Joshua Levi Gets Michael Bierut for a Song

music man.jpg

Here at UnBeige, we try not to let a week go by without a fresh Michael Bierut story. What’s the “renowned graphic artist,” Pentagram partner, AIGA medalist, savvy interlocutor, and Saks‘ savior up to now? As if you needed further proof of Bierut’s boundless talent, we can now confirm that he can both sing and (simultaneously) convey valuable information about the availability of graphic designer Joshua Levi!

Levi, you see, was the lucky bidder in the AIGA/NY Holiday Party auction for “Bierut’s voice on your phone greeting.” After paying up $251 (which benefited the AIGA/NY Mentoring Program), Levi decided upon a creative, collaborative approach. “Instead of scripting him, I thought it would be more fun to have him come up with something,” Levi tells us. “I made some rules, he made content to fit the structure.” His demands, which he concedes were “a bit ridiculous,” were as follows:

  • Sung a cappella to a melody of your choice
  • Between 4-10 seconds
  • No word minimum/max
  • You may, but do not have to state your own name
  • You must state my name at least once and indicate it is my greeting

The result? What Levi calls a “quick, clever, and comical” tune that he immediately made his default voicemail greeting. And what has been the response to Bierut’s jingle? “Voicemail messages of suspended laughter,” says Levi. “Many of them.” But, like much of Bierut’s oeuvre, it’s proven to be a superior blend of form and function. “The greeting’s normal enough that it doesn’t interfere with business-type messages. It’s more of an inside thing, either you get it or you don’t,” says Levi. “Prior to this, I had never had a caller disappointed that I answered my phone.”

And now we are proud to present Bierut’s snappy greeting, in its entirety (alas, there’s no visual component, but we’ve provided the graphic at the top of this post to help get your imagination flowing). Note how Bierut artfully rhymes “ready” with “Levi.” UnBeige readers, don’t try this at home!