Tibor Kalman

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Tibor Kalman
Tibor Kalman

( 1949 -07-06)July 6, 1949
DiedMay 2, 1999(1999-05-02) (aged 49)
Nationality American
Known for graphic design

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. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Graphic design the visual design of content in different media

Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography, and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term "graphic design" is used synonymously. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages. They use typography, visual arts, and page layout techniques to create visual compositions. Common uses of graphic design include corporate design, editorial design, wayfinding or environmental design, advertising, web design, communication design, product packaging, and signage.

Colors is a quarterly magazine about 'the rest of the world' funded by the Benetton clothing company. Founded in 1991, "as a way of communicating the intelligence of the Benetton brand to an extremely sophisticated consumer," it is published worldwide in six editions: Chinese/English, French/English, Italian/English, Korean/English, Portuguese/English and Spanish/English. Every issue of the magazine takes a single theme and covers it from an international perspective. It is produced at the Fabrica research centre in Treviso, Italy.


Early life

Kalman was born in Budapest and became a U.S. resident in 1956, after he and his family fled Hungary to escape the Soviet invasion, settling in Poughkeepsie, New York. [5] Both of his parents had Jewish ethnic roots, and converted to Catholicism to avoid persecution, so "Kalman only became aware that he was Jewish at age 18." [6] In 1967 he enrolled in NYU, dropping out after one year of Journalism classes to travel to Cuba to harvest sugar cane and learn about Cuban culture as a member of the Venceremos Brigade. [5] [7]

Budapest Capital city in Hungary

Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary, and the tenth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits. The city had an estimated population of 1,752,704 in 2016 distributed over a land area of about 525 square kilometres. Budapest is both a city and county, and forms the centre of the Budapest metropolitan area, which has an area of 7,626 square kilometres and a population of 3,303,786, comprising 33 percent of the population of Hungary.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Hungary Country in Central Europe

Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi) in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, and Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken Uralic language in the world, and among the few non-Indo-European languages to be widely spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; other major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr.


In 1971 Kalman returned to New York City where he was hired by Leonard Riggio for a small bookstore that eventually became Barnes & Noble. He later became the creative director of their in-house design department where he designed advertisements, store signs, shopping bags, and the original B&N bookplate trademark. [7] [8] In 1979 Kalman, Carol Bokuniewicz, and Liz Trovato started the design firm M & Co., which did corporate work for such diverse clients as the Limited Corporation, the new wave group Talking Heads, and Restaurant Florent in New York City's Meatpacking District. [9] He sought to challenge mundane design thinking and aspired to create unpredictable work. [10] Kalman also worked as creative director of Interview magazine in the early 1990s. [5]

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Leonard Riggio American businessperson and entrepreneur

Leonard S. Riggio is an American businessman and entrepreneur. He serves as executive chairman of book store chain Barnes & Noble and has been its largest shareholder since purchasing the company in 1971. Under his leadership the company expanded significantly from a single retail location on 105 Fifth Avenue, New York to a nationwide chain with 600+ stores.

By the 1980s, Kalman was known for being "the 'bad boy' of graphic design" because of his antics and radical consciousness. He believed that award-winning design was only possible when the client was ethical, and frequently called other designers out when he didn't agree with their actions. He defined good design as a benefit to everyday life and should be used to increase public awareness of social issues. [10] [11] Kalman adopted a vernacular style as a way to protest corporate International Style which was the primary design style of the time. [8]

International Style (architecture) Type of modernist architecture

The International Style is a major architectural style that was developed in the 1920s and 1930s and was closely related to modernism and modern architecture. It was first defined by Museum of Modern Art curators Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson in 1932, based on works of architecture from the 1920s.

Kalman became founding editor-in-chief of the Benetton-sponsored Colors magazine in 1990. In 1993, Kalman closed M & Co. and moved to Rome, to work exclusively on the magazine. [3] Billed as 'a magazine about the rest of the world', Colors focused on multiculturalism and global awareness. This perspective was communicated through bold graphic design, typography, and juxtaposition of photographs and doctored images, including a series in which highly recognizable figures such as the Pope and Queen Elizabeth were depicted as racial minorities. [5] [10]

Benetton Group clothing company

Benetton Group S.r.l. is a global fashion brand based in Ponzano Veneto, Italy in 1965. Benetton Group has a network of about 5,000 stores in the main international markets.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Multiculturalism Existence of multiple cultural traditions within a single country

The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology, of political philosophy, and of colloquial use. In sociology and in everyday usage, it is a synonym for "ethnic pluralism", with the two terms often used interchangeably, for example, a cultural pluralism in which various ethnic groups collaborate and enter into a dialogue with one another without having to sacrifice their particular identities. It can describe a mixed ethnic community area where multiple cultural traditions exist or a single country within which they do. Groups associated with an aboriginal or autochthonous ethnic group and foreigner ethnic groups are often the focus.

In 1999, Kalman won the AIGA medal as the "design profession's moral compass and its most fervent provocateur." [10]

Personal life

From 1981 up until his death, Kalman was married to the illustrator and author Maira Kalman.[ citation needed ]

Death and legacy

The onset of non-Hodgkins lymphoma forced Kalman to leave Colors in 1995, returning to New York. In 1997, Kalman re-opened M&Co and continued to work until his death on May 2, 1999 in Puerto Rico. [5] [11]

Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, a book about Kalman and M&Co's work was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 1999. [5]

See also

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  1. Heller, Steven (1999). "Tibor Kalman: Provocateur". AIGA . Retrieved 2010-01-03.
  2. Heller, Steven (May 5, 1999). "Tibor Kalman, 'Bad Boy' of Graphic Design, 49, Dies". New York Times . Retrieved 2010-01-03.
  3. 1 2 Poynor, Rick (17 May 1999). "Obituary: Tibor Kalman". The Independent . Retrieved 2010-01-03.
  4. Haber, Matthew (May 19, 1999). "Tibor Kalman: A highly innovative and influential designer, the onetime editor of Colors magazine died May 2". Salon.com . Retrieved 2010-01-03.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Tibor Kalman | Contributors | COLORS Magazine". www.colorsmagazine.com. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
  6. Paola Antonelli, Tibor Kalman, Perverse Optimist, Booth-Clibborn Editions (1998), p. 54
  7. 1 2 "Tibor Kalman". ADC • Global Awards & Club. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  8. 1 2 Heller, Steven (1999-05-05). "Tibor Kalman, 'Bad Boy' of Graphic Design, 49, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  9. Makovsky, Paul (March 20, 2006). "Restaurant Florent - 1985: A New York restaurateur creates a cultural hub by combining politics with design, activism with good food". Metropolis. Retrieved 2010-01-03. Quote: Florent Morellet "left most of the 1950s luncheonette features intact, and gave Tibor Kalman and M & Co. free reign[ sic ] to create ads and graphics that cultivated a Florent culture that survives today and extends well beyond the walls of the space."
  10. 1 2 3 4 Heller, Steven. "Tibor Kalman". AIGA | the professional association for design. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
  11. 1 2 Heller, Steven (1999-05-05). "Tibor Kalman, 'Bad Boy' of Graphic Design, 49, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2019-06-10.