Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
advertise @ underconsideration
---Click here for full archive list or browse below
  
Inside the Graphic Design Archives at RIT

One of the most gratifying perks of working on Graphic Design Referenced — aside from the unbelievably intense pressure of writing 400 pages and making sure we don’t tell any lies — has been the opportunity to interact with many of the design artifacts we are featuring: We now have a healthy collection of 1960s Playboy magazines, 1980s The Face, LP albums from the 1970s, a Lufthansa 1968 timetable by Otl Aicher, and other items. And if I was excited about our previous visit to the Herb Lubalin Study Center at Cooper Union, I can only begin to tell you how ecstatic I was to visit the Graphic Design Archives in the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) at the beginning of this month.

The Graphic Design Archives at RIT

The Graphic Design Archives at RIT

Just one of the many aisles in the Graphic Design Archives at RIT.

The Graphic Design Archives are perhaps the most comprehensive collections of the work of American designers practicing from the 1950s – to 1980s, including Saul Bass, Lester Beall, Alexey Brodovitch, Will Burtin, Tom Carnase, Cipe Pineles, Paul Rand and Bradbury Thompson, among others. On a windy Friday morning I JetBlued myself over to Rochester to spend the better part of the day going through the archives to select work from Beall, Sutnar, Pineles, Carnase and Rand for inclusion in our book. As I expected, the collections and condition of the work were superb, and it was a real pleasure to go through the carefully labeled folders and boxes. I only had a handful of hours as I had to hop on a plane that evening, so I didn’t have the luxury of kicking back and browsing every page of Caterpillar’s corporate identity manual, or read through Rand’s famous presentation book for the Next logo, or bring out the full collection of Harper’s Bazaar to see all the covers and spreads. I only had enough time to make some selections and snap some quick photos to give everyone a very limited sneak peek at what lies in this treasure trove of graphic design history.

Due to the sensitivity of wrongful reproduction or usage of RIT’s materials, the following photographs are, on purpose, not the best and are oddly framed by folders, pencils and my laptop, as well as some being taken in unflattering angles.

---

Lester Beall

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall’s letterhead and folder cover, die-cut.

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Corporate identity manual for International Paper. Top: This is how logos were provided for reproduction in the days before .EPSes and .GIFs. Bottom: Swatches of how the green should print in different paper stocks — slightly more effective proof than today’s PDFs.

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Corporate identity manual for Connecticut General.

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Corporate identity manual for Caterpillar.

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Corporate identity manual for Martin Marietta Corporation, which would merge in 1995 with Lockheed Corporation to form Lockheed Martin.

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Lester Beall at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Covers for Scope, a publication by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals.

---

Ladislav Sutnar

Ladislav Sutnar at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Ladislav Sutnar at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Small brochure for Addo-x, titled “Adventures with a Logotype.”

Ladislav Sutnar at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Ladislav Sutnar at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Ladislav Sutnar at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

“Transport, the Next Half Century” brochure. I could not keep my eyes off of this one. It was truly amazing.

Ladislav Sutnar at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Ladislav Sutnar at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Ladislav Sutnar at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Foxboro catalog.

Ladislav Sutnar at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Holtzer-Cabot Corp. catalog.

---

Paul rand

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Presentation book for Next.

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Presentation book for The Limited.

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Presentation book for American Express.

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Cummins Annual Reports.

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

PDR Computer Impressions capabilities brochure.

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

Paul Rand at the RIT Graphic Design Archives

One of many guideline documents for IBM. Very humorous note.

---

Many thanks to Kari Horowicz and David Pankow for opening their collection to us, and for their help and support with our project.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 5253 FILED UNDER Show and Tell
PUBLISHED ON Sep.18.2008 BY Armin
WITH 25 COMMENTS
Comments
nicool’s comment is:

i went to RIT and feel very lucky to have studied design with such an enormous archive. i will have to go back and visit soon. it's pretty unbelievable there.

On Sep.18.2008 at 11:05 AM
JonSel’s comment is:

Damn that's juicy stuff.

On Sep.18.2008 at 12:33 PM
Steve’s comment is:

omfg

On Sep.18.2008 at 01:46 PM
Jason Puckett’s comment is:

That is some pretty amazing stuff. I hope you were wearing gloves.

On Sep.18.2008 at 10:53 PM
Ricardo Cordoba’s comment is:

Thanks for sharing these photos with us, Armin! What a great collection!

On Sep.18.2008 at 11:11 PM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

Wow, Armin & Bryony, seeing these articles really made my day. You are getting to touch some history work, and it's great that you got to share it through Speak Up. I look forward to seeing the book!

On Sep.19.2008 at 08:08 AM
Diane Zerr’s comment is:

I love the Connecticut General style book!!!! Nice photos, I can't wait to see the book.

On Sep.19.2008 at 02:39 PM
Tom’s comment is:

I went to RIT as well, but unfortunately for Illustration (or maybe fortunately, but I should have studied design as well) so I never had the interest to take a serious look into the design archives, only browsed briefly during a presentation Kari gave in the library.

Next time I go back to visit Rochester, it will be my first stop.

On Sep.22.2008 at 11:35 AM
Casey McGarr’s comment is:

This is so great. I love seeing the work of the great designers and how inspirational to have a look at it first hand. Do the archive available for students to look through for research/inspiration?

On Sep.22.2008 at 03:48 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Casey, as far as I know, yes, they are.

On Sep.22.2008 at 04:09 PM
Keith Harper’s comment is:

I went to RIT also - it is an amazing resource to have as a student. If any of you are passing through Rochester, I suggest you take a look!

On Sep.23.2008 at 12:03 AM
pat Taylor’s comment is:

Amazing cool!

On Sep.23.2008 at 04:53 PM
Paulina Garc├ęs Reid’s comment is:

What you failed to mention in this article, which I think is extremely important, is that it's mainly the work of Roger Remington, the Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design at RIT. Without him I don't think RIT would have such a wonderful resource.

http://www.rrogerremington.com/

"At RIT he has developed a unique scholarly resource, the Graphic Design Archive. This project involves preserving and interpreting the original source materials of 27 American Modernist design pioneers such as Lester Beall, Will Burtin, Cipe Pineles, William Golden and Alvin Lustig among others."

On Sep.25.2008 at 09:06 PM
LogoBlink’s comment is:

I'll add 2 or 3 pics just to tease in my blog and will put a link to this page :)

I like most " Do not alter the logo, even in humor".

On Sep.27.2008 at 05:14 AM
James’s comment is:

Rockin it like it's 1962...
Just like Roger R. likes it.

On Sep.28.2008 at 11:29 AM
Kevin’s comment is:

That is truly amazing. what an opportunity to look through the designs of the greats. Would any of you happen to know who the "Transport, the Next Half Century" brochure was for or perhaps where you could find a copy?

On Sep.29.2008 at 11:41 AM
Eric Ortner’s comment is:

Being an RIT alumni class of 98 I can say having access to this resource was an amazing asset in my eduction. Below are a few photos I took on my own back in 1997 for an Interactive Design class. Back then I was sure I wanted to work in publishing...

On Oct.07.2008 at 11:31 PM
ronald hasler’s comment is:

My eyes are bulging outta their sockets ... thank you for the time travel ... we have big shoes to fill, eh?

On Oct.12.2008 at 05:14 AM
ModSteve’s comment is:

Fantastic to have direct access to such an amazing range of work.
Anybody know of any good sources for high res digital copies of important design history stuff for those of us who don't have access to the print versions.

On Feb.09.2009 at 10:53 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Steve, most design history artifacts have very complicated copyright issues, whether it's because of a photographer's or illustrator's work being featured, or a corporation holding the rights to their reproduction. When the designer was/is living they may hold the right to share the work for promotion purposes to be shown in books and magazines, but once they pass away, unless they had in their contracts with each client that their work can be reproduced forever, most historic work can't be freely reproduced. That's why you won't find high resolution images (or any "official" images) from any of the archives.

On Feb.10.2009 at 05:52 AM
Paul Stonier’s comment is:

I also went to RIT and I'm very glad that Nicole Killian made the first comment on here. Kari Horowicz and David Pankow are awesome. This collection is an amazing assett to the school, however most students don't take enough advantage of it. I admit that I am guilty of not using it to the best of my ability, but greatly appreciate the instances where I used it. The Cary Press is quite amazing as well.

On Feb.12.2009 at 07:11 AM
Kaci’s comment is:

I studied design and photography at RIT too and took a graduate level class in the Cary Library with David Pankow (who is AMAZING, btw). It was one of the best classes I took, both in terms of quality of teaching and coolness factor in all the stuff I got to see and hold.

I also just wanted to mention that the Cary Collection is open to the public, if I remember correctly. I believe you have to make an appointment though. Definitely worth checking out.

On Feb.12.2009 at 10:57 AM
el norberto’s comment is:

congratulations great site, great work and great idea

hello from Mexico

On Feb.12.2009 at 05:00 PM
Joe Kral’s comment is:

Wow!! My mom lives in Rochester, NY. I'll have to go check out this archive when I go visit her this summer. Thanks for posting this!

On Feb.13.2009 at 10:12 PM
David Traver Adolphus’s comment is:

Extremely cool. You know what else is cool? Tripods, for taking non-blurry photographs.

On Feb.17.2009 at 10:58 AM