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Marget Larsen

Although the graphic design industry was dominated by men in the 1960s, Marget Larsen (1922–1984) forged her own path. She was a designer whose work helped define the San Francisco design aesthetic. 

Larsen grew up in Burlingame, California, and worked for Joseph Magnin (JM), a department store known for its trendsetting fashion. The advertising, posters and packaging she created with illustrator Betty Brader-Ashley for the JM brand were so memorable, they are still treasured today. Larsen’s cheery and versatile Christmas boxes were especially popular promotions. Printed with bold typography and ornamentation, the packages were so colorful and appealing that they negated the need for wrapping paper. 

Larsen then joined advertising innovator Howard Gossage at Weiner & Gossage. The agency created ingenious ads, such as the wrappers she designed as part of a new look for Parisian Bakery—a groundbreaking use of paper bags as a promotional device. She later partnered with Robert Freeman to open Intrinsics, Inc., which offered clients boutique design services and creative consulting. Larsen’s typographic skills, inventive designs and instinct for what works advanced San Francisco as a center of creativity.

1. Parisian Bakery design program, 1961.
2. Joseph Magnin Christmas packaging, 1963.
3. David’s Delicatessen packaging, 1966. Robert Freeman, art director; Richard Stearns, writer; George Dippel, illustrator.

Gene Federico

He was called “the art director’s art director.” Gene Federico (1918–1999) elevated the role of typography in advertising and illustrated the power of clever, uncomplicated graphics. Federico was born in New York’s Greenwich Village, and it was during his school days that he discovered the work of leading European advertising artists. He was particularly captivated by a Cubist-inspired poster by A.M. Cassandre; Federico responded to its striking geometry and subtle hues, which influenced his early posters. 

By the late 1940s, after a brief stint in the editorial world, Federico took a job at Grey Advertising and then Doyle Dane Bernbach. In 1967, he cofounded New York ad agency Lord Southard Federico, which later became Lord Geller Federico Einstein. Deeply immersed in the aesthetics and possibilities of type, Federico once designed a sixteen-page booklet titled Love of Apples that showcased his experiments with metal type. For more than four decades, Federico crafted visual puns in ads and elegantly integrated text with pictures. He quietly pushed against the boundaries of American advertising design.

1. Print ad for Napier fine fashion jewelry, 1981. Anne Conlon, writer; William Helburn, photographer; Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein, agency.
2. Print ad for Lauffer crystal, 1970. Dick Lord, writer; Henry Sandbank, photographer; Lord, Geller, Federico and Partners, agency.
3. Woman’s Day print ad, 1953. Doyle Dane Bernbach, agency.

Neil Fujita 

Integrating the nuances of fine art and design, Sadamitsu “Neil” Fujita (1921–2010) created iconic record and book covers that showcased his virtuosity. Born in Waimea, Hawaii, Fujita’s artistry came to the attention of William Golden at Columbia Broadcasting System, who hired him in 1954 to design album covers at Columbia Records. Fujita commissioned work from abstract expressionist painters and leading photographers—and sometimes used his own paintings—to express a visual dynamic that complemented the music’s energy. His vivid painting of circles, stripes
and curves for Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet is timeless—as exuberant and rhythmic today as when it was first published in 1959. 

Wanting to expand the variety of his work, Fujita created a design subsidiary of a public relations firm he joined in 1963, establishing Ruder, Finn & Fujita (later Fujita Design). Fujita’s typographic skills and graphic sensitivity enabled him to produce book covers with memorable details, such as the crimson hatpin with the bulbous head he added to the title of In Cold Blood. For The Godfather, his extension of the top of the G to the d in the title accentuated the ominous power of those three letters. “I didn’t just design the type for those book jackets,” Fujita said. “I drew it with my quill pen, using india inks and dyes.”

1. The Godfather book cover, 1969.
2. Westinghouse print ad, 1962.
3. Dave Brubeck Quartet Time Out album cover, 1959.

Muriel Cooper 

Through her work as a book designer, researcher and educator, she profoundly affected the way information is presented. Muriel Cooper (1925–1994) helped develop early computer interfaces, breaking ground in the -then-unknown space where technology and design meet. 

Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, she became a freelance designer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Office of Publications in the 1950s. After establishing her own design studio in the early 1960s, she designed the MIT Press colophon, and was named the MIT Press’s design director in 1967. Cooper designed the classic book Bauhaus and oversaw the production of about 500 books. She had a lasting effect on the publication of university books throughout the United States.

In 1974, Cooper cofounded MIT’s Visible Language Workshop with Ron MacNeil. The integration of type, graphic design, technology, art and animation became the focus of her research. In the 1980s, she became a founding member of the MIT Media Lab. She was the first woman granted tenure at the Lab, where she pioneered interface design and encouraged the next generation of designers to experiment. 

1. Bauhaus book cover, 1969.
2. Communication by Design exhibition cover, 1964. 
3. Screen capture from one of several works in progress on 3-D information programs that were demonstrated at TED5 by Cooper, then director of the Visible Language Workshop at MIT, 1994.

Lou Dorfsman

Best known for his consummate skill in developing the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS)’s advertising and corporate identity, Lou Dorfsman (1918–2008) played a crucial role in building the CBS brand.

A native of New York City, Dorfsman began his tenure at CBS in 1946, later becoming creative director of the CBS television network after William Golden’s death in 1959. Dorfsman was named the director of design for all of CBS and, ultimately, senior vice president and creative director for marketing communications and design. During his time at CBS, he did it all. He designed sets for CBS Morning News and Walter Cronkite’s CBS Evening News. He produced newspaper ads. He created annual reports. The print projects he worked on were exemplary, including the limited edition book created to commemorate the first manned moon landing, with a dust jacket embossed to represent the lunar surface. 

Dorfsman also oversaw the graphics for the CBS headquarters in Manhattan, known as Black Rock, from the interior signage to the type for the elevator-inspection stickers. His “magnum opus,” a behemoth typographic work called the Gastrotypographicalassemblage that he directed the overall design of, graced a cafeteria wall of Black Rock and now lives on at the Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park campus.

1. Gastrotypographicalassemblage, 1966. Tom Carnase/Lou Dorfsman/Herb Lubalin, designers.
2. The New York Times full-page print ad promoting CBS’s coverage of John Glenn’s orbit of the Earth in Friendship 7, 1962.
3. Trade ad to CBS advertisers, 1962. Al Amato/Lou Dorfsman, designers.

Hal Riney

He helped establish San Francisco as a creative hub of the advertising industry. In a career spanning nearly 50 years, Hal Riney (1932–2008) produced advertising that was engaging in its honesty, humor, understatement and emotion.

Riney is known for his work on the successful 1984 campaign to reelect Ronald Reagan as president. The campaign included the optimistic “Morning in America” commercial, which Riney wrote and narrated. He also created the characters Frank and Ed for E & J Gallo Winery’s wine cooler line, which he named Bartles & Jaymes. Riney ended up writing 143 commercials for the product over three years. His agency also snagged the Saturn account in 1988 and helped make its launch a resounding success with the tagline “A different kind of company. A different kind of car.” 

Riney grew up in Longview, Washington, and joined BBDO San Francisco in 1956, beginning in the mail room and working his way up to executive vice president, creative director. In 1976, he opened Ogilvy & Mather’s San Francisco office, purchasing it from Ogilvy in the late 1980s and renaming it Hal Riney & Partners. In 1998, the agency was sold to Publicis Groupe. The legendary ad man retired at the apex of the regional ad industry he helped create.

1. Yamaha print ad, 1976. Bernie Vangrin, art director; Don Hadley, writer; Richard Leech, illustrator; Botsford Ketchum, agency.
2. Reagan/Bush ’84 “Prouder, Stronger, Better” TV commercial, 1984. Barbro Eddy, producer; John Pytka, director; Pytka, production company; Tuesday Team/West, c/o Della Femina, Travisano & Partners, agency.
3. Blitz-Weinhard beer print ad, 1979. Jerry Andelin, art director; Dennis Foley, writer; Robert Grossman, illustrator; Ogilvy & Mather, agency.

Robert “Bob” Peak

His dazzling montages transported viewers into movies’ cinematic worlds. Illustrator Robert “Bob” Peak (1927–1992) was highly skilled at painting numerous characters and scenes into a single blended image, changing the look of movie advertising from traditional static headshots and film stills to intricate narrative art. The poster artwork that Peak created in 1961 to promote West Side Story paved the way for more than 130 film posters, such as those for My Fair Lady, Apocalypse Now and five Star Trek films, among many others. 

He was born in Denver, Colorado, and moved to New York in 1953, where his drawing skills quickly led to advertising and editorial assignments. Peak illustrated 45 covers for TIME, and his portrait of Mother Teresa for a 1975 cover was particularly poignant. Sports Illustrated also called on him for memorable assignments, including a safari with the Shah of Iran and a Grand Prix tour with champion racer Jackie Stewart. Peak was also known for his work for the US Postal Service—especially the 30 stamps he designed to commemorate the 1984 Summer and Winter Olympics. Although he was dubbed “the father of the modern movie poster,” his influence can be felt well beyond the lights of Hollywood.

1. TIME cover painting of Mother Teresa, 1975. David Merrill, art director.
2. United Artists’ Apocalypse Now promotion art, 1979. Murray Smith/Don Smolen, Smolen, Smith and Connolly, art directors.
2. Warner Bros.’s My Fair Lady souvenir book drawing, 1964. Bill Gold, Bill Gold Advertising, art director.

Robert Miles Runyan

Known as the creator of the modern annual report, Robert Miles Runyan (1925–2001) elevated corporate communications by showing how financial statements to shareholders could be presented with style and sophistication.

Born in Nebraska, Runyan opened his own studio, Robert Miles Runyan & Associates, in 1956 in the coastal neighborhood of Playa del Rey, near Los Angeles. In 1959, Runyan designed a revolutionary annual report for Litton Industries. Although the electronics company was young at the time, he utilized artful still life photographs and graphics to represent the company’s story and connect it to a broader history. The report was among the first to present a company within the context of current social and economic trends. The result combined typographic elegance and striking imagery with the editorial flow of a sleek magazine. A resounding success, the report ushered in professional accolades and commissions for Robert Miles Runyan & Associates. 

Runyan’s firm also created logos, identities and packaging for clients like Mattel and the Los Angeles Rams. He designed the symbol for the 1984 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles. The “Stars in Motion” logo featured three stars shaped from horizontal bars of red, white and blue to represent speed. “What I achieved can never be taken away,” he said of the project. “I’m etched in history.” 

1. Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee “Stars in Motion” logo for the 1984 Summer Olympics, 1980.
2. Motorola Aviation Electronics poster, 1961. James Fitzgerald, designer.
3. Litton Industries annual report cover, 1959.

Paula Green

She believed in selling with words. Paula Green (1927–2015) was a copywriter and ad executive who thought an ad must make a sensory or “gut” connection with a consumer to work.

A Los Angeles native, she moved to New York and joined Doyle Dane Bernbach, where she worked with legendary art director Helmut Krone on Avis. Her “We try harder” slogan revolutionized the rent-a-car industry, and Green later became the agency’s first woman creative management supervisor.

In 1969, she struck out on her own, cofounding Green Dolmatch with her husband, Murray Dolmatch. Later becoming Paula Green Advertising, her agency worked for clients including the American Cancer Society, Goya Foods, the New York Times and Subaru. Green helped cement Goya in the minds of shoppers with such lines as, “There’s a bean for every girl and boya, in the food store section known as Goya.” To help the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union encourage Americans to buy union-made clothing, Green wrote the lyrics for the song “Look for the Union Label.” In an industry dominated by men, she immortalized words and became a pioneer. 

1. Avis print ad, 1963. Helmut Krone, art director.
2. Wedgwood print ad, 1958. Bert Steinhauser, art director; Arnold Rosenberg, photographer.
3. International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union “Look for the Union Label” TV commercial, 1975. Malcolm Dodds, music.

Arnold Varga

Innovative and fearless, Arnold Varga (1926–1994) created sophisticated designs, witty illustrations and full-color newspaper ads that readers had never seen before. He was an art director with little training and an illustrator with poor eyesight. Yet, his work was so fresh and engaging, the image would sell without selling.

Varga was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and was a teenager when he first offered to draw for retail stores. He continued to develop his skills and worked for several advertising agencies, including BBDO in Pittsburgh. During the late 1950s, he freelanced for department stores, including Horne’s, Higbee’s and Wanamaker’s. Writer Alan Van Dine often wrote copy, but didn’t know for which client. “It was completely backwards,” he said. “Arnold would say, ‘I want to do a watermelon.’ Or, ‘a baby carriage.’ My job was to come up with something lively to connect the visual.” By the 1960s, design magazines Communication Arts, Graphis and Pagina 3 were praising Varga’s work.

Varga had a special fondness for Christmas, and, in 1967, he created a caricature of Scrooge for the Horne’s Christmas newspaper ad. It received so much attention, Horne’s reprinted it as posters, postcards and Christmas cards. For a holiday ad for Wanamaker’s, Varga greeted newspaper readers with a startled gnome. The headline said, “Rediscover your elf self.”

1. John Wanamaker newspaper ad, 1978. Albin A Smagala, art director; James R. Spark, writer; Louise Reeves/Arnold Varga, designers. 
2. Anaconda Aluminum print ad, 1971. Tom Ladyga, art director; Preston Moore, writer; James Johnston, creative director; Griswold-Eshleman, agency.
3. Newspaper ad for department store Cox’s, 1960.

Art Paul

A simple drawing of a bunny with a tuxedo bow tie, drawn in an hour by artist Arthur Paul (1925–2018), became a corporate identity and a publishing phenomenon. Paul was the founding art director of Playboy magazine, and his bunny became one of the world’s most recognizable logos. 

He was born in Chicago and studied at Chicago’s Institute of Design, originally called the New Bauhaus upon its founding by Bauhaus master László Moholy-Nagy. His studies were influenced by the German Bauhaus aesthetic, with its clean lines and simplicity. In 1953, while working as a freelance illustrator and designer, Paul was contacted by Hugh Hefner, who wanted a modern look for his publication. In return, Hefner offered artistic freedom. Paul continued to oversee the design of the magazine for the next 29 years. 

With an eye for talent, Paul commissioned illustrations from local and international artists, such as Shel Silverstein, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí. He also experimented with pop-up pages, collages, die-cut patterns and placing the logo inside different cover designs to challenge readers. Hefner summed up Paul’s contribution to the world this way: “Arthur, quite frankly, was responsible for changing the nature of commercial illustration.”

1. Playboy logo, 1954.
2. Playboy inaugural issue cover, 1953.
3. Opening spread for a Harry Crews short story, 1976. Kunio Hagio, illustrator; Len Willis, designer.

Betty Brader-Ashley

Glamorous, confident and cool, Betty Brader-Ashley (1924–1986) introduced a new style to fashion advertising in the 1950s and 1960s that continues to inspire today’s illustrators. Expressing the casual sophistication of the San Francisco Bay Area, her drawings became synonymous with the trendy department store Joseph Magnin. 

Beginning as a seamstress for Marshall Field’s, Brader-Ashley transitioned to fashion illustration and worked for May Co., Neiman Marcus and several ad agencies. In the 1950s, she freelanced and traveled to Europe before joining Joseph Magnin. Brader-Ashley became a chief illustrator, often working with Marget Larsen, the store’s savvy art director. They produced ads, promotions and posters, which often featured a two-figure composition, a bold gesture and a striking graphic pattern. 

Focused more on attitude than sales copy, her illustrations caught the attention of both shoppers and the design community for their individualist spirit and playful sense of optimism. Her stylized figures captivated the Joseph Magnin customer and elevated the JM brand, which reached its height in the 1960s with more than 32 retail stores.

1. Print ad for department store Joseph Magnin, 1961. George Coutts, art director.
2. Cal Tjader Quintet album cover, 1956.
3. Print ad for department store Joseph Magnin, 1959. Marget Larsen, art director.

Allan Fleming 

Known as Canada’s leading graphic designer, Allan Fleming (1929–1977) championed all aspects of cultural life in Canada during its mid-century effort to secure its identity. While working at MacLaren Advertising during the 1960s, Fleming was influential in nation-building projects, which included postage stamps, the national flag and Expo 67.

He was born in Toronto and, at sixteen, began working at various firms before studying typography and book design in England during the early ’50s. Fleming joined Cooper & Beatty as typographic director and designer in 1957. When he received the opportunity to design a new logo for Canadian National Railways, the task required a design that would refresh the company’s image. The result, launched in 1960, combined the C and the N into a single flowing line. Today, the logo is a timeless modernist symbol of motion. 

Fleming was also chief designer at the University of Toronto Press, using his typographic skills and keen sense of information design to advance the look of scholarly publishing in Canada. The breadth of Fleming’s portfolio enabled him to reach beyond borders, influencing future generations of graphic designers in many fields.

1. Maclean’s cover, 1962.
2. Ontario Science Centre logo, 1969.
3. Cooper & Beatty moving announcement, 1958.
4. Canadian National Railways logo, 1960.

Helmut Krone

​​​​​​The work of art director Helmut Krone (1925–1996) defines modern advertising. The groundbreaking campaigns he worked on for Avis, Colombian coffee and Volkswagen remain visually compelling today despite decades of imitators. 

Krone was a native New Yorker and was interested in product design until the 1950 New York Art Director’s show convinced him that advertising was worth pursuing. He became an art director at Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1954 and, except for a few years spent creating his own agency during the 1970s, stayed for more than 30 years until he retired in 1988.

Krone’s obsession was “newness,” and his design for the Think Small campaign for Volkswagen was unlike anything else in the automotive sector. Krone also took every negative condition about the car—unchanging, dirty, dented—and made them positives in the subsequent ads. The campaigns were a rapid success, as was the “We try harder” ads for No. 2–rated Avis, and the creation of Juan Valdez, a character concocted to promote Colombian coffee. Krone said, “Great advertising really has to be talked about by people and become part of the national scene.” And his did.

1. Volkswagen print ad, 1960. Julian Koenig, writer; Wingate Paine, photographer.
2. Avis print ad, 1965. Paula Green, writer.
3. Porsche print ad, 1982. Tom Yobaggy, writer; David Langley, photographer.

Deborah Sussman 

Celebrated for her vivid signage and graphic architecture, Deborah Sussman (1931–2014) spotlighted California’s design aesthetic to the world. Working with architect Jon Jerde on the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, she helped create the colorful wayfinding and identification system and supergraphics that transformed the city into a Technicolor extravaganza.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and landed in Los Angeles in the summer of 1953 for an internship in the office of Charles and Ray Eames. During her stints in the Eames office, she worked on everything from furniture showroom designs to films to packaging, and clients included the Ford Foundation, the Government of India and IBM. 

Beginning in the 1960s, Sussman developed her work in environmental graphics, from signage to “graphitecture,” collaborating with architects and planners to thoughtfully infuse bold color—quite literally—into the built environment. In 1968, she founded Deborah Sussman & Company, which was renamed Sussman/Prejza & Company when she was joined by her husband, architect and urban planner Paul Prejza, in 1980. The firm’s projects included corporate identities and many traveling exhibits, an identity program for the City of Santa Monica, and corporate interiors for Hasbro. 

1. Champion Papers The Printing Salesman’s Herald, Issue 32, 1973. Ave Pildas, assistant designer.
2. The “look” of the 1984 Summer Olympics, developed in collaboration with The Jerde Partnership, 1983. Deborah Sussman/Paul Prejza, partners in charge; Debra Valencia, senior designer; Mark Nelson, project manager.
3. Hasbro Bradley toy showroom display, 1984. Mark Nelson/Debra Valencia, designers; Barton Myers Associates, architect.

Robert Abel

A pioneer of computer-generated animation and visual effects, Robert Abel (1937–2001) created films, commercials and interactive classroom materials. He was also a director, producer and writer who won Emmys for his work on the documentaries A Nation of Immigrants and The Making of the President, 1968 and a Golden Globe for 1972’s Elvis on Tour.

Abel and Con Pederson founded Robert Abel & Associates (RA&A) in 1971 and adapted the computerized camera system used for 2001: A Space Odyssey to create special effects for broadcast graphics and commercials. Abel later established Synapse Technologies. Among the multimedia projects the firm produced was an educational project for IBM called Columbus: Encounter, Discovery and Beyond. The multilayered multimedia database enabled students to explore still images and graphics, text, videos, and audio to better understand the culture, politics and people from the 1400s to the present day.

A visionary whose versatility earned him numerous honors, Abel mentored a generation of talent at RA&A, who would go on to launch or work for the top companies in the field of computer-generated imagery. “The essence of what I do is that I take risks,” Abel said. “Every time I set out to do a project, I go out to do something never done or seen before.” 

1. TRW “Line” TV commercial, 1984. Thomas Smith, art director; Charles H. Withrow, writer; Michael C. Marino, creative director; Kenny Mirman, designer/director; Frank Vitz, technology director; Jim Barrett, production designer; Wyse Advertising, agency.
2. Scene from the short film “High Fidelity,” 1984. Randy Roberts, designer/director; Ann Kerbel, technology director; Rick Ross, editor.
3.  Columbia Pictures logo, 1976.

Diane Rothschild

She was an advertising executive and copywriter who wrote with “class, wit and intelligence,” said Ari Merkin, who worked with her in the mid-’90s. Across a career spanning nearly 40 years, Diane Rothschild (1943–2007) helped create memorable campaigns for numerous companies, including Chivas Regal, IBM, Mobil Oil and Volkswagen. 

Born in Manhattan, New York, Rothschild joined Doyle Dane Bernbach as a copywriter in 1973, launching her career. She worked her way up the ladder and became executive vice president, creative director and a member of the agency’s board of directors. During her time there, she was known as the agency’s most awarded copywriter. In 1986, Rothschild formed Grace & Rothschild with former Doyle Dane Bernbach chairman Roy Grace, where she oversaw clever campaigns.

Grace & Rothschild’s clients included Range Rover, J&B Scotch and Sterling Motor Cars. In one print ad created for Range Rover, an image showing the off-road vehicle driving through a stream is accompanied by copy that reads, “We brake for fish.” A holiday-season ad for J&B Scotch states “ingle ells, ingle ells. The holidays aren’t the same without J&B.” In a print ad for Sterling Motor Cars, numerous features that come standard with the vehicle are listed, and the copy reads, “Find another $28,500 car with all this and we’ll buy it for you.”

1. Range Rover print ad, 1991. Don Miller, art director; Gary Cohen, writer; Carl Furuta, photographer.
2. Print ad for J&B Scotch whisky, 1991. Christopher Graves, art director; Craig Demeter, writer.
3. Range Rover print ad, 1994. Allen Richardson, art director; Ari Merkin, writer; Jerry Cailor, photographer.

Mary Ellen Mark

By chronicling the lives of marginalized people, Mary Ellen Mark (1940–2015) became one of the most dedicated documentary photographers of her generation. She was born in Philadelphia, and after moving to New York City in the late 1960s, she photographed Vietnam War demonstrations, the women’s liberation movement, transvestite culture and New York’s Times Square. While on assignment for an alumni magazine, she met the managing editor of Look magazine, who later accepted Mark’s pitch to photograph young heroin addicts in London. Her work appeared in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, TIME and Vanity Fair. Mark also shot production stills of more than 100 films, including Mike Nichols’s Catch-22 (1970) and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979).

Mark forged strong relationships with her subjects. For example, while photographing on the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, she learned of the maximum-security women’s ward of Oregon State Hospital, where the movie was primarily filmed. She later spent five weeks living in the hospital, photographing the women who were patients in the ward. She also began photographing homeless youth on the streets of Seattle in 1983; the work was later developed into a documentary film as well as one of the many books that showcase her work today. 

1. Backstage at the Alcazar theater, Thailand, A Day in the Life of Thailand, 1995. Rick Smolan/David Cohen, project directors; Leslie Smolan, art director; Collins Publishers, publisher.
2. “The US Interview: Meryl Streep,” 1994. Jennifer Crandall, photo editor.
3. The Ricky Reyes Hair Salon, Manila, The Philippines: A Journey Through the Archipelago, 1996. Jill Laidlaw, project editor; Didier Millet, Archipelago Press, publisher.

Rudolph de Harak 

In a multidisciplinary career, he was a graphic and environmental designer with a modernist aesthetic. Rudolph de Harak (1924–2002) was born in Culver City, California, and moved to New York in 1950 before becoming promotion art director of Seventeen magazine. He started his own design office in 1952 and, over his career, taught at Cooper Union and designed book jackets, album covers and posters. 

In the mid-1960s, exhibition design became a facet of his career, and de Harak helped design pavilions at Expo 67 and Expo 70. For the Cummins Engine Company’s corporate museum in Columbus, Indiana, de Harak conceived of the museum’s centerpiece—a spectacular “exploding” diesel engine with each of its parts suspended by wire. He also worked on the design of the photographic timeline and typographic displays for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Egyptian wing. Requiring painstaking research, the project took ten years to complete. 

An office building at 127 John Street in lower Manhattan benefitted from de Harak’s ambitious environmental graphics, including a futuristic neon-lit tunnel entryway and a three-story-high digital clock. “I prided myself in thinking that I would come up with some kind of form configuration that had such a dignity of its own, or a power of its own,” de Harak said, “that it would imply the idea, or some idea, to the person who came in contact with that.”

1. Detail from the Cummins Engine Company corporate museum, 1985.
2. 127 John Street illuminated digital clock installation, 1970. William Kaufman Organization, developers.
3. Westminster Records album cover, 1962.

Cipe Pineles

Her design had an originality and sophistication that distinguished her from her American peers. Austrian-born Cipe Pineles (1908–1991) was an artist, illustrator and trailblazer who became the art director at pioneering publications. 

Cipe (pronounced seepe) was born in Vienna and arrived in New York when she was thirteen years old. After graduating from Pratt Institute, she was hired to assist M.F. Agha, the art director of Condé Nast publications, in 1932. He encouraged her to experiment and find inspiration in fine art. She continued to move up in the magazine world, and by the mid-1940s, she was shaping the design of Glamour as its art director. She later served as art director at Seventeen and Charm. Pineles commissioned fine artists, such as Jacob Lawrence and Andy Warhol, to illustrate articles, and her playful modernist approach earned the magazines prestigious design awards.

In 1943, after ten years of nominations, she became the first female member of the Art Directors Club of New York, paving the way for future female designers. In 1975, she became the first woman inducted into its Hall of Fame. 

1. Parsons School of Design poster, 1979. Janet Amendola, illustrator.
2. Seventeen cover, 1949. Francesco Scavullo, photographer.
3. Proposed Vogue cover, 1939.

Franklin McMahon 

He was an artist-reporter using charcoal drawings to convey a larger truth. For more than 50 years, Franklin McMahon (1921–2012) freelanced for major newspapers and magazines. In 1955, Life assigned him to produce courtroom sketches during the trial for the murder of Emmett Till. McMahon used a small spiral notebook in the Mississippi court, later redrawing the sketches on larger sheets of paper and adding watercolor. On-site reporting became his life’s work.

McMahon was born in Chicago and covered almost every US presidential campaign and national political convention from 1960 to 2008. He was at the Richard Nixon–John Kennedy debates, Kennedy’s funeral and Nixon’s resignation. He followed the civil rights movement, including the Selma-to-Montgomery march and the 1968 Chicago riots following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. And he watched Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon from Mission Control Center in Houston during the space race. 

McMahon produced numerous books and films of his work and bristled at the title illustrator. His drawings, he said, were never “after the fact.” They captured landmark events as they unfolded—a life’s work of storytelling that amounts to nearly 9,000 drawings.

1. Chicago magazine feature “Housing, Fair and Otherwise,” 1966.
2. One in a series of paintings and drawings published in Look as part of a story on the “new” Japan, 1963.
3. Personal piece. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy singing “We Shall Overcome” in Selma, Alabama, 1965.

Lester Beall

Self-taught at a time when posters and ads were the domain of illustrators and apprentices, Lester Beall (1903–1969) is credited with inventing the profession of art director. He sowed the seeds of modernist visual design in the United States and championed its concise organization with integrated elements that convey both a commercial message and an emotional response. 

A Kansas City native, Beall developed an interest in modern art movements, such as Dadaism and surrealism, and combined modernist aesthetics with a freedom to experiment in his design work. Beall moved his studio from Chicago to New York in 1935 and developed work in corporate identity, editorial, packaging, posters and more. In the 1950s and 1960s, Beall became a leader in the emerging corporate design movement. Known for his comprehensive identity program for International Paper, he also produced one of the first graphic standards manuals in the industry. His clients included Abbott Laboratories, Caterpillar Tractor and Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. Beall later moved to Dumbarton Farm in rural Connecticut and set up his own modernist office.

Throughout his career, he created powerful graphics using bold primary colors, photomontage, arrows, lines and angled type. Continually advancing his work beyond “the aesthetics of yesterday,” he wrote, “For me, tradition handicaps, while experimentation helps the creative artist.”

1. Connecticut General corporate identity manual, 1959.
2. Rural Electrification Administration poster, 1937.
3. International Paper trademark, 1958.

Jay Chiat

He was the brains behind the agency that helped transform advertising in the 1970s and 1980s. Morton Jay Chiat (1931–2002) was chairman and chief executive of Chiat/Day, best known for popularizing the Energizer Bunny and creating the I Love L.A. campaign for Nike and the “1984” spot for Apple, which is credited with elevating the status of the Super Bowl commercial.

Chiat was passionate and restless, claiming his real talent was for “losing clients.” Yet, Chiat/Day became one of the top agencies in the country. Chiat focused on both the business and creative sides, and Chiat/Day grew from a regional shop with 50 employees to a global powerhouse with 1,200 employees and, in the early 1990s, billings of more than one billion. Born in New York City, he became creative director of a small Orange County ad agency before leaving in 1962 to open his own shop in Los Angeles, Jay Chiat & Associates. When Jay Chiat & Associates merged with Faust/Day in 1968, Chiat/Day was born. It would go on to be named Agency of the Decade by Advertising Age in 1990, and its client list has included American Express, Nissan and Reebok. Today, Chiat/Day lives on as TBWA\Chiat\Day.

1. Nissan outdoor board, 1987.
2. Apple ad congratulating IBM on its first personal computer, 1981. Tom Tawa, art director/creative director; Steve Hayden, writer.
3. Honda print ad for its first car introduced to the United States, 1971.

Howard Gossage

Known for his unconventional philosophy and progressive ideas, adman Howard Gossage (1917–1969) was often called the “Socrates of San Francisco,” in part for his erudite comments, as well as the ambience cultivated in his Barbary Coast agency. The converted firehouse of Weiner & Gossage—established in 1957 and later renamed Freeman, Mander & Gossage—became a kind of salon where John Steinbeck, Buckminster Fuller and Tom Wolfe would convene. 

Gossage was famous for his wit and long-copy ads, which attracted readers and created anticipation for the next installment. For example, an ad for Fina Oil and Chemical Co. spoofed oil industry clichés by introducing Fina’s “additive of the future,” dubbed Pink Air—a superior air with which to fill one’s tires. A later ad encouraged readers to send in coupons for a free sample of Pink Air. Continuing the tongue-in-cheek campaign, another ad asked readers to send in ideas for the best way to use Pink Asphalt. Gossage pioneered interactive advertising well before the proliferation of digital. 

An outspoken critic of his industry, he believed advertising was too valuable to waste on commercial products and should instead be used to further social causes. His work for the Sierra Club ushered in the environmental movement, and he helped establish Friends of the Earth. 

1. Sierra Club print ad, 1968. Jerry Mander, writer; Marget Larsen, designer; Freeman, Mander & Gossage, agency.
2. American Petrofina newspaper ad, 1961. Robert Freeman/George Dippel, art directors; Marget Larsen, designer; Howard Gossage, writer; Weiner & Gossage, Inc., agency.

Tomoko Miho

She possessed an adroit sense of composition and visual ingenuity. Tomoko Miho (1931–2012) combined unique spatial solutions with a modernist approach to design posters, catalogs, logos, environmental graphics and signage. 

Born in Los Angeles, she and her family were incarcerated in an internment camp in Arizona during WWII. After the war ended, she studied at the Minneapolis School of Art and Art Center School in Los Angeles and later took an influential tour of Europe with her husband, Jim Miho, where she met with prominent designers, like Armi Ratia and Josef Müller-Brockmann. She then worked for New York City–based studio George Nelson Associates Inc. under creative director Irving Harper, where she designed for brands like Herman Miller. She continued working for the furniture brand throughout her career, including designing showroom lighting installations while leading her own studio, established in 1982. Her other clients included Aveda, the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and the Museum of Modern Art. 

Miho is best known for her masterful sense of scale and her powerful minimalism. She challenged perspective, employed trompe l’oeil illusions and expanded the depth of the two-dimensional plane.

1. Great Architecture in Chicago poster, 1967. Rodney Galarneau, photographer; Center for Advanced Research in Design, design firm.
2. Omniplan Architects poster, 1971.
3. Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain Paris Architectures invitation, 2001.

Al Parker

He was known as the creator of the modern glamour aesthetic in women’s magazines. Illustrator Al Parker (1906–1985) lifted the spirits of a nation recovering from the Great Depression with his pictures of beautiful women. 

He was born in St. Louis, Missouri. After winning honorable mention in a national cover competition sponsored by House Beautiful in 1930, other publications began commissioning his work. Parker later moved to New York City and began illustrating a charming series of mother-and-daughter covers for Ladies’ Home Journal. The first cover was introduced in 1939. Before publishing the last cover in 1952, the Journal produced posters of his art in order to attract advertisers. They highlighted the popularity of the mother-daughter pairs, whose matching outfits had inspired a fashion trend that spread to stores across the country. 

As magazines turned to photographic covers by the late 1950s, Parker kept experimenting and received assignments from Sports Illustrated and Fortune. He was celebrated for his strong compositions and his chameleon-like ability to keep changing style and direction. In 2001, as part of a series honoring American illustrators, the US Postal Service released a stamp featuring his artwork.

1. Portrait of Broderick Crawford for the cover of TV Guide, 1971. Jerry Alten, art director.
2. From a Sports Illustrated article about the Monaco Grand Prix, 1964. Richard Gangel, art director.
3. Ladies’ Home Journal cover, 1948. William Fink, art director. Parker’s mother-and-daughter cover illustrations appeared from 1939 to 1952.

Morton Goldsholl 

Acclaimed for his corporate branding, films and progressive hiring practices, Morton Goldsholl (1911–1995) combined the experimental and the commercial.

Born in Chicago, Goldsholl opened a freelance office in 1941 and established Goldsholl Design & Film Associates with Millie Goldsholl, his wife, in 1955. Morton took charge of the design division while Millie began building the film division. Having been inspired by their studies at Chicago’s Institute of Design, with its emphasis on Bauhaus principles and the possibilities of film, they began to garner attention for their inventive “designs-in-film.” Experimenting with light, photography and moving images, the studio applied avant-garde filmmaking techniques to mainstream advertising. Their practice attracted and fostered a generation of local filmmakers.

The studio’s integration of art, design, advertising and visual culture led to a wide range of work—commercials, corporate branding, trademarks, packaging, films and print ads—for major clients, including Kimberly-Clark, 7UP and Revlon. Goldsholl worked on iconic logos for the Peace Corps and Alcoa and designed the Motorola “batwing M” logo, still in use after more than 60 years. The Goldsholls’ 40 years of work demonstrated the power of art, design and advertising. 

1. Bauer & Black elastic goods packaging, 1959.
2. 7UP packaging, 1975. Morton Goldsholl/Thomas Miller/John Weber, illustrators.
3. Motorola logo, 1955.

Art Kane

 

In the urban milieu of post–World War II New York, Art Kane (1925–1995) evolved into one of the great photographers of the 20th century. From the 1950s through the early 1990s, he created numerous images for such publications as Life and Vogue, including his portraits of music royalty
 like Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones. He also photographed for major brands, including Coca-Cola and Volkswagen. 

Born in New York City, Kane served as art director of Seventeen magazine and studied photography with acclaimed art director Alexey Brodovitch. In 1958, he gathered 57 jazz musicians outside of a Harlem townhouse; the result, now known as A Great Day in Harlem, is one of the most iconic images in music history. Yet, visually, it is unlike most of his work, which was provocative, experimental and playful. 

He brought his fresh concepts to life by employing odd angles, strange settings and saturated colors. Kane preferred natural light but would “own” his subjects, directing them into deliberate poses. He would also sandwich transparencies to create montage images with layered meaning, such as his print of a young Black boy overlaid with a white gate. “Reality never lives up to itself visually for me,” he said. “As a photographer, I’m not observing too carefully where I’m going, because tripping over a stone might just lead to something marvelous.” 

1. Harley-Davidson print ad, 1976. David Kennedy, art director; Benton & Bowles, agency.
2. Cacharel print ad, 1977. Robert Delpire, art director.
3. Esquire magazine, A Great Day in Harlem, 1958. Robert Benton, art director.

Georg Olden  

When Georg Olden (1920–1975) was the guest on TV’s I’ve Got a Secret in 1963, a celebrity panel tried guessing one of his achievements. Olden had several. The award-winning designer was one of the first African Americans to work in the budding television industry, the first artist to design news graphics at CBS, and the first African American to design a stamp for the US Postal Service. 

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Olden and his family later moved to Washington, DC. He had an interest in cartooning and took art classes at Virginia State College, dropping out after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 to design for the Office of Strategic Services. After WWII ended, Olden joined CBS and became the head of network on-air promotions. He oversaw graphics for many shows, like I Love Lucy, Lassie and Gunsmoke.

In 1960, Olden changed industries to advertising, first working at BBDO and later for McCann Erickson. He designed the statuette for the Clio Awards and won seven for his work, along with multiple medals from the Art Directors Club of New York. Olden, the grandson of a slave, also designed a commemorative postage stamp in 1963 that honored the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

1. CBS Small World discussion program title card, 1959.
2. CBS The Silent Gun teleplay title card, 1956.
3. USPS stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, 1963.

John Berg

 

With a discerning eye for imagery, a love of unique typography and his latent humor, John Berg (1932–2015) brought Columbia Records to the forefront of the music industry. He was an innovator with more than 5,000 album covers produced under his leadership, including Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 album Born to Run. Berg’s choice of a charmingly candid photo of Springsteen leaning on saxophonist Clarence Clemons is an iconic example of his visual instincts and a cover that became a classic.

Berg was a native New Yorker and worked at Doyle Dane Bernbach and Esquire before joining Columbia, where he is credited with commissioning work from some of the best designers, photographers and illustrators, including Milton Glaser, Richard Avedon and Edward Sorel. Berg also utilized the gatefold cover, which doubles the space available for artwork. “The record would fall out on the floor when you opened it up,” Berg said of Bob Dylan’s 1966 album Blonde on Blonde, which opened vertically to show a rectangular portrait of Dylan. “That was a big selling point,” he said of the unconventional album packaging. During his 25 years at Columbia, he was nominated for 29 Grammys, winning four for his work on album covers for Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Thelonious Monk and Chicago. 

1. Bessie Smith Any Woman’s Blues album cover, 1970. Philip Hayes, illustrator.
2. Chicago Chicago II album cover, 1970. Nick Fasciano, artist.
3. Thelonious Monk Solo Monk album cover, 1965. Paul Davis, illustrator.

 

Phyllis Robinson 

As a writer and creative director, her work was an integral part of her agency’s success for decades. Phyllis Robinson (1921–2010) left the promotion department at Grey Advertising to become copy chief of Doyle Dane Bernbach when it opened in 1949. She broke ground during a time when few women were in senior management positions at ad agencies.

When Robinson joined the fledgling agency, she was paired with art director Bob Gage. They helped produce popular ads for Ohrbach’s department store, Polaroid and Levy’s Real Jewish Rye bread.

For one Doyle Dane Bernbach campaign for Levy’s Real Jewish Rye bread, the copy “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye” accompanied images of people from different ethnic backgrounds enjoying sandwiches. For a long-running campaign for Polaroid featuring the actors James Garner and Mariette Hartley, the playful banter sounded so natural that viewers believed the actors were really married. 

George Lois, who briefly worked with Robinson at Doyle Dane Bernbach, called her “the first great modern advertising writer.” She was a mentor and a mensch and continued working at the agency until her retirement in 1982.

1. Polaroid print ad, 1967. Bob Gage, art director/designer; Dick Richards, photographer.
2. Clairol print ad, 1971. Allan Buitekant, art director.

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