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Guide to the Ivan Chermayeff graphic design work, 1950-1987

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier


Creator - Designer

Chermayeff, Ivan


Ivan Chermayeff graphic design work, 1950-1987


0.2 linear ft: 3 folders (1 print [4 copies], 1 publication, 2 posters)


The collection consists of a print for Chermayeff's mural, "Painting by Computer"; an issue of the Harvard Advocate with cover and illustrations by Chermayeff; and two posters.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Ivan Chermayeff graphic design work, KA.0085, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical note

Ivan Chermayeff was born in London in 1932 and immigrated to the United States in the 1940s. After attending Harvard University and Chicago's Institute of Design, Chermayeff earned a BFA from Yale. In 1957, Chermayeff formed a partnership with Tom Geismar, whom he'd met at Yale, and Robert Brownjohn. After Brownjohn's departure in 1960, the company, renamed Chermayeff & Geismar Associates, went on to become one of the most powerful graphic design firms in the United States. Specializing in a clean, Bauhaus-inflected style, Chermayeff & Geismar created total graphic programs that often included customized alphabets employed across logos, signage, packaging, and posters. In 1961, their logo for the new Chase Manhattan Bank led to a lasting industry-wide preference for abstraction in corporate identity graphics. Other clients include Xerox, NBC, Mobil Oil, Pam Am, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, Cornell University, the New York Public Library, National Geographic, PBS, and the Boston transit system (the firm created its lasting “T” identity).

In addition to his successful graphics business, Chermayeff has led a distinguished career as an independent artist. Among his many honors, in 1981 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, D.C., and in 1999 received a Distinguished Service Award from the New School University. A Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, he has served as president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), was inducted into the New York Art Directors Hall of Fame, and with Geismar received the Gold Medal of the AIGA and the Yale Art Medal for Outstanding Accomplishments in the Arts.


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Scope and Contents of Collection

Includes four offset print copies of a mural, "Painting by Computer," conceived by Ivan Chermayeff and produced by Chermayeff & Geismar Associates in 1977. The mural ran along the length of one wall from back to front of the Parsons' May Company Auditorium on the lobby level of its 66 5th Avenue building. Also includes an issue of the Harvard Advocate; and two posters, one for the New York Expo and one for an exhibition by Chermayeff.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - March 9, 2011

66 5th Ave./
lobby level
New York, NY, 10011

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Ivan Chermayeff graphic design work, KA.0085, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by Parsons School of Design prior to the archives being established, and transferred to the archives circa 1994.

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Related Materials

The School of Visual Arts' Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives houses the Chermayeff & Geismar Collection. See: http://www.glaserarchives.org/holdings.html#chermayeff

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects


  • Magazines (periodicals).
  • Posters.


  • Graphic designers.


  • Graphic design.
  • Illustration.
  • Printing -- Specimens.

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder
The Harvard Advocate, 1950 Dec, Vol. CXXXIV, No. 3 

Chermayeff did the cover illustration and several illustrations inside the magazine, which features poems by Adrienne Rich and Donald Hall, among others.

k_3 2
"Painting by Computer," print of mural design, 1977 

According to a 1977 Parsons newsletter, the 7-1/2 foot by 52 foot mural was made "using innovative techniques and equipment in a unique blend of design and technology," and ran along one wall of the new Parsons' lecture hall/theatre (also known as the May Company Auditorium) in Parsons' 66 5th Avenue building. The image was produced using a slit scan camera and magnified 24 times on a Gisen Scana mural scanning unit, which reproduced, or "painted," the photograph onto natural cotton fiber with a paper backing. Judith Ellis, a 1974 Parsons graduate, worked with Chermayeff on this project.

k_OSxxx-1 2
Posters, 1979, 1987 

Includes a poster for the New York Art Expo '79 at the New York Colisseum (copyright International Art Exposition, Inc., 1979); and the exhibition poster for "Ivan Chermayeff Collages" at the Ingber Gallery (Image: "New Guardian," 1987).

MC C 1 5

Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

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