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Wild, Lorraine ( Yvonne Elizabeth Stella )locked

(b Ontario, May 31, 1953).
  • Louise Sandhaus

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’ (1983), which in 1985 led to her being hired as programme director of graphic design at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia. During her tenure as director, Wild developed and instituted a new model for graphic design education that emphasized the process of conveying meaning through experimental, conceptual and formal development. The programme challenged modernist graphic design methodology by encouraging students to bring a personal and idiosyncratic, rather than universal, perspective to their work. Wild also expanded offerings in history and theory so that ‘students could see themselves within the historical continuum of visual and verbal communicators.’ After she stepped down as programme director she continued on the CalArts faculty; she also served from 1991 to 1998 as project tutor at the Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Wild was one of the founders of the design office ReVerb, which received the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design in 1995. In 1996 she left ReVerb to establish Lorraine Wild Design, which became known as Green Dragon Office in 2004, to focus on collaborations with architects, artists, curators and publishers in the USA and abroad. In 1999, as a side project, she partnered with Roman Alonso and Lisa Eisner (b 1957) to found Greybull Press, an imprint specializing in the publication of photographic archives and collections considered potentially influential to tastemakers.

In 1998 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art held the exhibition Lorraine Wild: Selections from the Permanent Collection, a display of work acquired as part of their collection of significant design produced in California. In 2001 Wild was one of three finalists for the Communication Award of the National Design Awards, sponsored by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Her work was also shown as part of the 2003 National Design Triennial at the same Museum. In 2001 she was awarded a Gold Medal by the New York Art Director’s Club for the design of Height of Fashion, one of many publications for which Wild received recognition. She received a great number of awards from such prestigious organizations as the American Center for Design, the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ (AIGA) highly selective ‘50 Best books of the Year’, the American Institute of Architects and the American Association of University Publishers. Her award-winning books have included monographs on artists and architects. Her writing has appeared in many periodicals and books, including Emigre, ID, Print, Graphic Design in America, Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse, Lift & Separate, Looking Closer and The Education of a Graphic Designer. In 2005 Wild became a regular contributor to Design Observer, the leading website on design commentary and criticism. She has served on the National Board of the AIGA and on the design advisory board for the international Design Conference at Aspen.

Writings

  • ‘More Than Just a Few Questions About Graphic Design Education’, Design Journal, 1/2 (1983)
  • ‘European Modernism and American Graphic Design between the Wars’, Graphic Design in America: A Visual History (exh. cat., Minneapolis, MN, Walker A. Cent., 1989)
  • ‘Transgression and Delight: Graphic Design’, Cranbrook Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse (New York, 1990)
  • ‘On Overcoming Modernism’, ID, 39 (Sept–Oct 1992/R in Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design, ed. M. Bierut, New York, 1994)
  • ‘The Macrame of Resistance’, Emigre, 47 (1998)

Bibliography

  • R. Poynor: ‘Woman of Substance (The I.D. Forty)’, ID, 40/1 (Jan–Feb 1993), 67
  • E. Lupton and L. Haycock Makela: ‘Underground Matriarchy’, Eye, 14/14 (Autumn 1994), 42–7
  • A. Blauvelt: ‘Head to Hand: Reading the Book Designs of Lorraine Wild’, Emigre, 45 (Winter 1998)
  • L. Sandhaus: ‘Interview with Lorraine Wild’, Eye, 36/9 (Summer 2000), 10–16
  • S. Yelavich: ‘Lorraine Wild’, National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now (exh. cat., New York, Cooper-Hewitt Mus., 2003), 198–9