10 Seasoned Designers and Their Stories of Passion

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For creative people, seasoned designers especially, the world can often be a beautifully and frustratingly weird place. All the nay-sayers and their constant pessimism can be distracting at best, and exhausting and demoralizing at worst. To burst through all this negativity then, and to really shine through, designers need to rely on the sources of inspiration to develop design thinking abilities, above and beyond all else.


David Carson
The only surfer ever, in history, to own water front property on the fabled Point Break, David Carson represents what a life lived with passion looks like. Not only is he a world famous designer, known for his work in typography, but in his time as a teacher from 1982 to 1987, he was a professional surfer too, attaining a career high ranking of 9th in the world.

Emil Ruder
A pioneer, Emil Ruder was never much for tradition – not when it came to design, typography, or the passion for innovation. Devoted to letterpress printing, Ruder abandoned all that was conventional in the world of typography, and helped establish new, modern laws for composition. All this while maintaining the aesthetic effects of the art, even as he insisted that communication was the true purpose.


Paula Scher
Inspired by Russian constructivism, Paula Scher left her job at Atlantic Records in 1982 to work on her own, and in so doing, served to redefine the industry. Her Art Deco-based typographic solution is iconic, and helped her become the first female principal at Pentagram in 1991. An educator as well as a designer, she was the first designer, in 1994, to create a wholly new identity and promotional graphics system for The Public Theater.

Saul Bass
The man with the golden arm, Saul Bass is credited with dozens of iconic movie posters – designs which elevate his name to legend in the industry. He is almost single-handedly responsible for transforming the visuals of film advertisement, through his simple, yet symbolic designs, which portrayed the essential elements of the film with a subtle, visual elegance.


Paul Rand
His career began with humble assignments, starting with a part-time position creating stock images for a syndicate that supplied graphics to various newspapers and magazines. Between his class assignments and his work, Rand was able to amass a fairly large portfolio, largely influenced by the German advertising style Sachplakat (object poster), as well as the works of Gustav Jensen. Rand was largely self-taught as a designer, learning about the works of Cassandre and Moholy-Nagy from European magazines such as Gebrauchsgraphik.

Massimo Vignelli
“If you can design one thing, you can design everything.” That was Massimo Vignelli’s ethos, and he stuck to it in life. Vignelli worked firmly within the Modernist tradition, and focused on simplicity through the use of basic geometric forms in all his work. He was the co-founder of Vignelli Associates, with his wife, Lella. Vignelli equipped his own home with tables, chairs, lamps and other items that he designed himself.

Punk Rock

Kate Moross
Kate Moross collected her Creative Future award in 2007, and has been an unstoppable speedster since then. Her illustrations and typographic designs are precipitously picked by energetic sports brands. The young designer is only in her twenties, but has a diverse and beautiful portfolio that speaks volumes about her knowledge. Not only that, her talents include art and music video direction as well. Moross is driven by ecstatic free-form, brilliant colors, and a need to make the world a more visually appealing, beautiful place. Only time would tell how she creatively contributes to the design industry with her punk and trendy ideas.

Neville Brody
By 1977, punk rock was beginning to have a major effect upon London life and, while this had a great impact upon Brody’s work and motivation, was not well received by his tutors. At one point he was almost thrown out of the college for putting the Queen’s head sideways on a postage stamp design. He did, however, get the chance to design posters for student concerts at the college, most notably for Pere Ubu, supported by The Human League.
In spite of the postage stamp episode, Brody was more than just motivated by the energies of punk. His first-year thesis had been based around a comparison between Dadaism and pop art.


John Maeda
John Maeda was an engineering student at MIT when he became inspired by Muriel Cooper and Paul Rand, and such was the strength of his passion for design that he went on to acquire a Ph.D. in Design. Good at art from a young age, another aspect of motivation for Maeda was to hear his father tell people how he excelled at Mathematics, but failure to mention his talent at art.

Milton Glaser
Milton Glaser has been titled as the modern renaissance man. He has influenced design ideas at a global level through his intricate and deep understanding of conceptual designing, and his loudly expressive work. Through multi-faceted functioning, his method is to gain a wide perspective of design. He believes that a great designer must comprehend the values of his audience, stay true to them, and incorporate the ethics of social responsibility in his designs. His power and inspiration to design comes from learning something fresh with each new day.

Also explore #DesignerSpotlight: Milton Glaser

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Mehreen is a social media buff and design blogger, who keeps a keen eye on graphic design trends. She has a passion for experimenting with design ideas, and wouldn’t mind if it means going out of her way to find them in Timbuktu. Follow her on twitter for daily inspirations and findings.

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