Thursday, March 20, 2008

Alvin Eisenman combined serendipity, curiosity and tenacity to move from a boyhood love of a printing plant to the helm of the first graduate school in graphic design in the United States, at Yale University. For forty years he assembled diverse and brilliant classes to be taught by the legends of design history, and left the imprint of his interests on several generations of designers. Recently he retired amid much fanfare at a gala party. When pressed on current plans, he said, "All I know is I won't make a firm appointment if it's a nice day to go to a museum." Yet, his calendar is dotted with trips to Silicon Valley to see new products unveiled, with meetings at the Morgan Guaranty Trust—where he is a design consultant—and sessions at his computer to finish his account of how graphic design came to be and his speculation on where it is going (AIGA).