Frank Kennett

Father, architect, humanist, connoisseur of Islay malt whisky.

It is from Frank that I learned about the true soul of materials — the delights of the physical world and how good designers can guide the most beauty and function out of them. I also learned from him how to work with and honor clients, and the value of long-term relationships with co-workers and vendors. By watching his example while I spent several years working in his office, I came to understand that doing something right requires enormous effort, and gives an equal measure of satisfaction to the maker.

Friedrich Neugebauer

Calligrapher, book designer, teacher, author, publisher.

Friedrich was one of the world's finest calligraphers and book designers. I spent a year studying with him in 1976–77 at the School of Artistic and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria, and assisted him with studio commissions on the side. I came to his classroom five or six days a week for ten months and did nothing but lettering and graphic design. It was glorious. Much of what I love about design came from our conversations during that year. He gave me the tools and attitudes I needed to establish my own design office. Later on, I was deeply honored when he asked me to translate his calligraphy and design manual from German into English.

William Addison Dwiggins

Book designer, type designer, calligrapher, marionette maker, playwright, author and philosopher.

“WAD” established the high standards of design, typography and production at Alfred A. Knopf's publishing house. He designed several distinguished typefaces for Mergenthaler Linotype that are still in wide use today; among these, Caledonia and Electra are the best known. I discovered WAD’s work in my early twenties and was able to visit his studio near Boston a number of times, thanks to the invitations of Dorothy Abbe (who made it her home after Dwiggins died).

Photo by Dorothy Abbe, his assistant and co-worker for many decades. I aspire to his hair energy but will probably never equal it.


Samuel E. Chamberlain

Artist, printmaker, photographer, book designer, author, food critic, lover of all things French.

Chamberlain set the example for me that one could combine one's passions and create a rich soup with them. Without much fuss, one could write the text for a book, design it with clarity and grace, add handlettering to titles and captions, and make all the photographs — as he did in books such as Bouquet de France (Gourmet) and Etched In Sunlight (Boston Public Library).

This photo appears in Etched in Sunlight, Chamberlain's wonderful autobiography. No photographer's credit is mentioned in the book, so I would guess that SEC may have set up this photo himself — it’s from a series of images that demonstrate printmaking techniques.