Rational Simplicity: Rudolph de Harak, Graphic Designer


Rudolph de Harak (1924–2002) is one of the most influential modernist graphic designers of the mid-twentieth century. This comprehensive monograph is the first major publication devoted to this fascinating and significant figure in the history of modern graphic design and provides an in-depth account of his life and work, from his early years in Los Angeles, California, to his later years of success as a design consultant and educator in New York City. His work was highly influenced by early modernist masters, such as Will Burtin, György Kepes, Alvin Lustig, and Max Bill, as well as the rigor, simplicity, and rationalism of the International Style, European Modernism and the twentieth century art movements of Abstract Expressionism, Op Art, and Pop Art. 

De Harak was also a renowned teacher of design and visual communications since 1952 and was the first Frank Stanton Professor of Design at The Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture in New York City. The Frank Stanton Professor of Design is the first permanently endowed design chair in the United States. He also taught and lectured at many institutions throughout the United States and Europe.

This full-color monograph documents de Harak’s pioneering and prolific 50-year career in graphic design, exhibition design, environment and experiential design, industrial design, furniture design, posters, books, and magazines for a wide range of clients, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cummins Engine Company, McGraw-Hill Publishers, and many others.

The book was recognized by Monocle Magazine’s first international design awards for Design Excellence in Publication Design.

  • Richard Poulin is the featured guest for Vignelli Center for Design Studies Design Conversations at Rochester Institute of Technology on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.