Herb Lubalin (1918-1981)

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Herb Lubalin was a well-known American graphic designer. He grew up and lived in New York City. He attended the Cooper Union, which was a privately funded college that was located in Manhattan, New York City. Lubalins place of education says much about him seeing as it was also one of the most selective schools in the United States, accepting only about 10% of its applicants.

Surprisingly, Herb had some trouble finding work when he was out of college. He jumped around at his jobs, he went from companies called Reiss Advertising to Sudler & Hennessey until he finally started his own company, Herb Lubalin Inc. in 1964.

While he has an array of well known work like Mountain Dew and Pepsi Cola soda logos, Visa check designs and overall excellently designed typography, he is best known for ITC Avant Garde, a typeface he designed. This font could be described as a reproduction of art-deco, and can be found in logos created in the 1990s until 2000s. Herbs’ work focused on meaning, all of his work focused on a meaning and how it was communicated and presented. Herb wouldn’t look at his work as typography but rather a way of designing with letters. No doubt, Herb changed our views on letterforms, words and language.

“As an agency art director, he pushed beyond the established norm of copy-driven advertising and added a new dimension. As a publication designer, he pushed beyond the boundaries that constrained existing magazines—both in form and content. In fact, some said he had pushed beyond the boundaries of “good taste,” though in retrospect that work is more notable today for its graphic excellence than for its purported prurience. Lubalin helped push back the boundaries of the impact and perception of design—from an ill-defined, narrowly recognized craft to a powerful communication medium that could put big, important ideas smack in the public eye.”
(David R. Brown, AIGA writer)

An in-depth analysis of Herbs’ work, written by David Brown, a writer for AIGA.