Graphic Design/Pioneers of Graphic Design

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Pictograms and ideograms from some 5,000 years ago represent the earliest known forms of graphic design. Traditionally, graphic design's purpose through history was the communication of ideas and meaning through the use of graphic elements like typography, photography, and illustration. Strictly an artistic enterprise in spirit, it stands apart from more traditional arts like painting, printmaking, and sculpture because its ubiquitous role it plays in mass media and technology. These factors and their associated pressures have come to define the utility in various parts of this field.

Some Influential Modern Graphic Designers/Groups:[edit | edit source]

M.F. Agha[edit | edit source]

Agha was an emigre who was art director for Conde-Nast magazines.

Charles Anderson[edit | edit source]

Anderson works in a retro (30s-40s) style. He has been creating designs for Fossil watches and tins.

Saul Bass[edit | edit source]

American logo designer and designer of film graphics. Revolutionized film graphics and is most known for his work with Alfred Hitchcock and Otto Preminger.

Bauhaus School[edit | edit source]

Walter Gropius[edit | edit source]

Herbert Bayer[edit | edit source]

Lester Beall[edit | edit source]

Beall was an ad man who did work for Caterpillar and Upjohn. His work is marked by the frequent use of arrows. He made the logos of International Paper and Stanley.

Marcel Breuer[edit | edit source]

Alexey Brodovitch[edit | edit source]

Brodovitch was an emigre designer who worked for Harper's Bazaar. He is also known for his chairs made of dowels.

Neville Brody[edit | edit source]

Brody is a Deconstructivist typographer, known for his U.S. postage stamps and work for Nike.

Chermayeff & Geismar[edit | edit source]

This firm has done work for Chase Manhattan, Best Stores, Univision, and the American Bicentennial campaign. They created the Warner Communications "eye & ear" logo, and Mobil's "big red O" logo. They also designed miniature replicas of the Statue of Liberty.

Seymour Chwast[edit | edit source]

Chwast was a co-founder of Push Pin Studios. He designed Push Pin's newsletter and logos. He is also known for his anti-war posters.

Doyle Dane Bernbach[edit | edit source]

Bill Bernbach created memorable campaigns for Ohrbach's and Levy's. He thought up Avis's "We're #2!" campaign.

This firm did work for Volkswagen and Uniroyal, and created the famous Juan Valdez character.

  • Henry Dreyfuss

Charles & Ray Eames[edit | edit source]

Charles and Ray Eames created innovative and artistic chair designs among many other things, including a case study house.

Shepard Fairey[edit | edit source]

Fairey is a modern street artist, who gained fame for his iconic "OBEY Giant" logo, and his Barack Obama posters designed for the 2008 US Presidential election.

Frank Gehry[edit | edit source]

Gehry is an architect and furniture designer. He has made furniture made of cardboard. He designed the "dancing" "Ginger & Fred" building, the Experience Music Project, and the Disney Music Center. He collaborated with Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen on the Chiat/Day Building, which has an entryway shaped like a pair of binoculars. His most famous building is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Milton Glaser[edit | edit source]

Glaser was an expressionist who co-founded Push Pin Studios. His typefaces include Glaser Stencil, Rainbow, and Baby Teeth. He is best known for his "I (heart) NY" campaign. He is also the designer of the Childcraft toy store in New York, and the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center.

Michael Graves[edit | edit source]

Graves is a postmodernist architect and product designer. Structures that he is known for include the Portland Building, the Clos Pegase winery, the San Juan Capistrano library, the Humana building, the Best building. He was in charge of the restoration of the Washington Monument, and designed the Swan and Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World in Florida. Graves has designed over 800 products sold through Target stores, from alarm clocks to toasters.

April Greiman[edit | edit source]

Greiman is a New Wave post-modernist who uses "hybrid imagery." She was one of the first designers to embrace the Apple Macintosh as a design tool. She is best known for her centerfold design for Design Quarterly, which was a complex collage and nude self-portrait.

Steven Heller[edit | edit source]

Self schooled, Author of over 80 books about design.

Takenobu Igarashi[edit | edit source]

Igarashi creates scultures of numbers and letters, and has done work for NeoCon and PARCO.

Yusaka Kamekura[edit | edit source]

Kamekura has done graphic design for Nippon magazine, Nikon, Expo '70, and the Sapporo Olympic Winter Games.

Lippincott-Margulies[edit | edit source]

This firm created the term "corporate identity." They have done work for Pizza Hut, CITGO, Del Monte, American Express, United Tech, Chevron, 76, RCA, Hardee's, Chrysler, American Airlines, Infiniti, Continental, and numerous banks. They designed the new Amtrak logo, the Cadillac Allante, and the look of Duracell coppertop batteries.

Raymond Loewy[edit | edit source]

Loewy believed that every object had an ideal form that would increase sales. He was a pioneer of streamlining.

His designs were used in Skylab and the Concorde. He also did work for Harper's Bazaar, Greyhound's logo and busses, the Studebaker, Lucky Strike, Coca-Cola, NASA, and Exxon. He created the Coast Guard's logo, and the new logos for Shell and BP.

George Lois[edit | edit source]

Lois is known for his "conversation ads." His design strategy was "Big Idea and Street Talk." He created covers for Esquire magazine, USA Today's 5-year anniversary campaign, and Naugahyde's Nauga mascot.

  • Ellen Lupton: Modern typography enthusiast and formalist

Alvin Lustig[edit | edit source]

Lustig designed book covers and ads for Knoll.

  • Joseph Muller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design

Eliot Noyes[edit | edit source]

As a Harvard trained architect and industrial designer Noyes became the pioneer of Corporate Design in the development of comprehensive corporate-wide design programs that integrated both design strategy and business strategy. He and is firm were commissioned regularly by IBM, most famously the IBM Selectric typewriter and the IBM Aerospace Research Center in Los Angeles, California. Noyes collaborated with Paul Rand, Charles Eames and hired Chermayeff & Geismar for clients that included Mobil Oil, Cummins Engine and Westinghouse.

Paul Rand[edit | edit source]

The four stages of Rand's career were 1) Magazine covers and promotion, 2) Ads (1941-1954), 3) Corporate identity, and 4) Teaching (at Cooper, Pratt, and Yale). He's done work for IBM, Direction magazine, Westinghouse, Cummins, NeXT, Morningstar, and Ford (a logo which was rejected).

  • Kurt Schwitters: Dadaist and pioneer of collage

Ladislav Sutnar[edit | edit source]

Sutnar designed Sweet's catalogs. His work often uses the Futura typeface. His design strategy was the "three Fs": Function, Flow, and Form.

Ikko Tanaka[edit | edit source]

Tanaka was a famous abstract poster designer.

Bradbury Thompson[edit | edit source]

Thompson was a typographer. Arguing that it was confusing to have two symbols for one letter, he created "alphabet 26", a set of letters which had only one case. He did work for the Smithsonian magazine, and designed editions of The Red Badge of Courage and the Holy Bible.

Andy Warhol[edit | edit source]

Wes Wilson[edit | edit source]

Wilson is famous for his psychedelic rock posters and extremely complex lettering.

Frank Lloyd Wright[edit | edit source]

Contemporary[edit | edit source]

Louise Fili[edit | edit source]

Fili is a retro designer whose work has been used for restaurants and publications.

Paula Scher[edit | edit source]

Scher is a retro graphic designer who has created vinyl album sleeves and identity for the Public Theater. One of her better known pieces is an ad for Swatch which pays homage to Herbert Matter.

  • Mike Young