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Influential Graphic Designers

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Look all around you and you will see art created by Graphic Designers and yet many people will not even take a moment to think about who created it and what the story is behind them. From billboards to movie posters, packaging to TV and movies, Graphic Design is everywhere. When you are in the movie theater lobby the next time take a moment to look at all the posters on the walls announcing the upcoming movies. each and every ne of those was created by a Graphic Designer somewhere, they don’t just magically appear.

All of this has become so commonplace to us that often we dont even stop to appreciate the work that goes Into It, or think about who worked to create that each piece. Yet looking Into the masters of the Graphic Design world can be very fascinating. Many of them were influential not just in the Graphic Design field but also in general. Today we will take a look at two of these influential graphic designers Georg Olden and April Grieman.

Georg Olden Born In Birmingham, Alabama as George Elliot Olden to a Baptist minister named Reverend James Clarence olden and his bride Sylvia ward olden who worked as a music teacher, Georg Olden was artistic trom the start. At a young age Georg and his family moved to Washington, D. C. so that his dad could serve at the Plymouth congregational Church. While Georg went to a segregated school his father got deeply into politics and ended up leaving his family to work full time to further the civil rights movement.

As he was growing up Georg’s talent and love for drawing flourished and he devoted his time to cartooning and working for the black magazine that his high school put out biweekly called Flash. Georg won many awards and trophies for his art but ended up having to take an extra year before he graduated because he failed many of his academic courses. In college he drew cartoons for their newspaper the Virginia Statesman.

While he made the dean’s list Georg ended up dropping out of college not long after Pearl Harbor was attacked so that he could work at the Office of Strategic Services as an un-enlisted Graphic Designer where he designed posters that promoted rationing and conservation. The team that he enthusiastically worked to learn from each of them. It was during this time that Georg decided to leave the “e” off the end of his name when he published cartoons in “National CIO News” and used an almost childlike signature to mark them.

He explained that he chose to do these things to get noticed by others in the graphic design business but another explanation was given for this by Julie Lasky a Journalist who wrote an extensive article on Georg. She says “… this Scandinavian spelling, along with his rendering of Caucasian cartoon fgures, served as much as a blind to racial identity as it did a vehicle to recognition. ” Georg was the first black person to ake a successful name for himself in the graphics design field starting when he was hired on to work for CBS.

The television at this time was not as popular as it is now Title Card from To Tell The Truth by Georg Olden (IVe got a secret. ) and the graphics had to work on very small black and white screens. Georg was responsible for making graphics for shows like Lassie and the Ed Sullivan Show he also made the title card that was shown on the game show To Tell The Truth.

It was a simple black and white typographic sign with large sans serif letters in black, spelling out “IVE GOT A. In the cross bar of the large A was spelled out in white “secret” that word flashed on and off rhythmically. There is also great speculation whether it was actually Georg Olden who designed the famous CBS “eye” logo or William Golden, the Director of Print Promotion and Advertising as many say. Neither person has taken direct credit for the logo and one of the more plausible ideas that has been put out is that Golden’s group came up with the idea initially but it was Olden and his staff were the ones to carry it out to completion.

Many say that that is why Golden is more apt to get the credit CBS Logo CBS Logo for the logo and it still remains a mystery as to who really created it. That was one of many well-known and famous things that Georg had a hand in creating throughout his successful career as a graphic designer. Working as a black man in a world where segregation and racial discrimination was still commonplace it is notable that Georg was quoted in a 1963 version of Ebony magazine as saying “Acceptance is a matter of talent. In my work IVe never felt like a Negro.

Maybe IVe been lucky. “(v-isionary) He managed to climb the ladder to great renown in his career espite his race and helped to open the doors to other people of color to make their names in the graphic design field. One of those doors that he opened was when he became the very first African American to design a stamp for the United States Postal Service. The 5 cent stamp was made to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation it showed Offa black chain that was broken against a bright blue background to signify that the chains of slavery had been broken.

President John F. Kennedy invited Olden to a ceremony at the Whitehouse where he stated that the stamp was “a reminder of isionary) 5 Cent Stamp designed by Georg Olden Though Georg opened many doors for other people of color in the graphic field and enjoyed and incredibly successful and bright career in which he made a huge name for himself his star sadly faded when he was let go from the advertising firm MacCann Erickson given the crash of the economy as a reason for his termination.

Georg however thought that he had been let go because of his race and he filed a lawsuit against the agency but it was later decided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that there had been no racial cause for the end of his employment and the case was dismissed. He spent the rest of his days working off nd on as a freelance artist and tv director until he died in a tragic case when his live in girlfriend shot him, though the reason is not really known.

To this day his legacy still remains however in the many famous pieces that he produced as well as the statue that he designed for the famous Clio Awards, which is an organization that gives recognition to the best works in advertising , something which Georg himself won many times. CLIO Award Statue designed by Georg Olden April Greiman April Greiman was born in 1948 in New York and graduated from the Basel School of Design as well as the Kansas City Art Institute.

She then began simultaneously working as a graphic designer in New York and teaching through the Philadelphia College of Art. At the age of 28 April moved to California, she had begun to feel tied down to the more traditional design style that had been influenced by the European culture and was seeking a freer market that would allow her to really spread her design wings. California really didn’t have an established sense of art and design at that time, something that could make it a somewhat foreboding place for a graphic designer.

April however, found that that lack of structure and tradition set her design pirit free and allowed her to take chances and experiment in more areas. After her move to California one of April’s friends, Jayme Odgers a fellow graphic designer and giant in the typography field, invited her to go on a trip to Death Valley, and April agreed though she thought it sounded rather bleak and dull. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the desert and April describes that trip by saying; “The desert is its own educational vehicle…

While most processes occur at an invisible or microscopic level, the desert reveals its evolution in its very existence. I felt as if, for he first time, my eyes were wide open to the process of evolution, to growth, to change. “(AlGA) experiment in her graphic design and art that allowed April to open up her graphic design studio named Made in Space, Inc. where she made a name for herself and her quirky mix of American Postmodernism and more traditional design characteristics.

It was during this time that she bagan working with Jayme Odgers the friend who had invited her to Death Valley to experience the desert. His strong point was typography but he held the same kind of postmodern sensibilities that April did nd they made a good team. Odgers Joined Made in Space, Inc and they collaborated on a poster for the 1984 Olympics that were being held in Los Angeles where they lived. The poster featured a pair of runners legs in mid run coming out of a blue box with a background of clouds.

Behind the blue box is a sort of graffiti style pattern in pinks, corals, yellows, white, and red. The front foot appears to be stepping out of the serene blue box with the clouds and onto a pale aqua floor. The poster has a great sense of dimension and truly gives the viewer a feeling of space. It really does give a ense of movement and impart the feeling that the Olympic Games gives people even though it is rather simply designed.

1984 Olympic Poster designed by April Greiman and Jayme Odgers 1984 Olympic Poster designed by April Greiman and Jayme Odgers It was during this time she struck up a friendship with a man named Harry Marks who is one of the founders of the TED conferences. TED is described on its website as; “TED was born in 1984 out of the observation by Richard Saul Wurman of a powerful convergence between Technology, Entertainment and Design. The first TED included demos of the Sony compact disc and new 3D graphics from Lucasfilm, while athematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how to map coastlines with his newly discovered fractals.

Several influential members of the digerati community were there, including Nicholas Negroponte and Stewart Brand. (History) April Greiman was also one of those in attendance at that first conference when her friend Harry Marks invited her to come along. She tells of how Marks insisted on taking her to a Macy’s store after the conference was over to show her one of the Mac computers that one of the presenters at the TED conference, Alan Kay, had been talking about.

April explains about how she was hesitant at first because her first try ith a computer had not really piqued her interest because it really couldn’t do much of anything. She gave in though because Marks was very much a mentor to her and was a big inventor of software and other technology that helped to promote motion graphics. It was that prodding that caused April to see the excitement and possibility that the computer held in the realm of graphic design and art and she bought one right there and then.

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