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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.
(Music playing) Kit Hinrichs: When people say "What does Pentagram do?" you go on the website and you start to look up any of this long list of things from any of the offices. We have done some very unique work for a lot of high profile companies, or we've made some companies who were there but no one paid attention to them, all of a sudden, be a little stronger.
Pentagram began in, now 35 years ago, in London. The reason that it was called Pentagram was because there were five partners at the time, three different disciplines: graphic design, product design, and architecture, which was also very unique at that time. This is the sixties. I was certainly influenced by them because of my first British partner who made me aware of these guys in London, who were doing interesting things, primarily in the UK and on the continent, but were starting to do things in the U.S. Then, of course, when they opened an office in New York, that also brought it closer to our world.
People asked me "Well, how long did it take you to decide?" - about 30 seconds, because here is a group of people who are the most admired designers in the world and they would like you to be their partner. It's pretty hard to turn that down. And also, we got invited to the dance, and so we were very happy to be part of it. That's another group of people, another exposure to an international group.
I learned from all of those people as well, because we spend twice a year, four or five days together, of which we teach each other. So I call them the world's smallest design conferences because we just were presenting the work that we did within that last period of time. My partner does a piece in Berlin or in Japan or in Buenos Aires, I am aware of what it is because they tell me, in first hand knowledge, how that was put together, how it worked, how it was received, what the problems were.
It's insider information, and so as a consequence, any one of my partners and certainly, I, grew dramatically from what I learned from my partners, because you really got to see the best of what was going on. You got to hear the excitement from your partners who are out there doing some of the best work in the world. At the point that I left Pentagram, I was the oldest partner in Pentagram, had been there the longest, not of all partners, but of the current group of partners.
Pentagram is an organization that evolved depending on the people who were part of it. Now that I am not there, there will be someone else to step up and do other things along the way, as it has always changed. So, I'll be interested in seeing, ten years from now, fifteen years now, how it has evolved and what its focus is at that moment.
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