April Greiman

April Greiman

April Greiman is an international award winning graphic designer in a quite general sense. She has worked in a lot of different scales and media, such as textiles, architecture identity, communications, signage, color palettes, and exhibitions. April Greimen does not work with corporate clients, valuing her morals over an opportunity for work. She has coined the term “trans-media” to better describe the type of work she does today, “an experiment in creating ‘hybrid imagery.'”[1]. She works in combination with many tools and across different subjects. Her interests in “color, myth, symbolism, and space in real time”[2] is reflected in her work. Greiman was introduced to modernist design at the Kansas City Art Institute by teachers that attended Allgemeine Künstgewerberschule Basel, in Basel Switzerland. After graduating in 1970, she went on to get her graduate degree at that same school, which is now known as the Basel School of Design. Here she was introduced to the International and New Wave styles by Wolfgang Weingart. This is where she got her signature working method of not using a grid for typography and elements. She returned to New York bringing the New Wave style, one that deviated from modernism and would introduce something new to America. In 1976, to escape the rigid East, Greiman set up her studio, “Made in Space”, in Los Angeles where she could be free to create in any style as there was little local tradition and unfixed boundaries. While directing the graphic design department of the California Institute of the Arts beginning in 1982, she was introduced to and able to explore new digital tools that would influence her work. While working here she pushed for the renaming of the graphic design department to visual communications. She saw the label graphic design to be too limiting and focused on the printing process rather than philosophical and visual ideas which included more than just posters, but also motion graphics, videos, and more. She also sees art and design as one in the same. In 1984 she returned to her studio to work on the newly introduced Macintosh computer, which was not exactly regarded as a design tool. It was seen cold, unfriendly, and expensive. The graphics it produced were also looked down upon. Greiman is known as a pioneer for bringing design into the digital age. In 1986 she worked as the guest editor and designer for issue No. 133: “Does It Make Sense?” of Design Quarterly magazine. She designed a three by six foot poster that was made entirely on the computer using Mac Draw. The monotone front uses elements such as a life size nude self portrait, typography, photographs, symbols, and a timeline. Her choice to show her nude body was also controversial and seen as pornographic and self-indulgent by some. The backside of the poster has colorful spacial images and text over yellow. Today Greiman teaches at Southern California Institute of Architechture and Woodbury School of Architecture, holds workshops and lectures for young designers of the world, and owns Miracle Manor, a spa and retreat in Desert Hot Springs, California that showcases her design of space within a natural landscape.

poster from issue No. 133: “Does It Make Sense?” of Design Quarterly magazine by April Greiman
poster (f/b) from issue No. 133: “Does It Make Sense?” of Design Quarterly magazine by April Greiman


[1] Whiteson, Leon. “A Designing Woman With Radical Ideas : April Greiman Says Her Graphics Style Is ‘an Experiment in Creating “Hybrid Imagery” ‘.” Los Angeles Times.

[2] AIGA. “April Greiman.” AIGA. http://www.aiga.org/medalist-aprilgreiman/

[3] Smith, Josh. “Design discussions: April Greiman on technology.” idsgn. http://idsgn.org/posts/design-discussions-april-greiman-on-technology/#interview

[4] Smith, Josh. “Design discussions: April Greiman on trans-media.” idsgn. http://idsgn.org/posts/design-discussions-april-greiman-on-trans-media/

[5] “April Greiman.” Woodbury School of Architecture. http://architecture.woodbury.edu/member/april-greiman/

[6] Gomez-Palacio, Bryony and Vit, Armin. Massachusetts: Rockport Publisher, Inc.. 2012 edition. “Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design.” http://books.google.fr/books?id=EwPu8I6D5y4C&pg=PA179&dq=april+greiman&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cQFMU7faGaSa0QXAm4DoAQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Written by: Alexandria Henry


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