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Old 07-24-2006, 08:01 AM   #1
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Default Art director Walter Allner is dead

You may not be familiar with Walter Allner’s name, but his influence on American graphic design was formidable. He died on July 21 in New York City.

Allner was a student at the Bauhaus at Dessau where he studied with Josef Albers, Paul Klee, and Kandinsky. Later, in the Netherlands he studied typography with Piet Zwart, then went to Paris where he studied with A.M. Cassandre. He was also editor of Graphis magazine.

He came to the U.S. in 1949, where he worked as a freelance design consultant for many prominent companies, and then was at Fortune for a dozen years, which is where his innovative Bauhaus-influenced covers and interior design made a mark on design in general. After Fortune, Allner went on to teach and lecture.

According to Steven Heller, who wrote Allner’s obituary in the New York Times, Allner’s motto for design students was “Raise the esthetic standard — the public is more perceptive than you think.”

Looking for examples of his work on the web, I found these:

The Times article includes an image of one his abstract covers for Fortune magazine. You may have to register to read there, but it is free.

A collection by 25 artists to promote the city of Naples includes this poster by Allner. (If you thumb through this collection, you can thumbnails of all 25 posters, whose artists include: Saul Bass, Ivan Chermayeff, Alan Fletcher, Jean-Michel Folon, Milton Glaser, Massimo Vignelli, and many other designers, most well-known.)

This German auction includes an original silkscreen print by Allner. (The link probably won’t last, but the print is striking so worth looking at while it lasts.)


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