about this site

This site illuminates the work of mid-century modernist graphic designer Arnold Shaw, 1922-1967.

In the late 1940s, Arnold Shaw established an independent design studio in New York City. Through the mid-century, embracing modernism, his work was driven by technology and experimentation.

Involvement in the AIGA, the Art Directors Club (ADC) and the Type Directors Club (TDC), found him in a community of designers and ad-men. New York City was a vibrant center, welcoming designers from all over including emigre artists fleeing Europe. Exciting developments were taking place in design, typography, and advertising from the late 1940s through the ’60s.

A commitment to teaching, seminars, and clinics provided Arnold with the platforms to educate, support, and nurture young professionals and emerging talents. Striving to synthesize the creativity of educational institutions and professional organizations was his focus, and enhanced his love of design.

His sudden death at 45, in 1967, stunned his colleagues and cut short his future, but left behind a legacy of exploration. He is included among his contemporaries in "The Moderns," a comprehensive review of mid-century American Graphic Design by Greg D'Onofrio and Steve Heller published by Abrams, New York, 2017.

I created this site to shine a light on my father’s work. Expressing my own design sense, I built on his legacy to honor him. My efforts began with a deep dive into the archive of his sketches, comprehensives, mechanicals, finished artwork, printed samples, proposals and correspondence that were in my possession for decades.

As I explored the archive, previously unknown work emerged. The result was a greater understanding of him as a designer, revealing his ideas and process. I came to see how his practice evolved from the late 1940s through the 1960s, the mid-century of American design.

I now realize how much of an influence he had on my career as a designer and educator. I believe now, that the mentor I thought was missing throughout my professional life was actually with me the whole time.

Susan Shaw
Spring, 2020