Kit Hinrichs


2004 AIGA Medal

1941, Los Angeles, California


Kit Hinrichs has been a partner of Pentagram since 1986, when his West Coast branch of the bicoastal association Jonson, Pedersen, Hinrichs & Shakery became Pentagram's San Francisco office. His work, such as the 22 annual reports he has designed for the paper company Potlatch and his design of @Issue: The Journal of Business and Design (that he co-founded,) is characterized by its narrative quality and an encyclopedic set of references. His instincts as a visual storyteller and a collector inform his work and his 3,000-piece-strong collection of American flags and American flag memorabilia has formed the basis of several exhibitions and two books.

In 1963 Hinrichs, just graduated from the Art Center College of Design, CA, arrived in New York to look for illustration and design work. After three years of working in several New York design offices, including Designers 3 and the Reba Sochis design office, he formed an independent design consultancy with Anthony Russell. In 1972 Hinrichs and his wife Linda formed Hinrichs Design Associates. During this period they specialized in an imaginative rethinking of the annual report, focusing less on statistics and more on conveying through storytelling the character of a company.

In 1976 they moved to San Francisco and formed a bi-coastal partnership with Vance Jonson, B. Martin Pedersen, and Neil Shakery, called Jonson, Pedersen, Hinrichs & Shakery. Hinrichs began to build a client list that included Crocker Bank, Transamerica, and Potlatch (for whom he has now designed more than 22 annual reports.) In 1986 the San Francisco office merged with Pentagram.

Hinrichs is an AIGA fellow, a former AIGA board member, and a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale. Currently, he is a trustee of Art Center College of Design and serves on the Accessions Design and Architecture committee at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Hinrichs is an avid collector, with many of his collections feeding his work. For most of his professional life he has been fascinated by the multitudinous ways in which the American people have graphically interpreted red and white stripes and a blue field with white stars. His 3,000-piece-strong collection of American flags and American flag memorabilia has formed the basis of several exhibitions and the books Stars & Stripes: Ninety-Six Top Designers and Graphic Artists Offer Their Personal Interpretations of Old Glory, (1987, Chronicle Books,) and Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag (2001, Ten Speed Press.)

“Kit talks about 'time bridges' that constantly connect his past lives with his present work. Everything—his Boy Scout merit badges, old Popular Mechanics magazines that he reads as a kid with their 'little columns of stuff,' even the King James Bible 'red letter' edition with important passages in red—comes into play today.”

—Owen Edwards on Kit Hinrichs in “Hunter Gatherer,” Profile Pentagram Design, Phaidon, 2004.