Beall, Lester, 1903-1969

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Lester Thomas Beall (1903-1969), American graphic designer.

From the description of Lester Beall papers, 1911-1984 (inclusive), 1933-1969 (bulk) (RIT Library). WorldCat record id: 652961830

Lester Beall (1903-1969) was a self-taught graphic designer who worked in the areas of corporate identity, advertising, and packaging. Beall was born in Kansas City, but grew up in Chicago. He received a degree in art history from the University of Chicago and began his career as a graphic designer in Chicago. In 1935, he moved his studio to New York. Among Lester Beall's best remembered designs are the poster campaign for the Rural Electrification Administration in the 1930s and the graphic identity for International Paper in the 1960s.

From the description of Lester Beall Design collection, 1934-1962. (University of Illinois-Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 61184036

American designer Lester Beall (1903-1969) was educated at Lane Technical School in Chicago and received a bachelor's degree in art history from the University of Chicago. Upon discovering the work of the European avant-garde, Beall was inspired to bring American design of the 1930s and 1940s to a higher level of effective visual communication. Self-taught, Lester Beall was one of the first Americans to have his work shown in a German monthly graphics periodical, Gebrauchsgraphik, and was one of the first Americans to incorporate the New Typography, using techniques such as photomontage, collage and the use of cut-out flat colored paper in combination with photography and economical line drawing, reworking the element of European modernism into distinctive American style. He produced solutions to graphic design problems that were unique among his American contemporaries.

Beall moved from Chicago to New York in 1935 and did work that was influential to the field of editorial design. Between 1938 and 1940, he redesigned twenty magazines for McGraw Hill, in 1946 he designed two covers for Fortune and in 1944, he began designing Scope magazine for UpJohn Pharmaceuticals which he did until 1951. In 1952, Beall opened a design office on Dumbarton Farm, his home in rural Connecticut. In 1973, four years after his death, Lester Beall was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame.

Philip B. Meggs credits Beall with "almost single-handedly launching the modern movement in American design". In 1973, four years after his death, the Art Directors Club of New York belatedly elected him to its prestigious Hall of Fame. Bob Plisken, who worked for Beall in the early 1940s, said on that occasion, "In my opinion, Beall did more than anyone to make graphic design in American a distinct and respected profession."

From the description of Lester Beall collection, 1933-[ca. 1967]. (Smithsonian Institution Libraries). WorldCat record id: 51652514

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf BEALL, LESTER. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Ben Rosen Papers, bulk, 1945-1991, 1936-2006 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
creatorOf Beall, Lester, 1903-. Lester Beall Design collection, 1934-1962. University of Illinois at Chicago Library, UIC
creatorOf Beall, Lester. Lester Beall artist file. Whitney Museum of American Art, Library
creatorOf Beall, Lester, 1903-. Lester Beall collection, 1933-[ca. 1967]. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
creatorOf Beall, Lester, 1903-1969. Lester Beall papers, 1911-1984 (inclusive), 1933-1969 (bulk) RIT Library, Wallace Library
creatorOf Beall, Lester, 1903-. Rohm and Haas [model]. Centre canadien d'architecture, | Canadian Centre for Architecture | CCA
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abbott Laboratories. corporateBody
associatedWith American Institute of Graphic Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith Art Directors Club (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Caterpillar Tractor Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Chance Vought Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Chicago Tribune (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Cone Automatic Machine Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive. corporateBody
associatedWith Crowell Publishing Company. corporateBody
associatedWith George Bijur, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Halsman, Philippe. person
associatedWith Hauck, Fred. person
associatedWith Heim Jeunes Filles. corporateBody
associatedWith House of Herbs, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith International Paper Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Kertész, André. person
associatedWith Labatt Brewing Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Labatt's Canada Limited. corporateBody
associatedWith Marshall Field & Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Martin Marietta Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Narragansett Brewing Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Newman, Arnold, 1918-2006. person
associatedWith Rohm and Haas Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Rosen, Ben person
associatedWith Stanley Works Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Torrington Manufacturing Company. corporateBody
associatedWith United States Lines Company. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Rural Electrification Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith Upjohn Company. corporateBody
associatedWith West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Whitney Museum of American Art. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Dumbarton Farm (Brookfield, Conn.)
United States
United States
United States
Graphic arts--History--20th century--Sources
Graphic artists--History--20th century
Logos (Symbols)--History--20th century
Commercial art--History--20th century--Sources
Graphic arts--History--20th century
Commercial art--Sources
Corporation reports
Trademarks--History--20th century
Designers--History--20th century
Graphic designers--United States
Commercial artists--United States


Birth 1903

Death 1969







Ark ID: w6tt5n8w

SNAC ID: 16861748