Creative Inspirations: Kit Hinrichs, Graphic Designer
Illustration by John Hersey

Video: Faces

(Music playing) Kit Hinrichs: This is a cover we are looking on right now, for a magazine down in Los Angeles for Cedars-Sinai's Hospital.

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Watch the Online Video Course Creative Inspirations: Kit Hinrichs, Graphic Designer
1h 13m Appropriate for all Feb 26, 2010

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Kit Hinrichs is one of the most accomplished and respected graphic designers and illustrators of the last fifty years. A master of corporate communications and a consummate visual storyteller, he has been awarded the highest honor in his field: the AIGA Medal. Formerly a partner in the legendary design firm Pentagram, he is reinventing himself (again) with a new endeavor called Studio Hinrichs. In this Creative Inspirations documentary, Kit shares highlights of recent projects, his renowned collection of American flags and American flag memorabilia, as well as the irrefutable wisdom of one who has stayed at the top of his game for five decades.

Subject:
Design
Author:
Kit Hinrichs

Faces

(Music playing) Kit Hinrichs: This is a cover we are looking on right now, for a magazine down in Los Angeles for Cedars-Sinai's Hospital.

It's really on personalized medicine that deals with your particular DNA and who you are as an individual. So within that, we thought, "Well, we could make the face up out of G, A, T, C, the pieces that actually are the building blocks of DNA." So we were looking at whether we do the whole thing with handwritten or whether we do it all with typography, and it makes a very nice combination of things as we go forward and then starting to play with, - does the type actually kind of meld through the cover? - that sort of thing, are all kind of stuff that we play with it at this point.

If you look at every magazine stand in America, every month, it is filled with faces. usually of beautiful women or good-looking men, who are on the cover either because they are celebrities, because they are models, because it's about beauty and all kinds of things like this, but people like to look at other people. I think that is a human trait that you can't kind of walk away from. And it's for good reason that you find as many faces on the cover of publications, because people are engaged by them. Someone is talking to them.

And so I found myself, of course, as all human beings, attracted by the same thing and saying, "But how can I make this a little different than just another beautiful face." Again, over the years, looking at a number of things that have been done, I found that you can take a face, but the way in which you interpret that face is what makes it fresh and different. So when we were doing the piece for Simpson Paper, that had all of the people who were forecasting the future to go through and have a Richter, a George Richter image done as a map with a fault line in it communicates all kinds of things.

It's a great story. It's also about him, and it's also very specific to the subject. And so as many times as you can go through and say, "Can we bring a face which everyone wants to look at and make it unique to that particular subject?" you have got a double-win in my opinion. It may be just the simplicity of how do I take a person that would represent that story in a new way? Those kinds of things have stories to tell within them.

So I use faces an awful lot to communicate along the way. I bet I have used faces, 200-300 times, easily, in my communications, I think, most of the time, in a relatively fresh and new way, not always the same thing over and over again. And so, I have a little more flexibility because I don't have to be limited to one particular subject along the way. I have a lot of latitude in doing it.

If I find that it's - we're becoming too - doing two things that are too much the same, by repeating things, then I get rid of that and don't do that, but I've found a number of things I can do with faces that are unique and not redundant.

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