Ivan Chermayeff and Thomas H. Geismar

Ivan Chermayeff was born in London in 1932. He studied at Harvard University and the Institute of Design in Chicago, and graduated with a BFA from the School of Art and Architecture at Yale University. As well as a designer, Chermayeff worked as an illustrator and collage artist. Thomas H. Geismar was born in New Jersey, also in 1932. He studied at Rhode Island School of Design, graduated Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University, and then received an MFA in graphic design from the School of Art and Architecture at Yale University.

In 1957, Chermayeff, Geismar and Robert Brownjohn formed Brownjohn, Chermayeff & Geismar in New York City, designing record album covers for Columbia records and book jacket covers. In 1960, Robert Brownjohn moved to London, and the firm changed its name to Chermayeff & Geismar Associates. The firm then became Chermayeff & Geismar, Inc. in 1991, and in 2005 divided into Chermayeff & Geismar Studio, led by Chermayeff and Geismar, and C&G Partners, led by the principals of the firm.

Throughout each adaptation of their firm, Chermayeff and Geismar focused on identity design and exhibition design, though they worked on a variety of projects, including book and album covers, posters, and packaging. Clients included the Boston Transit System, Chase National Bank, the Museum of Modern Art, National Geographic, Pepsi-Cola, Smithsonian Museums, and United Nations Development Programme. Chermayeff and Geismar establish long-term design relationships with clients Xerox Corporation, Socony Mobile Oil Corporation, and Knoll, designing and establishing their corporate identities.

In addition to their design firm, both Chermayeff and Geismar also became partners in the newly established architectural and multi-disciplinary design firm Cambridge Seven Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963. They formed Art Planning Consultants in 1973 to help organizations commission, assemble and display art and art collections.

Throughout their careers, Chermayeff and Geismar garnered extensive awards and citations, both individually and as a firm. Both Chermayeff and Geismar are elected to Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) in 1978, received Gold Medals awarded by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) in 1979, and received Yale Arts Medals in 1985. Chermayeff was elected president of AIGA in 1963, and elected to the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1985, Geismar received the Presidential Design Award for Symbol Sign program. That same year, Chermayeff & Geismar Associates receives First International Design Award from Japanese Design Foundation. Through the firm, Chermayeff and Geismar published two books: TM: Trademarks Designed by Chermayeff & Geismar in 2000 and Designing: in 2003.

Extracted from Chermayeff & Geismar, Tokyo: Seibundo Shinkosha, c. 1981; and Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, http://www.cgstudionyc.com/home.html (accessed 9 June 2006).

Completed Works