Recommended Reading

While on my way to my hometown of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania to visit my parents and my girlfriends this weekend, I’m taking a minor detour to Lancaster (which isn’t exactly Amish Country, but it’s the same county). I’m visiting an AIGA student group of graphic designers at PCAD, whom I worked with while at the National AIGA Design Conference in Memphis.

As I began to consider what I’d speak to the students about, I kept going back to books. I love books and I’ve always loved books. While working towards my undergraduate degree from RIT in Graphic Design I was always in the library. Not only did I continually have the maximum number of books out (25) I worked there too, at the RIT Archives and Special Collections. This is where I developed my love for gorgeous books. These books were my extended education. They became my bible for design inspiration, encouraging me to think beyond the project.

So, I prepared my top 10 list of all-time favorite books. Some are current, some are historical and some are pure inspiration. Enjoy!

1. History of Graphic Design by Philip Meggs

2. The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters by Chip Kidd

3. Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

4. Lester Beall: Trailblazer of American Graphic Design by my former RIT professor, R. Roger Remington

5. How To Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by my mentor, Debbie Millman

6. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier

7. The Elements of Dynamic Symmetry by Jay Hambidge

8. Inside the Business of Graphic Design by Catharine Fishel

9. Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design by Steven Heller

10. Obey the Giant: Life in the Image World by Rick Poynor

Here are two more books that are really important for anyone to read (designer or non-designer):

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Informing and Delighting

A week ago AIGA DC hosted a film screening of Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight, a film by Arthouse Films and directed by first time filmmaker, Wendy Keys.

Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight Poster

I first heard of Milton Glaser when I was in college, but he was never as big as Lester Beall for some reason. At RIT, we had a design archive which included the work of Lester Beall, Paul Rand, Will Burtin, Saul Bass, Alexey Brodovitch and of course my all-time favorite, Cipe Pineles. There are so many historical figures in graphic design that have really paved the way for where design is today, it’s very hard to focus on just one.

Of living historical design figures, Milton Glaser represents graphic design. Among all of the things he’s famous for, in my mind Milton is I ? NY, which was part of a campaign to bring tourism to New York State, not just New York City. Milton always describes the logo as part of his campaign to bring “love” back to the streets of NYC in the late 1970s. He never would have guessed how far his little mark would go and did this work pro bono. Now, I ? NY is everywhere. It repesents other cities, it’s on key chains and coffee mugs and it was also recreated less than a month after September 11, 2001 when the logo became especially prominent.


Overall, the film’s content artfully personifies Milton Glaser, capturing his immense warmth, humanity and the boundless depth of his intelligence and creativity. The film took over five years to complete, by first time filmmaker, Wendy Keys who is a former student of Milton Glaser. The cinematography is very basic, shot with an ordinary video recorder and edited by Wendy herself. At first I thought it felt like a student project. The lines are fuzzy, the colors are not vibrant, and I thought it lacked luster, but as the film progressed I was less interested in the film quality and found myself submersed in Milton. I felt like I was right there next to him, learning about his life and being inspired by his way of life.

If you’re a graphic designer, you know Milton Glaser. If you’re not a graphic designer, you probably don’t know Milton Glaser. That’s the great thing about this film, it’s one that everyone (designer or not) can enjoy. It’s a film you absolutely should not miss.

Needed a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’

I know, I know. It’s been a while since I last posted. I have no excuse beyond being busy, which nobody really accepts anymore anyway, so I digress.

The Urban Cowboy, New York City’s finest designer around – Mark Guthridge – sent me this video today. I just love it and wanted to use it to inspire me to start blogging again. A little inspiration goes a long way, huh?

Letterpress Poster Printing from Joshua Gerken on Vimeo.

ADC Hall Of Fame 2008

It’s with absolute excitement and horray! that I’m able to say R. Roger Remington’s day has finally come! He has been inducted to the 2008 Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame!

Since 1971, the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame has recognized and honored those innovators who have made significant contributions to art direction and visual communications, and whose lifetime achievements represent the highest standards of creative excellence.

This year they’re honoring the following people along with Roger:
Alex Bogusky
Sir John Hegarty
Ray Eames
Maira Kalman
John Maeda
Bruce Weber

My experience with Roger has been through his teaching and devoted research to design history at RIT. There Roger has developed a unique scholarly resource, the Graphic Design Archive, where I worked for two years. This project involves preserving and interpreting the original source materials of 19 Modernist design pioneers such as Lester Beall, Will Burtin, Cipe Pineles (the woman whom my cat is named after), William Golden and Alvin Lustig among others.

Congratulations Roger!