TDC Salon and Exhibition Opening: “Visual Memoranda – IBM Poster Program 1969-1979” with Robert Finkel and Shea Tillman
Type Directors Club, New York
June 5, 2019

Curators Robert Finkel and Shea Tillman of Auburn University share their research about IBM’s historic corporate design venture and speak about the designers whose works were on display at TDC from June 5 through August 1, 2019.

The decades following World War II ushered in an era of unprecedented growth for International Business Machines (IBM), as innovations in electronic data processing and the miniaturization of transistor-based electronics transformed the company into a multibillion-dollar colossus.

During this period, Thomas J. Watson Jr., president of IBM, sought to elevate the company’s image as a forward-thinking, technologically-advanced organization by hiring world-renowned design consultants, including Eliot Noyes, Charles and Ray Eames, and Paul Rand (who designed the instantly recognizable IBM logo and held a remarkable influence over internal staff designers.)

The IBM Poster Program was initiated in the late 1960s by staff designer Ken White, who had studied under Rand at Yale. It was also during this period that Tom Bluhm transferred into the team, having worked as a contract illustrator for IBM in Rochester, Minnesota. Shortly thereafter, Ken’s former colleague John Anderson was also added to the staff.