5 names every graphic designer should know

They've helped shape the way we view graphic design today - here's what you need to know about the pioneers of modern design.

If you're embarking on a career in graphic design – or just interested in creating some great layouts – there are some designers that you positively need to know about.

These are the designers that have changed the way graphic design is seen in the contemporary world; the mavericks; the thinkers; those who have made a difference.

We've focused on just five names, but who do you think we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of the post.

01. Milton Glaser

Glaser was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2009

Milton Glaser is one of the world's most celebrated graphic designers. His most famous work is undoubtedly the logo he designed for New York to promote tourism in the city in 1977 (below). Much copied, much used and much adored, the 'I love New York' logo is set in American Typewriter, a rounded slab serif.

His 'I Love New York' logo has been in use since 1977

But Glaser is much more than the one logo. His work for Bob Dylan, DC Comics and The Brooklyn Brewery are just some of the logo masterpieces that cement Glaser as one of the most prominent designers in history.

"The most important thing in design, it seems to me, is the consequence of your action, and whether you're interested, fundamentally, in persuading people to do things that are in their interests," he told Computer Arts: learn more in this exclusive interview. He's also the subject of a 2008 documentary film Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight.

02. Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister recently formed a business partnership with young designer Jessica Walsh

Born in Austria, New York-based graphic designer and typographer Stefan Sagmeister has had somewhat of a resurgence in the last year – mainly due to Sagmeister Inc becoming Sagmeister & Walsh after he made talented young designer Jessica Walsh partner. Announcing himself on the scene 20 years ago with a naked shot, the pair recently did the same thing, and it did the PR job.

But there's more to Sagmeister than nudity: his often conceptual, thought-provoking work has turned just as many heads as his PR: particularly his 'cutting' work for AIGA and his incredible album artwork for Lou Reed.

Stefan Sagmeister is a long-standing collaborator with Lou Reed

Over the year Sagmeister has designed branding, graphics, and packaging for clients as diverse as the Rolling Stones, HBO, the Guggenheim Museum and Time Warner. Read this Computer Arts' interview to learn more.

03. David Carson

Carson is best known for innovative magazine design and use of experimental typography

As art director of music and lifestyle magazine Ray Gun, David Carson became the most influential graphic designer of the 1990s. His unconventional grunge typography style was a new era in design – something completely different to what had been before. An example of his genius? Using the Dingbat symbol font for what he thought a dull interview with Bryan Ferry.

Raygun was one of the defining magazines of the 1990s

The first edition of his End of Print monograph, first published in 2000, sold 35,000 copies – and many many more since. It's essential reading for any graphic designer – new or established.

"What matters is that you have an intuitive design sense, listen to it and explore your uniqueness through your work," he told Computer Arts in this interview. "Create rules that work for you and the type of work you're doing. I never learned all the things in school I wasn't supposed to do, so I just did, and still do, what makes sense to me."

04. Neville Brody

Brody is best known for art-editing influential UK magazine The Face during its 1980s heyday

English designer, typographer and art director Neville Brody shot to fame with his incredible art direction of cult UK magazine The Face between 1981 and 1986.

He's also well known for art-directing Arena magazine (1987-1990) and designing record covers for artists such as Cabaret Voltaire and Depeche Mode.

Brody gave a new, modern look to the newspaper founded in 1785

More recently, Brody founded Research Studios and redesigned The Times in November 2006 (with the creation of a new font Times Modern) and the BBC's website in September 2011.

You can read an interview from back in 1995 with Brody here and a more recent interview, where he was asked what he feels about being a design icon, here.

05. Paula Scher

Scher has been a design educator since 1992, teaching at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York

Partner at Pentagram and almost certainly the most influential female graphic designer alive today, Paula Scher's branding and identity work for the likes of MOMA, New York City Ballet, Microsoft and NYC Transit is some of the finest examples of the genre you'll ever see.

Her recent work, creating a new logo for Microsoft Windows 8, is documented here, revealing the process of one of the generation's greatest creative professionals. Her typographic maps are also sublime. Read Computer Arts' interview with Scher from 2009 here.

Scher's design for the official 2012 Sundance Film Festival poster

Who should we add to our list? Alan Fletcher? Paul Rand? Let us know in the comments below...