Design resources and archives

Filed Under: Tools and Resources

WorldCat
www.worldcat.org

 
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
www.aiga.org/design-archives-info

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, Archives Director, 212 710 3145

Archives of American Art (Smithsonian Institute)
Research Centers and Offices
Washington, DC and New York, NY
www.aaa.si.edu

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
web.library.yale.edu/building/arts-library

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 Center for Book Arts
28 West 27th St, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10001
centerforbookarts.org

Dedicated to exploring and cultivating contemporary aesthetic interpretations of the book as an art object, while preserving the traditional practices of the art of the book.

Contact: 212 481 0295

Center for the Study of Political Graphics
3916 Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 103
Culver City, CA 90230
www.politicalgraphics.org

CSPG's posters are unique, primary historical documents which reveal histories of struggles that are often hidden, and more often forgotten. Our growing collection is one of the most diverse  visual resources in the world. This educational research archive contains more than 90,000 protest graphics, from the 19th Century to the present—including the largest collection of post-World War II posters in the United States.

Contact: Carol A. Wells, Founder and Executive Director, 310 397 3100, cspg@politicalgraphics.org

The Chicago Design Archive
www.chicagodesignarchive.org

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
chidm.com

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
library.ccny.cuny.edu/main

"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
www.cooperhewitt.org

A variety of materials, ranging from slides and book covers to promotional materials, printed ads, to original artwork, correspondence, clippings and drawings. www.siris.si.edu (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
www.cranbrookart.edu/library

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)
www.museudeldisseny.cat/en

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.

The Design Museum London
224–238 Kensington High Street
London W8 6AG
designmuseum.org

Contact: +44 20 3862 5900

Denver Art Museum
Architecture & Graphics
100 W 14th Avenue Parkway
Denver, CO 80204
denverartmuseum.org/collections/architecture-design-graphics

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 Design Library
New York Office
400 Market Industrial Park, Suite 1
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
design-library.com

London Office
1st Floor, St Georges House
14-17 Wells Street
London, W1T 3PD, UK

The Design Library has the world’s largest and best organized collections of documentary fabrics, original paintings, wallpapers, embroideries and yarn dyes, numbering over seven million designs. The collections date from the 1750s to the present and are sorted into over 1200 categories for easy access. The Design Library is proud of the depth, breadth, organization, and continuing expansion of our archive.

Contact (New York): 845 297 1035 or Contact (London): 020 7580 0543

Dialectic
A scholarly journal of thought leadership, education, and practice in the discipline of visual communication design. Dialectic seeks to publish scholarship, analytical study and criticism that will enlighten and inform a diverse audience of design educators engaged not only in classroom teaching experiences but also in differing forms of research and professional practice. Dialectic is double-blind, peer-reviewed, and is the official journal of the AIGA Design Educators Community (DEC).
quod.lib.umich.edu/d/dialectic

The Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049 1688
www.getty.edu/research
 
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.design.umn.edu/collection

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
graphicdesignarchives.com

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

Graphis Archives
389 5th Avenue, Suite 1105
New York, NY 10016
www.graphis.com/archives

Presenting award-winning work from 1944 to the present, selections include books, magazines, annual reports, and logos honored in Graphis Annuals.

Contact: B. Martin Pedersen, 212 532 9387

The Grolier Club
47 East 60th Street
New York, NY 10022
www.grolierclub.org

Founded in 1884 as a cooperative reference library for the Club's bibliophile membership, the Grolier Club Library today welcomes any qualified researcher needing to explore this focused research collection of more than 100,000 volumes on the art and history of the book: bibliographies, histories of printing and graphic processes, type specimens, and fine and historic examples of printing, binding, and illustration.

The Grolier Club Library collections of book catalogues are among the most comprehensive in the US, and these, along with the papers of important bibliophiles, bibliographers, and antiquarian book dealers, have long been recognized as an important resource for collectors and scholars in book history.

Contact: Meghan Constantinou, Librarian, 212 838-6690 x5

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

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: Alexander Tochilovsky, 212 353 4021

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

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
www.lib.uiowa.edu/dada
 
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

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

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: info@letterformarchive.org; 415 802 7485

The Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division
101 Independence. Ave, SE
Washington, D.C. 20540
www.loc.gov/rr/print

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
www.westkowloon.hk/en/mplus

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
www.glaserarchives.org

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.

Contact: Beth Kleber, Archivist, 212 592 2636, bkleber@sva.org

Minnesota Historical Society
345 W. Kellogg Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55102
www.mnhs.org
www.mnhs.org/visit

The AIGA Minnesota archives have been acquired by the Minnesota Historical Society. Collecting since 1849, the Minnesota Historical Society Library is the world’s premier library for research about Minnesota’s people, places, history, and culture. Materials in the collection are available to the public by appointment.

Contact: Kolean Pitner; for questions about the archive contents, archives@aigaminnesota.org

Moscow Design Museum
www.moscowdesignmuseum.ru/en

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: info@moscowdesignmuseum.ru; +7 495 991 90 42

Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit  (MOCAD)
4454 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
www.mocadetroit.org

Museum of Design, Atlanta (MODA)
1315 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309
www.museumofdesign.org

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
www.museum-gestaltung.ch/en

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
www.moma.org/learn/resources/library
 
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

National Design Centre
Ministry of Communications and Information
111 Middle Road, National Design Centre
Singapore 188969
www.designsingapore.org/national-design-centre

The Singapore National Design Centre (NDC) is the meeting point for creative minds and businesses, and the venue for presenting all things design. It is centrally located in the arts, cultural, learning and entertainment precinct in the Bras Basah-Bugis district.

Contact: +65 6333 3737

National Endowment for the Arts Collection
Special Collections & University Archives
University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst Libraries
154 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9275
scua.library.umass.edu/ead/mums686

In 2014, the National Endowment for the Arts turned over its papers, recordings, and other ephemera for digitization to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This body of work, known as the National Endowment for the Arts Collection, is part of the National Arts Policy Archive and Library, a collaborative project intended to document the history of arts administration in America.

The materials range from issues of "Federal Design Matters," which was published from 1974–1981 and includes "Graphic Design for Non-Profit Organizations," created by Peter Laundy and Massimo Vignelli for the NEA and AIGA. Explore these documents, a rich and enlightening view of U.S. design history through the lens of the NEA.

Contact: 413 545 2780

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

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
http://library.newschool.edu

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
http://researchguides.uic.edu/c.php?g=252628
 
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
library.columbia.edu/locations/butler.html

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
library.rit.edu

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

Spencer Art Reference Library
Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
nelson-atkins.org/library

The AIGA Kansas City chapter is cooperating with the Artist File Initiative. More details coming soon.

Contact: Marilyn Carbonell, Head, Library Services, 816 751 1216; for questions about the archive contents, contact Kathy Kelley

St. Bride Foundation
St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane
Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8EQ
www.sbf.org.uk

The holdings of works in English are comprehensive, and the history and practice of printing and the book trade in other countries are well represented. There are extensive collections of examples of the work of notable printers, of illustration processes, of text composition, and of the use of special types.

Current issues of many of the Library's periodicals range from the major British and overseas technical journals, to journals of graphic design, printing and book trade history, bibliography, and craft printing and binding.

Contact: 020 7353 3331, info@sbf.org.uk

University of Brighton Design Archives
College of Arts
 & Humanities
Grand Parade, Brighton
, BN2 0JY UK
arts.brighton.ac.uk/collections/design-archives

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
vignellicenter.rit.edu

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

Visible Language Workshop Archive (VLW) at The MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT Archives and Special Collections)
20 Ames Street
Building E15-235
Cambridge, MA 02139
act.mit.edu/collections/vlw

The Visible Language Workshop Archive is a small collection of videotapes, teaching slides, and a large portfolio of detailed notes and documents exposing the theories, inner workings, and products of Muriel Cooper’s VLW, examining interactive media design, electronic communication, and experimentation with computing and printing technologies. This archive also contains materials from the 1994 TED 5 conference in Monterey, California, where Cooper presented a collection of student work from the Workshop. 

Contact: Jeremy Grubman, Archivist, 617 258 0657, jgrubman@mit.edu

Vitra Design Museum
Charles-Eames-Str. 2
D-79576 Weil am Rhein
www.design-museum.de/en/collection/archive-estates

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: info@design-museum.de, +49 7621 702 3200

Walker Art Center Achives and Library
Vineland Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403
www.walkerart.org/archives-library
 
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
library.harvard.edu/art
 
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
www.wolfsonian.org/research-library
 
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

Select online design collections

Archivio Grafica Italiana
www.archiviograficaitaliana.com

The first digital archive dedicated to the Italian graphic design heritage. A growing overview to spread and promote the culture of quality that distinguishes the Italian design tradition. From the greatest classics to the best contemporary projects, commissioned by Italian clients or made by Italian designers, to explore and discover the fundamental aesthetic and cultural contribution brought by the Italian graphic design all over the world.

Bard Graduate Center, Art & Design Oral History Project
www.bgccraftartdesign.org

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.

International Advertising & Design Database
www.iaddb.org

The not for profit foundation the International Advertising & Design DataBase was founded in 2014 in the Netherlands. It is the goal of the Foundation to publicize as much information as possible through the IADDB and to ask the public to actively participate by adding images, names, dates and all other kinds of information. The database starts with but is not limited to posters, newspaper advertisements, poster stamps, handbills, packaging, commercials on radio and TV.

Contact: Martijn Le Coultre, Secretary and Treasurer (president of the Dutch Poster Museum), lecoultr@xs4all.nl.

Internet Archive
300 Funston Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118
archive.org

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.

Poster House
posterhouse.org

Dedicated to presenting the impact, culture, and design of posters, both as historical documents and methods of contemporary visual communication.

By designer

The Saul Bass Poster Archive (1981 AIGA Medalist)
www.saulbassposterarchive.com

This online archive was created to feature the many posters designed by Saul Bass (1920–1996) throughout his sixty year career, with examples drawn from his private collection. The collection is in the process of being catalogued with only a portion currently on view. When complete, this online archive will contain a full selection of film and non-film posters, limited-edition print materials, publications and some personal designs.

Contact: info@treehousedsgn.com

Robert Brownjohn (2002 AIGA Medalist)
robertbrownjohn.com

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

Seymour Chwast Archive (1985 AIGA Medalist)
www.seymourchwastarchive.com

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)
www.corita.org

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)
elainelustigcohen.com

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

Alvin Lustig (1993 AIGA Medalist)
alvinlustig.com

Highlights of Alvin's career.

Alex Steinweiss (2004 AIGA Medalist)
www.alexsteinweiss.com

Tribute to album cover designer, Alex Steinweiss.

Dugald Stermer
www.dugaldstermer.com

Showcases the work of an accomplished illustrator, known for books of his own artwork celebrating the beauty of endangered species.

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