Ivan Chermayeff

born London, England 1932-died 2017
London, England
Active in
  • New York, New York, United States
  • American

Born in London, Ivan Chermayeff was educated at Harvard University, the Institute of Design in Chicago, and the Yale University School of Art and Architecture. In 1960 he and Tom Geismer founded the design firm Chermayeff and Geismer Associates, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Chermayeff has served on numerous important design committees, including the Yale Council Committee on Art, and is a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and a past president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Influenced by the Bauhaus legacy of utilitarian order, Chermayeff has developed unique approaches to modernist graphic design that have gone beyond what he learned from that German school. As he explains, "I like to incorporate handwriting and the physical practice of putting things down . . . nails, tacks, tape, stickers and things that hold other things together on a temporary basis. . . . My tendency is to reveal that relationship rather than to disguise it."

Chermayeff's poster designs for civic and cultural organizations and numerous corporate clients, as well as his designs for book covers, have been exhibited in the United States, Japan, and Europe. Among his many awards are the Industrial Art Medal of the American Institute of Architects and the Gold Medal of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Therese Thau Heyman Posters American Style (New York and Washington, D.C.: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with the National Museum of American Art, 1998)