April Greiman

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April Greiman
April Greiman 'blur-mode' self-portrait
Born (1948-03-22) March 22, 1948 (age 69)
Nationality American
Occupation Designer
Known for One of the first designers to embrace computer technology as a design tool
Notable work Ron Resek Poster, P.C. World Magazine Cover, Workspace '87 Poster

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] Greiman heads Los Angeles-based design consultancy Made in Space.[2] Her art combines her Swiss design training with West Coast postmodernism.[3][page needed]


Born on September 10, 1948, April Greiman grew up in the New York City. Trained as an accountant, her father was an early computer programmer; her one sibling Paul became a meteorologist and specialist in climatic and atmospheric interplanetary modeling.[citation needed]

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.[3][page needed]

In 1982, Greiman became head of the design department at the California Institute of the Arts, also known as Cal Arts.[4] She met photographer-artist Jayme Odgers at Cal Arts, who became a significant influence on Greimen. Together, they designed a famous Cal Arts poster in 1977 that became an icon of the California New Wave.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]:39 An early adopter of this computer, Greiman produced an issue of Design Quarterly in 1986, notable in its development of graphic design.[2] 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, 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.[2]


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.[8] Her style includes typelayering to make it look like it is floating in space, using geometric shapes, exaggerated letter spacing and eccentric colors. She creates a sense of depth by combining graphic elements with photography, which is how she came to work with Jayme Odgers, utilizing Macintosh technology.[9][page needed] 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 Weingart and Hofmann, songwriter Leonard Cohen, theoretical physicist David Bohm, psychiatrist Carl Jung, and spiritual leader the Dali Lama.[citation needed]


Greiman currently teaches at Woodbury University, School of Architecture and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). 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. She 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..." [10][11]


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".[11] 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.[12] She has received 4 honorary doctorates: Kansas City Art Institute (2001);[4] Lesley University, The Art Institute of Boston (2002);[4] 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.[13] 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).[14]

In 2006, the Pasadena Museum of California Art mounted a one-woman show of her digital photography entitled: Drive-by Shooting.[15] 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.[16] 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."[17] 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.[18]

Other works[edit]


  • Hybrid Imagery, 1990[7]
  • 7 Graphic Designers[citation needed]
  • April Greiman: Floating Ideas into Space[20]
  • April Greiman : it'snotwhatyouthinkitis = cen'estpascequevouscroyez[21]
  • Something from Nothing[22]

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. ^ a b c Twemlow, Alice. "Does it Make Sense? ( take two ) Exhibition Catalog". School of Visual Arts. 
  3. ^ a b Juiler, Guy (2004). The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Design Since 1900. London: Thames & Hudson. 
  4. ^ a b c Fiell, Charlotte; Peter Fiell (2003). Graphic design for the 21st century. Taschen. p. 244. ISBN 978-3-8228-1605-9. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "Medalists: April Greiman". American Institute of Graphic Arts. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Greiman, April (1990). Hybrid Imagery. New York: Watson-Guptill. ISBN 0823025187. 
  8. ^ McCoy, Katherine (1990). "American Graphic Design Expression: The Evolution of American Typography". Design Quarterly (149): 3–22. 
  9. ^ Juiler, Guy (2004). The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Design Since 1900. London: Thames & Hudson. 
  10. ^ Flask, Dominic. "April Greiman : Design Is History". www.designishistory.com. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  11. ^ a b "Targeted News Service". 13 Feb 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2016. 
  12. ^ "Medalists: April Greiman". American Institute of Graphic Arts. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Carter, Rob (1989). American Typography Today. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. p. 56. ISBN 0-442-22106-1. 
  14. ^ Farrelly, Liz (1998). April Greiman: floating ideas into time and space. Watson-Guptill. p. 61. 
  15. ^ "Pasadena Museum of California Art in Los Angeles Past Exhibitions". Archived from the original on 25 February 2011. 
  16. ^ "elles@centrepompidou women artists in the collections of the National Modern Art Museum". 
  17. ^ "AGI : Members : Greiman". 
  18. ^ Kay, Jean (2014-11-20). "An overview of Frieze 2014 on the fringe". AQNB. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  19. ^ Pacific Wave: California Graphic Design. Italy: Magnus. 1987. pp. 88–92. ISBN 88-7057-070-3. 
  20. ^ Farrelly, Liz; Greiman, April (1998-01-01). April Greiman: floating ideas into time and space. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. ISBN 0823012018. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ Greiman, April; Janigian, Aris (2001-01-01). Something from nothing. ISBN 2880465478. 

External links[edit]