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Article

(b Brooklyn, NY, Nov 4, 1940).

American graphic designer, installation artist and design educator. De Bretteville attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, NY, and was included in the school’s Art Squad by teacher and artist Leon Friend, who submitted his students’ work to national competitions. She received a prestigious Alex Award, named after the designer Alex Steinweiss, also a former member of the Art Squad. She received a BA in art history from Barnard College, New York in 1962 and received her MFA in the graphic design program at Yale University’s School of Art in 1964. She joined the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and founded the first design programme for women in 1970. In 1981 she founded the communication design programme at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles (now the Otis College of Art and Design), which was at the time affiliated with the Parsons School of Design in New York. In ...

Article

Aaris Sherin

(b 1925; d Brookline, MA, May 26, 1994).

American graphic designer, art educator and researcher. Cooper received a BSc in education from Ohio State University in Columbus (1948), and a BFA in design (1948) and BSc in education (1951) from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. In 1952 she became design director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Office of Publications (later renamed Design Services), but left MIT in 1958 and founded her own design studio, Muriel Cooper Media Design. The majority of her work still came from MIT and in 1966 she returned as the first design and media director of the MIT Press (1966–74). Her design for Learning from Las Vegas (MIT Press, 1972) was important to the evolution of printed media and computer-assisted design. Cooper used an IBM composer for the typesetting and although the machine was still manually driven it allowed her to interchange typefaces at will, a fact that she found liberating. She continued to experiment as the power and flexibility of technology increased. The book won awards for its design, but her clients were not particularly pleased with the innovative work: ‘They wanted a duck, and I gave them a monument.’...

Article

Henry Adams

(b Veracruz, Mar 13, 1880; d Stamford, CT, Jan 10, 1961).

Mexican illustrator, writer, gallery owner, and publisher, active in the USA. He was the son of a wealthy Mexican lawyer and publisher. De Zayas started his career as an artist by providing drawings for his father’s newspaper in Veracruz. In 1906 he moved on to Mexico City’s leading newspaper, El Diario, but a year later, after the ascension of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom the newspaper had opposed, he fled to the USA. There he landed a position making caricatures for the New York Evening World. Shortly after his arrival in the USA, he came into contact with Alfred Stieglitz, who staged solo shows of De Zayas’s caricatures at his gallery Gallery 291 in 1909 and 1910, both of which proved to be huge popular successes.

In 1910 De Zayas traveled to Paris, where he stayed almost a year, scouting out adventurous forms of modern art for Stieglitz, notably the cubist work of Picasso and African sculpture. On his return, equipped with knowledge of European modern art and inspired by the work of the French modernist ...

Article

Alissa Walker

(b Decatur, IL, Oct 12, 1945).

American graphic designer and design educator. In 1964 a trip to the Museum of Modern Art during the New York World’s Fair exposed Katherine McCoy to the world of design, yet when she applied to Michigan State University intending to major in architecture, the counsellor suggested the more historically female profession of interior design. She enrolled in the industrial design programme, receiving a BA in 1967, and took her first job as a graphic designer at Unimark International, Detroit. The corporate design firm was where McCoy was exposed to the stark simplicity of modernist and Swiss design, with an emphasis on typography, both influential for McCoy’s subsequent work. After a year at Chrysler Corporation’s Corporate Identity Office, McCoy worked at the Boston firm Omnigraphics, and then at Designers and Partners, an advertising design studio in Detroit.

In 1971 McCoy founded the practice McCoy & McCoy, Inc. with her husband, the industrial designer Michael McCoy (...

Article

Joe Coates

American design and photography studio. Founded in 1979 in Boston by Nancy Skolos (b 1955) and her husband Tom Wedell (b 1949), the pair worked collaboratively creating compositions that used photographic images by Wedell and typography and designs by Skolos. Their dynamic and complex designs and collages have been compared to the work of Cubists and Russian Constructivists.

Skolos’s father was an industrial designer and mother was a music teacher. She studied industrial design at the University of Cincinnati (1975–7) before transferring to the Cranbrook Academy of Art (BFA 1977), where she became a student of Katherine and Michael McCoy. Though admitted to the programme as an industrial design student, Skolos gravitated toward graphic design and showed a particular affinity for typography. She went on to pursue a graduate degree in graphic design at Yale University, where she met and worked with designers such as Alvin Eisenman (...

Article

Louise Sandhaus

( Yvonne Elizabeth Stella )

(b Ontario, May 31, 1953).

American graphic designer, art historian and art educator of Canadian birth. She studied at Michigan State University, East Lansing, transferring in 1973 to the design programme run by Katherine McCoy at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, receiving her BFA in 1975. She then worked for Vignelli Associates in New York from 1977 to 1978, while researching the history of American graphic design post World War II on weekends. Her personal research led to further study at Yale University (1982). While at Yale she designed Perspecta 19, Yale’s architectural journal, followed by the Chamber Works and Theatrum Mundi portfolios for the architect Daniel Libeskind (b 1946), and architect John Hejduk’s book Mask of Medusa in 1985. These projects launched her reputation for thoughtful and distinctively designed books on architecture, art and design.

Her 1982 MFA thesis, entitled Trends in American Graphic Design: 1930–1955, was quickly recognized as an important contribution to design scholarship and subsequently led to many commissions for essays. While teaching in the University of Houston’s architecture school during the early 1980s, Wild wrote the influential essay ‘More Than A Few Questions about Graphic Design Education’ (...