Graphic Designers That Inspire Me

“Research the work of graphic designers that interest you. How do they use visual language?
What is it about the work that you admire? Make notes on their work, your reflections on it
and note down aspects of it that you could use as a starting point yourself.”

I have looked at various different Graphic Designers, including Chip Kidd, who I mentioned when researching for the book cover exercise in a previous post.

Here a a few more designers who have caught my eye.

Marian Bantjes


Her work grabs me, as she seems to really relish hand drawn pieces, and is quite unembarassed about producing “feminine” style artwork, I like her hand drawn valentines cards, they remind me of folk art, or a teenager doodling in the back of an exercise book! They are really playful and warm.

I also think its interesting that she does use plenty of embelishment, which could be called busy in less skilled hands…but looks beautifully vintage in a lot of her work.

Here’s a very intricate font designed by her, this is entitled Fortune Money Alphabet, comissioned by Fortune Magazine.

 Ellen Lupton

tension ellen lupton

Author of “Thinking with Type”. This picture perfectly illustrates the word tension. So much more interesting than a computer based image too. She also has an interest in illustration. Some of her paintings can be seen at this link.

I particularly like The First Lady. The back view marching off a wedding cake is such a strong image – it seems to imply a woman ready for action, who is confidant and happy to stride beyond a passive, traditional role.

April Greiman

1984losangeles olympics april greiman

I love this poster – the way the legs are running towards us , and breaking out of the frame. Its interesting to see how see has created movement and depth.

One of her more recent projects is Poets Walk. These are words and letters from a poem set into paving stones…I particularly like the photos in close up, but I don’t know if I am as interested in the actual poem (sorry!)

Margaret Calvert

Many of the road signs used throughout the United Kingdom were designed by her,and colleague Jock Kinneir. She also designed the Transport font. I hadn’t heard of this designer before,,yet her typographic skills have had a lasting and very practical impact for the UK.

David Airey

I really like this chap, he’s a freelance graphic designer who has had some very high profile clients. He wrote an excellant book, “Logo Design Love”, which is full of really helpful,practical advice, His website is partly geared towards students, In this link, he shows the stages of development for one his logos.,

Conclusions and thoughts

I think it might easily be possible to spend days looking up graphic designers as there is so much information available. I particularly enjoy designers who can be viewed on You Tube giving lectures, talks or interviews (eg Paul Rand came across as very likeable, and so down to earth.) It just makes people seem more accessible if there is an opportunity to see them speak.

There are many points of inspiration to consider. I think it helps to see that some of the most successful designers past and present, have had very different styles, and that there are many different ways of communicating effectively. I think Paula Scher said she found herself producing very different work, because she wasn’t a fan of helvetica!

I’m finding it hard to sum up here, as absorbing all these influences takes time, and leads in multiple directions. I like this piece of advice from Chip Kidd though, which is a good starting point…

“Say this…”

word apple

“..Or show this…”

apple image

“But don’t do this.”

apple and text

(I have a feeling I’m quite likely to do this!!)


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