Alvin Lustig was an American graphic designer and typeface designer during the 1940’s and 1950’s. His simplified shapes and use of flat colors, all while creating elaborate and intensely interesting compositions, are still imitated today by many graphic designers.
Lustig was inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1986. His wide-ranging work from the 1940s and early 1950s included book and book jacket design, magazines, letterheads, catalogs, signage, furniture and lighting, textiles, interior design, logos, identity programs, sculpture and architecture. The diversity of his work mirrored a philosophy that abstained from specialization and embraced combining different styles. Lustig’s approach to design reflected the Bauhaus tradition of integrating fine and applied arts, of using technology with artistic creativity to fully complete a design.
Lustig had an intellectual approach to design problems. He was known to spend days thinking about a project before putting anything down on paper. He read about a variety of subjects and possessed a broad knowledge of painters and painting. All this background information was brought to an assignment as well as the need to research the particular project. When designing a book jacket for example, Lustig would read the text first, so that his design better represented the feel of the literature. I have found a website that explains this process well.
From viewing Lustig’s work just for this task I have come to realize that the designer’s task, no matter what the project, was to use words, forms and color to create a harmonious whole, more powerful than any single element that is within a design. When you look at any of Lustig’s book covers they do not jus try to explain the plot, they use many elements to create a vibe about the book. Also, the designs don’t just rely on a single colour, image or representation to achieve this. All of the elements involved in the designs coexist to make the end product.
There is a bio website that explains Lustig and his works very well found here.