School of Visual Arts, New York, New York, USA Briefly describe your class project.

Topic: Profiles

Commercial Art of Palestine, 1938: Selected by david tartakover

The original design which is gouache on paper, (23.

Topic: Design Reference

Jesse Willmon: commix (

Purpose: Commix is an online tool for creating your own comics.

Topic: Profiles


Ben Shahn's 1968 poster for presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy completely broke the mold of staid, graphically bland campaign posters.

Topic: Random


Books uninspired, the classrooms were bored.

Topic: Random

Banco Type: Selected by cyrus highsmith

When someone asks me what my favorite typeface is, I reply, "Banco.

Topic: Type

Apartheid Museum: Selected by warren lehrer

Approaching the entrance to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, my wife, our friend Mike Premo, and I are faced with choices.

Topic: Random

Jeffrey Everett: el jefe design (

Purpose: I believe that the T-shirt is the best way to express one's individuality and that if I can convince one person to buy a shirt I have done something right.

Topic: Profiles

The Buffalo Nickel: Selected by R. O. Blechman

Back in the '30s and into the early '50s, this coin, minted in 1913, was something you touched every day, barely looking at it.

Topic: Random

New Identity for the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna: Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna

Class: Graphic Design and Computer Graphics Level: Second Year Faculty: Maurizio Osti and Danilo Danisi Duration of Project: Two Semesters Project Brief Students are charged with developing a new identity system for the academy to reflect changes in the organizational structure and enhanced communication courses initiated in 2004, according to the reforms proposed by the Italian Ministry of Education.


Medical Information Design: University IUAV of Venice / Department of Art and Industrial Design

Class: Master in Medical Design/Information Design Level: Masters Faculty: Medardo Chiapponi Duration of Project: One Semester plus Thesis Project Brief This project is connected to the activities of a research unit in medical design, located inside the Venice hospital.

Topics: Interactive Design, Professional Development, Random

Irina Lee, School of Visual Arts, New York, New York, USA: Anatomy of a Successful Project

What was your most interesting class project? Street Signs for an Urban Design class.

Topics: Design Reference, Professional Development, Random

Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Class: Poster Design Level: Junior and Senior Elective Faculty: Chaz Maviyane-Davies Duration of Project: Two Weeks Project Brief The world is in precarious shape and what we manage to do to each other, even worse.

Topics: Design Reference, Layouts, Managing Design, Professional Development

London Underground Graphics: Selected by J.J. Sedelmaier

I can't think of a more substantial and influential collection of posters designed under one company's umbrella than the posters of the London Underground.

Topics: Branding Identity, Design Reference, Environmental Design, Professional Development, Random

Rick Landers: Wink: Work at Play

Purpose: Wink is a line of office and desktop products intended to bring a little light-hearted joy into the office/work environment, reminding its viewer that life should not be "all work and no play.

Topics: Branding Identity, Pattern & Palette, Product Design, Professional Development

Maira Kalman: Various

Maira Kalman is an illustrator, author, and designer whose artwork is featured in a new edition of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style.

Topics: Branding Identity, Fashion, Product Design, Professional Development, Profiles

The National Parks Service: Selected by R. Roger Remington

When speaking about his design methodology, Massimo Vignelli said, "Design without structure is anarchy.

Topics: Branding Identity, Environmental Design, Layouts, Pattern & Palette

Blue, Joni Mitchell: Selected by Allan Chochinov

Gary Burden designed so many iconic record covers—for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the Doors to the Eagles and Jackson Browne.

Topics: Color, Product Design, Profiles

Carlos Segura: T26, Digital Type Foundry

Carlos Segura is the founder of T26 Digital Type Foundry.

Topics: Interactive Design, Professional Development, Profiles, Studio Secrets, Type

Everlast Logo: Selected by Ralph Caplan

Nearly a century before the Michael Phelps swimsuit controversy, a seventeen-year-old Bronx swimmer named Jacob Golomb set out to improve swimsuit technology.

Topics: Branding Identity, Product Design, Profiles

Signs of Italy: Selected by Louise Fili

For years and years, I have been documenting the vernacular signage of Italy.

Topics: Branding Identity, Color, Handmade, Type

Sam Potts: Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

Sam Potts runs a generalist graphic design practice in New York City.

Topics: Branding Identity, Managing Design, Packaging, Product Design, Profiles

Amanda Spielman: Bookfool

Purpose: Bookfool is an online resource for fiction recommendations that matches people to books based on factors such as mood, personal circumstances, and geographical locations of interest.

Topics: Branding Identity, Interactive Design, Profiles

Dylan Poster: Selected by Andrea Rauch

Milton Glaser's "Dylan" poster was perhaps the most influential graphic object of my formative years, the early '70s, when I just got out of school.

Topics: Color, Pattern & Palette, Profiles, Self-Promotion

The Formal Language of a Display Typeface: Iceland Academy of the Arts

Class: Forms and Ideas 1 Level: Third (Final) Year Faculty: Goddur Duration of Project: Eight Weeks Project Brief Design a new display typeface based on an existing typeface.

Topics: Design Reference, Professional Development, Random, Type

History Of Russia: Selected by Christoph Niemann

A friend gave me Doré's History of Holy Russia when I was twenty-five.

Topics: Design Reference, Professional Development, Profiles

Morton Salt Umbrella Girl: Selected by Debbie Millman

Joy Morton started the Morton Salt Company in 1910 with a novel idea: By adding magnesium carbonate to salt crystals, moisture would not affect the granules and lumps and clumps could be avoided in damp, humid weather.

Topics: Branding Identity, Design Reference, Profiles

Breaking the Rules in Interactive Media Design: Yildiz Technical University, Department of Communication Design

Class: Multimedia Design Studio 3 Level: Fourth Year Faculty: Oguzhan Ozcan and Asim Evren Yantac Duration of Project: One Semester Project Brief In this advance design practice class, the students study how to break the rules in interaction design that they learned in their second-year course "Basics in Interaction Design.

Topics: Interactive Design, Professional Development, Random

Coca-Cola Bottle: Selected by tim hossler

This humble bottle is a souvenir from my father's trip to Egypt in the early 1980s.

Topics: Branding Identity, Packaging, Product Design, Profiles

My First Political Poster Design: Chile, the Other September 11th: Maryse Eloy School of Art/University of Art and Design Helsinki

Class: Visual Communication: Semiology Level: Third Year Faculty: François Caspar Duration of Project: Four Weeks Class: International Workshop Level: Fifth Year Faculty: François Caspar Duration of Project: One Week Project Brief Students should research and collect images that represent and memorialize the events of September 11, 2001, from the point of view both of Chile and New York City.

Topics: Design Reference, Layouts, Professional Development, Random

Dave Eggers: McSweeney's Publishing

Dave Eggers, founder of McSweeney's Publishing, is a writer and designer.

Topics: Branding Identity, Layouts, Product Design, Professional Development, Profiles

Visual Storytelling and Narrative Form: Anatomy of a Successful Project

Richard Poulin, Advertising and Design, School of Visual Arts, New York, New York, USA Briefly describe your class project.

Topics: Branding Identity, Professional Development, Studio Secrets

Richard Kegler: P22 Type Foundry

Richard Kegler, founder of P22 Type Foundry in Buffalo, New York, is interested in the history of art and design.

Topics: Branding Identity, Professional Development, Profiles, Type

James Victore: Victore Plates

James Victore is a designer who claims his studio is hell-bent on world domination.

Topics: Branding Identity, Product Design, Profiles

Sierra Krause: Vega

Purpose: Vega is a line of interior lights that fuse functional lighting and art into one object.

Topics: Branding Identity, Color, Product Design, Profiles

South African Stories: Red and Yellow School of Logic and Magic/ Stellenbosch University

Class: Graphic Design Level: Second Year Faculty: Gabby Raaf Project Brief "South African Stories" was the theme of Orange Juice Design's experimental graphics magazine i-Jusi (issue 24) in late 2007.

Topics: Branding Identity, Layouts, Professional Development

Illustrating a Fiction Spread: Missouri State University, Department of Art and Design

Class: Image Design Level: Junior Faculty: Cedomir Kostovic Duration of Project: Three Weeks Project Brief Your task is to produce an illustration for a short story to be published in a fictional magazine and come up with design solution for a spread.

Topics: Design Reference, Layouts, Professional Development

Dragan Mileusnic & Zeljko Serdarevic: Potscriptum Publishing

Dragan Mileusnic and Zeljko Serdarevic formed a creative partnership in 2003 in Zagreb, Croatia, and together have created award-winning websites, edited and published a bestselling monograph on former Yugoslavia, and designed visual identities, and books.

Topics: Layouts, Profiles, Type