Beatrice for For the Love of Design


"Being creative is one way to compensate for this brief time on earth." 

From another writer, this could come off as sentimental. Coming from Steven Heller, the message is pragmatic and an understated piece of advice from a pioneering designer whose multi-hyphenate career and prolific output are seemingly without peer. For the Love of Design is one of Heller's newest releases, adding to over 200 books he has authored, co-authored, or edited over the past forty years. The book features recent essays that convey his inquisitive nature, critical engagement, and metaphysical outlook on design culture. The book's tone has the added warmth of nostalgia and the trademark sharp-eyed self-assessment of a designer who is taking stock in the autumn of life. 

Designed by Ezra Lee, this essay compilation features Beatrice Display and Standard on a yellow background. Simple and bold, there is nothing else on the cover besides the typography. Beatrice Display naturally takes center stage; the words "Love" and "Design" are allocated the most real estate. Lee plays to the book's dimensions by sitting the title on its side, so that the typography has as much room as possible in the allowable space.


Heller is a quintessential New York designer, having come of age creatively in the city during the 1960s. He cut his teeth designing for a number of underground publications before he went on to work as an art director at the New York Times for over thirty years. He is currently the co-chair of MFA Design: Designer as Author at SVA, which is one of several programs he has created and fostered.

A quick glance Heller's work history speaks to an almost inhuman capacity for productivity; the titles he can claim include art director, graphic designer, curator, educator, journalist, and writer. It's gently amusing, then, that the book opens with a batch of un-commissioned commencement speeches, which Heller wrote just in case he gets asked to give them; for someone so tirelessly engaged with design and visual communication, one shouldn't be surprised that he has even realized writing for hypothetical scenarios. As a designer who has had such a rich career to reflect upon, we can forgive Heller's ego here and take the many lessons he's ascertained over the years, communicated effortlessly, and with a passion we shouldn't take for granted.

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