14 May

107 graphic designers

Ivan Chermayeff, from 107 graphistes de l’AGI / 107 graphic designers of AGI presented by Olivetti and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

This photo was included in an exhibition catalog for a 1976 Alliance Graphique Internationale show which travelled from Milan to Brussels to Montreal to Stuttgart. It contained a background on each of the 107 members who took part in the exhibition, with three forewords: by David Giles Carter (of the Montreal Museum of Art), Renzo Zorzi (Director of PR at Olivetti), and Rolf Harder (President of the Canadian Group of AGI). In an introduction to the (separate) exhibition book, Franco Grignani describes the arc of the show:

This exhibition of communication graphics should be seen as the most complete and important in the world. It introduces a new character of language, visible in numerous “exhibits” and various media: posters, logotypes, trademarks, advertisements, layouts, magazine design, stands, textile designs, etc. … Yesterday, Cubism gave us a new concept of the synthesis of form. Today, it would appear, in its turn graphic design is inspiring free art. With the common denominators in their work and through their personal experience, 107 AGI members from the USA to Japan are setting objective rules for visual information and visualization. Naturally, it is not possible to make conclusive regulations for a field where discovery and innovation are such primary factors. But there is a practical basis, which derives its validity from its general acceptance. AGI has now become a platform for the exchange of professional experience and areas for concern. There is an awakening of the conscience of intellectual and social responsibility.

For all that, the booklet’s most amusing characteristic may actually be the portraits and biographical summaries of the various designers, which now seem really ’70s.

Paul Rand

Alan Fletcher

Wim Crouwel

Saul Bass

Massimo Vignelli

Armin Hofmann

Does Hofmann look more like Gene Hackman or James Gandolfini? Either way, not how I would have imagined the author of the Graphic Design Manual.

Several of the designers in our collections also make appearances, with accounts of their fondest accomplishments:

Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser was educated at the Cooper Union Art School of New York and a Fullbright scholarship enabled him to study further under Giorgio Morandi in Bologna. He is a founder member of the Push Pin studios, a faculty member of the School of Visual Arts, and design director and administrative manager of New York Magazine.

He has written extensively on the subject of graphic design, and is a co-author of the famous guide Underground Gourmet. The Museum of Modern Art chose three of his posters for the “Word and Image” exhibition in 1968, and his work is on show at the Lincoln Center in New York.

The large show, “The Push Pin Style,” brought him to the public eye in Paris (Louvre 1970) and Amsterdam, London, Lausanne, Vienna, Milan, Belgrade, Tokyo, and São Paolo. He recently redesigned the title heading for Paris Match. Numerous awards testify to the quality of his work on which Overlook Press has recently published a book entitled Milton Glaser Graphic Design.

Seymour Chwast

A resident of New York, where he was born in 1931, he studied graphic design and illustrative techniques at the Cooper Union Art School. As founder-member of the Push Pin Studios, he contributed to the development of the Push Pin Style which has had so much influence on contemporary modes of visual communication. He was the creator of Push Pin Graphic, a specialized publication with an international following. His posters, illustrations, typographical designs and commercials have appeared in press television advertising, record sleeves, magazines, product packaging, children’s books, etc. Many of his posters are now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His work has also been shown in numerous exhibitions (American Institute of Graphic Arts, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the largest American Art Directors Clubs, the Brooklyn Museum, etc.) In 1970, Chwast participated in the Louvre’s first exhibition dedicated to American graphic group. Articles by him and about his work have been published in leading American and foreign magazines. In 1973 a special edition of the Japanese review Idea dealt exclusively with his work. He recently received the Cooper Union Citation for Excellence.

Heinz Edelmann

Heinz Edelmann was born in 1934 at Usti nad Labem (Aussig) which became a German territory in 1938. He entered the Dusseldorf Academy of Fine Arts where he met his future wife Anna. He received a diploma as a secondary school teacher in 1958 and started work as a copywriter in an agency. In 1959 he became a graphic designer and produced his first professional work in 1960. From 1961 to 1966 he taught graphic design, and from 1967 to 1968 worked in London on an animated cartoon film. In 1970 he moved to the Hague where he now lives.

I like how, in this bio, Yellow Submarine is merely “an animated cartoon film.” And then there’s George Tscherny:

George Tscherny

As far back as my memory can take me, I always remember the anguish I suffered from the resemblance between my name and that of Karl Czerny, the 19th century pianist who was so well known for his piano exercises. Inevitably, every time I was introduced to someone who remembered the piano exercises of his childhood, I was asked whether I was related to the master. I became so accustomed to this that I ended up by always anticipating the question and answering ‘No,’ before the question was even asked. One day I was introduced to someone who asked me whether by chance I was related to the designer. Overjoyed, I danced all the way home to tell my wife.