Ivan Chermayeff

Designs and creative output by one of the world’s greatest living graphic designers are to go on show during a public exhibition at Plymouth University.

Ivan Chermayeff, son of Modernist architect Serge Chermayeff, has been designing since the 1950s and, with an office in New York, is still at the cutting edge of the graphic design industry.

Over 175 pieces celebrating his designs and collage will be exhibited in the Peninsula Arts Gallery, providing audiences across the region with a unique opportunity to engage with this pioneering work right on their doorstep.

Cut and Paste, open from September 19 - November 14, will include commercial work for clients from the 1950s onwards as well as collages produced as recently as 2013.

The exhibition has been curated by David Smart, Senior Lecturer in Graphic Communication at Plymouth University, who said:

“Ivan Chermayeff is part of a creative dynasty, and to see his work here in the South West is an amazing opportunity. Chermayeff’s early years were influenced by some of the greatest architects, artists and designers of the 20th century, and his work is a graphic design at its very best. The exhibition will also illustrate what is possible if designers are not constrained by commercial boundaries.”

Cut and Paste comprises iconic designs produced for corporate clients, including a stunning set of posters for Mobil as well as editorial design and brand identity.

This vibrant exhibition, as the title suggests, is also about the process of assemblage and a delight in making collages and demonstrates the simplicity, playfulness and wit that Chermayeff has consistently employed in his work.

Alongside the exhibition, researchers within the University’s School of Art and Media are staging the Message 89 Symposium exploring the relationship between graphic design / communication and art.

Taking place on Friday 18 September, and titled How Can Graphic Design/Communication Be Art?, it will explore the nature of graphic design and communication practice in an ever-changing contemporary landscape. It will also aim to capture views helping to evaluate how current graphic design practice is impacting on wider art and design/communication culture.

The symposium will feature presentations by a number of leading figures in graphic communication, including Caz Hildebrand (Here Design), Luke Thompson (Kin Design), Professor Teal Triggs (Royal College of Art), artist Sam Winston, and Professor Brian Webb (Webb and Webb Design).

Plymouth University academics will also be among the speakers with lecturer in graphic communication with typography Lizzie Ridout and 
lecturer in illustration Stephen Smith addressing the assembled audience.

David Smart added:

“There is a thriving graphic design and communications community active across the South West, not just in Plymouth but throughout Devon and Cornwall and further afield to Bristol and Bath. The exhibition and symposium represent an opportunity for everyone in the industry – including our students and academics – to think in more detail about its impact on the individual and on creativity as a whole.”