20 Graphic Designers for your Inspiration

by . November 17th, 2014

If you’re a graphic designer and you’re looking for inspiration to start your next design project, then you’ve come to the perfect place.

Listed below are 20 notable and legendary graphic designers to inspire you with their craft and contributions in the industry. The list is courtesy of graphic designer himself, Girts Avotins at graf1x.

1. Eddie Opara

Opara’s versatile work includes strategy, design, and technology. His design projects are comprised of interactive installations, websites, user interfaces and software, brand identity, publications, packaging, and environments. In 2010, he joined Pentagram’s New York office as a partner.

2. Stefan Sagmeister

Sagmeister is an award-winning graphic designer, typographer, and founder of design firm Sagmeister & Walsh (2012) in New York City. His various clients include the Rolling Stones, HBO, and the Guggenheim Museum. Sagmeister is famous for a poster he designed for AIGA where he carved the copy on his skin and then photographed the result.

3. Milton Glaser

Glaser is one of the most celebrated graphic designers in the United States. He was the first recipient of the National Medal of the Arts award as a graphic designer in 2009. Glaser is the co-founder of the New York magazine, and he’s also the mind behind the “I love NY” logo.

4. Chip Kidd

Kidd is noted for his book jacket designs. His work for Alfred A. Knopf, where he is an associate art director, was the spark to a revolution in the art of American book packaging. Quoting the Time Out New York, “The history of book design can be split into two eras: before graphic designer Chip Kidd and after.”

5. Paula Scher

Scher’s body of work is composed of identity and branding designs, promotional materials, environmental graphics, packaging, and publications for diverse clients such as the New York Times Magazine, Target, Tiffany & Co., and Citibank. In 2000, she won the prestigious Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design.

6. Alvin Lustig

Lustig is an American book, graphic, and typeface designer. He practices contemporary design with his projects in book cover art, magazines, interiors, and textiles. For his important contributions to American graphic design, he was honoured by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame.

7. Michael Bierut

Bierut leads a team of graphic designers who create identity design, environmental graphic design, and editorial design solutions at the Pentagram where he join as a partner in 1990. He is an award-winning designer with works represented in a couple of permanent collections like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Cooper-Hewitt.

8. David Carson

Carson is popular for his graphic design style, which is arranging type and images anywhere/everywhere within the page. His body of work includes a collaboration with William Burroughs on a short film, packaging design and photography for Nine Inch Nails’s The Fragile CD, a 500-page book of Marshall McLuhan’s writings, and art direction for Quicksilver clothing.

9. Lillian Bassman

Bassman was a photographer, art director, painter, and graphic designer best known for her contribution in fashion photography. Her ability in contemporary graphic design style are recognized in issues of Junior Bazaar.

10. Jacqueline Casey

Casey was a graphic designer noted for the posters she created for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her designs usually have a striking image or bold typography with the informational details in small text. Casey is also known for using typographic wordplay and visual puns in her work.

11. Ruth Ansel

Ansel is one of the youngest art directors in the history of magazine, pushing the boundaries of magazine design. She is responsible for era-descent magazine pages and covers for Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair.

12. Cipe Pineles

Pineles was an Austrian-born graphic designer and art director. Her career in New York revolved around magazines such as Seventeen, Charm, and Mademoiselle. Pineles became the first female member of the Art Directors Club in 1943.

13. Massimo Vignelli

Vignelli’s body of work includes graphic and corporate identity designs, publication designs, packaging, architectural graphics, exhibitions, interiors, furniture, and consumer product designs for many leading US and European companies and institutions such as American Airlines. Noted are his design philosophies in the form of brief quotes, which have been visualized into posters and other typographic renderings. “The life of a designer is a life of fight against the ugliness.” – Massimo Vignelli

14. Herbert Matter

Matter was a Swiss-born American graphic designer. He is known for developing the use of photomontage in commercial art. Matter’s innovations and experimental projects is a foundation for the vocabulary of 20th-century graphic design. His unique style is seen on his poster works for clients such as the Swiss Tourist Office, Container Corporation of America, and Knoll.

15. Bradbury Thompson

Thompson was coined as a master of almost every aspect of graphic design. He was an art director for Mademoiselle magazine, crafted book designs, and climbed over the wall of traditional typography. Thompson uses a bold palette made up of pure CMYK hues on most of his works.

16. Alexey Brodovitch

Brodovitch was a magazine director, graphic designer, and photographer. In the hopes of rejuvenating the magazine with a contemporary spirit, he was hired by Carmel Snow (then editor) of Harper’s Bazaar magazine in 1934. The American magazine design was revolutionized during his tenure in the magazine. Brodovitch gave priority to double-page spreads as an effective layout where beautiful photography, crisp Bodoni typefaces, and neat white space were arranged into a total composition.

17. George Lois

Lois is an American art director, designer, and author. He is well-known for his over 92 covers he designed for Esquire magazine from 1962 to 1972. 32 of these covers were exhibited by the MoMA in 2008. Lois also worked with MTV and VH1, directing for clients such as Jiffy Lube, USA Today, and ESPN.

18. Herb Lubalin

Lubalin was an American type designer and graphic designer. He’s noted for his three collaborative magazines with Ralph Ginzburg: Eros, Fact, and Avant Garde. Lubalin was the designer of the typeface, ITC Avant Garde, which is described as a reproduction of art-deco, and was used in the creation of a number of logos in the 1990s and 2000s.

19. Saul Bass

Bass was an American Academy Award winning filmmaker and graphic designer. He is notable for his craft on motion picture title sequences (e.g. the animated paper cut-out for Otto Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm), movie posters, and corporate logos for companies such as Bell System (1969), AT&T (1983), Continental Airlines (1968), and United Airlines (1974).

20. Paul Rand

Rand is most famous for his contributions in logo design. He is well-known for his corporate logo designs for companies such as IBM, UPS, Enron, Morningstar, Inc., Westinghouse, ABC, and Steve Jobs’s NeXT. Rand was drafted into the NY Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1972.


We’re pretty sure we’ve missed a graphic designer that deserves to be on the list. If you have someone in your mind, feel free to share them through the comments box below!


Alexey Brodovitch (American graphic designer) — Encyclopedia Britannica

Design Indaba | A Better World Through Creativity

The Mistress of the Darkroom – Lillian Bassman | Art and Design Inspiration

Ruth Ansel

Bradbury Thompson : Design Is History