The Annual 2012

School of Visual Arts

Flower Power

George Tscherny

Few people have had a greater role in shaping SVA’s visual identity than George Tscherny. The legendary designer’s client list reads like a Who’s Who of iconic American brands, from General Dynamics and Johnson & Johnson to The Ford Foundation and Mobil. His relationship with SVA dates back to 1955, when it was still known as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, or C&I. That year he taught its first design course, and the next was enlisted by SVA Founder Silas H. Rhodes to create a logo and subway poster announcing the College’s new name. These were the first of numerous graphics that Tscherny would produce over five decades, including the logo he designed for the SVA’s 50th anniversary in 1997—“the flower,” as most New Yorkers fondly refer to it, which remains in use today.

Last fall Tscherny revisited the logo, creating a new subway poster that paired it with a QR code in a design of characteristic wit and simplicity. British design magazine Eye was spurred to publish a multi-page profile, proclaiming, “While technologies may have changed, Tscherny and his own brand of playful communication still stand the test of time.”

In the interview below, he talks about the origins of the SVA subway campaign.

Eye magazine: What the Client Needs