News / Graphic Design

Lubalin 100 honours the life and work of renowned graphic designer Herb Lubalin

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Portrait of Herb Lubalin, courtesy of the Lubalin family.

Renowned American graphic designer, Herb Lubalin, best known for his collaborations with Ralph Ginzburg on the magazines Eros, Fact and Avant Garde, is regarded as one of the seminal designers of the 20th century. Tomorrow, 17 March 2018, will mark what would have been Lubalin’s 100th birthday. To celebrate the occasion, The Herb Lubalin Study Centre of Design and Typography at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art will launch lubalin100.com.

Created by Alexander Tochilovsky, curator of the Herb Lubalin Study Centre, the site will post new content daily for 100 consecutive days to honour the innovative designer and showcase his impact on the files of graphic design, typography and art direction.

“The project is akin to an advent calendar, and will allow us to tell a richer story about Herb Lubalin as an individual, to help the public see beyond the surface of his design work and understand the essence of his ingenuity,” explains Alexander. “Many items in the archive go unnoticed, even by the large numbers of researchers and guests visiting the archive. Many of Lubalin’s crucial collaborators are also overlooked. We hope that the new site shines a spotlight on some of these design pieces – and designers – and illustrates why they are worthy of appreciation both because of their place in the timeline of graphic design and the thought process that went into their creation.”

As well as showcasing highlights from Eros, Fact and Avant Garde, the project will include pieces that were rejected by clients, personal anecdotes, quotations, personal photographs and artefacts and interviews with contemporary designers. Despite the plethora of material to choose from, Alexander describes the “animations that Lubalin did for PBS in the early 1970s,” as one of his personal highlights. “[They] have not been seen in years as the original footage is long lost. For the Lubalin 100 project, we are reanimating them in order to bring them back to life and show people how Lubalin was making his typography move,” the curator tells It’s Nice That.

Starting tomorrow, the website will help make Lubalin’s work and legacy available to a broader audience by utilising the web as the most accessible medium. As well as democratising Lubalin’s designs, the project acts a speculative look at how such designers would have employed the digital platforms of today’s world.

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Covers of Fact magazine, 1964

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Covers of Fact magazine, 1964

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A still from one of the many lost titles for PBS programs that Lubalin’s studio designed.