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It’s on the Internet, so it must be True: I was a Member of Push Pin Studios

While Googling myself — What? You don’t? Liar — the other day I came across an intriguing link that I still can’t fully figure out. Digging myself out from under six feet of directories, I at least came to the following conclusions: It’s on the intranet of York College, under Media, Performance and Music and from there somehow you end in this very 1995-like web site, where the page in question is deeply buried and titled My page about a designer. The page is about Push Pin Studios. A celebrated group I was proudly part of, along with Paula Scher, Steve Heller, and, of course, the founders, Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, and Edward Sorel. Not.

I am also world famous — arguably correct to a certain extent — and have written Chronicles the Blistering Process, a book that returns absolutely no Google or Amazon searches, nor is it something I recall writing. Accurately, the page attributes the logo I did with Michael Bierut for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, but it also gives me credit for designing Spencer Fruhling’s “High Priority” winning entry in our contest from last year. Steven Heller, also listed as one of Push Pin’s “main graphic designers” is pictured as Steven Heller the three time Grammy award winning producer-composer, who could potentially pass as a younger version of our own Steven Heller.

The entry was written by 17-year-old James Inman, whose hobbies include shooting, motorbikes, and facts. Recalling my research efforts as a 17-year-old, I admit that my papers weren’t any better than James’ and should serve as a way of pointing out that I’m not bent on ridiculing his research, as I can deeply sympathize. I can also see where James went wrong: 1) Steve Heller, Paula Scher and I were some of the speakers at a 2004 AIGA New York chapter event celebrating the work of Push Pin, so I’m surprised that Noreen Morioka and Sean Adams were excluded 2) an image search on Google for Steven Heller does return two of the faux Heller in the first page, and 3) it shows James’ inventiveness: I think I will name my next design book Design: Chronicles of a Blistering Process. So, I simply thought that this was an intriguing page to point out on the perils of Google, and to establish once and for all and until Google’s cache fills up that I was indeed a proud member of Push Pin Studios. Even if I wasn’t born yet when they were active as a collective of designers and illustrators.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ARCHIVE ID 4329 FILED UNDER Designer/Design Firm Profile
PUBLISHED ON Jan.18.2008 BY Armin
JonSel’s comment is:

Perhaps this is FutureGoogle, and you are destined to A) write that book about blisters and B) resurrect Push Pin with an 80-year-old Steven Heller.

On Jan.18.2008 at 09:46 AM
Sean Flanagan’s comment is:

Great piece, Armin, and very funny. I must say I envy you because you can actually do a search for your own name and come up with results about yourself. While my name isn't incredibly popular, I personally know another Sean Flanagan who practices graphic design, and the two of us come up in searches interchangeably. So if someone were ever to do a research paper on me, I can forgive them ahead of time for including any of his credentials!

On Jan.18.2008 at 09:47 AM
Pagan’s comment is:

Funny story.

On Jan.18.2008 at 09:53 AM
Doug Bartow’s comment is:


I can't comment for long, however, as I have just by notified by the Branch Mgr. of the International Bank of Nigeria about $11M that's apparently been left to me by a long distant relative.

The internet rules!

On Jan.18.2008 at 10:24 AM
Derek Munn’s comment is:

I have a theory about this kind of thing. I think Google has taken on a life of it's own. It's managed to learn everything in existence. In this world.

Google has moved on to create an alternate universe to which it can attribute facts. There must have been a flux in the continuum and you got "Universe A" results in your "Universe 1" results.

Clearly that is what's occurring here. Because everything on the internet is true.

Did you hear that a U.F.O recently was spotted over Iraq and threatened to blow-up everyone to end the war?

On Jan.18.2008 at 10:32 AM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

Seriously, that's a great title! I mean its not a "how-to" of Blistering Process, which would be boring, but Chronicles, that sounds adventurous and exciting!

On Jan.18.2008 at 10:40 AM
VJ’s comment is:

Google myself? Never! :)

On Jan.18.2008 at 11:07 AM
Su’s comment is:

Armin: I'm not bent on ridiculing his research


On Jan.18.2008 at 11:47 AM
Jonathan Hoefler’s comment is:

I dunno, that looks like Steve Heller to me.

On Jan.18.2008 at 12:03 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

My love child, Steven Heller, is still apparently having problems with my "non-transparent" internet semi-anonymous cowardly moniker P-sky I-l-str-tor.(Just trying to throw them off track, OK?)
I gave up the name Marc Andreessen because some guy who says he invented Netscape is roaming around at Siggraph Conventions with my former name. I invented Netscape....or, at least, I think I remember inventing Netscape...

On Jan.18.2008 at 03:08 PM
Paula Scher’s comment is:

It gets worse than blogs on google. My wikipedia entry is erroneous in several parts, some of it due to a mistake in my bio on the Maya Stendhal Gallery website, and I see the error continuously multiplied when people use wikipedia as if it was a reliable resource tool. In the New History of Graphic Design, published by Yale, that was recently reviewed in Design Observer, I am listed as a designer "associated with Pushpin", While I am married to Seymour Chwast, I am 17 years younger than he is, never worked for Pushpin, and my earliest published work came at least good ten years after the impact of the Pushpin style. Perhaps the author used the same google source for research.

There is a terrific saying that "history is a lie agreed upon by many". It is only getting more so.

On Jan.18.2008 at 03:17 PM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

Here's the scary part about all of this, maybe somebody out there is posing as Armin, claiming to do all of the erroneous tasks, projects, jobs, and hobbies that the Real Armin found. I foresee a Michael Gibson novel in the near future that covers this very issue. Identity has gotten (and will continue to get) skewered, mutilated, and even mis-reported on the internet. But who stands to lose? Who stands to gain? Having a small research paper get buried in the public school file cabinet is one thing, but if it's full of errors and then scraped (copied, pasted, multiplied, and shared) by many hundreds and thousands of content generators, then holy cow, we have a problem. What's worse is when it gets read by hundreds, thousands, and then millions of people. These days, do we all have to manage our image by Googling ourselves now and then? Do we all need to manage our public relations persona?

On Jan.18.2008 at 03:33 PM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

Make that William Gibson.
Thanks to Doug Bartow for correcting the first science fiction reference above.

On Jan.18.2008 at 03:54 PM
diane zerr’s comment is:

I almost fell off of my chair...oh my! I'm so glad that the internet was not accepted as a reliable source when I was writing papers in school.

"Armin Vit is a graphic designer and journalist, he has written for Voice, Aiga, Emigre, Eye, How and Step . He is world famous for his work and is designs which are well known he has developed logos and brand names for companies."

What amazes me is that all of the Under Consideration projects were omitted. Bummer.

Would anyone give this kid an internship?

On Jan.18.2008 at 07:17 PM
Tselentis’s comment is:

Ernst Bettler would probably hire him.

On Jan.18.2008 at 08:23 PM
Randy J. Hunt’s comment is:

You don't look a lick over 60, Armin.

On Jan.18.2008 at 11:25 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Actually I think the picture of :Steven Heller" looks a bit like Jonathan Hoefler.

What a great find, Armin.

On Jan.18.2008 at 11:34 PM
Su’s comment is:

Paula: My wikipedia entry is erroneous [...] some of it due to a mistake in my bio on the Maya Stendhal Gallery website, and I see the error continuously multiplied when people use wikipedia as if it was a reliable resource tool.

Hold on. Wikipedia is never anything more than a secondary source; original research is actually frowned upon.

Now, it's a reasonable assumption that an eponymous web site, besides that of the gallery which clearly represents you, would—should!—be a reliable, if not primary, source. How do you reconcile chiding Wikipedia for propagating an error in your bio with also stating that "your" own site was the source of that error?

Is the error still there? If so, how long has it existed, what have you done to get it corrected, and why hasn't it been? I can't determine how long the site's been around, but the paulascher.com domain was registered in September 2006, which seems like plenty of time to me.

Now, yes, the person(s) who authored the WP bio may be guilty of not cross-referencing sources, but that assumes there's another conflicting one, and you didn't specify the error(s) in question. The deeper problem here is what if the gallery bio should turn out to be the only citable source for X error?

Oh, and Wikipedia also frowns upon editing your own page, though if you'll send me the most egregious mistakes, I'd be happy to make the corrections. But I stand by my previous statements in other discussions to the effect that complaining about wikis as if they were static documents is a fundamental misunderstanding of the format. You do not criticize wiki pages; you fix them.

On Jan.19.2008 at 05:28 AM
paula scher’s comment is:

I would love it if you would fix my wikipedia entry. The Maya Stendhal website was corrected and updated over 2 years ago.

I never attended Corcoran School of Art but did receive an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Corcoran.

I am not "currently" working on a project for Mount Vernon Square in Washington. That's very datable info and seems silly to list. (That was taken from the Maya site also, and not inaccurate when it appeared).

As for a cross check, it seems like the AIGA, which has a completely accurate bio on me in the medalist section, would be a pretty natural place to go.

On Jan.19.2008 at 07:28 AM
Niki’s comment is:

You totally have to make this boy's day and contact him.

On Jan.20.2008 at 07:39 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

the internet has always been garbage in/garbage out. i remember back in the 1990's i was a well know german photographer in his 60's who hung out with the early nw rock scene (the sonics, the wailers, etc.) and lived in a chicken coup.

it's nice to know some things never change.

On Jan.21.2008 at 04:27 PM
Viviane Tubiana’s comment is:

Ah the pitfalls of googling!
I love the entries that come up as me having attended design related events for which I had registered, but which I ultimately did not manage to actually attend.
And of course, I'm also a once well-known (but now deceased) French actress of the stage and screen.

On Jan.21.2008 at 06:50 PM
Viviane Tubiana’s comment is:

Ah the pitfalls of googling!

I love the entries that come up as me having attended design related events which I planned on attending (I had registered) but did not get to go to.

And of course, I'm also a once well-known (but now deceased) French actress of the stage and screen.

On Jan.21.2008 at 06:56 PM
mark jaquette’s comment is:

oui....hoh hoh hoh....oui oui...i am also a
famous chef in the s.w. regions of the united states,
when i goo-google myself! that sounds (when i
google myself) kinda naughty heh? maurice would sing
'thank heaven - for google names!'

mark jaquette (the artist - not the google chef) @

On Jan.21.2008 at 09:05 PM
Alex’s comment is:

No idea how it happened, but I think this is where Chronicles the Blistering Process came from:


On Jan.30.2008 at 09:41 AM
Warren T. (90 days, expired)’s comment is:

I dunno, Steven Heller is quite the man of faces. In fact, the editors of the Design Observer just slotted Bruce Willis to play his part in their fantasy cast of "Graphic Design: The Movie".

I think Steve may have had his hand in that one, though.

On Feb.03.2008 at 07:29 PM
Pesky’s comment is:

I see Richard Dreyfuss in the part of Steven Heller. (Sorry SH, I would have said Pierce Brosnan, but you didn't send me the $5 I asked for.)

On Feb.03.2008 at 09:24 PM
Warren T. (Prepaid Plan)’s comment is:

Wow! I just went back on that design observer post and they added Ben Kingsley ALSO for Steven Heller. In addition to that, I agree with Pesky. Richard Dreyfuss is a better fit. Anyway, I think my point has been proven.

On Feb.04.2008 at 07:00 PM