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Susan Kare and Louise Sandhaus Join Our Board of Directors

We welcome two design icons with the experience and vision to help shape Letterform Archive’s future.

We are pleased and humbled to announce two new members of our Board of Directors. Beyond their impactful professional resumes, Susan Kare and Louise Sandhaus exemplify the range of background and engagement with the design community that will help guide the Archive in our pivotal early years.

Susan Kare, icons and fonts for Apple Macintosh, 1984.

Susan Kare received MA and Ph.D. degrees in fine art from New York University. In 1983 she began her career at Apple, Inc. designing the screen graphics and digital fonts for the original Macintosh. From the paint bucket and trash icons to the crash bomb and smiling Mac, her concise and charming visuals made computer interfaces more humane, and many of her metaphors are still used throughout the industry today. Kare went on to design for NeXT, Microsoft, Facebook, Wired, and many others. She was awarded an AIGA Medal in 2018 and her work is part of the permanent collections of MoMA and SFMOMA. Susan is currently a creative director at Pinterest.

Susan’s first visit to the Archive was an introductory tour with a colleague from Pinterest. As usual, we showed a sampling of objects from the collection, which on that day happened to include something with which she has a personal connection, Paul Rand’s presentation booklet for the NeXT identity.

“I loved the visit because of the friendly and welcoming individuals and their uncanny knack for assembling a virtual banquet of items from the collection for us. I couldn’t believe that I was in the dark about this tantalizing (and useful) resource.

As a designer, I responded instantly to the intrinsic inspiration value of the collection. As an art historian, I could sense its importance. And as someone who spends a tremendous amount of time developing images online, I look forward to being able to reference and share the amazing high quality images in the Archive online. It is wonderful to join forces with the generous and knowledgeable staff, a small but mighty group that is dedicated to the Archive on a daily basis.” — Susan Kare

Louise Sandhaus, Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires and Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936–1986, 2015 and (with Kat Catmur) A Colorful Life: Gere Kavanaugh, 2019.

Louise Sandhaus is a graphic designer and design educator and is currently faculty at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Her book, Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires and Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936–1986, received global recognition. Her next book, A Colorful Life: Gere Kavanaugh, will be published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2019. Louise’s work is part of the permanent collections of SFMOMA and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. She is a former AIGA national board member and an AIGA LA fellow.

Louise’s lifelong dedication to design preservation and education is in complete alignment with our goals at the Archive. She has already participated in that mission by presenting a thought-provoking history on type in film for our Letterform Lecture series.

“Graphic design history, to me, is most often perceived as a consumer product rather than a creative one. We look at beautiful artifacts and see them in many different ways. For me they are a reflection of a particular set of aesthetic and conceptual values. I’m interested in expanding those values. The analogy I like to use to explain what I mean is the TED talk by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of the Single Story.” Adichie relates her early attempts at storytelling as a child. She tells of writing stories about blue-eyed children playing in the snow because that was all she knew even though it had nothing to do with her own experiences. It’s similar with design history: We tell the stories we know or at least the kind of stories we know. I’m interested in more stories from diverse experiences and points of view.

Apologies for yet another metaphor, but the Archive is like wonderful garden of delights. Individually each fruit or blossom is beautiful and can be appreciated on its own, but transformed into new sorts of feasts, into bouquets and arrangements yet to be imagined — into new stories — is what I see as the wonder of this place. Put to use, the Archive has the potential for expanding both our knowledge and our imaginations!

I’ve been asked to join a number of boards and have served on a few, but this invitation felt most like being asked to join a family. Not just any family, but the one that you secretly envy and wish you had been born into under different circumstances. I just knew that this was “home” for me. It was the people, the community, the shared love and passion for design that I wanted to be part of. I know that I’m joining a family where the standards are high and where I’ll be challenged. Part of that challenge will be to give as good as I get. It feels like a next step for me in terms of ensuring that our history is preserved. I really could not have been more (happily) surprised or more honored by this invitation.” — Louise Sandhaus

We are honored, too! We can’t wait to work with Susan and Louise, along with the rest of our distinguished board, to continue expanding our impact and shaping the Archive’s future.