It’s a common aspiration for graphic designers to be recognized and have their names pop up on websites, especially in this internet-centric era. The best way to get there is to learn from the greats themselves, which in the span of the past decade has grown as graphic design became more and more popular in the progressing years. To become a success story yourself, you have to take notes from the stories of these 15 big graphic design names that made a splash on the internet in the past year.
15 Famous Graphic Designers that Made the Searches this year
1. Milton Glaser
Milton Glaser is the American graphic designer that has left his stamp in his home state of New York — literally. This accomplished graphic designer is the man that designed the “I *heart* NY” stamp that you’d find on t-shirts sold to tourists every year (prior to the global health crisis). His most known works also include Bob Dylan’s poster for the singer’s greatest hits album. His art spans over decades, being the go-to designer for psychedelic art.
Glaser also became the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal of the Arts awarded by United States President Barack Obama in 2009. He, unfortunately, made headlines this year because of the announcement of his passing last June 26. He was 91 years old. His works were published in his book, “Sketch & Finish: The Journey from Here to There” and can also be found on the Milton Glaser official website.
“There are three responses to a piece of design—yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”
2. Paula Scher
Paula Scher is a true example of a modern graphic designer. When it comes to building a brand identity with art and creativity, she was the person to turn to. Many may have come across her in the Netflix documentary, “Abstract: The Art of Design,” where she had a special cameo.
Scher worked for a variety of major clients such as the New York Theater, The New York Times Magazine, Madison Square Park, The American Museum of Natural History, and many more. She earned many titles and awards including the National Design Award, AIGA Medal, and Type Directors Club Medal. In 1991, she was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame. Check out her TED Talk.
“Design is the art of planning, and it is the art of making things possible.”
3. David Carson
If you were to look up “grunge typography,” this graphic design master would pop up almost instantly. David Carson is one of the pioneers of the grunge aesthetic that dominated the design scene in the 90s. He showcased it when he was the art director in the famous magazine Ray Gun. He’s worked for big names like Ray Ban, Pepsi Cola, American Airlines and so much more.
In 2000, he wrote a monograph called “End of Print”, which has later been considered to be a ‘designer’s bible’. You can find more of his works on the David Carson Design website.
“Graphic design will save the world right after rock and roll does.”
4. Stefan Sagmeister
Does Stefan Sagmeister sound familiar to you? Well, this Austrian Designer was the other half of the design team, “Sagmeister & Walsh Inc.” He introduced a lot of weirdness into the world of graphic design in the best ways possible. His work was often provocative and innovative, setting the bar for other designers in the industry.
He and his partner designer (next up on the list) ended their agency after years of working together to shift his focus on exhibit work. His website Sagmeister showcases a lot of his eccentric work.
“It is very important to embrace failure and to do a lot of stuff — as much stuff as possible — with as little fear as possible. It’s much, much better to wind up with a lot of crap having tried it than to overthink in the beginning and not do it.”
5. Jessica Walsh
Jessica Walsh was one of those brilliant designers that showed promise at a young age. She had shown a knack for design and coding as early as 11 years old. After graduating from university, she turned down a job offer from Apple to pursue an internship under Paula Scher. She worked as an associate director at Print Magazine and has published designs with various companies including “The New York Times.”
She became the other half of the company “Sagmeister & Walsh Inc.” at age 25. Her outstanding designs are known for being bold, emotional, and provocative. In 2019, she founded her own company, “& Walsh”, after handling most of the client work in the 4 years before disbanding her partner agency. Check out her works in her new agency.
“Do the work that feeds your soul, not your ego.”
6. Neville Brody
Graphic design isn’t just talk of logos, motion graphics, or animation. It also includes typography and visual language. Neville Brody kick-started his career by designing a poster for a student concert. From there, he began learning the ropes of the industry and He then made a name for himself as an art director at The Face.
In 1991, he and his friend started FUSE, a project that challenges the ideas of typographic and visual language. He now owns a design studio, “Brody Associates,” which is based in London. You can visit his website for inspiration on typographic design.
“Design is more than just a few tricks to the eye. It’s a few tricks to the brain.”
7. Massimo Vignelli
One of the most well-known graphic designers of all time, Massimo Vignelli’s work is timeless and visually impactful. With works ranging from package design to houseware design and furniture design, he was able to influence many major companies’ rebranding, which include American Airlines, Xerox, IBM, and more.
Moreover, he is also responsible for designing the subway map and signage of New York City. He passed away in 2014, leaving behind a great and powerful legacy to guide the world.
“If you can design one thing, you can design everything.”
8. Kate Moross
Kate Moross is a contemporary designer known for their vibrant style that is best described as a love letter to the rainbow. This British art director has earned quite the profile as a creative in publications like GrafiMagazine, Creative Review, and Vice magazine.
And if design wasn’t enough to fuel a creative flame, Moross also founded Isomorph Records, a vinyl music company. Studio Moross, which they also established to find the line that connects design and music. Check out their brilliant work in their online portfolio!
“The key to great ideas is not having them, it is executing them. And great ideas come from problems. As designers, we call problems: briefs; and we call reactions to problems: concepts.”
9. Michael Bierut
Michael Bierut is a leader in the graphic design world. He used to work with Pentagram, producing thousands of graphic design work for Benetton, the New York Jets, Walt Disney, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and many other prolific names.
Bierut is, without a doubt, exceptionally talented and successful. He believes that it is up to the graphic designer to bring significance to a subject and inspiration, rather than Photoshop. Check out his TED Talk.
“Designers actually can change the world for the better by making the complicated simple and finding beauty in truth.”
10. Herb Lubalin
Herb Lubalin is known to be “the father of conceptual typography,” bringing creative and expressive typography to the forefront of print advertising.
As one of the pioneer designers of typography, Lubalin started a private studio where he made some of his best work. He’s widely known for his work in Ralph Ginzburg’s “Eros, Fact, and Avant Garde.”
“You can do a good ad without good typography, but you can’t do a great ad without good typography.”
11. Shigeo Fukuda
The first Japanese graphic designer who was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame, Shigeo Fukuda is known as the designer of ‘sarcastic anti-war and environmental advocacy’ posters that The New York Times once described as: “distilled complex concepts into compelling images of logo-simplicity.”
His works include the poster for the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka and a 1980 poster created for Amnesty International.
“I believe that in design, 30 percent dignity, 20 percent beauty and 50 percent absurdity are necessary.”
12. Wolfgang Weingart
Wolfgang Weingart is an internationally known graphic designer and typographer in the 20th century. His work is categorized as Swiss typography and he is credited as the “father” of ‘New Wave’ or ‘Swiss Punk’ typography.
He was a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale from 1978 to 1999 and received several awards throughout his lifetime. He’s even a Doctor of Fine Arts and receives the AGIA medal, the highest honor a designer would only be so lucky and talented to receive.
“The simpler the assignment, the more difficult the solution.”
13. Armin Hofmann
Armin Hofmann is also a Swiss typographic designer and devoted teacher. He began his career as a teacher at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule Basel School of Art and Crafts. He is also a pioneer in developing the graphic design style known as the ‘Swiss Style’.
If you’ve heard of his name before, then you’ve probably got the right hunch. He is the author for the “Graphic Design Manual,” a textbook that’s still popular today.
“In my own work, I feel compelled to set an example: to cultivate a corner of unity and to struggle against dismemberment and fragmentation in the field of design.”
14. April Greiman
Back in the day, graphic designers had no more than their creativity and a pencil to create great designs. Nowadays everything is done through technology, and this designer is one of the people to thank for it.
April Greiman is a well-known graphic designer who was one of the first designers to use the computer as a tool.
Aside from pioneering technology into the industry, she has earned notoriety in her career as a contributor and leader of many projects with art institutes and museums.
“I like to step into areas where I am afraid. Fear is a sign that I am going in the right direction.”
15. Louise Fili
Louise Fili is a typographer with a distinct style that you may be very familiar with. This Italian-American Designer is very much inspired by the European Art Deco style, capturing a modernist aesthetic.
Her vintage aesthetic is easily recognizable as they’re widely featured in food establishments and the like. If you were to encapsulate her signature style in a word, it would be “charming.” Here is her online portfolio.
“Never sit around and just wait for the phone to ring.”