Alan Siegel is one of the best-known figures in the branding industry and a longtime advocate of clarity and simplicity in communications. In 2011, Alan created Siegelvision, an organizational identity and brand strategy consultancy that champions clarity above all. Alan is also the founder and chairman emeritus of global branding agency Siegel+Gale.
An industry pioneer
Alan Siegel founded Siegel+Gale in 1969, and over the course of forty years transformed it from a small consultancy into one of the most respected branding firms in the world. While at Siegel+Gale, Alan helped define some of the most iconic brands of our time, working with clients like the NBA, Xerox, American Express, Caterpillar, The Girl Scouts and many others. Always an innovator, Alan developed the concept of Brand Voice™ and was one of the first in the industry to use the internet as a tool for brand communication. Throughout his entire career, Alan has always been a proponent of clarity and simplicity, and has sought to apply those principles to all of his work.
A voice for clarity
Having experienced the power of clarity in branding, Alan became a major figure in the Plain English movement during the 1970s and worked with dozens of major financial institutions, the Census Bureau and the IRS to simplify insurance policies, bank loan notes, mutual fund prospectuses, census forms, individual income tax returns, and other complex financial and legal documents.
Alan has written extensively on this subject for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post and the National Law Journal, and has talked about simplification on Today, The McNeil-Lehrer Report, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, CNN, and at the TED conference.
An educator and advocate
To further the cause of clarity, Alan brought his ideas to college classrooms. He served as an adjunct professor of law at Fordham University Law School for several years, where he created and taught a course on writing contracts in plain English, and as an adjunct associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, where he cofounded the Communications Design Center.
Alan’s desire to give back didn’t end with his foray into education. He currently sits on the boards of several foundations and community organizations, including the Museum of Arts and Design, the Nathaniel Wharton Foundation at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Business for Diplomatic Action, The Authors Guild Foundation, Aperture Foundation, and the American Theater Wing, where he is a Tony voter.
Formerly, Alan served as the president of the Advisory Council for the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University, and on the boards of the European Chamber of Commerce in the United States, the Museum of Modern Art Photography Committee, the International Center of Photography, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Design Management Institute and Girls, Inc. (previously the Girls’ Clubs of America).
An author and artist
Alan is the author of a series of personal financial guides for The Wall Street Journal, including the bestseller The Wall Street Journal Guide to Money and Markets. He is also the author of two books of photography, One Man’s Eye: Photographs from the Alan Siegel Collection and Step Right This Way: The Photographs of Edward J. Kelty. In 2006, Louis Slovinsky authored Alan Siegel on Branding and Clear Communications, a biography on Alan, his legacy and his philosophy.
Alan’s newest book, Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity, was released in April 2013 and highlights the perils of complexity, serving as a practical guide for simplicity warriors.