Art director of the New York Times Book Review and founder and co-chair of the School of Visual Arts, New York MFA/Design Program. He is the former editor of the AIGA Journal of Graphic Design and author or editor of over 80 books on popular culture, graphic design history, and political art. His most recent books include The Graphic Design Reader, Allworth Press, The Education of a Design Designer, Allworth Press, and Counter Culture: The Allure of Mini-Mannequins, Princeton Architectural Press. His forthcoming books include: From Merz to Emigre and Beyond: Progressive Magazine Design of the 20th Century, Phaidon Press, Cuba Style: Graphics From the Golden Age of Design, Princeton Architectural Press, and Graphic Humor: The Art of Graphic Wit, Allworth Press.
Steven Heller describes the guilty revelation experienced when he learned that typeface software licenses are sold for use on specific, not unlimited numbers of CPUs. He calls for the ethical treatment of type designers, i.e. respect for their copyrights.
Essays · 5 March 2005 · English · 1511 words
A review of a new comic strip novel by an ‘underground comix master’, full of complex plot lines and psychologies, stories about and parodies of the underbelly of the cartoon business, all drwan exquisitely.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 633 words
A film review of director Tony Silver‘s documentary about the life and work of the Amercian illustrator Marshall Arisman.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 562 words
Steven Heller, in his affable way, reviews a book by Lewis Blackwell and Lorraine Wild which takes on Ed Fella's Polaroids of found graphics and alphabets throughout the US as well as some of his lettering. The book sounds like a lively account of American vernacular lettering and images, as well as a good platform to view Ed Fella's own work.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 975 words
A collection of Robert Crumb’s lesser known work spanning three decades gives credence to Steven Heller's claim that Crumb is the god of comics. Heller also gives a bit of background to the New York/US counterculture that Crumb fed with his racy work.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 594 words
The autobiography of iconoclast Tomi Ungerer is a fascinating first-hand account of his childhood under Nazi occupation. It is also a rare visual collection of his dangerously rebellious drawings from the time as well as the dark ephemera he collected, making this a rare combination of cultural and political documentation and artist's history.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 1194 words
An in depth account of Malcolm Quinn’s book about the swastika, which investigates in depth the history and function of the symbol, beginning with its earliest manifestations in cultures around the globe and even its pre-Nazi uses in western commerce, then focusing on its forever tarnishing appropriation by Hitler.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 1841 words
A brief rundown of the treatment of art by the Nazi state and the background of Hitler’s repressive cultural policies in this review of two books, one about the art of the Nazi state in general, and the other specifically about the show Degenerate Art which toured the Reich in an attempt to exterminate modern art.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 1624 words
A call for greater design history instruction in graphic design education as a way to better (and Heller hints proper) design. ‘Design programs should encourage designers to become critical historians...’
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 1688 words
Steven Heller discusses the history and current state of guerrilla, activist and political design from posters to attached image files.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 2857 words
A brief look at the role of graphic design criticism.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 844 words
An anecdotal history and analysis of the racy work of Robert Crumb, and the cultural situationing of Zap comics then and now.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 2671 words
An overview of the work of Cuban-born titling artist Pablo Ferro who broke ground with the titles for films like Dr. Strangelove and pioneered moving type for the screen.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 3038 words
A history of the little-known collaboration of Ladislav Sutnar and Knud Lönberg-Holm, who together were a modern design team which was ahead of its time in the realm of information information design.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 2827 words
About the German-born founder of the Bettmann Archives in New York which houses over 5 million cuts, drawings, images and pieces of ephemera, collected since the 1930's.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 607 words
A history and analysis of the role played by this American precursor to the graphic design magazine, which sought to bring progressive commercial graphic and industrial arts into the mainstream.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 1276 words
The life and work of the quietly pivotal Swiss modern design Erik Nitsche, who's clients ranged from the MOMA to RCA in a career that spanned the 20th century.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 4685 words
In 1999, Print magazine talked to 20 American design heroes and had them look at work from their halcyon days. Designers from Art Chantry to Massimo Vignelli discuss a piece of early work as a foil for Print’s ‘Designers Under Thirty’ section.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 4096 words
The point-form story of a German dentist named Hans Josef Sachs and the magazine Das Plakat he founded on his love for posters. Responsible for the promulgation of early German advertising art abroad, his vast collection was confiscated by Goebbels for the Nazis’ collections and Sachs narrowly escaped the Holocaust. Steven Heller looks at the rise and fall of this significant early design periodical.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 1894 words
Wooden display types, Victorian chromolithography and the demise of Art Nouveau in the form of a poster for a German Match company in 1906...
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 1256 words
The “epitome of a post-war Modernist”, Walter Herdeg, backbone of Graphis magazine, is appraised by Steven Heller.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 711 words
In the early 1990s Steven Heller takes on the word ugly as he sees it applied to graphic design and design education. En route, his views of art history, pop culture and recent design trends are considered in his essay about style and meaning in design.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 2778 words
A discussion about the role of design, museums and more in British and American culture.
Interviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 1548 words
Design errors in academic design curricula, the 2000 presidential ballot and aviation and nuclear accidents are considered, the concept of human error is called into question, and a call for human-centered design for the fallible user is put forward in this discussion from 2001.
Interviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 2341 words
A discussion about the art and design ephemera collecting practices of Merrill Berman, who has amassed a vast portfolio of design history from the past century and more.
Interviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 2340 words
America as the republic of entertainment, the way Americans’ freedom in a vast choice of cable TV stations, xenophobia and the putting forward of the theory that American culture is NOT run by the political Right: all in the context of European and American history.
Interviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 3315 words
Steven Heller laments the disappearance of refined modern design craftsmanship and organisation, and provides some background to Sutnar’s work, upholding him as a pioneer of just this sort of waning craft.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 1230 words