The world says goodbye to the innovative and memorable Ivan Chermayeff this week, who died on December the 2nd. Although the name may not ring any bells, the work he created has a resounding impact on global culture as a whole. Working in many large American corporate industries, Chermayeff has been responsible for several iconic images such as the NBC peacock and the Smithsonian sun.
As part of his flourishing design business, Chermayeff & Geismer & Haviv, the logo oracle had worked to formulate countless corporate cultures and identities through poster and motif design. Chermayeff is remarked for having been a pioneer in the work of using design to communicate business principles and finding simple and iconic images that portray a clear message.
Pan-Am were included in the long list of institutional identities crafted by Chermayeff and his company. The story didn't always have a happy ending with his logo, but when considering he also was involved in branding Harper Collins and several government agencies including the Simpsons famous EPA, the odds seem pretty good.
Being a commercial artist and designer doesn't necessarily mean that you can't have exhibitions and public displays. There was the expo at Boston's Kennedy Presidential Library and the U.S. Pavilion in Montreal's Expo '67 in which Chermayeff featured as an artist. A diverse scope had clearly influenced his work, as before opening shop as a business designer, he'd worked as a cover artist for records.
Chermayeff had also created several children's books, of which he preferred to illustrate with collage. The London born American immigrant had escaped the blitz to find his fortune and with hard work, trial and error, and an appetite for personal development, he got lucky and made it right to the top. A true icon himself, Ivan Chermayeff's story and career journey can surely inspire many posthumous.