Monday, March 13, 2006

RIP: Martin Solomon

Designer, typographer, artist and beloved Parsons instructor Martin Solomon passed away last week on Wednesday, March 7, 2006. He is perhaps best known for his book The Art of Typography and the typographical logos he designed for Hyundai, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, Fisher Price, and Volvo Automobiles, which are recognized worldwide. A wonderful quote from Solomon himself: "Drawing letters is synonymous with studying the fine arts. It is a disciplined art because of its exactness, yet within its rigorous requirements, it reveals the free flow of mystical lines."

A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday, May 4, 2006 at FIT. More info.

Solomon was highly respected and adored by many of his colleagues and students. Mara Kurtz, who studied with him and then went on to become an instructor herself, shared these words of tribute with the Parsons community:

"He was an incredible influence in my life and was the person who truly motivated me to become a graphic designer. It was because of Martin that I became President of the Type Directors Club and because of his encouragement that I pursued my photoillustration career. He was the model for my teaching at Parsons and was always there for me, with a big smile and hug, whenever I asked him for advice.

"Martin was a great, supportive friend for whom I had the greatest admiration. I will never forget him and hope you will all take a few minutes to think about this very special man and the marvelous, memorable work he shared with all of us."

4 Comments:

Anonymous JC said...

Mr. Solomon has changed my life. We haven't had too much converstaion in the semester. But every word coming from him was so precise and inspirational. Sorry I am a bit shock and confused now...

5:42 AM  
Anonymous a.perez said...

Although I'm not much of a contributor to blogs, I feel that I should add to this post. I had the wonderful opportunity of taking Martin Solomon Typography Class at Parsons for an all-too-brief semester. I can honestly say that he has affected the way I look at problem solving and the intimate connections that life and design share. I am sorry to say that the reason I found this post was because I remembered a discussion we had and Martin asking us if we ever found out or have an interesting theory why the the "Egyptian" faces were called "Egyptian" we should drop him a line and let him know. Learning of this post and of Martin is the result of searching for his email. I actually meant to send him that silly email a year ago, I wish I had. For what it's worth, i'll go a head and post it in the hope that it doesn't sound too naive and re-hashed, if already establish one way or another... and for the main hope that it quenches this sudden regret that I didn't send it earlier. I wanted to write and ask him what he thought of this theory for the "Egypt-ification" naming of slab serif typefaces i.e. Memphis, Clarendon... I would have suggested that those names could have come from discovery of the Rosetta Stone, which happened around the time of nameing these slab serifs. That monumental find could have launched a social mood in Egypt-tify anything "new", including naming typefaces... I just thought Martin might have found it an interesting theory to either play with or to debunk. I would have loved to hear his comments... Beyond that, I will remember him reiterating that often heard quote "one is only able break the rules only after the rules have been thoroughly learned"...somehow, that sunk in and took hold after his classes...and that, i've applied to every aspect my life, not just in type, thanks Martin...

1:57 AM  
Blogger rjones1138 said...

I was studying for my Masters in design at Marywood University and late one night, using Adobe Illustrator 1.1 on one of the first color Macs, a man walked in. He asked me some questions about type and design. I explained that kerning was the spacing between letters and some other things as I worked. Well the next day, the first day of our new semester, the same man walked into our typography class and it was Martin. The first thing he dis was to explain what kerning REALLY is, which to understand, you need to go back to lead type. He changed my life with his incredible talent and opened up my world to huge possibilities. I credit him and many other Marywood instructors with setting my path to the success I have achieved.

11:20 PM  
Blogger michael said...

Martin Solomon is my best lecturer in typography when I was at FIT in 1998. A person I can truly connect when we are together.
I missed him dearly.

So sorry that I just found out about your death.

From Pang Chen, Singapore

12:13 PM  

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