Bruce Mau

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Bruce Mau is an influential Canadian designer who has left a strong mark on the landscape of Canadian design in the past few decades. Growing up, he planned to become a scientist, but a one year arts program at Sudbury Secondary School helped introduce him to design. He had to take apart and refurbish a vintage, single color printer, which he then used to print a four color print, taking it apart again for each new color. His formal art education began at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), but he left before graduating to work at the design firm Fifty Fingers.

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Mau’s rebrand of OCAD University

After a few years at Fifty Fingers, Mau spent a year at Pentagram in London. When he returned to Canada, he founded Public Good Design and Communications, which eventually led to the shoot-off Bruce Mau Design (BMD), which he ran for more than twenty years as creative director. Here, he expanded his practice, working with architecture, film, wayfinding, and various other avenues. One of Mau’s most famous projects was to design Zone 1/2, a massive book on urbanism from contemporary critical thinkers.

In 1998, Mau produced one of his most well known works, a 43 point long program called Manifesto for Growth, which aims to help creatives improve the way they think about and do their work. In 2003, Mau founded Institute Without Boundaries, a design program at George Brown University. In 2010 he founded the Massive Change Network, along with his wife, Bisi Williams. Since 2015, Mau has been working as the chief design officer at Freeman, a worldwide design company.

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Michael Vanderbyl

Michael Vanderbyl
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“When it comes to design, I like to do it all.”

Michael Vanderbyl is a multidisciplinary designer who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area. His education came full circle, as he has now worked for 30 years, teaching at the California College of the Arts, where he graduated. Today, he serves as the Dean of Design at CCA.

His career has been influential because he helped to establish the San Francisco Bay area as a centre for the postmodernist movement during the 70s and 80s. Vanderbyl’s work spans many different disciplines, and his lasting legacy is his ability to merge different design forms through his work. In 1973 he founded Vanderbyl Design. Through his studio he’s done traditional graphic design, furniture design, product design, and interior design for showrooms and retail space. His work is varied and expressive, with a wide range of styles and applications.

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AmericaOne, graphic identity, hull and apparel graphics for America’s Cup Challenge (St. Francis Yacht Club), 2000.

Vanderbyl’s work has been recognized countless times by various contests and organizations. Some of his most memorable awards are his AIGA Medal, awarded in 2000, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Interior Design Association in 2006. His work is displayed in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Denver Art Museum, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Library of Congress.

The Geography of Curiosity, poster for the Gravity Free Conference, 2007.


Paula Scher

“Master conjurer of the instantly familiar”

Paula Scher
Scher’s iconic typography work for the Public Theater

Paula Scher has cemented herself as one of the world’s most talented and influential graphic designers of all time. Her career began in high school, where she discovered a love for art and acted as the “Publicity Chairman,” creating posters and brochures for events and dances.

From her first job working at CBS records, to starting her own agency only a few years later, Scher’s career took off very quickly. Her most well known work has been done in the years since 1991, when she became a partner at Pentagram.

Her work at Pentagram has included many brand identities, like the famous one for the Public Theater, one of her ongoing clients. She’s also redesigned identities for the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet. Her redesign of the Citi logo took only a few seconds to create.

Scher’s work on the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre

Another, perhaps lesser known aspect of Scher’s work is her innovative use of supergraphics. Supergraphics in design are defined as large scale graphics, typography, and imagery on walls or other large surfaces. With a wide array of applications including way finding, education, and interior decoration, they are an exciting, if not extremely challenging media for designers to work in. Scher’s supergraphics works include the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre, for which she says she “redrew the building in typography.” She’s also done supergraphics for the PAVE Academy Charter School, which helped to establish a voice and brand for the school, while brightening the interior and inspiring students.

Supergraphics inside the PAVE Academy Charter School


Waldemar Swierzy

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Waldemar Swierzy was born in Katowice, Poland, in 1931. His art career began early, as he was one of the youngest graduates of the Cracow Academy of Fine Art’s Faculty of Graphic Arts, where he started studying at the age of 15!

After completing his education he began working at the Arts and Graphic Arts Publishing House (WAG). This was an important centre for poster design. Here, Swierzy helped push the boundaries and rules of design. Besides becoming one of the most important Polish poster artists ever, he designed book illustrations, record jackets, calendars, and stamps. He was also tasked with designing the Polish pavilion for several international world fairs including New York, Beijing, Vienna, Poznan, and Casablanca.

In 1965, Swierzy began teaching at the National College of Fine Arts in Poznan. In 1987, he became a full professor. Throughout this time he gave guest lectures at foreign universities in Havana, Mexico, West Berlin, and Kassel. Swierzy became a member of the AGI in 1966. Today, his works can be found all over the world in museums like the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Kunstbibliothek (Berlin), Hermitage (St. Petersburg), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), National Museum (Poznan), and the Poster Museum (Wilanow).

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There is relatively little information about Swierzy’s personal life, aside from his career achievements. Due to this fact, I thought I would take a little extra space to explore his artistic style and my personal thoughts on it. A strong focus on portraiture was consistent throughout Swierzy’s career. His portraits are dynamic and full of movement. Never, static, he often used his expert handling of various medias to his advantage in creating portraits that seem to jump off the page. Like many other artists of his time, Swierzy loved bright, bold colours. Something I appreciate about Swierzy, is that unlike many other artists working in the 60’s, his art doesn’t seem to age. In my opinion, this is due to the strong understanding of design principles that he put to use in all his works.

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Image result for waldemar swierzy
Image result for waldemar swierzy