April Greiman

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April Greiman
Born (1948-03-22) March 22, 1948 (age 70)
Nationality American
Occupation Designer
Known for One of the first designers to embrace computer technology as a design tool
Notable work Design Quarterly #133: Does it Make Sense?, Pompidou, MOMA, LACMA, SFMOMA, 1986

April Greiman (born 22 March 1948) is a designer. Recognized as one of the first designers to embrace computer technology as a design tool, Greiman is also credited, along with early collaborator Jayme Odgers, with establishing the ‘New Wave’ design style in the US during the late 70s and early 80s."[1] According to design historian Steven Heller, “April Greiman was a bridge between the modern and postmodern, the analog and the digital.” “She is a pivotal proponent of the ‘new typography’ and new wave that defined late twentieth-century graphic design.”[2] Greiman heads Los Angeles-based design consultancy Made in Space.[3] Her art combines her Swiss design training with West Coast postmodernism.[4] Greiman finds the title graphic designer too limiting and prefers to call herself a "trans-media artist". Her work has inspired designers to develop the computer as a tool of design and to be curious and searching in their design approach.


Born on March 22, 1948, April Greiman grew up in New York City. Her father was an early computer programmer, systems analyst, and founder and president of The Ventura Institute of Technology[5]. Her only sibling, Paul, became a meteorologist and specialist in climatic and atmospheric interplanetary modeling.[6]

Greiman moved to Los Angeles in 1976, where she established the multi-disciplinary approach that extends into her current practice, Made in Space. During the 1970s, she rejected the belief among many contemporary designers that computers and digitalization would compromise the International Typographic Style; instead, she exploited pixelation and other digitization "errors" as integral parts of digital art, a position she has held throughout her career. Once she established herself in New York and Connecticut, she taught at the Philadelphia College of Art.[4]

In 1982, Greiman became head of the design department at the California Institute of the Arts, also known as Cal Arts.[7] Upon her relocation from New York City to Los Angeles, she met photographer-artist Jayme Odgers, who became a significant influence on Greiman. Together, they designed a famous Cal Arts poster in 1977 that became an icon of the California New Wave.[8] In 1984, she lobbied successfully to change the department name to Visual Communications, as she felt the term “graphic design” would prove too limiting to future designers. In that year, she also became a student herself and investigated in greater depth the effects of technology on her own work.

She then returned to full-time practice and acquired her first Macintosh computer.[9] She would later take the Grand Prize in MacWorld's First Macintosh Masters in Art Competition. April also contributed to the design of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, by creating a memorable poster of running legs silhouetted against a square of bright blue sky.[10]:39 An early adopter of this computer, Greiman produced an issue of Design Quarterly in 1986, notable in its development of graphic design.[3] Entitled Does it make sense?, the edition was edited by Mildred Friedman and published by the Walker Art Center. "She re-imagined the magazine as a poster that folded out to almost three-by-six feet. The poster must be carefully unfolded three times across, nine times down. It contained a life-size, MacVision-generated image of her outstretched naked body adorned with symbolic images and text— a provocative gesture, which emphatically countered the objective, rational and masculine tendencies of modernist design." Greiman has said about the poster’s unusual format and title “Hopefully, someone will make some sense out of this… The sense it has for me is that it’s new and yet old,… it’s a magazine, which is a poster, which is an object, which is… crazy.” The poster was also launched as a complement to the Walker Art Center’s new Everyday Art Gallery.

Miracle Manor [1], a desert spa retreat owned with her husband, architect Michael Rotondi, is a showcase for her more recent three-dimensional design of space in natural landscapes.[3]


Greiman first studied graphic design in her undergraduate education at the Kansas City Art Institute, from 1966–1970. She then went on to study at the Allgemeine Künstgewerberschule Basel, now known as the Basel School of Design (Schule für Gestaltung Basel) in Basel, Switzerland (1970–1971). She was also a student of Armin Hofmann and Wolfgang Weingart, and she was influenced by the International Style and by Weingarts' introduction to the style later known as New Wave, an aesthetic less reliant on Modernist heritage.[11] Her style includes typelayering, where groups of letterforms are sandwiched and layered, but also made to float in space along with geometric colors. She creates a sense of depth and dynamic, in particular by combining graphic elements with the work the photographer Jayme Odgers, making extensive use of Apple Macintosh technology.[4] Los Angeles times called her graphic style 'an experiment in creating "hybrid imagery"'.

Greiman’s list of influences is well-rounded: Among them are her former teacher Wolfgang Weingart and Armin Hofmann, songwriter Leonard Cohen, theoretical physicist David Bohm, psychiatrist Carl Jung, and spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.[12]


Greiman currently operates and works out of a studio in Los Angeles titled Made In Space, where she "...blends technology, science, word and image with color and space..." [13][14]. She also teaches at Woodbury University, and taught at Sci-Arch from 1993–2005.

Major Awards[edit]

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Society of Typographic Arts, 2018[15]
  • Chrysler Award for Innovation, 1998[16]
  • Gold Medalist, American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1998[17]
  • 50 Best Books of the Year, AIGA, for From the Center, Design Process @ SCIARC catalogue, 1997
  • Bronze Medal for From the Edge: Southern California Institute of Architecture, Best Books of the World, Der Stiftung Buchkunst Pramiert, 1994
  • National Endowment of the Arts Grant, 1987[18]
  • Vesta Award for Outstanding Achievements of Women, 1985[19]


Greiman has won many awards, including the Medal of the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Chrysler Award for Innovation. She has also published several books, such as April Greiman: Floating Ideas into Space and "Something from Nothing".[14] Greiman currently teaches at Woodbury University, School of Architecture and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). She is a recipient of the American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal for lifetime achievement.[20] She has received 4 honorary doctorates: Kansas City Art Institute (2001);[7] Lesley University, The Art Institute of Boston (2002);[7] Academy of Art University (2003,) Art Center College of Design (2012.) April Greiman is seen as one of the "ultimate risktakers" for her unorthodox and progressive approach to design by embracing new technologies.[21] In 1995, the US Postal Service launched a stamp designed by Greiman to commemorate the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Women's Voting Rights).[22]

In 2006, the Pasadena Museum of California Art mounted a one-woman show of her digital photography entitled: Drive-by Shooting.[23] In 1998 she became an AIGA Medalist. She was also in the group show at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, in a major exhibition Elle@Centre Pompidou.[24] In 2007, Greiman completed her largest ever work: a public mural, Hand Holding a Bowl of Rice, spanning "seven stories of two building facades marking the entrance to the Wilshire Vermont Metro Station in Los Angeles."[25] In 2014, Greiman collaborated with the London based artist-run organization Auto Italia South East along with a group of designers and artists including Metahaven, in an exhibition POLYMYTH x Miss Information. The exhibition program was included in the external listings for Frieze Art Fair.[26]

Recent Work[edit]

  • MAK Center @ the Schindler House, branding, 1995–present link [27]
  • Miracle Manor Retreat, 1997–present link [28]
  • Coop Himmelb(l)au Architecture branding, 1990–present link [29]
  • Southern California Institute of Architecture branding, 1985–2015 link [30]
  • Pacoima Neighborhood City Hall, color palette and materials, 2010 link [31]
  • Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, color palette and materials, Hollywood, 2008 link [32]
  • Orange County Great Park, color palette and materials, 2008 link [33]
  • Hand Holding a Bowl of Rice, 2007 link [34]
  • Dosa inc. & Dosa 818 link [35]
  • Roto Architects, branding, 1991–present link [36]


  • Cal State Sacramento - Think About What You Think About, 2004 [37]
  • Samitaur Constructs, 2002 [37]
  • Objects in Space, Selby Gallery, 1999 [37]
  • Objects in Space, AIGA/OC, 1999 [37]
  • The Havana Project, MAK Center, 1996 [37]
  • Harry Marks, Lifetime Achievement BDA, 1996 [37]
  • It's Not April What You Think It Is, Exhibition, Bordeaux, 1994 [37]
  • Pikes Peak Big Fishy, 1994 [37]
  • AIGA Communication Graphics, 1993 [37]
  • Sci-Arc Admissions, 1993 [37]
  • Pikes Peak Lithographing Co., 1992 [37]
  • UCLA Summer Sessions, 1991 [37]
  • Sci-Arc Summer Programs, 1991 [37]
  • Sci-Arc Making Thinking, 1990 [37]
  • Graphic Design in America, 1989 [37]
  • The Modern Poster, MOMA, 1988 [37]
  • Shaping the Future of Healthcare, 1987 [37]
  • Workspace 1987, 1987 [37]
  • Pacific Wave, Fortuny Museum, 1987 [37]
  • LAICA Fashion Show + Clothing Sale, 1986 [37]
  • Design Quarterly #133: Does it Make Sense, 1986 [37]
  • Snow White and the Seven Pixels, 1986 [37]
  • Sci-Arc, Changing Concepts of Space in Architecture and Art, 1986 [37]
  • Hashi, 1985 [37]
  • AIGA, California Design 2, 1985 [37]
  • LA Olympic Games, 1984 [37]
  • Iris Light, 1984 [37]
  • Your Turn, My Turn, 3-D, 1983 [37]
  • CalArts, 1978 [37]
  • Peter Shire, Swissiyaki, 1978 [37]

Notable Works[edit]

  • Design Quarterly #133: ‘Does it Make Sense?’, Pompidou, MOMA, LACMA, SFMOMA, 1986 [2]
  • Graphic Design in America, Exhibition, Billboard and Poster, Walker Art Center Traveling Show, 1989 [3]
  • ‘It’snotwhatAprilyouthinkitGreimanis’ Exhibition, Arc en Rêve, Centre d’Architecture, Bordeaux, France, 1994 [4]
  • The Great Welcome Mat/Zoids, Sears, Public Art Commission, Burbank, 2001 [5]
  • Drive-by Shooting: April Greiman Digital Photography, Exhibition, Pasadena Museum of California Art, 2006 [6]
  • Wilshire Vermont: Hand Holding A Bowl of Rice, Public Art Commission, 2007 [7]
  • Apple Documentary Movie, MAC @ 30, 2014 [8]
  • 19th Amendment Stamp, 1995 [9][38]


  • Drive-by Shooting: April Greiman Digital Photography, 2006 [39]
  • Roto Works: Still Points, 2006 [40]
  • Something from Nothing, 2001 [41]
  • From the Center: Design Process @ SciArc, 1998 [42]
  • Architectural Resitance: Contemporary Architects Face Schindler Today, 2003 [43]
  • April Greiman: Floating Ideas into Time and Space, 1998 [38]
  • April Greiman : it'snotwhatyouthinkitis = cen'estpascequevouscroyez, 1994 [44]
  • From the Edge: Southern California Institute of Architecture, 1991 [45]
  • Hybrid Imagery: The Fusion of Technology and Graphic Design, 1990 [10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Madley, Michelle. "ACAD presents prestigious international designer: April Greiman" (PDF). Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary, Alberta. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "The Masters Series: April Greiman". School of Visual Arts (SVA). School of Visual Arts (SVA). Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c Twemlow, Alice. "Does it Make Sense? ( take two ) Exhibition Catalog". School of Visual Arts. 
  4. ^ a b c The Thames and Hudson encyclopaedia of 20th century design and designers. London: Thames and Hudson. 1993. p. 96. ISBN 0500202699. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  5. ^ Searles, Jack. "Institute of Technology Moves to Larger Quarters". Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  6. ^ Greiman, Paul. "A Martian General Circulation Experiment with Large Topography". American Metrological Association. American Metrological Association. Retrieved 26 June 2018. 
  7. ^ a b c Fiell, Charlotte; Peter Fiell (2003). Graphic design for the 21st century. Taschen. p. 244. ISBN 978-3-8228-1605-9. 
  8. ^ Whiteson, Leon (1988-10-09). "A Designing Woman With Radical Ideas April Greiman Says Her Graphics Style Is 'an Experiment in Creating "Hybrid Imagery"'". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ "Medalists: April Greiman". American Institute of Graphic Arts. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Greiman, April; Farrelly, Liz (1990). Hybrid Imagery. New York: Watson-Guptill. ISBN 0823025187. 
  11. ^ McCoy, Katherine (1990). "American Graphic Design Expression: The Evolution of American Typography". Design Quarterly (149): 3–22. 
  12. ^ Clifford, John (2014). Graphic icons : visionaries who shaped modern graphic design. San Francisco, Calif.: Peachpit Press. p. 186. ISBN 9780321887207. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  13. ^ Flask, Dominic. "April Greiman : Design Is History". www.designishistory.com. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  14. ^ a b "Targeted News Service". 13 Feb 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2016. 
  15. ^ "STA Honors: April Greiman". Society of Typographic Arts. Society of Typographic Arts. Retrieved 26 June 2018. 
  16. ^ Ten Years—A Decade of Design—Chrysler Design Awards. Wilton, Connecticut: The Magazine Works, Inc. 2002. p. 98. 
  17. ^ "April Greiman". aiga.org. America Institute of Graphic Arts. Retrieved 26 June 2018. 
  18. ^ NEA Annual Report 1987 (PDF). National Endowment for the Arts. 1987. p. 18. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  19. ^ "3rd Annual Vesta Awards. Graphic designer, April Greiman, winner". Otis Collections Online. Woman's Building Slide Archive: Woman's Building Slide Archive. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  20. ^ "Medalists: April Greiman". American Institute of Graphic Arts. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  21. ^ Carter, Rob (1989). American Typography Today. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. p. 56. ISBN 0-442-22106-1. 
  22. ^ Farrelly, Liz (1998). April Greiman: floating ideas into time and space. Watson-Guptill. p. 61. 
  23. ^ "Pasadena Museum of California Art in Los Angeles Past Exhibitions". Archived from the original on 25 February 2011. 
  24. ^ "elles@centrepompidou women artists in the collections of the National Modern Art Museum". 
  25. ^ "AGI : Members : Greiman". 
  26. ^ Kay, Jean (2014-11-20). "An overview of Frieze 2014 on the fringe". AQNB. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  27. ^ Greiman, April. "MAK Center". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  28. ^ Greiman, April. "Miracle Manor Retreat". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  29. ^ Greiman, April. "coop himmelb(l)au architecture". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  30. ^ Greiman, April. "Southern California Institute of Architecture". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  31. ^ Greiman, April. "Pacoima Neighborhood City Hall". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  32. ^ Greiman, April. "Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, Hollywood". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  33. ^ Greiman, April. "Orange County Great Park". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  34. ^ "hand holding a bowl of rice". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  35. ^ Greiman, April. "dosa inc. & dosa 818". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  36. ^ "Roto Architects". Made in Space LA. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Greiman, April. "April Greiman Posters". April Greiman Posters: Made in Space Shop. Made in Space LA. Retrieved 26 June 2018. 
  38. ^ a b Farrelly, Liz; Greiman, April (1998-01-01). April Greiman: floating ideas into time and space. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. ISBN 0823012018. 
  39. ^ Greiman, April (2006). Drive-by Shooting: April Greiman Digital Photography. Los Angeles: Pasadena Museum of California Art/April Greiman - Made in Space. ISBN 1-4243-1448-8. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  40. ^ Rotondi, Michael; Stevens, Clark; Greiman, April (2006). Roto Works: Still Points. New York, New York: Rizzoli, New York. ISBN 0-8478-2813-1. 
  41. ^ Greiman, April; Janigian, Aris (2001). Something from Nothing. East Sussex, UK: RotoVision SA. ISBN 2-88046-547-8. 
  42. ^ Rotondi, Michael; Reeve, Margaret; Greiman, April (1997). From the Center: Design Process at Sci-Arc. New York, New York: The Monacelli Press, Inc. ISBN 1-885254-34-2. 
  43. ^ Meyer, Kimberli; Neuman, Eran; Rotondi, Michael; Noever, Peter; Greiman, April (2003). Architecural Resistance: Contemporary Architects Face Schindler Today. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz Publishers. ISBN 3775714065. 
  44. ^ Greiman, April; Poynor, Rick; Arc en rêve centre d'architecture (1994-01-01). April Greiman: it'snotwhatyouthinkitis = cen'estpascequevouscroyez. Bordeaux; Zürich; New York, N.Y.: Arc en rêve centre d'architecture ; Artemis. ISBN 3760884172. 
  45. ^ From the Edge: Southern California Institute of Architecture. New York, New York: The Southern California Institute of Architecture. 1991. ISBN 1-878271-54-7. 

External links[edit]