The Art in Graphic Design: Who are some well-known graphic designers and what are their designs?

There are a lot of graphic designers that are truly worth noting and getting inspiration from; with the way they thrive as graphic designers as well as a few of their noteworthy quotes and designs, there will always be a reason why they are always well known by the people in their field. Now who are these famous graphic designers that I am talking about? Let us all move through and check who they are.

Graphic Designer
Photo Credits: Pentagram

  1. Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut is graphic designer, design critic, and an educator who graduated at University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. He earned the latin honor of being summa cum laude in 1980 and proceeded to take a job at Vignelli Associates where he stayed for ten years. He is senior critic in graphic design at the Yale School of Art and is a co-editor of a book series entitled “Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design”.

Photo Caption: Bierut’s Seventy Nine Short Essays on Design

Bierut also published a book in 2007 under Princeton Architectural Press with the title, “Seventy Nine Short Essays on Design”. It contains BIerut’s own writings regarding his own design process and his progress in his career in either light or humorous ways.

Although really famous in the USA, a lot might not have heard of his name. However, it is a guarantee that everyone may have come across his designs as he has made some iconic ones for well known brands, products, or applications. Below are some of his designs that you have seen at least once or twice:

Photo Credits: Notes on Design
Photo Credits: Pinterest

  1. Cipe Pineles

Cipe Pineles is an Austrian-born graphic designer with creative pursuits already obvious right at an early age. She studied fine arts in Brooklyn at Pratt and began her career in the commercial world through her works in print media and client-based works. Her love for food also extended through her works in popular magazines such as Charm, Glamour, Seventeen, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. 

Photo Caption: (Upper) CHARM Magazine Cover, 1953 / (Lower) The famous potato spread for Seventeen, 1948

As graphic design is typically a male profession, her appearance as one with the career made noise as well as the first art director in a magazine to appoint fine artists for editorial illustration. Her designs are undeniably unique and they really reflect the artwork of a fine arts graduate. It was obvious that her love for food reached through her designs and Pineles’ famous potato spread for Seventeen in the year 1948 has earned her an Art Directors Club award. Anyone can also note that her usage of handwriting in her edited cover for CHARM Magazine is similar to modern day designs and digital age.

Photo Credits: The Washington Post

  1. Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli is a well-known and very significant person in graphic design. He was an architecture student at Politecnico of Milan until 1953 and continued the same program in the School of Architecture at the University of Venice yet he did not finish until graduation.

That does not deter him from his deep interest in art and architecture, designing lighting fixtures for his friend, Paolo Venini, when he was still a student and resulting in his and Venini’s iconic Fungo lamp (hyperlink:

Photo Caption: (Upper) NYC Subway System Sign / (Lower) NYC Subway Station Map

As for his work, Vignelli is one of the many who popularized the usage of the font Helvetica and the effects of this are still present with many designs that modern graphic editors do today. His works using this font that he made famous is plastered all over New York City Subway System’s signs and branding. Connected to this is his iconic design for the NYC Subway System map that became the default and the permanent branding of the system.

Vignelli’s insight about good design really gives wonders in the world of graphic design. In his words, he claims, “Good design is a matter of discipline. It starts by looking at the problem and collecting all the available information about it. If you understand the problem, you have the solution. It’s really more about logic than imagination.” We can all perfectly see these words of his reflect with the simplicity of his design which caters and connects very well to the people viewing his works. There is a power to simplicity and Massimo Vignelli proved that very well in his time.

Photo Credits: DNB Signs – Books – Networks

  1. Herb Lubalin

Herb Lubalin is an American graphic designer and is famous for making the Avant Garde typeface. He was born in New York on March 17, 1918 and received his degree in 1939. Job searching did not come easy for Lubalin and he did not last as long in his job at a display firm, but soon after, he found a job at Sudler & Hennessey where he brought design, typography, and photography in. He established his own firm later on and eventually got his big break through his association with Ralph Ginzburg and his succession of magazines namely Eros, Fact, and Avant Garde — where he created the famous ITC Avant Garde typeface for.

Photo Caption: (Upper) Avant Garde Typeface / (Lower) World Trade Center Logo, 1973
Photo Credits: The New York Times

  1. Ivan Chermayeff

Ivan Chermayeff was born in London and first graduated from Phillips Academy of Andover, Massachusetts in 1950. He attended his studies at Harvard University in 1952, the Institute of Design in 1954. He got his bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Yale University School of Art and Architecture in1955. He firmly believes that a good design must work well with his clients if it is to be successful. 

Photo Caption: (Upper) NBC Logo / (Lower) National Geographic Logo

Chermayeff was known to create logos for very famous brands and companies such as National Broadcasting Company, National Geographic, Museum of Modern Art, and many more. He often uses collaging as his way of designing and it reflects through his designs such as the logo for Showtime, an American premium television owned by Paramount Media Networks. 

When Chermayeff was asked about something he would recommend to young and aspiring designers, all he answered was, “Work hard and learn to self-reject. Never be easily satisfied.” This goes well with his willingness to continue to work and love his designs as he works on it. He never takes learning for granted, so it was not really hard to see his passion and his improvement through everything he did.

Graphic designers might not be at the frontline of businesses, companies, and brands, but they do deserve to be recognized for all the thought and the hard work that they put through in creating their designs. Even until some had reached the end of their time, their work and influence still lives on. 

Read more: Understanding How Important a Good Web Design is in a Business 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *