Steven Heller

Graphic Designer / United States / Co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York

Steven Heller wears many hats (in addition to the New York Yankees): For 33 years he was an art director at the New York Times, originally on the Op-Ed Page and for almost 30 of those years with the New York Times Book Review. Currently, he is co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author Department, Special Consultant to the President of SVA for New Programs, and writes the "Visuals" column for the New York Times Book Review.

He is the co-founder and co-chair (with Lita Talarico) of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he lectures on the history of graphic design. Prior to this, he lectured for 14 years on the history of illustration in the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at the School of Visual Arts. He also was director for ten years of SVA’s "Modernism & Eclecticism: A History of American Graphic Design" symposiums.

With Seymour Chwast he has directed Push Pin Editions, a packager of visual books, and with his wife, Louise Fili, he has produced more than 20 books and design products for Chronicle Books and other publishers.

For more than two decades he has been contributing editor to Print, Eye, Baseline, and I.D. magazines, and has contributed hundreds of articles, critical essays, and columns (including his interview column “Dialogue” in Print) to a score of other design and culture journals.

As editor of the AIGA Journal of Graphic Design he published scores of critical and journalistic writers on design, and currently as editor of AIGA VOICE: Online Journal of Design, he continues to help build a critical vocabulary for the field.

The author, co-author, and/or editor of more than 130 books on design and popular culture, Heller has worked with a score of publishers, including Chronicle Books, Allworth Press, Harry N. Abrams, Phaidon Press, Taschen Press, Abbeville Press, Thames & Hudson, Rockport, Northlight, and more. For a complete list, visit

He has produced or been curator of a number of exhibitions, including “Art Against War,” “The Satiric Image: Painters as Cartoonists and Caricaturists,” “The Malik Verlag,” and “The Art of Simplicissumus: Germany’s Most Influential Satire Magazine,” among them. He has organized various conferences, including The School of Visual Arts’ “How We Learn What We Learn,” devoted to the future of design education, and AIGA’s “Looking Closer: Graphic Design History and Criticism.”

Heller was the recipient of the AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 1999, the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame Special Educators Award in 1996, the Pratt Institute Herschel Levitt Award in 2000, and the Society of Illustrators Richard Gangel Award for Art Direction in 2006.

Contributed Articles

Daily Features
By Steven Heller January 24, 2023

Graphic design writer and expert Steven Heller recommends a new book and kicks off our new series, “One Book and Why.”

Daily Features
By Steven Heller November 11, 2013

Steven Heller has a thing for Eloise, names his favorite female writer, and gives more answers to The Proust Questionnaire—Book Edition.

comments powered by Disqus