Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

Food for Thought

More than 100 designers, from Calvin Klein to Paula Scher, signed an amicus brief supporting Apple in the latest stage of their legal battle with Samsung. This will be the first design patent case to reach the Supreme Court in more than 100 years.

Michael and Jessica discuss the tensions between modernist design and intellectual property, and Michael points out the following irony:
When the iPhone came out, it looked beautiful to me but it didn’t look original, because it reminded me of something. And I suspect I wasn’t the only one. It reminded me of the Braun ET66 calculator that had been designed decades before by Dieter Rams: an object almost the same proportion with indeed, in fact, rounded corners.… Now we have the irony of the designer of that product standing up for the rights of the person who knocked him off first.

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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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