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A Designer’s Poetic Repertoire

By Kristin Gecan

June 2, 2020

Manifesting the Look of Love (25 Years), 2014, by Haelo Design and Zach Pino
ID instructor Zach Pino published in Poetry magazine

In “Form and Function,” just published in Poetry magazine (the oldest English-language monthly devoted to verse), ID instructor Zach Pino considers “a view into a very different, and refreshing, compromise between form and function.”

In the short essay, Pino elaborates on his relationship to poetry and expression as a designer, pointing to Walt Whitman and Louis Sullivan’s friendship, and reminding us that Sullivan saw form and function on equal footing:

'Form ever follows function'—the architect Louis Sullivan’s famous rule—these words grate in the ears of every designer because they have been so widely misinterpreted. Sullivan was not inviting designers to subordinate expression to purpose. Rather, he had advised that expression and function are inseparable. That is: “Form naturally accompanies function,” not “form is subordinate to function.” The most useful poets to me are, appropriately, some of Sullivan’s contemporaries. He himself was a poet, deeply inspired by the work of Walt Whitman.

Pino goes on to point to some of his favorite poets and excerpts of poems. You can discover them, as well as the entire June issue, at

While you’re there, check out “Brick by Brick, Word by Word,” from Kaplan Institute architect and IIT College of Architecture adjunct professor John Ronan—who also designed the Poetry Foundation building in 2011.