Lance Wyman – American Graphic Artist

“In 1960 I graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York with a degree in Industrial Design. At that time graphic design was a European influence that was just being introduced in American universities at the graduate level. When I met a student who studied logo design with Paul Rand at Yale, I knew I wanted to design logos.”

lance wyman studioHistory of Lance Wyman

Lance Wyman was born in Newark, New Jersey in America. He is an American Graphic designer. One of the designs that Lance Wyman is most famous for is the logo for the 1968 Summer Olympic Games and the route map of the Washington Metro.

metro mapwork of lance wyman

Lance Wyman’s father was a commercial fisherman and his mother was a typist. He grew up in Kearny, New Jersey. As he grew up he would work in the factories in the summers when he was on holiday so that he could eventually get to college. He witnessed the hard work of the fishermen and recognised that there was a value in hard work in society for cohesion and this was to have an important impact on his later work.

He attended the Pratt Institute with a degree in industrial design in 1960. Graphic design was slowly being introduced to American Universities at this time and whilst he was at university he made friends with a student who had studied logo design with Paul Rand at Yale, so he decided that logo design was the area that he wanted to work.

Graphic Artist – Lance Wyman, Professional Designer

Graphic ArtistLance Wyman started work in Detroit in Michigan at General Motors, where he started on a packaging system for Delco parts which drew together 1200 different packages. He moved onto the office of William Schmidt, where he designed the graphics for the American pavilion at the 1962 trade fair in Zagreb in Yugoslavia.

In 1963 Lance Wyman moved back to New York and joined the firm of George Nelson. He designed graphics for the Chrysler Pavilion at the New York’s World’s Fair. He said that by putting together a ‘pointing hand’ theme logo and changing it to the site directional signs made him realise that logos could be more important than he had originally though in an overall design programme.

In 1966 he took part in a design competition for the graphics for the 1967 Mexico Olympic Games. His ‘Mexico 68’ logotype was the winner and this was to initiate the start of Wyman’s rise to fame. He remained in Mexico for just over four years after his Olympic work with the development of various graphic programmes for the Mexico City Metro and the 1970 World Cup Competition. He was coined the ‘rock star’ of graphic arts after designing the logo for the Olympic Games.

In 1971 he returned to New York and formed a partnership with Bill Cannan. In 1979 he left to form his own company Lance Wyman Ltd. He also taught corporate and wayfinding design at Parsons School of Design.

Lance Wyman also produced many other wayfinding designs for the zoo, various buildings and designed a poster for Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. His most successful wayfinding design for which he is famous is the Washington Metro produced in the mid 1970s. He was later called back to revise as necessary.

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