Principal and Creative Director of Studio Hinrichs, San Francisco
Kit Hinrichs studied at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California. He served as principal in several design offices in New York and San Francisco before spending 23 years (1986 – 2009) as a partner of Pentagram, the international consultancy. In 2009 Hinrichs opened an independent design firm in San Francisco called Studio Hinrichs. Kit’s design experience incorporates a wide range of projects, including identity design, corporate communications, promotion, packaging, editorial and exhibition design.
Hinrichs is a recipient of the prestigious AIGA medal in recognition of his exceptional achievements in the field of graphic design and visual communication, and his work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress. He is co-author of four books, including Typewise, Long May She Wave, 100 American Flag Icons and The Pentagram Papers.
“There are many passions in my professional life. The predominant one is telling stories. As a consequence, I have become an obsessive narrative designer. I find stories everywhere waiting to be told, and, fortunately, I have been able to do that through design. By story, I mean more than editorial content. I mean communicating a sense of the subject, albeit a client’s business and philosophy or an event, graphically through print, packaging, videos or environmental signage. For me, design, at its best, is a visual story with the same excitement, pacing and emotional power of a great play or musical composition. And like producing a play, design is not a solitary act, but a collaboration that requires inspiring the talent and spirit of writers, illustrators, photographers, typographers and technicians. A successful outcome demands a strong, clear, consistent focus so that all elements ’speak’ in a single voice that engages the audience.
Although I’ve worked on many high-profile projects, I strive to give equal attention to the more commonplace assignment. This is the visual minutiae—the directional signs, informational folders, video sign offs, product packaging, corporate collateral, etc.—that bombards us from all directions and impacts our collective culture. It is the face unaware that we present to the world. I feel it is the responsibility of those of us in the design profession to not treat this lightly. For me, the role of design is to make the complex, simple; the opaque, transparent; the unstructured, concrete; the obtuse, accessible, and the ordinary, beautiful. After 40 years of practice, I am still excited by that challenge and the possibilities it presents.“
© 2017 Studio Hinrichs