Year-End Show posters from Visual Communications

I stumble across printed samples and photos of some work that was part of my life back in my Visual Communications days. One of the perks that came from being a designer working for clients and doing a lot of printing work (and I tended to work with only 1 or 2 printers) was that I could leverage those printers into printing VC stuff for free.


Year-End Show poster / 1979

If there was a creative moment that I personally started to think that the design program could have national recognition it was with this piece. It was the copy more than the design of the piece. The text which I wrote on the bus coming back from a New York field trip. This is where the idea of the review process to get into the program originated. The text reads...

In the beginning there are 60 sophomores.
They come as designers, illustrators
            typographers and design consultants.
It was more difficult than they imagined.
These sophomores are still with us.

The 60 become 30.
Those that leave, leave for a number
            of reasons: the work, the field,
            the pressure, just to do something else.
Those that stay, stay for the same reasons.
These juniors are still with us.

The 30 become 15.
The reasons are still the same
            but the reward becomes greater.
The excitement of the field becomes
            a part of their work.
Finally they become the designers, illustrators,
            typographers and design consultants they
            thought they started as.
These are the seniors that have stayed.

Art Directors Club of New York's Grandmasters Award

I’m not sure I ever saw the Art Directors Club of New York annual which announced the inaugural awarding of the title of Grandmasters to design instructors. At this point I had retired and had quit adding the books to my collection. I was Googling something and the article suddenly appeared. I looked up the book on and there were copies easily available, so I bought two of them—one was for DCAD, who received a good number of the design books from my library, and the other was for Lead Graffiti’s library. I thought I would share the wonderful page designed for ADC88 back in 2009.

Nine of my absolute favorite projects ever along with my favorite portrait were shown on the double-page spread. Truly a great honor.

From upper left clockwise:

  • Rethinking 2009 — This was the first notion we had of doing our Boxcards using recycled boxes as the stock.

  • Histories of Newark: 1758-2008 — A 300-page hardback which we designed. We also took hundreds of photos for the book, most notably the “citizens band” that runs through every page and includes more than 3,700 townspeople.

  • All preservation is merely theoretical if you can’t keep the roof from leaking. poster for the American Printing History Association’s national conference at Columbia University. A copy was given to every attendee. The type is from our orphan wood type collection.

  • Can you have too much good typography — The poster celebrated a visit and talk by Justin Howes from London about his digitizing Caslon from original printings. The image is a single piece of 18″ x 24″ wood type that we made for the poster.

  • Think Small. Again. — Poster for a Visual Communications year-end exhibition reflecting back on the 25th anniversary of Volkswagen’s “Think small” ad. It was included in an exhibition of Volkswagen advertising at The One Club in New York.

  • Don’t let another art director beat you to the punch — This poster was the tipping point for my own feeling that I could complete on an equal level with other people and schools which I had envied from afar. Mounted in the Art Directors Club of New York exhibition on the same panel as one of Stephen Frykholm’s Herman Miller barbeque chicken picnic poster.

  • Yes 2005 — Poster printed via letterpress for a Visual Communications year-end exhibition. There are 11 pieces cut with a laser from a 1/4″ sheet of Plexiglas.

  • On October 5 we fished all day but didn’t catch the big one — Poster directed toward Saul Bass who called us about the piece.

  • The whole world is talking — The 3 versions of an 8-foot poster silkscreened in 2′ segments of voice bubbles for a Visual Communications year-end exhibition. Printed on a roll of paper 0.7 of a mile long. The stacked posters were handcut (total length was 2.8 miles). There were 36,000 rubber stamped impressions. Yes, it was a job, but a killer piece that won us a bunch of design awards.

Everyone of those is a nice moment in my life and reminds me how good a run I had with a bunch of amazing students, friends, and design professionals.