The NBC peacock, the PBS faces, the red Mobil O, the Smithsonian sun: Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv created some of America's best-known logos
Seminal New York design firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, founded by Tom Geismar and Ivan Chermayeff, has designed countless brand logos that have become indelible parts of American visual culture: the Chase Bank octagon, the NBC peacock, the PBS faces, the red Mobil O, the Smithsonian sun and many more. Still at the forefront today with the addition of partner Sagi Haviv, the firm has more recently designed logos and identities for the Library of Congress and Harvard University Press.
Instead of consolidating a signature style in their design, Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv focused on creating immediately legible, memorable identities for their clients. "Our trademark designs can be seen as eclectic because they take many forms and are expressed in many styles," admits Tom Geismar. "But they are deliberately this way because each has been designed to provide a distinctive, memorable and appropriate visual expression of the organization it represents."
Identity: Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv presents 60 years of the firm's work in a gorgeous, oversized volume, featuring interviews with the firm's partners alongside contributions from Alexandra Lange, Milton Glaser, John Maeda and Roman Mars. The cover, designed by the partners, is a work of art in its own right—a new design constructed out of the firm's 30 most influential logos, silkscreened on a textured canvas cover.
Tom Geismar (born 1931) and Ivan Chermayeff (1932–2017) founded Chermayeff & Geismar in 1957, pioneering the field of corporate graphics with their bold designs. Sagi Haviv (born 1974) became the third partner at the firm in 2006. Before his death, Chermayeff was involved, along with the other partners, in this publication's design and development.