More Early Graphic Design

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An ink and water color design for the cover of a small pamphlet


Above, an additional cover design for a small pamphlet

Below, I share the top third of a number of designs for tri-folded office or home stationary, suitable for insertion in a business size envelope. When the whole page is unfolded, a blank area occupies the lower two thirds of the page, allowing space for either typing or hand writing.

Obviously, Frank Lloyd Wright has loomed large in my aesthetic formation as an aspirant to architectural and graphic design. The designs I share here are just short of fifty years old.

I have learned much from FL Wright and his work, and while enduringly appreciative of his vision I am not blind to the problems and challenges that his self-confidence sometimes led him to encounter. My favorite (perhaps anecdotal) FLW quote: “I am, by my own admission, the world’s greatest architect!”

And my favorite FLW story involves Johnson Company scion, ‘Hib’ Johnson. He commissioned Wright to design the now world-famous SC Johnson Company headquarters and research facility in Racine, Wisconsin, in the latter 1930’s. At the same time, Hib also commissioned Wright to design a grand residence for himself, later known as Wingspread. Apparently, one evening, with Mr. Johnson hosting a formal dinner party, the roof began to leak (a not-unknown aspect of some challenging Wright designs). Johnson took to the phone and called Wright, complaining that water was dripping on his head at the dining table. FLW cooly replied by saying, “Well, Hib, move your chair!”

Yet, I have an abiding sense that FL Wright’s now somewhat dated, but totally relevant, sensitivity to what he called organic design principles still has much to teach us. As much as I admire the modernist work of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and so many others, I am so grateful for what I have learned from and through engagement with the life, work, writings, and designs of Frank Lloyd Wright.


The designs presented here are copyrighted (© Stephen Holmgren 2023).