Bob Gill, So Far

Monday, January 09, 2012

Bob Gill talks about his 60-year career in graphic design, from his first revolutionary designs and illustrations of the early 1960s to the design of his recent children's books. One of the founders in 1962 of the legendary design studio Fletcher/Forbes/Gill (forerunner of today's Pentagram studio), Gill went on to found the Designers and Art Directors Association (D&AD). His book Bob Gill, So Far is a collection of his work.


Bob Gill
Cover of Bob Gill, So Far, published by Laurence King Publishers
Bob Gill
Bob Gill. Jazz
Bob Gill
Bob Gill. Pirelli
Bob Gill
Bob Gill. Writing Code
Bob Gill
Bob Gill. Illustration
Bob Gill
Bob Gill. What Colour Is Your World?
Bob Gill
Bob Gill. Words into Pictures
Bob Gill
Bob Gill. Big Deal
Bob Gill
Bob Gill. Logomania


Bob Gill

Comments [13]

Mark Bonner from London

I met Bob at his apartment in 1991 as a student in Graphic Design from the UK travelling to NYC. I was so keen he'd see me, I had a letterhead printed at a hot metal shop off Broadway with my Hotel address, just so I could write to him. I even checked in to the Chelsea, thinking that address might look better than the YMCA and it might swing it for me.

He called me at 7am and said could I be there in an hour. I took all my work with me on the plane from London, so I collected it all up from my hotel room and walked to his apartment near Washington Square Park.

He was everything I'd hoped. He took my work apart.

He literally cut things from my drawings with a scalpel sticking them in new places, changing what I'd done, making me see it differently. He was like a savage in his slippers, cutting my work to bits.

A courier rang at the door and he took a package. It was a proof of the letterhead he'd designed for his wife and himself. He took his scalpel excitedly explaining to me how he was so pleased with this idea, and how he couldn't wait to cut one out for me.

He trimmed it out from the sheet and handed it to me, hot off the press. It was cut to appear to be two offset letters, one on top of the other, complete with the overlapping edges, as if it was two sheets in one.

I still have it today, safely in my drawer at GBH. I learnt a lot that day.

Thanks Bob.

Jan. 12 2012 05:50 PM

As a listener and designer, I like the WNYC logo very much. Just for the record. However, I am awed by Gill's gall in dissing it on the air!

Jan. 12 2012 03:18 PM
john doe from NJ


Jan. 10 2012 03:02 PM
oscar from ny

hi everyone,..i love computer graphics!!
heres a wnyc i found :)

Jan. 10 2012 10:37 AM
mark from nj

Tuned in to the show late today, delighted to hear you having on Governor Cuomo, but why is he talking about typography?

Jan. 09 2012 01:25 PM
jordan kalfus

My memory of Bob Gill in the late fifties early 60's when I was selling
typography includes his charisma, his funny and iconoclastic viewpoint and his use of franklin gothic and a marmalade jar for his pencils.

Jordan Kalfus

Jan. 09 2012 01:24 PM
hy eisman

He's as funny and direct as Mel Brooks.

Jan. 09 2012 01:12 PM
Stephen from Manhattan

While I respect many of Mr. Gill's opinions -- such as approaching each design problem with an open mind -- I disagree with his disdain for the WNYC logo. If I recall correctly, Dan Friedman, while at Pentagram many years ago, designed a totally bland, meaningless, generic logo for WNYC. The current WNYC logo is much more distinctive: it is simple, strong, memorable and pleasing aesthetically. It appropriately emphasizes the "NYC" portion of the name and the red rectangles not only suggest an electronic display of frequency/volume, they also suggest an abstract urban skyline.

Although it goes against Mr. Gill's reputation as "the famous designer who hates almost everything," he should take his own advice and try to be more open minded about what constitutes good design.

Jan. 09 2012 01:11 PM
charlie in harrington park from harrington park nj

Tuned in to the show late today, delighted to hear you having on Al Pacino, but why is he talking about advertising?

Jan. 09 2012 12:57 PM
Joseph from Brooklyn, NY

Congratulations to Mr. Gill on his 60th Anniversary. I've been a graphic designer for only 20 years, but agree with him wholeheartedly: If you're designing a logo for a dry cleaner's, go to the dry cleaner's! Knowing your audience is critical to any successful design.

Jan. 09 2012 12:52 PM
mark in manhattan

This guy sounds a lot like Mel Brooks. And then coincidentally I see in the slide show "A History of the World"

Jan. 09 2012 12:52 PM

Just read that Bob Gill is married to Sara Fishko, of NPR and WNYC.... What a combo!

Jan. 09 2012 12:52 PM

Mr. Lopate just recalled (intentionally?) an interview I think he did several years ago with another great designer at Pentagram — Paula Scher, who wrote a book called "Make It Bigger."

Jan. 09 2012 12:50 PM

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