Thursday, December 20, 2007

Michael Schwab, Graphic Designer

Michael Schwab is a graphic designer and poster artist extraordinaire, living and working in Marin County. His distinctive graphic style is characterized by highly reductive imagery, and the bold use of flat areas of color. Working in the tradition of the Plakastil masters Lucien Bernhard and Ludwig Hohlwein, he has forged a look very much his own: at once contemporary and timeless. In his own words: “The basic premise of my work is this: the message must be succinct, immediate, and legible from ‘way across the room’.”

San Francisco Bay Area residents and visitors alike will instantly recognize Michael Schwab’s iconic poster series for the Golden Gate National Parks.

Introduced in 1996 as bus stop graphics, the series was an instant hit and superbly satisfied the objective of creating a brand identity for the scattered sites of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Though Schwab’s impressive client list is international in scope, I include him here for his substantial contribution to the graphic representation of Sonoma County.

Michael has produced a number of posters for the Gloria Ferrer Winery in the Carneros region. It is not clear to me which of the following images is the earliest, but to my eye, the second image is the more powerful- pared down to the essence, evocative- almost cryptic- quintessential Schwab.

In 2001, Schwab produced a logo and poster for the Carneros Wine Alliance that masterfully captures the stark beauty of the region:

A recently completed project is a series of illustrations for Sunset’s California Wine Country; a Field Guide. Here are the cover illustration for the book, and the chapter heading illustration for the Sonoma Wine Country:

More details on this book, including an interview with Michael Schwab, and a gallery of illustrations can be found here

Expect to see a lot more wine related work- posters and labels- from this prodigious talent in the days to come. Hot off of the boards are two new wine label projects from the Michael Schwab Studio. Cannonball is in Middletown (Lake Co.), and Angels & Cowboys is Michael's own label from Mendocino County.

No comments: