To meet Alan Siegel is to be struck by a man of tremendous zest—zest for information, zest for challenges and zest for opportunities to contribute to a society he sees as beset by complexity and hungry for clarity. From his passion for clear writing to his love of fine photography, from his contributions to New York City culture to his entrepreneur’s instinct for building businesses, Alan exudes a passion to make things better. He is one of the most sought-after advisers to any company, nonprofit or government seeking clarity about who they are, what they do and how they can motivate others.
It is no wonder that Alan has become one of the best-known figures in branding and a driving force behind the plain English movement in the U.S. and abroad. Alan helped shape the branding industry by popularizing the concept of “brand voice” to describe integrated communications programs that reflect the unique character of companies, and championing the Internet as a powerful expression of brand strategy and an essential component of the brand experience. Alan’s belief in the transformative power of simplicity led to his pioneering efforts to bring clarity to business communications, including insurance policies, bank loan notes and mutual fund prospectuses. He also initiated the development of plain English for complex legal documents and directed a project for the IRS to simplify individual tax forms.
Over five decades, Alan has gained the stature of both pillar of the establishment and provocative iconoclast while building Siegel+Gale, one of the leading global brand consultancies. In 2011, Alan created Siegelvision, a new company focused on solving tough branding and communications problems for purpose-driven organizations. Supported by a small team of handpicked talent, Alan startles and delights organizations by untangling their wayward sense of self and creating a robust brand identity.
During his illustrious career Alan has worked with a wide range of prestigious companies and organizations including Xerox, American Express, the National Basketball Association, Caterpillar, 3M, U.S. Air Force, Dell, The Girl Scouts, Phoenix House, the Legal Aid Society, Carnegie Mellon University and The New School.
Alan has written extensively on branding and the importance of simplicity as a competitive advantage for The New York Times, Across the Board and The National Law Journal and has appeared nationally on “Today,” “PBS NewsHour,” CBS and ABC News and CNN. Alan’s presentation at the TED Conference was named by Forbes as one of the top five TED talks for entrepreneurs.
He is the author of a series of personal guides for The Wall Street Journal, including the best seller The Wall Street Journal Guide to Money and Markets (Lightbulb Press) as well as Writing Contracts in Plain English (West Publishing) and Simplified Consumer Credit Forms (Warren Gorham & Lamont). Alan’s latest book, Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity, co-written with longtime colleague Irene Etzkorn, was released in April 2013 to critical acclaim and named a “Best Business Book of 2013” by Booz & Company. It has since been published in several international editions, including the UK, China, South Korea, Hungary and Brazil.
A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Alan also attended New York University Law School, the School of Visual Arts and Alexei Brodovich’s Design Laboratory.
Currently, Alan serves on the boards of the Legal Aid Society, Hamptons International Film Festival, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the American Theater Wing, where he is a Tony Award voter. Previously, Alan was a member of the boards of the European Chamber of Commerce, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Aperture Foundation, the Museum of Modern Art Photography Committee, the International Center of Photography, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the Design Management Institute, the Nathaniel Wharton Foundation at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Business for Diplomatic Action, the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University, Turnaround For Children, the Authors Guild Foundation, Inc., Lapham’s Quarterly and Girls Inc. (formerly the Girls’ Clubs of America).
Alan is the author of One Man’s Eye: Photographs from the Alan Siegel Collection, published by Harry N. Abrams in 2000, and Step Right This Way: The Photographs of Edward J. Kelty, published by Barnes & Noble in 2002. In addition, Alan is a featured columnist for The Huffington Post.
In 2006 Jorge Pinto Books published Alan Siegel: On Branding and Clear Communications by Louis J. Slovinsky as part of its Working Biographies series.