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54 Most Famous Graphic Designers of All Time

15 Sep, 2022 | Presentations العروض التقديمية
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Graphic design is an industry that has grown and evolved so much over time that it seems hard to believe that it has only been around since the 1950s. Although we typically associate graphic design with logos and websites, the contributions of several designers over the years have exemplified the importance and complexity of design as a factor that influences and inspires consumers.

In learning about the history of graphic design, there are names of famous graphic designers that you should know. These designers are thinkers and pioneers, who adventured with the tools they had to push forward the field of graphic design.

Who is the most famous graphic designer?

Saul Bass is thought to be the most famous graphic designer. If you don’t recognize the name, you would certainly recognize his work. Saul Bass designed several iconic logos such as the logos of Quaker Oats, Kleenex, Minolta, and AT&T including the movie posters for many beloved films like Psycho and West Side Story.

Who was the first graphic designer?

Considered the father of graphic design, Paul Rand was the first to separate fine art from graphic design by emphasizing accessibility alongside aesthetics.

How do graphic designers become famous?

Simply put, it is networking and making connections. Putting yourself out there as a designer is the best way to create awareness about you and your work; building a portfolio, working on your interview skills, and taking the first step to reach out to clients. 

Other methods to getting exposure are building a strong website that showcases your work and getting your work published in relevant publications.

Who is the richest graphic designer?

It’s not clear who is the richest graphic designer since designs may vary in price depending on the commissioner. But looking at the net worth, Chipp Kidd and Michael Bierut have high net worths of $16 million and $1.4 million. 

The importance of graphic designers

In our digital age, visuals have become an indispensable part of a brand. They make the necessary first impression on a consumer and need to grab their attention long enough for them to make a decision.

Taking ideas and translating them into reality, graphic designers use typography and illustration to breathe life into a client’s vision. They are an essential asset in any content creation team.

Most famous graphic designers & artists

Whether you’re a designer looking for inspiration or an amateur who wants to get started, these are 54 graphic designers you should know about. These are designers who made an impact in the field of graphic design and inspired their successors.

1- Saul Bass

Saul Bass got his start working in advertising, but after designing the film poster and film credits for Carmen Jones (1954) he became a graphic designer.

Bass distinguished himself by incorporating kinetic typography, or animated text, into title sequences and end credits of films, notable examples including his work for Psycho, Vertigo, West Side Story, The Man with the Golden Arm, and The Shining.  

Aside from film posters and credits, he also designed logos for Quaker Oats, Kleenex, and several other brands. And though these logos have gone through evolutions since, they retained their roots in a Saul Bass design. 

Saul Bass Designs

2 – Stefan Sagmeister

One-half of the design partnership Sagmeister & Walsh, Austrian designer Stefan Sagmeister is known for his minimalist and neutral for several acclaimed clients. He is most known for his work on album cover art for bands and musicians like Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Jay-Z, and David Byrne.

Stefan Sagmeister Ads

3 – Chip Kidd

Currently, the art director for Random House, Chip Kidd started at Knopf publishing house and has designed nearly 75 covers a year for over 30 years. He’s designed book covers for Haruki Murakami, Donna Tartt, Oliver Sacks, David Sedaris, and Bret Easton Ellis. He’s also a regular contributor to The New Yorker.

Chip Kidd Book Covers

4 – Massimo Vignelli

Designing logos and assets for Bloomingdale’s, American Airlines, and Ford, Vignelli borrowed from modernist tradition to incorporate into his designs for different industries.

As a self-proclaimed “information architect,” Vignelli aimed to condense big ideas into digestible bits for users. His philosophy and legacy are palpable in New York City in his work on the New York City subway map and signage he designed in 1972, still used by thousands of New Yorkers daily.

Massimo Vignelli Graphic Design

5 – Michael Bierut

A Pentagram partner since 1990, Michael Beirut designed pieces for clients across all disciplines. From the Hilary Clinton campaign logo, branding for Saks, The Atlantic Magazine, New York Jets, and the Brooklyn Academy for Music, his work can be found all around New York City. He’s also a lecturer, critic, and writer for the New York Times.

Michael Beirut Graphic Design

6 – Milton Glaser

The mind behind the iconic “I Heart NY” logo, Milton Glaser knows what it takes to create a powerful, timeless design. Presented with the National Medal of the Art by the US Government in 2010, Glaser is also a lecturer and the founder of New York Magazine.

Milton Glaser Designs

7 – Paula Scher

To grasp Paula Scher’s influence, you only need to take a look at some of her clients: Microsoft, New York City Ballet, the Museum of Modern Art, Shake Shack, the Sundance Institute, and New York City’s Public Theater to name a few.

She is the first female principal at the Pentagram firm. Her innovative use of type as a visual image in her work is deemed to have a lasting impact on the world of design.

Paula Scher Graphic Design

8 – Peter Saville

Responsible for one of the most reproduced designs ever, Peter Saville is behind the famous album art of Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures.” He has created album covers for artists such as New Order, Wham!, and Peter Gabriel. His vivid and expressive style set a new standard for album covers.

Peter Saville Album Cover

9 – Jessica Walsh

The other half of Sagmeister & Walsh and later the founder of &Walsh, Jessica Walsh’s colorful and retro vision made her a regular collaborator for clients like Jay-Z and Levi’s. She also teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Jessica Walsh Designs

10 – Aries Moross

Aries Moross (previously Kate Moross) founded their studio in 2012 working on branding and commercial projects for brands like Nike and Ray-Ban. Yet, with their starkly original, bright, and chaotic typography, the studio found itself focused on music-related projects. Notably, they have created designs and artwork for One Direction and the Spice Girls’ comeback tour.

Aries Moross Graphic Design

11 – April Greiman

Greiman happens to be among the first to use technology for graphic design in the 1980s, embracing digitization and even finding ways to incorporate glitches in her work. Influenced by Wolfgang Weingart, April Greiman also introduced his new wave style to the United States scene with her own colorful and acid-laced twist.

April Greiman Graphic Design

12 – David Carson

Largely self-taught, Carson’s style is unconventional, edgy, and grungy. His experimental techniques solidified him as a star in the design world in his role as the art director for the magazine ‘Ray Gun.’

David Carson Graphic Design

13 – Herb Lubalin

Lubalin’s typographical design or “typographics” picked up where copywriting lacked and enhanced written text. His cleverness allowed him to adeptly visually convey language and know when to embellish the text. He is also the typographer behind the ITC Avant-Garde family of fonts.

Herb Lubain Logos

14 – Paul Rand

In Paul Rand’s 1947 book Thoughts on Design, he wrote about his ideology on design, primarily his belief that design should be functional as well as aesthetic. His theories have shaped what we now know as graphic design. 

He also pioneered the modernist Swiss Style of design which focuses on legibility and visual hierarchy.

Paul Rand Logos

15 – Max Miedinger

Miedinger’s contribution as a successor of Paul Rand’s Swiss Style movement was the Swiss typeface, a minimalist typeface otherwise known as Helvetica. It was a perfect reflection of the Swiss style captured in a font, clean and flexible, and it helped shape the movement later on.

Max Miedinger Helvetica Font

16 – Wolfgang Weingart

Weingart offered an antithesis to clean, minimalist styles with his spontaneous and chaotic designs. His designs were experimental and chaotic, imagining a new wave approach to graphic design that includes a more instinctive way of creating.

Wolfgang Weingart Graphic Design

17 – Alex Trochut

Inspired by street fashion and pop culture, Alex Trochut uses a visual language that is extravagant and eye-catching, creating designs with overlapping styles and genres. His clientele includes brands and musicians like Nike, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, Coco-Cola, Apple, Mac, and more.

Alex Trochut Mac Ad

18 – Dana Tanamachi

Tanamachi famously got her beginning through a chalk illustration at a housewarming party. Her intricate artworks then made their way into redesigned book covers for classics like Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz and brand campaigns for Nike and Penguin. She specializes in typography/lettering and detailed illustrations, both of which have contributed to her success.

Influenced by her work, Prezlab’s designers use her as an inspiration when creating book and report designs

Dana Tanamachi Book Cover

19 – Louise Fili

Louise Fili specializes in branding for food products and restaurants. Her work borrows from Modernism and her Italian-American heritage and focuses on typography in her work. She was also an art director for Pantheon Books and designed over 2000 book covers.

Louise Fili Branding

20 – Morag Myerscough

Known as the queen of color, Myerscough is a designer whose studio and projects focus on environmental graphic design, creating large and lively 3D pieces for schools, offices, and exhibitions. She uses bright and vibrant colors to make spaces more exciting.

Morag Myerscough Graphic Design

21 – Adrian Frutiger

Frutiger advanced and adapted typography for the digital realm by developing several digital typefaces including popular typefaces such as Président, Univers, Frutiger, and Méridien. His work of legible and beautiful typefaces can be seen on signs from London and Disney World.

Adrian Frutiger Font

22 – Alan Fletcher

The British “father” of graphic design, Fletcher’s use of typography and visual language solidified graphic design as an essential element for businesses and not only a decorative embellishment. He is known for designing logos for the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Institute of Directors.

Alan Fletcher Graphic Design

23 – Bradbury Thompson

Thompson was known for his incessant experimentation with styles and methods. Mixing surrealist, traditional, and postmodern styles by layering and incorporating photography, he created inspiring works that challenged tradition.

Bradbury Thompson Design

24 – Ivan Chermayeff

Mainly using abstract shapes instead of letterforms for his logos, Chermayeff and his design firm are responsible for dozens of memorable and iconic logos including the logos for National Geographic, the Smithsonian, PBS, and NBC.

Ivan Chermayeff Logos

25 – Jan Tschichold

Tschichold’s book Die Neue Typographie set new standards and guidelines for typography and typographical hierarchy that are still referenced now. He created many typefaces and is known for creating the classic orange Penguin covers, for which he designed over 500 covers.

Jan Tschichold Designs

26 – Neville Brody

Inspired by punk culture in the 1980s, Neville Brody created edgy and experimental designs for several album covers, magazine covers, and advertisements. Including his work as art director on The Face magazine.

Neville Brody Album Covers

27 – Otl Aicher

Otl Aicher is more recognizable for creating the 1972 Summer Olympics logo, which is also a perfect representation of his minimalist approach, bold colors, and pictograms that he also adapted for several signage systems.

Otl Aicher Olympics Designs

28 – Susan Kare

You might not recognize the name, but you certainly recognize her work. She is the designer behind many of the original Apple’s Mac interface elements like the trash, paint bucket, lasso, floppy disk, etc that were the base for much of the designs we’re familiar with today. She is also behind the typefaces Geneva and Monaco.

Susan Kare Icons

29 – Alex Center

The mind behind several ad campaigns for Coca-Cola, Vitamin Water, and Smartwater. He eventually founded his own design company CENTER which focuses on packaging design. 

Alex Center Ad Design

30 – Carolyn Davidson

When the founder of Nike approached Davidson, he asked for a logo that can represent movement. The result was the ever-memorable and iconic Nike checkmark, which she was paid $35 for. After Nike went public, she was compensated the difference in 500 shares of stocks. 

Carolyn Davidson Nike Logo

31 – George Lois

Over his 10 years at Esquire magazine, George Lois challenged the status quo with his memorable, and occasionally controversial, magazine covers. His 1968 Muhammed Ali cover, for example, depicted the boxer with arrows through him to evoke themes of martyrdom for his identity and beliefs.

George Lois Esquire Covers

32 – Jonathan Barnbrook

Barnbrook designed influential and contemporary typefaces such as Bastard and Tourette. Later on, he became David Bowie’s go-to designer in his later career, designing album covers for Heather, The Next Day, and Black Star.

Jonathan Barnbrook Design and Fonts

33 – Lauren Hom

Creating works for Google and Starbucks, Lauren Hom’s career in graphic design was initially unplanned, but her whimsical and intricate typography gave her work a shareable quality that brands strive for.

Lauren Hom Graphic Design

34 – Leta Sobierajski

This designer is an eclectic in every sense of the word. Working with photography, art, graphic design, and fashion and working across disciplines, her quirky and colorful style has been useful for her wide range of clients from Tate Britain and Gucci.

Leta Sobierajski Graphic Design

35 – Lindon Leader

His FedEx logo solidified him as a leader in graphic design, his subtly and cleverness made the logo the icon that it is. Alongside FedEx, he also designed assets for Hawaiian Airlines, DoubleTree Hotels, and CIGNA.

Lindon Leader Logos

36 – Luke Choice

Hailing from Australia, Choice borrows from comic books and cartoons to create art that tells effective stories through visual design. His dreamy and colorful style can be seen in his work for Samsung and Adobe Max.

Luke Choice Graphic Design

37 – Abram Games

Games was a WII artist who created hundreds of political poster designs. Following his motto of “maximum meaning, maximum means,” his style is simple and direct to highlight core messages.

Abram Games Poster

38 – Alexey Brodovich

His interdisciplinary and experimental approach to design during his term as an art director at Harper’s Bazaar made him an instrumental graphic designer. Constantly playing with trends, his modern and stylish taste informed his work in textiles, posters, magazine layouts, illustrations, and more.

Alexey Brodovich Magazine Spread Design

39 – Alvin Lustig

Lustig’s approach suggested that instead of representing the content of the book, a cover should convey the tone and style. This approach to book cover design was an original method that has now become standard practice.

Alvin Lustig Book Covers

40 – Armin Hofman

A pioneer in Swiss design, Hofman’s clean and powerful designs represent the Swiss movement’s core ideals. He aimed for effective design with a meaningful purpose to create something timeless.

Armin Hofman Graphic Design

41 – Cipe Pineles

Cipe Pineles’ career is full of firsts, she was the first female designer member of the Art Director’s Club in New York, the female art director for a magazine, and the first designer to hire fine artists to create mass-market covers. Her work is featured all across different magazines including Vogue, Seventeen, and Glamour.

Cipe Pineles Vogue Magazine Cover

42 – Claude Garamond

You might recognize the name Garamond from the font. Born in 1505, he was the first person to specialize in type design, paving the initial road to type design and graphic design as a whole. In addition to Garamond, he also created the fonts Sabon and Granjon.

Claude Garamond Font

43 – El Lissitzky

Lissitzky’s strong visual language in Russian propaganda posters used stylized shapes and bold colors. A pioneer of the Bauhaus movement, his work influenced the next generation of contemporary graphic designers.

El Lissitzky Graphic Design

44 – Erik Nitsche

Throughout his 60-year-long career in design, he added his modernist touch to everything he worked on. His emphasis on design being a tool had extended beyond the commercial meaning to include an industrial one.

Erik Nitsche Graphic Design

45 – Hermann Zapf

Hermann Zapf pioneered the move from press printing to computerized typography. And in addition to creating a typesetting program that offered a blueprint for many current softwares, he created many typefaces such as Palatino, Optima, and Zapf Dingbats.

Hermann Zapf Font

46 – Jacqueline Casey

Casey’s work introduced Swiss typography and design to the United States, a marriage of modes that shaped contemporary design. Her work featured Swiss-inspired cleanness with poignant messages.

Jacqueline Casey Graphic Design

47 – John Maeda

Maeda pushed boundaries in every medium he worked in, including digital and analog mediums. His exploratory use of computerized media helped develop motion graphics as we know them today.

John Maeda Graphic Design

48 – Josef Muller-Brockmann

Another proponent of the Swiss movement, Muller-Brockmann’s work emphasized what he called “radical minimalism,” which used geometric shapes and clean fonts with touches of bold color. His legacy in the Swiss movement lies in his use of grid systems, a widely useful tool for designers today.

Josef Muller-Brockmann Graphic Design

49 – Ladislav Sutnar

Specializing in information design, Sutnar used design to make sense out of nonsense. To aid his aim in creating clarity, he used techniques of dialing back the color and type palettes.

Ladislav Sutnar Graphic Design

50 – Lester Beall

Beall is remembered for his transformative attitude toward graphic design that treated designers as problem solvers, ones with the potential to add value to the marketing world. His Avante-Garde and uplifting work set a standard for designers to imagine timeless pieces.

Lester Beall Posters

51 – Lucian Bernhard

In the era of art nouveau, Bernhard embraced his own version of minimalism. As an art director for advertisements, he used flat colors and no slogans. Relying instead on a plain illustration and a logo for a clean, dialed-back look.

Lucian Bernhard Advertisements

52 – Muriel Cooper

Cooper was a graphic designer who started using computers in her work before they were commonplace. Her use of movement, visual depth, and 3D shapes was groundbreaking and pioneered the development of computerized graphic design.

Muriel Cooper Digital Design

53 – Seymour Chwast

Contrary to the Swiss movement, Chwast’s expressive style involved fusing design and illustration in original, playful ways. His novel approach was able to repurpose past design trends into fresh and interesting new iterations.

Seymour Chwast Design

54 – William Golden

Golden was a pioneer in the post-WWII era that was to mold the field of graphic design, his spirited designs pushed design into new territory. His work helped define what graphic design is as a field and emphasized differentiating between artists and graphic designers. 

William Golden Graphic Design

Dozens of designers with a unique vision have added to graphic design as a field and bettered it as a craft, so you can see how graphic design became the ever-expanding field we now know it to be. It is forever changing and evolving thanks to the fearless experimentation and relentless creativity of different designers. Overlapping personalities and clashing ideas have granted endless possibilities for the imagination to wander to.

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