If you’re planning to earn a degree in graphic design and embark on a design career creating great layouts, then there’s some key figures that you should know about. Throughout history since primitive people first used cave drawings as their graphics, there have been several graphic designers who have stepped outside the norm to change the way the world has viewed design and experienced life. The following is an introduction to four of the graphic design leaders and innovators who have crafted modern design as we know it.
After graduating from Cooper Union, Milton Glaser quickly became one of the globe’s most iconic graphic designers. He is undoubtedly most famous for designing the “I Love New York” logo in 1977, which is still widely used to promote tourism to America’s largest city. His crowning achievements don’t stop there though because Milton Glaser also created a world-renowned Bob Dylan poster, designed the logo for DC Comics, and crafted the logo for Brooklyn Brewery. Milton Glaser established New York Magazine in 1968 in the thick of American culture too. For this outstanding career, Glaser was given the National Medal of Arts by President Obama.
Educated at the Pratt Institute, Paul Rand was a premier graphic designer who built a niche in corporate logo designs. He’s well-known for being one of the first commercial artists in America to embrace the International Typographic Style of design from Switzerland. In his illustrious career, Paul Rand created logos for many notable big-name corporate entities, including IBM, UPS, Enron, ABC, Morningstar, and Westinghouse. Although his designs are often called simplistic, Rand declared in A Designer’s Art that “ideas do not need to be esoteric to be original or exciting.” He was inducted into New York’s Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in the 1970s.
Arguably the most influential female graphic designer alive today, Paula Scher began her career earning a BFA from the Tyler School of Art before moving to New York City. She worked for CBS Records and Atlantic Records to design some of the most iconic album covers for Boston, Eric Gale, Leonard Bernstein, and Bob James. Using inspiration from Russian constructivism, Scher became the first female principal at Pentagram. She’s made history with her branding for the New York City Ballet, NYC Transit, Microsoft Windows 8, Sundance, and more. In 2000, Paula Scher was honored by receiving the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design.
Originally born in Austria and trained at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Stefan Sagmeister proceeded to New York to become one of the greatest design innovators. He famously announced himself on the design scene two decades ago with a naked shot and lettering carved into his body. Sagmeister has also been a long-standing artistic collaborator designing brands for Time Warner, HBO, and the Guggenheim. He’s designed album covers for music giants like The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and Lou Reed. Along with his Grammy, Stefan Sagmeister has been granted the National Design Award from Cooper-Hewitt.
Overall, these are just four of the design superstars who have left their lasting mark with innovation. Other big names you may wish to research include David Carson, Neville Brody, Saul Bass, Massimo Vignelli, George Lois, April Greiman, and Ruth Ansel. If you wish to turn your passion for art into a successful career working among these great leaders, earning an accredited graphic design degree is the perfect first step.