of the Department of Design
Sawyer established the Department of Design with its own curriculum
and faculty which was separate from the existing program in
fine arts. An educational policy was instituted based on making
use of renowned practicing artists and designers as teachers
and role models. At the graduate level, the art and design
programs were directed toward professional practice marking
a significant shift from the beaux arts emphasis of
the existing program and the liberal arts programs at most
Prior to Sawyers appointment, there were other activities
and events which contributed to shaping the new program. During
1933, Carl P. Rollins, book designer at the Yale University
Press, Theodor Sizer, an art historian, an Dr. Keough, a Yale
librarian, began offering a course in fine printing, typography
and book design called The Art of the Book. Rollins
was a devotee of the Arts and Crafts movement, an this undoubtedly
was reflected in the content of the course. The rare book
collections at Yale University afforded students a marvelous
opportunity for examining original printings. The course was
offered through the library, although it was under the auspices
of Art History, and it was attended mainly by students from
Yale College. The course was made available to students on
an irregular basis between 1933 and 1948.
After WWII, a number of veterans attended the School of Fine
Arts at Yale University under the GI Bill. Among these was
James Fogleman. He later created the corporate design program
at CIBA in 1952, and was a cofounder of Unimark in the 1960s.
In 1972, he became corporate design director at Raychem.
remembers how he and several classmates agitated for change
of the Yale art program from its current focus. They advocated
a curriculum which included applied arts. These veterans were
older, and most of them had some practical experience with
art prior to coming to Yale. They were excited about the newly
emerging design fields.
reminisced that students most interested in design concentrated
in painting composition classes as classical composition was
the closest thing to design at Yale in 1948. Professor Rudolph,
an instructor in composition, arranged with a firm in New
York City to sponsor a wall paper design competition for his
students. Fogleman won this competition, and when he told
about the competition in later years, it is apparent that
it gave him immense satisfaction at the time. To further broaden
their design awareness, students enrolled in a variety of
architectural studio and history courses.6
efforts for curriculum changed were directed through Charles
Sawyer who was not only Dean of the School of Fine Arts Architecture,
but also Director of the Division of the Arts and master of
Timothey Dwight College. Fogleman remembers well the informal
discussions between students and Sawyer in the Masters
apartments regarding the roll for applied arts within the
Yale program. Dean Sawyer was supportive of this broader interpretation
for the arts. He was also aware of the course which had been
taught by Rollins, Sizer and Keough through the library.
Sawyers recollection is that initially, Chester Kerr,
head of the Yale University Press, proposed that if the press
hired another designer, it would be a joint appointment with
the Division of the Arts. Sawyer was to allocate funds toward
the appointment, and the person hired would initiate a program
in Graphic Arts. This was shortly after the appointment of
Josef Albers. The educational concept formulated by Sawyer
and Kerr was that the program would be directed toward professional
practice and identified as Graphic Arts. The program would
reflect work done at the Yale University Press.
of the Design Faculty
accounts for the early curriculum emphasizing typography,
printing processes and production, book and periodical design.
Dean Sawyer had known Albers for a number of years having
met him at Andover around 1938. During 1948, Albers was invited
to Yale as a Visiting Critic. Shortly afterwards, Dean Sawyer
and George Howe, Chairman of Architecture at the time, met
with Albers in New York City. Both men were aware that Charles
Kuhn at Harvard University was interested in hiring Albers,
although the faculty there was not particularly enthusiastic
about such an appointment. This lent a certain urgency to
the interview and Dean Sawyer immediately began negotiations
with Albers, whose appointment was publicly announced sometime
around November of 1949.
Sillman, a student of Albers at Black Mountain College, came
with him as his assistant. Sillman carried on the program
in color an drawing after Albers was retired by the university
during 1958. Albers was a strong believer in interdisciplinary
studies for all the visual arts programs. During 1950, in
a letter to Alvin Lustig, Albers describes the program as,
most of the students are majoring in painting, I encourage
the painters to learn lettering and typography, they are inclined
to think first of etching, lithography, etc. Just recently,
we were able to introduce class problems with emphasis on
The entire art department reflected Albers educational
philosophies throughout his tenure at Yale University. It
was the stature of Albers and his reputation that attracted
so many outstanding critics to join the program at Yale University.
after the appointment of Albers, Paul Nash at Dartmouth called
Chester Kerr to recommend Alvin Eisenman as a replacement
for Carl Rollins when he retired. Eisenman was hired as a
joint appointment to work at Yale University Press and he
became the first Lecturer in Graphic Arts. Eisenman coordinated
the various Visiting Lecturers and oversaw program affairs.
His primary teaching responsibility was typography which included
Lustig was invited to join the design program by Josef Albers.
Elaine Lustig Cohen has kept the telegram dated February 6,
1951 from Albers offering Alvin a position as Visiting Critic
in the Graphic Arts program. As previously mentioned Lustig
had taught a course called Graphic Design in conjunction with
Albers at Black Mountain College during the summer of 1946.
began his role as Visiting Critic from March through June
of 1951. In the initial class there were approximately fifteen
students, some at an undergraduate level and others as graduate
students. John McCrillis and Norman Ives were among these
early graduate students. Both were to become teachers at a
later date with Norman Ives becoming a full-time faculty member
following his graduation in 1952 and teaching at Yale until
his death in 1978. Herbert Matter was recruited during 1951
for the faculty. Gabor Peterdi was appointed in 1953 as the
instructor in printmaking. By 1955, Joseph Low, Leo Lionni,
Robert Osborn, Lester Beall and Alexey Brodovitch had participated
as Visiting Lecturers.
were a number of illustrious visitors such as Buckminister
Fuller who came as critics or lecturers in Architecture but
also visited the design program. I recollect Lou Kahn, Senior
Critic in Architecture, coming into the Graphic Design studios
at night and holding court with design students who
were working late. These were very stimulating discussions.
following generation of visiting instructors included Walker
Evans, Bradbury Thompson, Paul Rand and Armin Hofmann among
others. John Hill became a faculty member and taught photography.
Eisenman and Ives continued in their faculty roles.
the program was listed as Graphic Arts in the catalog, most
students referred to it as Graphic Design. Sometime
during the late 1950s, Robin Darwin, Director of the Royal
College of Art in London, an Richard Guyatt, a design teacher
there, visited the Yale design program Darwin chided Eisenman
for calling the program Graphic Arts as that suggested
printmaking. Darwin and Guyatt both recommended graphic
design and soon thereafter, Graphic Arts was officially
changed to Graphic Design.