Thursday 25 September 2014
Meeting Carin Goldberg

To step into Carin Goldberg’s home in Brooklyn, in a classic brownstone neighborhood with tidily kept gardens, is to step into a small design museum. Her house, where she also has her studio, is full of books and objects, cordially arranged according to their colors, patternsand materials. It looks appetizing, full of layers that beg to be delved into. The first time we visit her she offers us tea and biscuits served on mint colored china . It’s our first interview for this project and we’re so nervous that we forget to introduce ourselves. Though if there’s anyone who will calm you down, just by her mere presence, it’s Carin Goldberg. She has a warm personality and a dry sense of humor. We have already engaged in small talk for quite a long time when she kindly asks us who we actually are. Could we perhaps tell her a bit more about our project? Studying Carin Goldberg’s career as a designer, is like taking a truly contemporary history class. It begins at a time when graphic design was artisanal when work was created by means of pen, paper, scissors and glue and leads to our computer dominated present. During her three decades of working in the field, there’s been a steady change of direction from print to more digital content. But in Carin’s opinion, the communicative role of the designer remains the same .

Carin, a born-and-raised New Yorker, quickly realized what the industry asked of her: to be »a cool, irreverent, experimental, hungry, talented smart-ass«. She was educated at Cooper Union in New York where she graduated in 1975 with a degree in fine arts. Her path as a designer then began at CBS Television where she worked for Lou Dorfsman, who was chief designer in charge of the company’s visual communication for over 40 year. After that she moved on to CBS Records Advertising , followed by a short period of working for Atlantic Records before going back to CBS to the Records Packaging Department.

In the early 1980s she established her own business, Carin Goldberg Design, where she continued to work for the music industry but also became, above all, one of America’s most successful book cover designers. She has designed over a thousand covers for Random House, Harper Collins and most major U.S. publishing houses. Perhaps she conveyed her zeal from the art world and the music industry to the more conventional literary world? In any case, she was quickly identified as one of the stars of a rising 1980s art movement, alongside graphic designers like Paula Scher and Louise Fili, that was celebrated for its eclecticism and humor. Carin has said it was simply a reaction to the aesthetic ideals of that time, »smacking tasteful type on a gorgeous photograph. We were bored with that and wanted to actually make stuff paint, cut, paste and play«. But what she didn’t know was that this movement would soon be labeled »postmodernism«. And that it would stick with her throughout most of her future professional undertakings, in spite of her own dislike for the term.

One example is the heated debate following Carin’s cover design for a new edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The publisher wanted something that resembled the 1949 edition, and so Carin made a pastiche of the modernist typography posters and built the design upon a large »U«. This upset the influential designer Tibor Kalman who accused Carin and her colleagues of being »pillagers«, and an aesthetic discussion within the design world began. One that still, in a way, goes on. Nevertheless, Carin kept cool. »While I was busy pillaging history, Tibor was busy pillaging the vernacular. We were all pillagers«, was her riposte.

For Carin, all this belongs in the past. Along with the fact that she designed the cover for Madonna’s debut album one of the most, especially from our generation’s viewpoint, iconic artists ever (so we keep asking her until she agrees to talk about it). She prefers to look ahead, not back, emphasizing her desire to move forward. In recent years she has, for instance, expanded her work to include publicationdesign and brand consultancy.

The second time we see her it’s been a year and a lot has happened. Carin has been awarded the Gold Medal by the American Institute of Graphic Art (AIGA ), for »sustained contributions to design excellenceand the development of the profession«. She has also received the Art Director Club’s Grand Masters Award, for those whose careers in creative education have impacted upon and inspired generations of student creatives. As if that weren’t enough, she’s working hard on her retrospective, which opens at the Centredu Graphismein Échirolles, France, in November 2010. »I’ve hit my prime«, she says smiling, in what we perceive to be an ironic tone. And it seems only right that, for someone with such a long career, the awards are great in terms of acknowledgement and yes, lovely to glance at from time to time but they are perhaps not the drivingforce. This seems especially the case for Carin Goldberg, who appearsto have a distinct and very holistic approach to success at work, in life, and everywhere in between.

Talking to her is almost like having therapy. Design therapy. She believes that it’s the designer’s responsibility to come up with solutions, and her own ability to do so is palpable. She has an aptitude for educating and since the 1980s she has taught at The School of Visual Arts in New York, where her classes are filled with diligent students. And as Carin facetiously remarks, it’s yet another opportunity to be »arrogant, emphatic, brilliant, bossy, nurturing, thoughtful, smart, and silly«. As we sit in this decorative home full of books, pictures and flea market finds, we realize that it says a great deal about graphic design, the ability to observe, make a selection, disentangle, and place everything in context thus making the viewer look at something differently. And above all, it says a lot about Carin Goldberg. The epitome of an experimental yet disciplinary aesthete, who truly lives for, and with, her profession.

Preface Hall of Femmes: Carin Goldberg, 2011
Editor: Maina Arvas
Buy the book here.
Buy the poster here

Posted by: 12:40

Categories: Books, Carin Goldberg, Maina Arvas, Preface

Monday 17 December 2012
Carin Goldberg om Madonna-omslaget

När vi intervjuade Carin, fick vi tjata en del för att få henne att prata om Madonna-omslaget och den här plåtningen. Därför blir vi extra glada av att se den här videointervjun från hennes studio. Vi blir också väldigt lyckliga av intervjuarens beundrande miner och av att vår bok skymtar förbi vid ett tillfälle.

Posted by: 16:54

Categories: Carin Goldberg

Sunday 16 December 2012
Carin Goldbergs affischer

Och när ni ändå funderar på julklappar, kolla in Carin Goldbergs nya affischshop.

Posted by: 15:08

Categories: Carin Goldberg

Thursday 18 October 2012
Hall of Femmes intervjuar: Maina Arvas

Du har varit redaktör för tre Hall of Femmes-böcker, om Carin Goldberg, Paula Scher och Tomoko Miho. Vad har varit mest givande med arbetet?
Förutom lusten i att få lära mig om de här intressanta personerna så är det laddningen i projektet i sig. En emotionell bergochdalbana som kommer med perspektivet: den kvinnohistoriska ambitionen inom feminismen är ju både nedslående och euforisk. Hall of Femmes är ett nyktert kartläggande projekt, ett ledset och argt projekt, och ett kärleksfullt, positivt projekt – det personliga och känslomässiga tror jag att alla inblandade i varje bok har känt.

Har arbetet med de olika böckerna skiljt sig åt?

Det är tre helt olika designers – med egna sätt att arbeta, olika områden och speciella personligheter. En påtaglig skillnad är det sorgliga i att Tomoko Miho gick bort strax innan vi påbörjade boken om henne. Utöver att jag inte kunde följa upp det ursprungliga mötet med ytterligare intervjufrågor, som med Goldberg och Scher, så gav det en speciell känsla åt arbetssituationen. Andaktsfull, nervös, vemodig kanske? Det var skönt att veta att hon själv verkligen ville att boken skulle göras. Och att ha den ovärderliga kontakten med hennes nära vän Eric Breitbart, som har samredaktörat boken med mig.

Tycker du att de privata och de yrkesmässiga delarna i intervjuerna är lika intressanta?

Jag ser dem nog inte som separata delar. För mig är just det en viktig poäng med projektet. Hall of Femmes är en serie möten mellan yrkeskvinnor i designvärlden: samtal som uppstår när två yngre kvinnor och ett antal erfarna, framgångsrika kvinnor möts. För att bli djupt och analyserande gör ett sådant samtal kopplingar mellan det privata och det politiska, helt enkelt.

Har du lärt dig något nytt om design i och med böckerna?

Jag hoppas att jag har fått en djupare förståelse för strömningar och politik inom designhistorien. Om jag ska ta några exempel är det Tomoko Mihos personifiering av modernismen, Paula Schers sociala aspekt på design, och pedagogen och loppmarknadssamlarsjälen Carin Goldbergs idéer om estetik och inspiration.

Posted by: 08:16

Categories: Carin Goldberg, Hall of Femmes intervjuar, Maina Arvas, Paula Scher, Tomoko Miho

Monday 26 September 2011
Hall of Femmes på Fab

Under några dagar säljs våra böcker här. Då kan man även få tag på de sista exemplaren av Ruth Ansels bok.

Posted by: 04:25

Categories: Carin Goldberg, Lillian Bassman, Paula Scher, Ruth Ansel

Tuesday 5 July 2011
Releasefest på Art Directors Club

Tack för en underbar kväll alla ni som kom. Tack alla ni som hjälpt oss!
With great admiration, we’d like to express our thanks to:
Ruth Ansel, Lillian Bassman, Carin Goldberg and Paula Scher.
Thank you for making this evening possible:
Art Directors Club, Consulate General of Sweden, Göteborgstryckeriet, Antalis, Zetatrade, Konstnärsnämnden.
A special thanks goes out to:
Vince Aletti, Maina Arvas, Nina Beckmann, Eva Green, Lizzie Himmel, Ika Johannesson, Stephen Lipuma, Oyster Press, Jack Richold, Elena Tillman Sperandio, Paulina Westerlind, Anders Wester.

Posted by: 04:40 1 comment

Categories: Carin Goldberg, Janet Froelich, Lillian Bassman, Nöjen, Paula Scher, Ruth Ansel, Stefania Malmsten, Vince Aletti

Saturday 2 July 2011
Hjärta Smärta från the Netherlands

Den här hade vi missat.

Posted by: 13:42 2 comments

Categories: Carin Goldberg, Georgie Stout, Lillian Bassman, Maira Kalman, Paula Scher, Press, Ruth Ansel

Friday 24 June 2011
Glad midsommar

Intervju med oss i Grafik idag.

Posted by: 13:45

Categories: Carin Goldberg, Janet Froelich, Mary Shanahan, Paula Scher, Press, Ruth Ansel, Tomoko Miho

Tuesday 7 June 2011
Utökat sortiment

Vips så låg dom här på vår nyfunna väns startsida.

Posted by: 18:26

Categories: Böcker, Carin Goldberg, Lillian Bassman, Ruth Ansel

Tuesday 7 June 2011
Release 28 juni

Alla bloggläsare som kan är välkomna! Mer info kommer snart.

Posted by: 16:48 1 comment

Categories: Böcker, Carin Goldberg, Lillian Bassman, Nöjen, Paula Scher, Ruth Ansel