Designer | Typographic Consultant | Educator
Arnold Shaw was born in New York City in 1922. At 15 he won first prize and his first award, for a poster in a New York City Parks Department contest. He majored in Applied Arts at Straubenmuller Textile High School, a highly respected vocational high school, while living in a NYC public housing project.
By the mid-1940s, ineligible to serve in World War II due to a disability from a childhood illness, Arnold worked days in the art department of RKO Radio Pictures. He attended Cooper Union at night graduating in 1946. While at Cooper, he studied design with Howard Tafton at the Art Students League and attended György Kepes' illustrious "visual fundamentals" class at Brooklyn College, as well as Alexey Brodovitch's workshop at the New School.
In 1948 after a few years freelancing, he set up an independent studio at 19 East 48th Street in New York. Arnold’s wife Dorris, whom he met waiting for an elevator at RKO, assisted him in the studio with production work. In the late 1960s, following his death, Dorris became one of the first women to work in typography sales in New York.
The studio was a magnet for designers, writers, photographers and illustrators who continuously dropped in to borrow a desk, share stories, and exchange ideas about design projects. A small roster of young designers, handpicked from design schools, were hired as assistants. Many moved on to stellar careers in the advertising and design world.
The Work & The Clients
Arnold Shaw & Associates specialized in direct mail promotions and campaigns, advertisements, logotypes, annual reports, book jackets, catalogs, display exhibits, posters, brochures, packaging, and corporate identity.
Clients included Allied Chemical, American Cancer Society, Bankers Trust Company, E.R. Squibb & Sons, Bocour Artist Colors, Doubleday Publishing, Eastman Kodak, Educational Facilities Laboratories, House Beauitful, Hu-Art Studios, International Paper Co., Interiors + Industrial Design magazines, Kiplinger Book Club, Modern Lamps, Sandoz Pharmaceutical, Shell Chemical, Time Inc, The Custom Shop, and The Ford Foundation and Upjohn.
Design Educator 1959 -1967
Beginning in 1959 Arnold taught classes at New York University’s Center for the Graphic Industries and Publishing. Geared toward working professionals, advanced students, and art teachers with a basic knowledge of typography, typefaces, and reproductive processes, "Typography in Visual Communications," was a ten-week evening course incorporating discussion, lecture and slide presentations of contemporary typographic design. In 1964 "New Concepts in Design and Typography" broke with stereotype forms and became an experimental workshop geared to advertising professionals. He designed the class to push designers beyond their creative zones and introduce them to contemporary ideas and trends. He taught typography at the School of Visual Arts from 1961-1966,
Clinics, Symposiums and the Clubs
In 1961, Arnold served as Program Chairman of a series of Design Clinics sponsored by the American Institue of Graphic Arts, (AIGA) and the Division of General Education of New York University and its Center for Graphic Industries and Publishing.
The series — "Graphics at the New Frontier", "Design & Responsibility", "On Color Photography," and "The Organizational Image as Graphic Invention" were geared to working professionals. Its speakers included design notables such as Henry Wolf, Milton Glaser, Ernst Hass, Ralph Eckerstrom, Herb Lubalin and Lou Dorsfman. The varied content from exhibits of fine art to films, panel discussions and presentations was designed to broaden visual horizons.
As an active member the American Institute of Graphic Arts, (AIGA), The Type Directors, (TDC) Art Directors Club (ADC), Arnold took on various leadership roles. In 1964, he served as a juror for Gallery 10, the 10th annual awards exhibit of the TDC. Also, in 1964 he served on the International Committee of the ADC Show and was Exhibition Chair for Typomundus 20, sponsored by the International Center for Typographic Arts (ICTA). In 1965 he was responsible for the production of a filmstrip and record for the 11th annual awards of the (TDC). In 1967 he served as the Seminar Program Chairman for TDC ’68 and was a member of the Board of Governors of the TDC.
Typographic Consultant & Design Director
In 1961, while maintaining his studio, Arnold was hired by legendary typophile “Doc Leslie,” Dr. Robert L. Leslie. He joined the Composing Room and Photo Composing Room, one of New York City's premier type houses, as a typographic consultant and design director.
Under Doc Leslie's helm, the Composing Room was a catalyst for the graphics arts industry. Doc Leslie created magazines and journals. He organized seminars, lectures, trips and gallery exhibitions. His efforts brought together the design community in New York and internationally.
At Gallery 303, Arnold organized and designed exhibitions, lectures, and events, promoting intellectual and educational projects for professionals. From 1961-1966, he was responsible for the Composing Room's "Young Designer Series," created to highlight upcoming emerging talent from all over the world.
As design director of the Composing Room, Arnold was responsible for design of promotional materials for the Type Shops and Gallery. This included announcements for new typefaces, event promotions, holiday cards and one-line specimen booklets. Two major type specimen books were designed and produced — a comprehensive 450 page specimen book for the Composing Room's hot metal typefaces and a specimen book for the cutting-edge photo composition division, The Photo-Composing Room.
Graphic Art Typographers
In early 1967, Arnold left the Composing Room to serve as Design Director at Graphic Arts Typographers where he would be responsible for the design of all promotional materials.
A gallery to feature new concepts in the presentation of typographic material and design was envisioned.
He died suddenly in October of 1967 at age 45.
Awards and Recognition
Arnold's work won recognition from the Direct Mail Association, AIGA, the Art Director and Type Director's Clubs and the Society of Typographic Arts. His work appeared in the Journal of Commercial Art, Interiors, Print Magazine, Art Direction, Graphis and Graphik as well as numerous books and journals.