Steven Heller is an American design treasure. He also has a quirky sense of humor all his own. Photos by Ralph Vasquez (L) and Hank Richardson (R).
Educators and students are invited to come and check out “The Art of Mid-Century Modern Graphic Design” with Steven Heller, January 31st at 1 p.m. at the High Museum of Art’s Rich Auditorium, 1280 Peachtree Street, Atlanta; followed by the Post-Modern Millennial After-Party at Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. It’s free and everyone is welcome. Then join us and MODA for Design Matters Live with Steven Heller and Debbie Millman, once again at the High’s Rich Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.
Last week I cornered my friend, prolific author and designer Steve Heller, and asked him a question: “Steve, if you designed your tombstone what might it say?” Off the top of his head he quipped, ”Steve Heller (below) Was Once Alive.”
After all, if you don’t write or design your own tombstone, someone else will. Just imagine it chiseled in Comic Sans or Papyrus!
Well, since Steve is very much alive, he’s giving an awesome presentation for students on Wednesday, January 31st in the first part of a “Design Conversations Day” sponsored by Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center and MODA. Steve Heller has a sense of humor that is really quite special and sometimes titles like the one he’ll be talking about, “The Art of Mid-Century Modern Graphic Design” can really sound intense. But Steve, just short of genius, can take complex subjects and make them simple, interesting and relevant for students and educators alike.
Steve Heller is fun, quirky, emphatic, witty, eclectic, intoxicating, a bit of a nonconformist, has the best vocabulary of anyone anywhere and kindness aplenty. So, we’re honoring Steve directly following the talk—we’re throwing a party for all college and university students attending the lecture back over at Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center. You are invited and, believe me, you don’t want to miss it. We’ll have special events, comfort food and libations aplenty. Some crazy and fun things you’ll like—interactive events, gifts and giveaways. You’ll get to tour and experience the creative environment of the campus, and we’ll even find a few minutes to share with you what Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center is all about. It’s special and it’s for you: the amazing students at the fabulous schools in our region and across the south.
Recently, I asked Steve, “So, just how many books have you authored?” Steve replied, “Hank, I’ve done over 180 books as editor, author or coauthor, and around 150 introductions or afterwords.” That’s prolific and—one might say—heroic. That’s besides his life’s work at the New York Times Book Review, where he spent 30 years as art director. Today, he writes the Visual Column for the Times Book Review. He’s an editor for amazing publications such as Print, Eye, Baseline, I.D. Magazine, The Daily Heller, and Editor of AIGA’s Voice. Then there are the awards—AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement, Pratt’s Herschel Levitt Award, Society of Illustrator’s Award for Art Direction and the Cooper Hewitt Museums’ Design Mind Award. He is an educator personified, now at SVA in NY where he is Special Consultant to the President, and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program.
I could go on about all of the accolades, awards and honors Steve has been bestowed but these would be comments for those who encounter him. What I want you to know as a student, what is important— and why you should stop what you are doing right now and go register for this event and the party— is that Steve Heller’s influence has gone way beyond these plaudits, to the many who will never get a chance to hear or meet him but who will be forever influenced by him all across our planet. Steve is a creative treasure, and, I am proud to say, a dear friend for many years. And you—all you students and educators have on January 31st—the opportunity to hang out with him, experience his wit, hear his insights, and enjoy a little bit of jollity with him at Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center. Come join the fun.