February 4, 2010

POSTED BY

Rafael Esquer

CATEGORY

Immortality Poster in Memory of Steve Madden

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In 1995 while I was a student at Art Center College of Design, I designed the “immortality” poster. The class was called Advanced Graphic Design; the professor was Udell Steve Madden (not related to the shoe designer Steve Madden). Mr. Madden was a wonderful teacher, the kind that makes a …

Immortality Poster

In 1995 while I was a student at Art Center College of Design, I designed the “immortality” poster. The class was called Advanced Graphic Design; the professor was Udell Steve Madden (not related to the shoe designer Steve Madden).

Mr. Madden was a wonderful teacher, the kind that makes a lasting impression. He belongs to the group of people that have influenced not only my professional career, but also my philosophical approach. He was quiet, but assertive; intellectual, but humble; challenging, but inspiring…He was everything I look for in a teacher.

Yesterday, I was very sad to have received the news of his passing.

This news brings me to the last day I saw him. In 1996, when he knew I had accepted a job in New York, he called to invite me to his house. I think he wanted to teach me one more lesson. In fact, he was the last person I saw before going to the airport. At his garden, we had a long conversation. We talked about life, his long career in design, the beginning of my career, his passion for philosophy and literature. Right before I left, I remember he went inside his home only to come back with a small number of books in his hands, which he gave me as a present. This thoughtful gesture made me feel good. But, also, I felt a big responsibility because Mr. Madden, the great teacher, was telling me that he believed in me. He wanted to make me a thinking and compassionate person. I will always be grateful for that. Those books were the last belongings I put in my already crammed suitcase. The same books that I still keep in a special place, in my home library.

To this day, the posters I designed in his class still appear in books and magazines. A strong testament to what great teaching can do.

“Immortality” is in the book 2D: Visual Basics For Designers edited by Robin Landa, Rose Gonnnella and Steven Brower. Their caption reads “Texture, color and an intellectual, pondering mood dominate this poster design. This poster design was created as part of a promotion for a paper. Images and words from many sources were chosen ‘to depict the immortality’ quality of the medium. The juxtaposition of images and text draws the reader in and creates a beguiling atmosphere, while the treatment of the typography (different typefaces used in a variety of colors, sizes and states of legibility) adds texture and meaning to the overall composition.”

Thank you Mr. Madden for everything you did for your students. I know one day the student project we did together will get published in your memory.

Rafael Esquer. New York, NY. February 4, 2010

Visit his memorial site.

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