The Cary Graphic Design Archive at RIT acquires the work of Kenneth Hiebert

The collection highlights impact of Swiss design on American Modernist style

Cary Graphic Design Archive at RIT

Ken Hiebert produced Drawing Number 3 with Colored Shapes while at the Basel Gewerbeschule, 1959.

The addition of Hiebert’s work enhances the research and teaching mission, and public engagement opportunities at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection, said Steven Galbraith, curator of the collection housed at RIT Wallace Library.

“We’re interested in the innovators who taught design and the methodologies that they used,” Galbraith said. “We get to see their ideation. To lift the veil back and to see what happens behind the scenes is important.”

Hiebert is a proponent of the Basel School of Design (then called Allgemeine Gewerbeschule Basel) in Basel, Switzerland, where he studied and taught from 1954-1964. The style, popularized in the 1950s, unifies type and image into a systematic, harmonious design.

Hiebert, in 1966, joined the faculty at the Philadelphia College of Art and developed its graphic design department by integrating principles from the Basel School of Design with the liberal arts approach to BFA education.

Geometric shapes drawn on paperCary Graphic Design Archive at RIT Logo design for the Mennonite Central Committee, ink on board, 1970, by Ken Hiebert.

Hiebert’s donation to the Cary Graphic Design Archive was initiated by R. Roger Remington, Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design at RIT. Hiebert gave a talk as part of the 2018-2019 Vignelli Legacy Lectures: Design Conversations and gifted his “Twelve Eclipses” series of photographs and a selection of his moving image works to the Cary Graphic Design Archives.

“Kenneth Hiebert is one of the great minds in graphic design education,” Remington said. “Having his work here at RIT makes our design collections immensely unique.”

Remington started the Cary Graphic Design Archive in 1984 to document the work of the American Modernist generation of designers. The archive is used internationally by scholars, faculty and curators, and artifacts are loaned to museums around the world. For an overview and inventory of the Hiebert archive, go to the Ken Hiebert collection.

art and design

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