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April Greiman

April Greiman

American designer
April Greiman
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American designer
Is Designer Artist Graphic designer
From United States of America
Type Arts Creativity
Gender female
Birth 1948, New York City, New York, USA
Age 72 years
Kansas City Art Institute
Basel School of Design
AIGA Medal  
April Greiman
The details


April Greiman (born March 22, 1948) is an American designer widely recognized as one of the first designers to embrace computer technology as a design tool. Greiman is also credited, along with early collaborator Jayme Odgers, with helping to import the European New Wave design style to the US during the late 70s and early 80s." According to design historian Steven Heller, “April Greiman was a bridge between the modern and postmodern, the analog and the digital.” “She is a pivotal proponent of the ‘new typography’ and new wave that defined late twentieth-century graphic design.” Her art combines her Swiss design training with West Coast postmodernism.

Greiman finds the title graphic designer too limiting and prefers to call herself a "transmedia artist". Her work has inspired designers to develop the computer as a tool of design and to be curious and searching in their design approach. Her style includes typelayering, where groups of letterforms are sandwiched and layered, but also made to float in space along with other 'objects in space' such as shapes, photos, illustrations and color swatches. She creates a sense of depth and dynamic, in particular by combining graphic elements through making extensive use of Apple Macintosh technology. Los Angeles Times called her graphic style "an experiment in creating 'hybrid imagery'".


Born on March 22, 1948, April Greiman grew up in New York City. Her father was an early computer programmer, systems analyst, and founder and president of The Ventura Institute of Technology. Her only sibling, Paul, became a meteorologist and specialist in climatic and atmospheric interplanetary modeling.

After completing her studies at the Kansas City Art Institute, Greiman worked as a freelance designer and worked directly with the curator of design at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. Greiman moved to Los Angeles in 1976 where she established the multi-disciplinary approach where she "...blends technology, science, word and image with color and space...". She directed her first design studio April Greiman, Inc. from 1978–2004 and began her current Los Angeles-based design consultancy Made In Space in 2005. During the 1970s, she rejected the belief among many contemporary designers that computers and digitalization would compromise the International Typographic Style; instead, she exploited pixelation and other digitization "errors" as integral parts of digital art, a position she has held throughout her career.

In 1982, Greiman became head of the design department at the California Institute of the Arts, also known as Cal Arts. Upon her relocation from New York City to Los Angeles, she met photographer-artist Jayme Odgers, who became a significant influence on Greiman. Together, they designed a famous Cal Arts poster in 1977 that became an icon of the California New Wave. In 1984, she lobbied successfully to change the department name to Visual Communications, as she felt the term “graphic design” would prove too limiting to future designers. In that year, she also became a student herself and investigated in greater depth the effects of technology on her own work.

She then returned to full-time practice and acquired her first Macintosh computer. She would later take the Grand Prize in MacWorld's First Macintosh Masters in Art Competition. April also contributed to the design of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, by creating a memorable poster of running legs silhouetted against a square of bright blue sky in collaboration with Jayme Odgers. An early adopter of this computer as noted in Apple's Mac @ 30 video [1], Greiman produced an issue of Design Quarterly in 1986, notable in its development of graphic design. Entitled Does it make sense?, the edition was edited by Mildred Friedman and published by the MIT Press / Walker Art Center. "She re-imagined the magazine as a fold-out artwork to almost three-by-six feet. The poster must be carefully unfolded three times across, nine times down. It contained a life-size, MacVision-generated image of her outstretched naked body adorned with symbolic images and text— a provocative gesture, which emphatically countered the objective, rational and masculine tendencies of modernist design." Greiman has said about the poster's unusual format and title “Hopefully, someone will make some sense out of this… The sense it has for me is that it’s new and yet old,… it’s a magazine, which is a poster, which is an object, which is… crazy.” The poster was also launched as a complement to the Walker Art Center's new Everyday Art Gallery.

Miracle Manor [2], a desert spa retreat owned with her husband, architect Michael Rotondi, from 1997–2018 is a showcase for her more recent three-dimensional design of space in natural landscapes.

Greiman has won many awards, including lifetime achievement awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal in 1998 and the Society of Typographic Arts (STA) in 2018, as well as the Chrysler Award for Innovation in 1998. She has also published several books, such as April Greiman: Floating Ideas into Space and Something from Nothing. Greiman currently teaches at the University of Southern California as a Professor of Design in the Roski School of Art and Design, and previously taught at Woodbury University's School of Architecture and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). With four honorary doctorates, April Greiman is seen as one of the "ultimate risktakers" for her unorthodox and progressive approach to design by embracing new technologies. In 1995, the US Postal Service launched a stamp designed by Greiman to commemorate the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Women's Voting Rights).

In 2006, the Pasadena Museum of California Art mounted a one-woman show of her digital photography entitled: Drive-by Shooting: April Greiman Digital Photography. She was also in the major group show at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris called [email protected] Pompidou. In 2007, Greiman completed her largest ever work: a public mural, Hand Holding a Bowl of Rice, spanning "seven stories of two building facades marking the entrance to the Wilshire Vermont Metro Station in Los Angeles." In 2014, Greiman collaborated with the London based artist-run organization Auto Italia South East along with a group of artists including Metahaven, in an exhibition POLYMYTH x Miss Information. The exhibition program was included in the external listings for Frieze Art Fair.

Notable works and accomplishments

  • India Institute of Technology, Experimental Typography, Keynote Speech, Industrial Design Centre, Mumbai, India, March 2, 2019 – March 4, 2019
  • Society of Typographic Arts (STA), Honorary Member Award for Lifetime Achievement Award, Chicago, Illinois, 2018
  • Architecture + Design Museum (A+D), Farbe/Color: Armin Hofmann, Exhibition Design and Curation with RoTo Architects, 2013, traveled to Miller Institute for Contemporary Art, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 15, 201 – March 1, 2015; Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 24 – October 7, 2016; and Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 28 – September 17, 2017.
  • Apple Documentary Movie, MAC @ 30, Featured Designer, January 2014 [3]
  • Architecture + Design Museum (A+D), Drylands Design, Exhibition Environmental Graphics and Graphic Design with Laurie Haycock Makela, Office of Hadley and Peter Arnold and Chu-Gooding Architects, Los Angeles, California, 2012
  • Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970–1990, Exhibition and Publication with Essay, September 24, 2011– January 15, 2012
  • Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), American Masters: The Architect and the Painter, Charles and Ray Eames, Video Contribution to Film, 2011
  • Pacoima Neighborhood City Hall, Environmental Graphics, Signage and Color Palette for Architecture with RoTo Architects, Pacoima, California, 2010
  • Orange County Great Park, Environmental Graphics, Signage and Color Palette for 1400-acre Park with Ken Smith Landscape Architect, Irvine, California, 2008
  • Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Color and Materials Palette for Architecture with RoTo Architects, Hollywood, California, 2008
  • Urban Partners, Hand Holding a Bowl of Rice, Public Art Commission for Wilshire Vermont Metro Station, Los Angeles, California, 2007
  • Art Center College of Design, Honorary Doctorate, Los Angeles, California, 2012
  • Pasadena Museum of California Art, Drive-by Shooting: April Greiman Digital Photography, Solo Exhibition and Monograph Publication Design, Pasadena, California, September 9 – October 8, 2006
  • Prairie View School of Art and Architecture, Color and Materials Palette for Architecture with RoTo Architects, and Texas A & M University, Prairie View, Texas, 2005
  • Academy of Art University, Honorary Doctorate, San Francisco, California, 2003
  • College of Art and Design, Lesley University, Honorary Doctorate, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2002
  • Kansas City Art Institute, Honorary Doctorate, Kansas City, Missouri, 2001
  • Rotovision, Something From Nothing, Monograph Publication Design, 2001
  • Monacelli Press, From the Center: Design Process @ SCI-Arc,” 1998
  • AIGA, Gold Medalist, New York City, New York, 1998
  • Chrysler Award for Design Innovation, Auburn Hill, Michigan, 1998
  • Miracle Manor Retreat, Design Concept, Interactive and Environmental Graphics and Interiors for Architecture with RoTo Architects, Desert Hot Springs, California, 1997–2018
  • Rizzoli International Publications, Michele Saee: Buildings & Projects, Publication Design, 1997.
  • US Postal Commission, 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Commemorative Stamp, Washington, District of Columbia (DC), August 26, 1995
  • Warehouse C, Color Palette for Architecture with RoTo Architects, Nagasaki, Japan, 1995
  • Artemis Publishers, ItsnotwhatAprilyouthinkitGreimanis = cen'estpascequevouscroyez, Monograph Publication Design, 1994
  • Der Stiftung Buchkunst Prâmiert (Best Books of the World), for From the Edge, Student Workbook, Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Frankfurt Book Fair Bronze Medal, 1994
  • Aldus Corporation Video Conference Program, Spokesperson with Paul Brainerd, New York City, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Seattle, Washington; and Toronto, Canada, 1993
  • Nicola Restaurant, Color and Materials Palette for Architecture as well as Custom Dinnerware, Billboards, Branding and Graphics with RoTo Architects, Los Angeles, California, 1993
  • Carlson-Reges Residence, Color and Materials Palette for Architecture with RoTo Architects, Los Angeles, California, 1992
  • Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), Walk Earth Talk, Public Art Commission collaboration with Lucille Clifton, Citicorp Plaza Poet’s Walk, Los Angeles, California, 1991
  • Watson-Guptill Publishers, Hybrid Imagery: The Fusion of Technology and Graphic Design, Monograph Publication Design, 1990
  • Walker Art Center, Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History, Exhibition, Poster and Billboard, Featured Designer, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1989
  • AIGA, Los Angeles, President and Vice-President, 1982–1988
  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Computer Graphic Studies Grant, Washington, District of Columbia, 1987
  • Walker Art Center and MIT Press, Design Quarterly #133: ‘Does it Make Sense?’, Publication Design, 1986. [4]
  • Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), Invited Board Member, 1986
  • Olympic Organizing Committee, Official Poster for the 1984 Olympic Games, Collaboration with Jayme Odgers, Los Angeles, California, 1984
  • WET Magazine, Magazine Cover, Collaboration with Jayme Odgers, 1976
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), The Taxi Project, Exhibition and Catalogue Design with Emilio Ambasz, Curator, New York City, New York, 1975

Major honors, awards and collections

The Postal Service issued a 32-cent Women's Suffrage commemorative stamp, in a pane of 40, in Washington, DC, on August 26, 1995. The issuance of this stamp marked the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Collections of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Centre Pompidou
  • Honorary Member Award for Lifetime Achievement Award, Society of Typographic Arts (STA), Chicago, Illinois, 2018
  • Masters Series Award, School of Visual Arts, New York City, New York, 2008
  • Finalist, Inaugural National Design Award in Communication Arts, Awarded at White House, Clinton Administration, Washington, DC, 2000
  • Chrysler Award for Design Innovation, Auburn Hill, Michigan, 1998
  • Gold Medalist, AIGA, New York City, New York, 1998
  • 50 Best Books of the Year, AIGA, New York City, New York, 1997
  • Frankfurt Book Fair Bronze Medal for From the Edge: Southern California Institute of Architecture,Der Stiftung Buchkunst Prâmiert (Best Books of the World), Los Angeles, California, 1994
  • Hall Chair Fellowship, Hallmark Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri, 1990
  • Winner, The Modern Poster Competition, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, New York, 1988
  • Grand Prize Winner, Macintosh Masters in Art Competition, Macworld, San Francisco, California, 1988 Winner, Unesco International Poster Contest, 1987
  • Vesta Award for Outstanding Achievements of Women, Hearth and Home Magazine, Los Angeles, California, 1985


  • April Greiman, Drive-by Shooting: April Greiman Digital Photography, exhibition catalog for Pasadena Museum of California Art, 2006
  • April Greiman and Aris Janigian, Something From Nothing, Rotovision, 2001
  • April Greiman and Liz Farelly, Floating Ideas into Time and Space, Watson-Guptill Publishers, Cutting Edge Series, 1998
  • F. Fort, R Poynor and C. Kultenbrouwer, it'snotwhatyouthinkitis = cen'estpascequevouscroyez, Artemis Publishers, 1994
  • April Greiman, Hybrid Imagery: The Fusion of Technology and Graphic Design, Watson-Guptill Publishers,1990


Greiman first studied graphic design as an undergraduate at the Kansas City Art Institute, from 1966–1970. She then went on to study at the Allgemeine Künstgewerberschule Basel, now known as the Basel School of Design (Schule für Gestaltung Basel) in Basel, Switzerland (1970–1971). She was also a student of Armin Hofmann and Wolfgang Weingart, and she was influenced by the International Style and by Weingarts' introduction to the style later known as New Wave, an aesthetic that moved away from a Modernist heritage.

Greiman has received four honorary doctorates from Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, California (2012); Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (2003); College of Art and Design, Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2002); and Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri (2001).

Greiman's list of influences is well-rounded: Among them are her former teacher Wolfgang Weingart and Armin Hofmann, songwriter Leonard Cohen, theoretical physicist David Bohm, psychiatrist Carl Jung, architect Ludwig Wittgenstein and spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Teaching experience

Since 2019, Greiman has been a Professor of Design at the Roski School of Art and Design, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California. She was Adjunct Faculty at the School of Architecture, Woodbury University, Burbank, California from 2010–2018 and Adjunct Faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Los Angeles, California from 1992–2009. Greiman worked with the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), Valencia, California as Adjunct Faculty in the Graphic Design Program, School of Art in 1978 and was the Director of the Visual Communications Program (formerly Graphic Design) from 1982–1984. Additionally she was an Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design Program, University of the Arts (formerly Philadelphia College of Art), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1971–1976.

Keynote speeches

  • Objects in Space, Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) Open Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, September 24, 2019
  • Experimental Typography, India Institute of Technology, Industrial Design Centre, Mumbai, India, March 2, 2019 – March 4, 2019
  • Color as Space, Space as Color, Bend Design Conference, Bend, Oregon, October 2, 2018
  • Borders, Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) at La Maison du Radio, Paris, France, September 20, 2017
  • Grand Masters of Design, Indian Institute of Technology, Industrial Design Centre, Mumbai, India, February 4, 2007 – February 9, 2007
  • April Greiman, MAC Summit at University of California–Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, 1995
  • April Greiman, Too Corporation, MacWorld, Tokyo, Japan, 1992
  • April Greiman, IDEAS ‘92 Student Symposium, Melbourne, Australia, 1992

Professional societies and positions

  • Elected Member, The Trusteeship, International Women’s Forum, Newport Beach, California, 2010
  • Women in the Arts, Art Table, 2004
  • Jury Chairperson, General Services Administration Design Awards, Washington, District of Columbia, 1999
  • USA Expert Juror, China’s First International Graphic Arts Competition, Beijing, China, 1996
  • USA Expert Juror, Expo 2000 Mascot Competition, Hannover, Germany, 1995
  • USA Expert Juror, Netherlands All Design Disciplines Competition, Netherlands, 1995
  • USA Expert Juror, City of Berlin Identity Program Competition, Berlin, Germany, 1993
  • Chairperson, AIGA Communications Graphics Competition, New York City, New York, 1993
  • Co-Chair with Tibor Kalman, What’s Going On Now, AIGA National Conference, San Francisco, California, 1987
  • Invited Member, Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), 1986–present
  • National Board Member, AIGA, 1986–1988
  • President and Vice-President, AIGA, Los Angeles, 1982–1988

Solo exhibitions

  • Do Not Trust Atoms: April Greiman, Avatars and New Photography, bulthaup Los Angeles ‘Kunsthalle b,’ Los Angeles, California, February 1, 2017 – May 15, 2017
  • Objects in Space: April Greiman, Woodbury University Wedge Gallery, Burbank, California, March 4, 2014 – March 30, 2014
  • New Works: April Greiman, Subvecta Motus Gallery, Glendale, California, November 2012 – January 2013
  • Think About What You Think About: April Greiman, Yoon Design: Ddoong Gallery, Korea Society of Basic Design & Art, Seoul, Korea, December 10, 2012 – December 16, 2012
  • The Masters Series: April Greiman, School of Visual Arts (SVA) Visual Arts Museum, New York City, New York, October 20, 2008 – December 13, 2008
  • Objects in Space, Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island, October 17, 2007 – November 11, 2007
  • Drive-by Shooting: April Greiman Digital Photography, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, California, September 9, 2006 – October 8, 2006
  • Objects in Space, Nova Ljubjlanska Banka, Llubljana, Slovenia, November 2004
  • Something from Nothing, Modern Book Gallery, Westwood, California, 2001
  • Objects in Space, Selby Gallery, Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida, October 25, 1999 – November 24, 1999
  • It’snotwhatAprilyouthinkitGreimanis, Arc en Rêve Centre d’Architecture, Bordeaux, France, 1994.
  • Computer Graphics: April Greiman, Itoya Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 1994.
  • April Greiman: Hybrid Imagery, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel, 1989
  • One Woman Show, Turner Dailey Gallery, Los Angeles, California, 1989
  • April Greiman, Reinhold–Brown Gallery, New York City, New York, 1986

Selected group exhibitions

  • Between the Lines, Typography in LACMA’s Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California, May 19, 2019–ongoing
  • West of Modernism: California Graphic Design, 1975–1995, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California, September 30, 2018 – April 21, 2019
  • California: Designing Freedom, Designmuseo (Design Museum), Helsinki, Finland, November 10, 2017 – March 4, 2018
  • California: Designing Freedom, The Design Museum, London, England, May 24, 2017 – October 17, 2017
  • Static, Castle Fitzjohns Gallery, New York City, New York, 2016–2017
  • Typeface to Interface: Graphic Design from the Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco, California, May 14, 2016 – October 23, 2016
  • Physical: Sex and the Body in the 1980s, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California, March 20, 2016 – July 31, 2016
  • Designing Modern Women 1890–1990, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, New York, October 5, 2013 – October 19, 2014
  • California’s Designing Women: 1896–1986, The Autry Museum, Los Angeles, California, August 10, 2012 – January 6, 2013
  • [email protected]: Women Artists in the Collections of the National Modern Art Museum, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, May 27, 2009 – February 21, 2011
  • Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History, Design Museum of London, London, England, 1990
  • Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York City, New York, 1989
  • Design USA, United States Information Agency, Travelling Exhibition throughout the United Socailist Soviet Republic (USSR), 1989
  • Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1989

Selected clients

  • Accenture Tower, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Art Papers, Atlanta, Georgia
  • CBRE, Los Angeles, California
  • Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Cerritos, California
  • Belmont Beach and Aquatics Center, City of Long Beach, California
  • Channel 35 TV, City of Los Angeles, California
  • Waterfront Project, City of Seattle, Washington
  • Coop Himmelb(l)au Architects, Vienna, Austria
  • DMJM and AECOM, Los Angeles, California
  • Dosa and Dosa 818, Los Angeles, California
  • Downtown Women’s Center, Los Angeles, California
  • Egenolf Gallery, Burbank, California
  • Esprit, San Francisco, California
  • Fresh and Easy, Los Angeles, California
  • George Greenstein Institute, Los Angeles, California
  • Harley Ellis Devereau, Los Angeles, California
  • Herman Miller, Los Angeles, California
  • Liberty Wildlife, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Lifetime Television, New York City, New York
  • Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, California
  • MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria
  • MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, California
  • Knoll, Los Angeles, California and New York City, New York
  • RoTo Architects, Los Angeles, California
  • RoToLab / Second Studio, Los Angeles, California
  • SIAD ARCHITECTS, Souzhou, China
  • Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Los Angeles, California
  • Time Warner, New York City, New York
  • TSE Cashmere, Los Angeles, California
  • Urban Partners, Los Angeles, California
  • US West, Denver, Colorado
  • Vitra, Basel, Switzerland
  • Woodbury University School of Architecture, Burbank, California


Greiman, known for her experimental use of media such as photographic collage and still video imagery, was commissioned to create issue 133 of the long-running journal Design Quarterly published by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis
  • Cal State Sacramento – Think About What You Think About, 2004
  • Samitaur Constructs, 2002
  • Objects in Space, Selby Gallery, 1999
  • Objects in Space, AIGA/OC, 1999
  • The Havana Project, MAK Center, 1996
  • Harry Marks, Lifetime Achievement BDA, 1996
  • It's Not April What You Think It Is, Exhibition, Bordeaux, 1994
  • Pikes Peak Big Fishy, 1994
  • AIGA Communication Graphics, 1993
  • Sci-Arc Admissions, 1993
  • Pikes Peak Lithographing Co., 1992
  • UCLA Summer Sessions, 1991
  • Sci-Arc Summer Programs, 1991
  • Sci-Arc Making Thinking, 1990
  • Graphic Design in America, 1989
  • The Modern Poster, MOMA, 1988
  • Shaping the Future of Healthcare, 1987
  • Workspace 1987, 1987
  • Pacific Wave, Fortuny Museum, 1987
  • LAICA Fashion Show + Clothing Sale, 1986
  • Design Quarterly #133: Does it Make Sense, 1986
  • Snow White and the Seven Pixels, 1986
  • Sci-Arc, Changing Concepts of Space in Architecture and Art, 1986
  • Hashi, 1985
  • AIGA, California Design 2, 1985
  • LA Olympic Games, 1984
  • Iris Light, 1984
  • Your Turn, My Turn, 3-D, 1983
  • CalArts, 1978
  • Peter Shire, Swissiyaki, 1978
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 07 Aug 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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