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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: The most important things that I have ever done, and I always do it innately, is tell stories. Now, when I was a kid, the drawings that I did were telling stories. And I'm not the only person in the world who does this, but it is one of the most effective ways of telling stories, of conveying information. One of the main things that we do as designers is to make things clear and understandable so someone else can take that information and go forward with it.
It's just not to entertain ourselves. It's actually to help somebody else do something. Very simply, when we talked about the Pentagram Calendar, it was a typographic calendar. We wanted something that was very strong, as a brand, on the cover. It's got good scale, something that's compelling. 365, one, is understood immediately as 'that's a year.' By combining and splitting two different typefaces, putting them together says it's about typography.
It's not about one particular kind of typography. It incorporates at least two and maybe millions of typefaces that are there, because you very simply communicated the combination of those two faces. And then as you progressively do this, the next year you go, well, you know, if since there are twelve different typefaces, if we go through and show all twelve on the cover, but in overlapping sequences, you create an entirely new image.
It's the table of contents for what you're going to find inside and every year it's new and fresh. Those are very simple little stories, but they communicate an awful lot about things. Because we make all of these choices about the things that we put together, it is the thinking of the overall, of all the pieces together, understanding that each one of those pieces has a little bit of a story to tell. If you choose the right pieces to come together, and you put them together in the right kind of order, it makes it so much richer and more understandable for people as they go forward.
So there is no doubt that we have the advantage, as designers, to pick all kinds of things. They can be historical paintings. They can be contemporary sculptures. They can be typography. They can a whole range of things, but put together in a new and interesting fashion makes it much more compelling for people to want to get engaged in, and they understand it, because of the way in which it has been organized. And so a good portion of what designers do is take that information, put it together in a new package, in a new way, and it's a new, fresh story.
And so whether it's designing a magazine or it is a branding story, or it's an exhibition, whatever, there are links that have beginnings, middles and ends. There are things that relate to each other along the way. You start to think of, 'how do I tell something over a period of time,' starting along a particular point ending on another. And what pieces along the way are going to help explain that story in a more interesting and engaging, creative fashion and that's what we do.
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