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TIBOR KALMAN (July 6, 1949–May 2, 1999)

was an American graphic designer of Hungarian origin, well known for his work as editor-in-chief of Colors magazine.


SELECTED WORKS 1

RESTAURANT FLORENT

not your average diner

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MEMPHIS CONDOMINIUMS

liar, liar­—designing hip

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TALKING HEADS ALBUM COVER

trying to do things wrong

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RED SQUARE APARTMENT BUILDINGS

mastering deceit, defining space

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10–ONE–WATCH + M&CO WATCHES

how do you tell time?

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EVERYBODY WALL, 42ND STREET NYC

a celebration of community

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1989 AIGA CONFERENCE

“don’t shit where you eat!”

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‘86 + ‘87 ANNUAL REPORT, THE LIMITED INC.

substituting design for content

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DEAR TIBOR

think like an artist

10 COLORS

a magazine about the rest of the world


1 | RESTAURANT FLORENT CORPORATE COOL Client: Florent Morellet of Restaurant Florent Years: most notably 1986–1987 + 1980–1990’s

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not your average diner

Restaurant Florent was a wildly popular casual diner participating in the politically charged climate of the 1980s, much to the advertising efforts of M&Co. Restaurant owner Florent Morellet embodied the ideal client for Tibor: opinionated, experimental, and equally pushy. However, the relationship was not without its flaws. If ads became too political, or if Morellet did not believe they accurately reflected the stance of the diner, they were revoked. Nonetheless, the partnership between M&Co and Florent inspired some of the most eye-catching and thought provoking advertising work of 1980’s and 90’s.


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not your average diner


E

H


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not your average diner


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CORPORATE COOL Client: Alvin Preiss of Memphis Condominiums Years: built in 1985

If political satire was not controversial enough, the 1980s real estate boom provided the entire graphic design industry with more than enough ethical questions about the influence of design. Memphis Condominiums presented a typical case. An unstylish building in Manhattan desired new life through the marketing tactics of graphic design. M&Co fulfilled this desire with elegance and manipulation. The promotional packet for the building is both convincing and fabricated.

liar, liar­—designing hip

2 | MEMPHIS CONDOMINIUMS


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liar, liar­—designing hip


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CORPORATE COOL

trying to do things wrong

3 | TALKING HEADS RECORD COVER

Client: David Byrne and The Talking Heads Year: 1980

M&Co’s debut into the music industry unfolded slowly and unsurprisingly (initiated by networking). Earl McGrath was a friend of M&Co employee Carol Bokuniewicz, but also the president of The Rolling Stones’ record label. From bands like Defunkt to the Rolling Stones, to longtime client David Byrne and the Talking heads, M&Co approached album cover design with their usual standard of irreverence and ferocity. The result was always surprising, and sometimes even ugly. Remain in Light was released in 1980. Kalman’s exploration of typography (the upside down letter A’s) and the arresting image (produced by an MIT research lab procedure) work in combination. The album cover is iconic, highlighting the tension between high-tech and primitive elements.

“Remain in Light” (back cover) The Talking Heads released in 1980

“Remain in Light” (front cover) The Talking Heads released in 1980


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trying to do things wrong


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CORPORATE COOL Client: Michael Rosenburg of Red Square Apartments Year: built in 1989

Red Square Apartments was yet another example of the power of graphic design to transform the identity of a place. Purchased by a young, savvy developer named Michael Rosenberg, the building was visually packaged to sell. The apartment branding included poetry stencils, catchy graphics, and a large clock mounted atop the building. Red Square is an excellent example of the implications of graphics, and their ultimate power to persuade and seduce.

“M&Co Clock” Red Square Apartments

mastering deceit­, defining space

4 | RED SQUARE APARTMENT BUILDINGS


mastering deceit­, defining space 4

“Building Facade” Red Square Apartments


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CORPORATE COOL

how do you tell time?

5 | 10–ONE–WATCH + M&CO WATCHES

Client: Kip Trafton, founder of Sointu + design enthusiasts, M&Co groupies, & upwardly mobile yuppies Year: 1984

M&Co watches were the ultimate “yuppie” accessories. Originally manufactured by Sointu, the watches were removed from the company’s product line to be manufactured in Switzerland and marketed solely by M&Co after a disappointing first paycheck. Many variations were produced, and the watches became a novelty for people with money to spend. The 10–ONE–4 watch started it all. According to the book Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist edited by Peter Hall, the origins of the original watch are somewhat hazy. Various people seem to claim its birth, including Stephen Doyle, a street salesman in Chinatown, and a copywriter working for Dr Pepper. However, according to Tibor, the concept came from his wife Maira’s sketchbook. The watches are for sale the Museum of Modern Art’s PROJECT store.

The Famous 10-ONE-4 Watch Permanent Collection of MoMA $135, 1984


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how do you tell time?

M&Co Watches for sale, MoMA website


6 | EVERYBODY WALL, 42ND STREET NYC CORPORATE COOL Client: Robert Stern, architect + Rebecca Robertson, president of the 42nd Street Development Project Inc. and the inhabitants of New York City Year: July 1993–March 1994

As a part of the 42nd Street Renovation Project, the Everybody wall was M&Co’s contribution to a summer “distraction” art project. Initially ideated by Robertson, the wall and other pieces aimed to visually offset the eyesore of construction. The renovation of the street itself was a complex initiative funded by the city of New York. Initially brought into the project by architect Bob Stern, Kalman and M&Co partnered with Robertson and other city developers to re-imagine the space. Conceptually drawing from Robert Venturi’s 1960’s analysis of “contradiction and surprise”, Kalman’s design proposed that commerce form the backbone of the 42nd street experience. Today, the entire street bears an uncanny resemblance to M&Co’s original renderings.

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a celebration of community

42nd Street 1992


“Everybody” Wall 42nd Street Renovation Project


M&Co Rendering 42nd Street 1993

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a celebration of community

42nd Street 1997


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CORPORATE COOL

“don’t shit where you eat!”

7 | 1989 AIGA CONFERENCE

Client: The American Institute of Graphic Arts Year: 1989

Hosted by Kalman and Milton Glaser on the theme of ethics; this conference shed light on the moral quandaries of monetary success in the industry. These concerns were unearthed by the commercial culture of the 1980’s. Sustained growth gave designers the permission to pursue their careers without social responsibility. Conscientious designers like Kalman were afraid of a greedy decade contrasting the original purpose of graphic design: to better society. However, Kalman was riding comfortably on the waves of an industry he was criticizing from the foundation. It did not take long for designers enjoying the same financial stability to write him off as political outsider. The conference initiated several debates, most notably one between Kalman and Joe Duffy. The event can be most remembered for posing an important question: what are the moral implications of graphic design in a capitalist market?

“Conversations” (detail) AIGA Conference Booklet 1989

“General Sessions” (detail) AIGA Conference Booklet 1989


Tibor Kalman (left) and Joe Duffy (right) facing off at Print Magazine’s office. Also pictured: Steven Heller (center), Carol Stevens (left foreground),

Paula Scher


7 “don’t shit where you eat!”

“The Search For An Ethos of Design” 1989 AIGA Conference Booklet (detail) 1989


8 | ‘86 + ‘87 ANNUAL REPORT, THE LIMITED INC. CORPORATE COOL

Client: The Limited, Inc. Years: 1986–1987

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substituting design for content

Corporate work composed the majority of M&Co’s clients by the mid 1980’s. The Limited, Inc. was one such client. The company’s record year of growth (1986) prompted M&Co to design a beautiful and prideful editorial.


9 | DEAR TIBOR CORPORATE COOL Client: anyone seeking advice with access to the AIGA Journal Years: 1986–1989

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think like an artist

Beginning in 1986, Kalman was invited by Steven Heller to use the AIGA Journal as a platform for free advice. Anyone could submit in and Kalman replied.

“Dear Tibor” AIGA Journal (excerpt)


10 | COLORS MAGAZINE CORPORATE COOL Client: Oliviero Toscani and Luciano Benetton of United Colors of Benetton Years: 1990–1995

Colors is a magazine unparalleled in mission. From the very beginning, it was destined to be different, most notably in content. Instead of blending in with other youth literature, Colors informed, shocked, and inspired the youth of the 1990’s. Saturated by an inclusive perspective, the tone of the magazine tackled current (and controversial) issues with experimental ease. For example, the thirteenth issue of colors contained only images: a global comment on the rapidly developing culture of visual consumption. But, how can a magazine change the world?

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a magazine about the rest of the world

Maybe it can’t. But Colors tried. Motivated by the loose direction and happy investment of Benetton, Colors consumed Kalman. Tibor art directed, designed, and conceptualized thirteen consecutive issues, before having to officially cut ties with the magazine for medical reasons. He even moved to Rome with his wife Maira in 1993, closing M&Co in New York City to work exclusively on the magazine.

Oliviero Toscani


Colors Magazine Issues #2–13

Luciano Benetton


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a magazine about the rest of the world

“It’s A Baby!” (cover) Colors Magazine Issues #1

“Heaven” (detail spread) Colors Magazine Issues #12


Maira Kalman

“Ecology� (detail spread) Colors Magazine Issues #6


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a magazine about the rest of the world

“It’s A Baby!” (detail spread Colors Magazine Issue #1

“AIDS” (back cover) Colors Magazine Issue #7

“AIDS” (detai Colors Magaz Issue #7


d)

il spread) zine

“Race” (detail spread) Colors Magazine Issue #4

“Religion” (detail spread) Colors Magazine Issue #


“No Words” (detail spread) Colors Magazine Issues #13

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a magazine about the rest of the world

“No Words” (cover) Colors Magazine Issues #13


BUDAPEST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SEPT 10TH–OCT 30TH, 2014

Selected Works of Tibor Kalman and M&Co.  

An editorial design highlighting various works from Tibor Kalman's career.

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