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Your Favorite Designer

5 years ago a few prominent NY designers asked me who my favorite designer was. I said Woody Pirtle. You could hear the laughter all the way to Wall St. Whats wrong with Woody?! Everyone has their role models, but how do they come to pass and who (or what) makes them fade away? Did David Carson fill your soul? Is Tibor still your religion? Will Sagmiester have your heart… next year? Who is your favorite designer now, and will you love them in the morning?

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felix’s comment is:

2003: Christoph Niemann

2000: Sagmeister

1997: Craig Frazier

1994: Duffy > Kalman

1988: Woody

in the morning ... er, I'll ask Miss Cleo...

On May.08.2003 at 06:24 PM
armin’s comment is:

Oh... this is a toughie, let's see:

1996 / 1997: Most definitely David Carson

1998: P. Scott Makela. And Neville Brody a little bit.

1999: Carlos Segura. Soooooo glad that's over

2000: Small infatuation with Cahan, but quickly dropped. Attik. TDR. Tomato. Quite obvious isn't it?

2001: SamataMason, Cahan made a comeback. Louise Fili. Had a huge, HUGE crush on Rick Valicenti until he broke my heart, but I've learned to live with it.

2002: Cahan just keeps coming back. I started to appreciate VSA's work. SAGMEISTER.

2003: Aesthetic Apparatus. Ride Studio. Honest. Open.

And always, always, no matter what: James Victore. Because he has the balls.

On May.08.2003 at 06:34 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

Whoever provides the best solution to the present problem.

On May.08.2003 at 08:43 PM
graham’s comment is:

sorry-not one, but a list in no order

vaughan oliver: always

jon barnbrook: best degree show i've ever seen

h.c. ericson: settles any art/design debate (imho)

anthony froshaug: clarity

wolfgang weingart: shapey shapey and mad toight

wim crouwel: what didn't he do?

muller-brockmann: there was a time before mac

ed fella: david who?

hard werken: carson what?

peter savile: smoother than brian ferry in the mid-late seventies in the 'let's stick together' video projected onto the smoothest piece of silky-smooth velvet on the planet

miles/murray/sorrel/fuel: best in london therefore the world :)

and too many more . . .

On May.09.2003 at 01:56 AM
armin’s comment is:

>ed fella

How could I forget. YESYESYESYESYES

On May.09.2003 at 08:27 AM
TOM’s comment is:

No question. Charles S. Anderson.

His work at Duffy and early work for French Paper is what pulled me into design after starting out in advertising. His work led me to learning about and appreciating all the other great designers, past and present.

On May.09.2003 at 10:18 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

I can't say I have one these days...

On May.09.2003 at 10:24 AM
Peter’s comment is:

Vaughan Oliver, for all those 80's-90's record sleeves, that made me want to get into graphic design. And to think he did all that without a computer.

On May.09.2003 at 10:50 AM
Arturo’s comment is:

A few from my favorites:

Philippe Apeloig

Alejandro Magallanes

Vicente Rojo (images are too small)

John Maeda

Stefan Sagmeister

Cahan and Associates

On May.09.2003 at 10:53 AM
Dan’s comment is:

I grew up in Seattle and I had an Art Chantry poster on my wall before I knew who he was or what graphic design was. I'm a huge sucker for his stuff.

On May.09.2003 at 11:09 AM
armin’s comment is:

>Stefan Sagmeister

Woohoo! he finally has a web site. Even if it's a pain to navigate.

On May.09.2003 at 11:15 AM
KM’s comment is:

Vaughan Oliver - Pixies "doolittle" changed my major.

Peter Saville - I don't care what people say, white jeans are cool.

P.R. Brown - Hey, I actually respected my boss.

Stefan Sagmeister - Who doesn't?

Hjalti Karlsson - Kind of the 'wizard' behind the curtain.

On May.09.2003 at 11:41 AM
felix’s comment is:

Pixies "doolittle" changed my major.

ditto! (pixies: most underrated band)

KarlssonWilker: Yessr... soon to be Kings?

On May.09.2003 at 12:03 PM
armin’s comment is:

>KarlssonWilker: Yessr... soon to be Kings?

In the next half-hour or so

On May.09.2003 at 12:11 PM
davek’s comment is:

yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

in no paticular order:

Seymour Chwast

Milton Glaser

Alexey Brodovitch

Joseph Muller Brockman

Herb Lubalin

Tibor Kalman

Wolfgang Weingart

Stefan Sagmeister

Scott Stowell

On May.09.2003 at 01:04 PM
Goodie’s comment is:

currently and honestly Demetre and the brothers Clark.

On May.09.2003 at 05:33 PM
corey’s comment is:

Although it's already been said -

Wim Crouwel

Peter Saville

Although I am a little partial to Pablo Ferro and Otl Aicher.

On May.09.2003 at 07:14 PM
Joseph J. Finn’s comment is:

Chip Kidd

On May.09.2003 at 07:53 PM
steve carsella’s comment is:


Chuck. 'cuz he reinvents himself.

Art. 'cuz of his integrity and innovation. And if we all concentrate hard enough, he won't end up a lumberjack.

Scott Stowell, Stefan, Tibor. Humor and mad skills.

Alvin RULES!!! (Lustig) Passion and Irreverance.

Chris Ware. The Brian Wilson of the design world. Simple stories and lush production.


Richard and Scott at WINK. pure design. Illist mother******* from here to gardenia...

Shep and Dave at Black Market. 2 Mad Maxs in a pre-apocaylptic design world.


Laurie DeMartino. If design breathed, her work would be it's crisp, sweet, minty fresh breath.

Steve Tolleson. underrated.

Kevin Wade and da boyz at PLANET PROPAGANDA. gettin it done like players on a stage...

SPOT. Theater and beyond. word!

HONEST. Huh? Exactly, and I like it!

Dan and Mike at AA. full bore drive and dedication

TEMPLIN BRINK. They make it look too easy.

Howard Brown. Where is he anyway?!

Paul and Jeff at LURE. the best two designers you've never heard off.

On May.10.2003 at 09:24 AM
Michael S’s comment is:

I'm not sure that I have a favorite designer that changes monthly, but I've always enjoyed reading anything that has Robin Kinross's name attached to it. On the other side of the spectrum, Michael Lau and others at Kid Robot are doing some interesting things.

On May.10.2003 at 11:06 AM
David Thometz’s comment is:

Some of my favorites, past and present (with many inadvertent omissions and in no particular order):

Macray Magleby

Fred Woodward

Kit Hinrichs

Linda Hinrichs

David Carson

Paul Rand

Neville Brody

Milton Glaser

Saul Bass

Zuzana Licko

Rudy VanderLans

Herb Lubalin

William Morris

Max Kisman

Seymour Chwast

John Downer

Just van Rossum

Jonathan Barnbrook

Dennis Ortiz-Lopez

Reid Baty

Paula Scher

Jonathan Hoefler

Tobias Frere-Jones

Michael Mabry

Jeffery Keedy

Matthew Carter

Morris Fuller Benton

and many more.... :)

On May.11.2003 at 01:29 AM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Bruce Mau. Not that he's my favourite, but he's up there. The Zone books are some of the most beautiful books being made, inside and out.

What do people have against him? Is it simply his pretentiousness or is he not that well known outside of Canada?

As for other favourites, most of whom have already been mentioned:

Jonathan Barnbrook

Paula Scher

Tomato (mmm.... skscraper)

Peter Saville (for all the Factiory work)

Tibor Kalman (on attitude alone)

Karel Martens

On the new media side

Future Farmers and HiRes rock my world.

On May.11.2003 at 05:12 PM
jimjones’s comment is:

Jennifer Sterling does it for me

On May.11.2003 at 10:15 PM
jimjones’s comment is:

I can't believe nobody mentioned Hillman Curtis!!

On May.11.2003 at 10:19 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

What do people have against him? Is it simply his pretentiousness or is he not that well known outside of Canada?

I think it's the former—but I always forget about Zone Books, even though that's how I learned about him. He might not be my favorite designer, but those are certainly among my favorite books. Along with nearly everything else done by the MIT Press brain trust before 2002.

On May.12.2003 at 11:25 AM
zander’s comment is:

oldies: robert brownjohn, alan fletcher, jan tschichold

today: fernando gutierrez

On May.16.2003 at 10:30 AM
PaulRandisGod’s comment is:

Paul Rand and Evan Hecox

On Jun.20.2003 at 01:33 AM
joy olivia’s comment is:

Roger Black is still a type visionary in my eyes. He may not be create typefaces but he sure does know how to whip 'em together to look brilliant.

At the SPD Magazine Design Conference this past May, I had the honor of attending a lecture by Neville Brody. I knew of his current work (it reminds me of rave flyers from the mid-nineties, the design of which I do appreciate, even if it's not my typical aesthetic preference). But admittedly I sure if I should be excited to hear him speak or not. He was the last person up that day, and I was pooped. But he woke me up. In more than one way.

The topic of his talk was "Now What?" (ie., where do graphic designers go from here). The whole Iraq war mess was still on everyone's mind, so what he had to say gave me a whole new appreciation for him, both as a designer and leader in the graphics community.

Here's just a snippet of his thoughts from my notes:

"As designers, we inform the outcome. We're the translators of these invisible contexts. We're like filters in a way. Design these days is pretty much like processed cheese. There's not a lot of difference in the stuff out there... So what do we do? What happens next? Because we can have an impact on how people think, we need to ultimately NOT be afraid to raise our voices and tear up the walls and try new things. Embrace changes. Increase awareness in others. Share our knowledge!"

Brilliant and uplifting. It was just what I needed to hear.

On Jun.20.2003 at 08:09 AM
luumpo’s comment is:

I'm glad someone finally mentioned Matthew Carter.

He rocks the hizzouse.

On Jun.20.2003 at 12:12 PM
felix’s comment is:

Yeah, he rocks the old folks home. You're

absolutely correct. Zzzzzzzzzz.

On Jun.20.2003 at 01:10 PM