Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen are towering figures in American graphic design. Lustig, a beloved teacher and influential critic as well as a polymath designer, advocated an ambitious mission for the discipline, insisting that a true designer could guide public taste toward “the proper expression of the society he lives in.” As head of her own office, Cohen maintained an independence that was rare for women at mid-century. In 1973 she co-founded Ex Libris, a rare book and ephemera shop that played an essential role in the development of design history.
Both designers imbued their work with their knowledge and passion for modern art, translating the immediacy and psychological impact of abstract painting into mass-market communications. Made possible by a generous donation from the designers’ archive, this presentation highlights this connection through book and magazine covers, advertisements, packaging, and announcements.
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