Alan Siegel

Over the past four decades, Alan Siegel has become one of the best-known figures in the branding business. He achieved the stature of both pillar of the establishment and provocative iconoclast while building a leading brand consultancy, Siegel+Gale, which is devoted to positioning global companies for competitive success. As consultant, author and commentator, Siegel’s influence extends to advising such diverse organizations as Xerox, American Express, the National Basketball Association, Caterpillar, the Girl Scouts of America and Carnegie Mellon University. He created a series of bestselling guides for the Wall Street Journal on understanding financial markets and served on the boards of numerous business and cultural organizations. 

Siegel pioneered the practice of simplification, bringing clarity to such daunting documents as insurance policies, bank-loan notes, mutual fund prospectuses and various government communications, including the 1040EZ tax form. His latest book, Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity (Hachette), which he co-wrote with longtime colleague Irene Etzkorn, was released in 2013 to critical acclaim. 

During the 1980s, Siegel popularized the concept of “brand voice,” and in the 1990s his firm Siegel+Gale championed the Internet as a powerful tool for developing brand strategy. In all he does, he is known for the plain speaking he demands of clients and for the excellence in individual and organizational communications that his work has come to embody. He also developed a global expansion program for Siegel+Gale opening and managing offices in London, Hamburg, Shanghai, Beijing and Dubai.

In 2011 Siegel founded Siegelvision, a firm committed to helping purpose-driven organizations with a passion for making a difference in society. Drawing on small teams of experienced, handpicked talent, Siegelvision develops distinctive brand identity programs for clients seeking to make their social purpose a reality. Current clients include NPR, the National Geographic Society, the College Board, the Lupus Foundation of America, Phoenix House, Univision, the Urban Institute, Cornell College of Engineering, New York University, the MIT Sloan School of Management and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Of special note is Siegel’s focus on law and justice. In the 1970s, he developed a groundbreaking writing course for lawyers, Writing Contracts in Plain English, at Fordham University School of Law, where he served on the adjunct faculty for 10 years. He also served on the executive committee of the Document Design Project, which was funded by the National Institute of Education, where he simplified federal government regulations. He developed a brand identity program for the Legal Aid Society, and served on their board for 12 years.

Working with Jeremy Travis, the dynamic President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and chair of the Committee on Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration (National Research Council of the National Academies), Siegel developed the “Fierce Advocates for Justice,” positioning to change the perception of John Jay from a “cop college” to a view of it as a preparer of fervent, liberally educated professionals in forensics, law and law enforcement, social science and academia. 

Siegel has a passion for helping educational institutions articulate their visions, develop distinctive identities and attract top-flight faculty and students. He served as adjunct associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, where he conducted research and was the founder and co-director of a popular graduate program, the Communications Design Center. When former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey was president of The New School, Siegel created its brand identity program, headed the business advisory board for its New Media program, and was interim director of its data-visualization center. For six years, he was president of the Advisory Council for the College of Art, Architecture and Planning at Cornell University.

A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Siegel also attended the New York University School of Law, the School of Visual Arts, and Alexei Brodovich’s Design Laboratory.