Seymour Chwast: Using irony and sympathy in graphic design

The prolific graphic designer discusses his early years at Pushpin and finding a focus in his work.

The first drawing Seymour Chwast ever created was of a woman in a beauty parlour when he was just a kid, using a makeup pencil and a piece of newspaper. His love for illustration continued into his high school years and eventually into a successful career that now spans six decades.

Founding partner and director of prolific design studio The Pushpin Group, Chwast’s repertoire reads like an encyclopaedia of design and illustration. His diverse body of work includes prodigious gallery showcases, commissions for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal, children’s books, graphic novels, typefaces, theatre production and many accolades and acknowledgments.

In this interview, the New York-based designer tells us about his early years at Pushpin and how they adapted their work to the various style movements over the years. With each new wave of change, Chwast is always guided by a focus, be it irony or sympathy. “I like to find some direction in my work,” says Chwast.