Vignelli Center
for Design Studies
Rochester Institute of Technology

Tom Strong donates Swiss Posters to Vignelli Center



Tom Strong, a Connecticut graphic designer and graduate of the Yale School of Art, recently donated 330 contemporary Swiss posters to the archive of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at RIT.  Strong, a major collector of design artifacts, was recently at RIT to celebrate the art and design work of his teacher, Norman Ives, now being shown in the University and Bevier galleries.


Years ago, Bez Ocko, a former Yale student, curated an exhibition of Strong’s Swiss posters. She documented the process by which Strong began collecting posters, “Strong credits his friend Chris Pullman for infecting him with this passion in the 1960s. “Chris went on a smoking expedition to Switzerland to check out where the fire was coming from…” So begins the saga of Strong’s collection. Alvin Eisenman, founder of the Graphic Design department at Yale, sent Chris to Switzerland with entrée to the likes of Josef Müller-Brockmann and Armin Hoffmann who, in turn, directed him to free poster sources like the Opera, etc. Chris began gathering samples to bring home with him while also scouting for new design faculty for the Yale program. When he returned to New Haven, Pullman gave a couple of posters to Strong. The following year, Strong himself made the trip to Switzerland, beginning a pattern of travel and poster collecting that went on for many years.”


R. Roger Remington, Vignelli Distinguished Professor and Director of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies, commented on this major archival acquisition, “We are very grateful for Tom Strong’s donation to our collections. Since the opening of the Vignelli Center in 2010, I have wanted such a collection for RIT and now it is a reality due to Tom’s generosity.”