The 18 Names Every Graphic Designer Should Know

Designer Royalty  

There are thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of graphic designers in the world today. And many are good — really good. And then there’s the cream of the crop. Those that all the others look up to. The trend setters. They are the names every graphic designer should know.

The following list compiles those names. The best of the best. From a couple of the godfathers of design to those that are pushing the boundaries of what is considered great design in the present. They are the 18 names every graphic designer should know.

David Airey

David Airey

David is all things logo and brand design. Since 2008 he has run Logo Design Love, a Logo and brand identity blog. What makes David great is that he shows us his process and how he solves the problem at hand, not just the final product.

davidairey.com

Saul Bass

Saul Bass

Saul was an American designer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker best known for his film posters, motion-picture film sequences, and corporate logo designs.

Logo designs include Bell System, AT&T, General Foods, United Airlines, Avery International, Continental Airlines, Celanese, United Way, Rockwell International, Minolta, Girl Scouts of the USA, Lawry’s Foods, Quaker Oats, Kleenex, Frontier Airlines, Dixie, Warner Communications, and Fuller Paints.

saulbassposterarchive.com

Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut

Born in Cleveland, Michael Is a graphic designer, design critic, and educator. Most recently, he designed the logo for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Having cut his teeth in design at Vignelli Associates in the mid 80s, Mr. Bierut, now a partner at Pentagram, has worked with the likes of Alliance for Downtown New York, Benetton, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Alfred A. Knopf, the Walt Disney Company, Mohawk Paper Mills, Motorola, MillerCoors, the Toy Industry Association, Princeton University, Yale School of Architecture, New York University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Sex, and the New York Jets.

Michael Bierut @ Pentagram.com

David Carson

David Carson

David is an American graphic designer, art director, and surfer. He is best known for his experimental typography style which allows text to be used as a layering effect and texture. This style came to be known as “grunge typography“. It was at Ray Gun as the art director, where he perfected much of this typographic and layout approach.

davidcarsondesign.com

Aaron Draplin

Aaron Draplin

Aaron is a graphic designer, author, and founder of Draplin Design Co. (DDC). Born in Detroit, he is now based out of Portland, Oregon. His clients include Nike, Burton Snowboards, Esquire, Red Wing, Field Notes, Ford Motor Company and the Obama Administration. Aaron’s first book, Pretty Much Everything, is a mid-career survey of his work including case studies and advice which was released in May 2016.

draplin.com

Tina Roth Eisenberg

Tina Roth Eisenberg

Tina is a Swiss designer based in Brooklyn, New York. Tina is most known for founding and running her Swiss Miss design blog since 2005. She is also the founder of Friends Work Here, CreativeMornings, TeuxDeux and Tattly.

swiss-miss.com

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

Shepard first became known as a street artist due to his stencil and sticker campaign “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” (…OBEY…). More recently, Shepard has started his own clothing company, Obey Clothing in 2001. More recently, Shepard became more widely known due to his creation of the Hope poster in 2008 and Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

obeygiant.com

Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser

You may not know him by name, but you undoubtedly know his work. Milton Glaser is an American graphic designer. His designs include the I ❤ NY logo, the psychedelic Bob Dylan poster, and the Brooklyn Brewery logo. Glaser is the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal of the Arts award. He received it from President Barack Obama in 2009.

miltonglaser.com

Ellen Lupton

Ellen Lupton

Lupton is a graphic designer, curator, writer, critic, and educator. Known for her love of typography, Lupton is the curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, NY and the director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, MD, where she also serves as director of the Center for Design Thinking.

elupton.com

John Maeda

John Maeda

John Maeda is an American executive, designer, technologist. His work explores the area where business, design, and technology merge to make space for the “humanist technologist.” He is Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic where he seeks to address the diversity gap in tech by exploring how inclusion can be a key ingredient for success in the technology industry.

maedastudio.com

Jason Santa Maria

Jason Santa Maria

Jason is Design Director at Slate, author of On Web Typography, co-founder of A Book Apart, a teacher at Skillshare, and founder of Typedia. Previously, He served as Vice President of AIGA/NY, Executive Design Director at Vox Media, faculty at the MFA Interaction Design program at SVA, and Creative Director for A List Apart, Typekit, and Happy Cog. He’s worked for clients such as AIGA, The Chicago Tribune, Housing Works, PBS, The United Nations, and WordPress.

jasonsantamaria.com

Paul Rand

Paul Rand

Mr. Paul Rand is best known for his corporate logo designs including ABC, IBM, UPS, Enron, Morningstar Inc., Westinghouse, and NeXT. Born in Brooklyn, Paul was one of the first commercial designers to embrace the Swiss ethos of design.

paul-rand.com

Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan is a New York-based graphic designer, storyteller, and typographer. Sagmeister co-founded a design firm called Sagmeister & Walsh Inc. with Jessica Walsh in New York City. He has designed album covers for Lou Reed, OK Go, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne, Jay Z, Aerosmith and Pat Metheny.

sagmeisterwalsh.com

Paula Scher

Paula Scher

Paula is an American designer and served as the first female principal at Pentagram, of which she joined in 1991. Notable clients include The Public Theatre, MoMA, The Metropolitan Opera, and New York City Ballet.

Paula Scher @ pentagram.com

James Victore

James Victore

James Victore is an American art director, designer, and author. In 2010 and 2012 Victore’s work exhibited in The Museum of Modern Art. James’ style has been expressed as in your face, cutting edge, and emotive. His work tends to include bold and handsome typography.

jamesvictore.com

Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli

Was an Italian designer based in New York. His expertise included package design, environmental design, houseware design, and furniture design. Clients include IBM, Knoll, Bloomingdale’s and American Airlines. The iconic NYC subway signage was redesigned by Vignelli in the late 70s.

vignelli.com

Khoi Vinh

Khoi Vinh

Khoi Vinh is a graphic designer, blogger, and former Design Director for The New York Times. Fast Company named Vinh one of “The 50 Most Influential Designers in America” in September 2011.

subtraction.com

Jessica Walsh

essica Walsh

Jessica Walsh is the other half of Sagmeister and Walsh. Jessica is an American graphic designer, art director and illustrator. After moving to NYC, Jessica took an internship under Paula Scher at Pentagram. She then took a position at Print magazine as an associate art director.

sagmeisterwalsh.com