Design resources and archives

Filed Under: Tools and Resources


The world's largest library catalog is searchable by title, subject, or author. It can be used to find an item in a local library.

AIGA, the professional association for design
(formerly American Institute of Graphic Arts)
The Archives Room
233 Broadway, 17th floor
New York, NY 10279

The bulk of the collection consists of printed records, including: AIGA newsletters and journals since 1922; AIGA conference collateral since 1985; AIGA competition collateral as well as exhibition catalogues documenting selections from AIGA national juried competitions since 1915; AIGA design annuals since 1980; and membership directories since 1928. In addition, the collection includes binders of 35 mm slides from travelling exhibitions from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s; flat files housing works by AIGA Medalists collected since 2004; and flat files housing works by AIGA chapters dating back to 1988. The collection also contains printed ephemera from the early beginnings of the organization as well as materials from the AIGA annual, tapes from past talks, national conferences, lecture series and seminars.

Contact: Heather Strelecki, Archivist, 212 710 3145

Archives of American Art (Smithsonian Institute)
Research Centers and Offices
Washington, DC and New York, NY

With over 20 million items in its continually growing collections, the Archives is the world’s largest and most widely used resource dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in America.

Arts of the Book Collection
Yale University
Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library
180 York Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Examples of and material relating to the book and its attendant arts: binding, typography, illustration, calligraphy, book design and architecture, paper making and decorative papers and the history of the book.

Contact: Art Subject Specialists

The Chicago Design Archive

The Chicago Design Archive provides the one permanent, online record of excellent design created by local professionals from the late 19th century to the present.

Chicago Design Museum
Block Thirty Seven
108 N. State Street, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602

Contact: Tanner Woodford

City College of New York
The Morris Raphael Cohen Library
North Academic Center (NAC) Room 5/301
160 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031

"The George Lois Big Idea Archive" from legendary art director, designer and ad man, comprises films, TV and radio commercials, print ads, posters, scripts, correspondences, photos, memorabilia and numerous other items from a remarkable career spanning more than 65 years. 
Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Doris and Henry Dreyfuss Memorial Study Center
2 East 91 Street
New York, NY 10128

A variety of materials, ranging from slides and book covers to promotional materials, printed ads, to original artwork, correspondence, clippings and drawings. (Smithsonian Institution Research Information System) is the search engine that serves the entire Smithsonian Institution.

Contact: Stephen Van Dyk, Head Librarian, 212 849 8330

Cranbrook Academy of Art Library
39221 Woodward Avenue
Box 801
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303

An extensive collection on graphic design history, theory and professional practice. Books are available through inter-library loan.

Contact: Judy Dyki, Head Librarian, 248 645 3364

Design Museum of Barcelona
(Museu del Disseny de Barcelona)

This collection is formed by pieces both historic and contemporary that illustrate the technological evolution of the graphic arts over three centuries. Accordingly, most of the holdings comprise dies, typographies (with the typefaces, punches and dies from important sets ranging from the eighteenth to the twentieth century), photogravure and intaglio plates by numerous local artists.

Denver Art Museum
Architecture & Graphics
100 W 14th Avenue Parkway
Denver, CO 80204

AIGA Design Archives in Denver represents the largest and most comprehensive holding of contemporary American communication design in the world. Consisting of approximately 12,000 physical artifacts created from approximately 1980 to 2010, the collection recognizes award-winning entries made to the organization’s annual competitions.

Contact: Darrin Alfred, AIGA curator

The Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049 1688
Primary materials for the history of modern artistic and intellectual movements such as Realism, Symbolism, Futurism, the Bauhaus, Russian Constructivism, Dada, Surrealism and Fluxus. Collection of audio and video recordings from International Design Conference, Aspen (IDCA).

Contact: Senior Staff, 310 440 7335

Goldstein Museum of Design
University of Minnesota College of Design
364 McNeal Hall
1985 Buford Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

Goldstein Museum of Design uses the power of design to foster improved quality of life for individuals and communities.

Contact: 612 624 7434

Graphic Design Archives West Michigan

A place to gather, assess, and preserve the rich legacy of graphic design, paper manufacture, and printing in West Michigan. 

Contact: Barbara Loveland and Linda Powell

The Herb Lubalin Study Center
Cooper Union
41 Cooper Square, Room LL119
New York, NY 10003

The graphic work of Herb Lubalin, in addition to the works of other New York-based designers such as Lou Dorfsman, George Tscherny and Push Pin Studios.

Contact: Ann Holcomb, 212 353 4021

Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive
Denver Art Museum
100 West 14 Avenue Parkway
Denver, CO 80204

Extensive collection of Bayer's artwork including paintings, watercolors, drawings, pastels, graphics, photography, sculpture, models, designs for Bayer's large-scale projects, textiles and jewelry, exhibition design, furniture design, book, catalogs, announcements, pamphlets, magazines and other documents. Herbert Bayer: Collection and Archive at the Denver Art Museum (University of Washington Press, 1998) by Gwen Chanzit is the catalogue of the collection.

Contact: Gwen Chanzit, Curator, 720 865 5000

International Dada Archive
University of Iowa
100 Main Library
Iowa City, IA 52242 1420
The work of Dadaists with strong involvement in typography and advertising design (George Grosz, John Heartfield, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Hoch, Iliazd, Kurt Schwitters, Jan Tschichold, Tristan Tzara).

Contact: Timothy Shipe, Curator, 319 335 5824 

Internet Archive
300 Funston Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes: texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections, and provides specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities.

Letterform Archive
1001 Mariposa Street, Unit 307
San Francisco, CA 94107

Letterform Archive is a nonprofit library and museum dedicated to inspiration and education in the letter arts. Opened to the public in February 2015, the Archive offers visitors hands-on access to its curated collection of 30,000 items related to lettering, typography, calligraphy, and graphic design spanning 2,000 years of history.

Contact:; 415 802 7485

The Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division
101 Independence. Ave, SE
Washington, D.C. 20540

A collection of American, European and Latin American popular and applied graphic arts, caricatures, posters, cartoons and political prints.

Contact: Ask A Librarian, 202 707 6394 (specify that query is for prints and photographs division)

M+ at West Kowloon
29/F, Tower 6, The Gateway, 9 Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

The new museum for visual culture in Hong Kong, as part of West Kowlon Cultural District, focusing on 20th and 21st century art, design and architecture, and moving image. Scheduled for completion in 2018.

Contact: Jennifer Wong, Assistant Curator (Design and Architecture)

Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives
School of Visual Arts
380 Second Avenue, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10010

Dedicated to preserving and making accessible design works of significant artistic, cultural, and historical value by preeminent designers, illustrators, and art directors who have close ties to the School of Visual Arts. The collections represent the artistic and intellectual vitality of the SVA community and provide an invaluable resource to students, designers, and researchers who wish to study the breadth of a designer's work, including Gail Anderson, Louise Fili, Steven Heller, Stefan Sagmeister, Deborah Sussman, George Tscherny, Henry Wolf, and more.

Moscow Design Museum

The focus of the museum's archive is Soviet design from 1950 to 1980. It includes contemporary Russian graphic design, movie posters, industrial design objects, and a full collection of the All Union Institute of Technical Aesthetics (VNITE) magazine. The archive also houses photographic slides, rare VNITE prototypes, the archives of the Union of Designers of the Soviet Union, and the private archives of designers, including Vladimir Runge.

Contact:; +7 495 991 90 42

Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit  (MOCAD)
4454 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201

Museum of Design, Atlanta (MODA)
1315 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309

As the only museum in the Southeastern United States dedicated exclusively to design, MODA’s mission is to explore the many facets of the design disciplines as they exert a positive influence on Atlanta and the Southeast.

Museum of Design, Zürich

The Design Collection is devoted to the design of twentieth-century mass-produced objects, and the philosophy they reflect. The focus is on a broad representation of Swiss design, juxtaposed with reference objects of international provenance. The collected objects include items by well-known designers and commonplace objects of anonymous design.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Study Centers
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
Ephemera, covers and posters including large holdings of designers such as Cheret, Holwein, Kauffer, Cassandre, Bayer, Matter, Beall, Tanaka, Muller-Brockman and Starowieyski. The website provides a link to the Museum's DADABASE, the combined online catalogue of the Library, Museum Archives and Study Center.

Contact: Jenny Tobias, Associate Reference Librarian, 212 708 9433

New York Public Library (NYPL)
Research Libraries
Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street
New York, NY

In the always expanding digital realm, The New York Public Library provides patrons worldwide with powerful online tools to help them discover its extensive resources and services. Visitors can browse the Library’s immense collections, download e-books, and view more than 800,000 items from its award-winning Digital Gallery.

Contact: Through Ask NYPL, librarians are available to answer patron questions on any topic at any time; 212 930 0834
Parsons The New School for Design
Libraries & Archives
66 W 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

The collections document the history of all divisions of The New School, as well as the lives and work of people and organizations in a range of subject areas that intersect with the interests of New School students and faculty, including the Bea Feitler papers and Ivan Chermayeff graphic work.

Contact: 212 229 8914

R. Hunter Middleton Chicago Design Archive
University of Illinois at Chicago
Richard J. Daley Library, M/C 234
Special Collections
801 South Morgan
Chicago, IL 60607
Numerous collections that document the history of design in Chicago, with special emphasis on the period dating from the 1930s through the 1960s.

Contact: Peggy Glowacki, Special Collections Librarian, 312 996 2742 

Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Butler Library at Columbia University
535 West 114th Street, 6th floor East
New York, NY 10027

Until 2010, annual selections from “Fifty Books of the Year,” “The Book Show,” and “50 Books/50 Covers” were given to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Columbia’s Butler.

Contact: Jane Siegel, Graphic Arts Subject Specialist

Rochester Institute of Technology
Wallace Memorial Library
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623

Collection of posters, cartoons and materials documenting the work of graphic designers such as Mehemed Fehmy Agha, hans Barschel, Lester Beall, Alexey Brodovich, Will Burtin, George Giusti, William Golden, Alvin Lustig, Cipe Pineles and Ladislav Sutnar.

Contact: Kari Horowicz, Art and Photography Librarian, 716 475 2557

University of Brighton Design Archives
College of Arts
 & Humanities
Grand Parade, Brighton
, BN2 0JY UK

The University of Brighton Design Archives is an internationally significant research base with a curatorial team that initiates and promotes collaborative activity through a program of projects. Founded on a scholarly resource focusing on British design and global design organizations in the twentieth century, it has contributed substantially to the research profile of the University for over 20 years. The Design Archives welcome scholars and students from many academic disciplines researching the designed environment, the design profession, and design practice.

Contact: +44 (0)1273 643217 and +44 (0)1273 643209

Vignelli Center for Design Studies
One Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623

The Center houses Lella and Massimo Vignelli's extensive professional archives which includes primary source material and finished works. It also includes work by Bill Bonnell and Pierre Mendell, and the RitaSue Siegel archive.

Contact: Roger Remington

Walker Art Center Achives and Library
Vineland Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Exhibition catalogs, artists' books and design periodicals, as well as taped interviews and lectures by designers such as Wolfgang Weingart, Tibor Kalman, Ivan Chermayeff, Charles and Ray Eames, April Greiman, Katherine McCoy and Massimo Vignelli.

Contact: Librarian, 612 375 7680

Walter Gropius Archive
Lyonnel Feininger Archive
Busch-Reisiger Museum
32 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Walter Gropius's architectural drawings and related photographs as well as Feininger's drawings and photographs. The Walter Gropius Archive (Harvard University, 1990-1991) edited by Winfried Nerdinger is the catalogue of the Gropius archive.

Contact: Reference, 617 495 2384

Wolfsonian Foundation Library

1001 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Decorative and fine arts, objects, posters, original works of art on paper, archival materials, books and ephemera on the decorative design and architectural arts.

Contact: Head Librarian, 305 535 2641

Vitra Design Museum
Charles-Eames-Str. 2
D-79576 Weil am Rhein

The estates of prominent designers such as Charles & Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, Anton Lorenz, George Nelson and others are maintained in the archive of the Vitra Design Museum. The holdings also include company publications, brochures, posters, patent documents and drawings.

Contact:, +49 7621 702 3200

Select online design collections

Bard Graduate Center, Art & Design Oral History Project

The Bard Graduate Center Craft, Art and Design Oral History Project is an online archive of oral history interviews of contemporary craftspeople, artists and designers. The primary form of these interviews are transcripts, illustrated with photographs of the interviewees and their work; some also feature audio and video clips.

Robert Brownjohn (2002 AIGA Medalist)

A living archive of Robert Brownjohn's work arranged and described by his daughter Eliza Brownjohn. 

Seymour Chwast Archive (1985 AIGA Medalist)

Established in 2015, the Seymour Chwast Archive is a digital repository for his often groundbreaking, frequently humorous, and constantly expanding body of work. Featuring selections from the designer’s personal collection, the site includes posters, books, packaging, typography, painting, sculpture, editorial illustrations, and ephemera from the 1940s to the present.

Corita Kent (2016 AIGA Medalist)

The Corita Art Center is a gallery and archive dedicated to preserving and promoting the work and spirit of artist, activist and educator, Corita Kent.

Elaine Lustig Cohen (2011 AIGA Medalist)

Highlights of Elaine’s career from 1944 to the present, arranged by year.

Alvin Lustig (1993 AIGA Medalist)

Highlights of Alvin's career.

Have another resource to share? Contact AIGA's archivist, Heather Strelecki