What makes super graphics so super? Scale. “They’re not just big, but bigger than the architecture,” explains awarding-winning designer Deborah Sussman. “They don’t have to fit into prescribed spaces in the traditional way, and can have their own life.”
Perhaps a lofty goal, but Sussman has always found a way to make a statement and communicate a message. From the towering icons at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics to Disney signage (complete with mouse ears) to the “W” that greets guests to the international hotel chain, Sussman’s work fills rooms, climbs buildings, and really can have a life of its own.
Before her pioneering works in environmental graphics (as super graphics are now known), Sussman honed her skills working for two other pioneers: Charles and Ray Eames. A longtime employee of the Eames Office, Sussman worked alongside the talented couple, helping create such seminal works as Mathematica. Like the Eameses were, Sussman is filled with youthful exuberance and the ability to think big—not just in scale, but to imagine the unimagined.
For that ability, Deborah Sussman was recently inducted into the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame, placing her among a select few honored as innovators in the field of art direction and visual communications. Congratulations.
A special thanks to the Autry National Center for sharing the video of Deborah Sussman included in this post. The video is part of “California’s Designing Women, 1896-1986,” a Museum of California Design exhibition currently showing at the Autry, in which Deborah Sussman, Ray Eames, and many other talented women are recognized for their contributions to design. Click here to learn more.