Jessie’s Gang

Posted inDesign Education
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Paula Scher

Jessie Gang is passionate about design—and designers—so much so that she’s hard at work on an ongoing series of “icons of graphic design” portraits—Jessie’s Gang.

Jessie, a graphic and product design major at the School of Visual Arts, admits (with a smile) to papering her walls with creations by some of her favorite artists, and in some cases, instructors. The work serves as Jessie’s daily dose of inspiration, and prompted her to immortalize her heroes on paper.

These simple ink drawings made me smile. And the portrait of Paula Scher—also one of my heroes—is kind of genius. But Jessie’s earnest humor is what captivated me more than anything.

“My impression of Steve Heller,” she says, “is that cute man who is so passionate about what he does. His entire look is adorable.” I concur, and was even able to get somewhat of a thumb’s up from the man himself (“She nailed… my ears.”).

Mr. Heller

Mr. Heller

The length of time spent on each portrait is sometimes based on how well Jessie knows her subjects. She is fortunate to have been selected for an honors class with no less than Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar. Of the storied duo, Jessie comments, “They’re both so clever, and their partnership is heartwarming. They’ve achieved together, but also have tremendous names for themselves individually. There’s an interesting balance to their partnership that I get to witness each week, and that’s what made their portraits come pretty freely. As an instructor, Tom is nice and yet strict, and Ivan is the type of creative person who ponders several directions as he finds his ideas. It seems like a wonderful balance filled with mutual respect.”

Ivan Chermayeff

Ivan Chermayeff

Tom Geismar

Tom Geismar

“I don’t know Paul Sahre,” Jessie says, “but I’ve always heard about him. He seems like an edgy, contemporary designer. It took awhile to capture him because I don’t have the same personal experience with him as some of my other heroes.”

“When I think of Milton Glaser, bright colorful patterns come to mind, she continues, “so that one was easy.”

Jessie’s focusing next on important designing women (Louise Fili, for example, not TV’s Delta Burke). And she’s pondering some of the up-and-coming female designers. “There are women who are making an impact right out of the gate, so I’ve got my work cut out for me,” she says earnestly.

What to do with Jessie’s gang? A blog? A book? A hat? A brooch? A pterodactyl?

Milton Glaser

Carin Goldberg

Saul Bass

Saul Bass

Paul Rand

Paul Rand

Paul—this time, Sahre

Paul—this time, Sahre


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