The Daily Heller: Design Ran Wild, When Wilde Ran Design
For 50 years, Richard Wilde chaired the School of Visual Arts/SVA NYC BFA Graphic Design and Advertising programs. Within that time you can imagine how many students he graduated … and from that number you can imagine the large percentage who went on to excel in design and other creative fields … and extrapolating a little more, you can imagine how many of those became teachers in his department—as well as at art and design schools around the world. It would make a data visualizer's head explode.
Ten years before Wilde became the Chair Emeritus in 2019, SVA mounted an exhibition of work by 100 alumni dubbed "The Wilde Years: Four Decades of Shaping Culture." Impressively designed by Kevin O'Callaghan; it was an exhaustive tribute to the most indefatigable design educator of our time.
The pandemic put a frustrating hold on a scheduled wrap-up retirement exhibition, but B. Martin Pedersen, publisher of Graphis, had alternative plans. In 1998 when he introduced Graphis Publishing's first student competition annual, "Most of this work was submitted by teachers who drove their students to excellence," as he writes in the preface of the new book Honoring the Legacy of the Wilde Years—School of Visual Arts. "Since that first edition, the School of Visual Arts has had consistent award winners, with most of them coming from the Design and Advertising departments."
This 300+ page book, featuring 1,706 Graphis New Talent Winners from 2010–2020, is an unprecedented testament to Wilde's hand-picked pool of faculty, and how they "drove their students to excellence." Also, Pedersen is no slouch in the book-making universe. The book is stellar; a beautifully designed and printed volume that radiates talent and ingenuity. Don't be surprised when you see the quality of the art and craft and the names of the designers and teachers attached to those who made it.