Michael Rock is a graphic designer, professor at Yale School of Art and founding partner and creative director of 2×4. He has written the book Multiple Signatures and recently wrote an article for the New York Times entitled, The Accidental Power of Design. Michael Rock received his BA in Humanities from Union in 1981 before receiving his MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Micheal founded 2×4, a design firm based in New York City. He is currently the director of the Graphic Architecture Project at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Michael is the recipient of the 1999 Rome Prize in Design, and was awarded the National Design Award in 2006.
In his portrait of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the Illinois Institute of Technology, Rock uses thousands of tiny pictograms depicting various student activities to make up the facial features of van der Rohe. This is just one example of how Rock challenged accepted design conventions by utilizing a diverse range of media. This mural in particular was silkscreened onto the sliding glass door that entered the building of the McCormick Tribune Campus Center, forcing those coming into the building to step through van der Rohe’s mouth.