Graphic Designing is an industry that has been around for centuries and has been growing and changing for the virtue of designers. From colors or typography to album covers and political posters, innumerable designers have made an impact on the graphic design industry and shaped it in remarkable ways through hard work and unique designs.
Listed down below are some of the most famous graphic designers of all time, who have inspired the current crop to pursue careers in the field.
1. Saul Bass
Saul Bass was a legendary graphic designer who made his mark on the design industry with his work in the 1950s designing iconic movie posters and motion picture title sequences. He was also well recognized as a filmmaker and bagged many awards including an Oscar. You’ve likely encountered his work before. His work transcended graphic design, poster design, film titles, logos, and more – with his opening credit work spanning for over five decades. Simple geometric shapes and symbolism were the prominent characteristics of the style he followed. His designs mostly consist of dominant isolated images. All the shapes and typography in his designs were hand-drawn by Bass to create an unpretentious appearance while being packed with a sophisticated message.
2. Milton Glaser
Milton Glaser was a polymathic graphic designer, illustrator, and artist. It is very unlikely that you have not stumbled upon his most notable works that include the ‘I love New York’ logo, the psychedelic Bob Dylan poster, and the logos for Brooklyn Brewery, Stony Brook University, and the DC comics. His artworks have been featured in exhibitions and placed in permanent collections in many museums worldwide. His illustrations reflected historic styles and contemporary culture.
He wanted the viewers to be able to bridge the gap between seeing and understanding when they perceived his designs. His years of experience in modernism, are reflected in his ideology and philosophy.
3. Paul Rand
A big name in the design world, Paul Rand was credited with revolutionizing visual design in America post-WWII by developing radical new methods of approaching advertising, logo creation, and design. Removal of copywriting from the principal position in the design, instead of placing it on the same tier as design, was one of Rand’s greatest legacies in his design career. He suggested that the design would work better by simplifying the amount of type and letting one element overpower the other, instead of letting form and function interact. Rand incorporated a Swiss-style of design into his creations, straying from conventional standards of typography and layout. He incorporated the Bauhaus, Constructivism, Cubism, and De Stijl into his work ad merged American culture into modern design.
4. Alan Fletcher
Entitled the British “father of graphic design”, Alan Fletcher changed the way design was perceived, by producing inspiring ideas. His designs were expressive and embodied a strong visual language incorporating bold typography and loud colors. He established graphic design as a crucial component to all businesses and not just a decorative supplement. His work spans decades, but he was perhaps most prolific and recognized when he was one of the founding partners of Pentagram. Fletcher had a timeless appeal to his work, the testament to it being the logo for London’s V&A museum designed in 1989, which still thrives. He created visual mind-games that induced an afterthought in the viewers. He always avoided having a rigid style despite having a distinctive methodology. He considered ‘style’ an atypical word and it meant all sorts of things to him, ranging from mannerism to charisma,” – Alan Fletcher
5. Massimo Vignelli
A self-proclaimed ‘information architect’, Vignelli endeavored to curtail large, busy ideas into more digestible, understandable formats through design. He redesigned the New York City Subway Map in 1972 where he proposed an experimental, abstracted design that was controversial but was proven to be highly effective.
His logo designs for IBM, Ford, Bloomingdale’s Saks, American Airlines, and many more as clients, thrive to date carrying his legacy. Vignelli was one of the most well-known designers to promote the “grid” technique; the idea of organization and arrangement was the basis of his life’s work. He believed in functionality above all and followed a strict eloquent guideline of grids, primary colors, and typographic paradigms.
6. Chip Kidd
Described as the “spawned a revolution in the art of American book packaging” by the NPR, Chip Kidd is a contemporary designer specializing in book jacket designs. He is the mastermind behind the covers of well-known literature pieces such as Jurassic Park, looking for Lincoln, and Rolling Stones. He has worked with renowned authors like James Elroy, Michael Crichton, Neil Gaiman, and many more. Chip Kidd’s unique approach to designing book covers embodies the book’s narrative through visual language. One of the most striking characteristics of Kidd’s style is the fact that his designs do not abide by a signature look. He believes that a signature look is crippling as effective and simple solutions are not dictated by the style.
7. Peter Saville
Peter Saville is a well-known graphic designer mostly known for his popular album covers for the likes of Joy Division, New Order, and other well-known British bands from the 1970s and beyond. He is highly recognized for his bold art and fashion as well. His expressive style set a high bar for album covers to be judged. Even though his work on record sleeve designs spans five years, he is termed as one of the most prolific record designers of all time, if not the most prolific. His design language was always fascinating, even when it didn’t succeed.
8. Jessica Walsh
Jessica Walsh is an internationally recognized art director, graphic designer, and partner at Sagmeister and Walsh, New York City. Her designs and art installations combine photography, digital art, and painting. She is known for her signature style that is impactful, bold, and surrealistic. She has partnered with several other recognized artists and has hit the headlines several times. She also runs a non-profit organization – Ladies, Wine, and Design that encourages women to collaborate and empower each other within the design industry. She developed her style of design that is lush and tactic while partnering with the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister. She also teaches at The School of Visual Arts in NYC and has bagged numerous awards and design competitions.
9. Paula Scher
With over 40 groundbreaking years in the graphic design career, Paula Scher’s work featured in over 300 projects, including – album covers for Bob Dylan and Bruce, Springsteen; corporate logos for Citibank, Microsoft, and Shake Shack; identities for MoMA, The Metropolitan Opera, and the Public Theater. She is termed “the most influential” female graphic designer on the planet. Scher draws inspiration from the Russian constructivist style and Art Deco for her typography. The early constructivist style forms the vocabulary of her works.
The Pentagram partner claims that she never experiences the sense of self-satisfaction and wishes not to retire. She believes that success is a process rather than a result.
10. Cipe Pineles
Cipe Pineles was a graphics designer with great prominence in the twentieth century. Throughout her career, her works were featured in numerous fashion magazines including The Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Charm and, Seventeen. She made a huge impact on the design industry and broke through limitations. She was the first autonomous female art director for a magazine and the first female designer to become a member of the Art Directors Club, New York. She shaped the magazine industry that exists today by being the first-ever designer to hire artists to illustrate mass-market publications which proceeded to become a long-standing trend. She was famous for her hand lettering and depicted her passion for food and fashion by blending fine arts and lively, colorful illustrations.
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