George Tscherny in 1969

Some quotes by the late George Tscherny from a 1969 design panel discussion:

“The lack of really professional ethics in our profession, if you can call it that … a profession … has disturbed me for a long time. If you bring up the question of belonging to an organization for this purpose … you know, a union, although it seems to be a dirty word … I would have no objection at all.”

“A couple of years ago I characterized the annual report scene as absolutely Neanderthal. Chaotic. No pre-described way of doing things has ever been developed. You find yourself working with the public relations department, and the financial people, and the assistant to the president … Each time you start one of these it means educating the people you’re working with to the problems of doing an annual report. I’ve had to accept and adjust to the fact that I probably spend half of my time solving problems that aren’t worth solving … although I still solve them to the best of my ability. An annual report is a problem that isn’t
worth solving.

Let’s assume it’s conceivable that the life of a company depends on the success of the annual report. My answer to that would be ‘So what?’ But if you design a traffic sign, the life of a person could depend on that. That would be a problem worth solving. I think we’d all agree that it’s a much more important problem to solve than saving the life of a company.”

“The only way to really control your own destiny is to design things and produce them yourself. This applies even more to product designers than to graphic designers … you design a chair and you produce that chair. Or you design a salt and pepper shaker and you produce it. And you don’t have to convince some guy that this chair or this salt and pepper shaker is worthy of producing. I think this is a solution… I’ve decided for myself that I want to do fewer and fewer things, but I do them the way want to do them. Maybe this is sort of going back to the Renaissance Man who dreams up his own projects, develops them, designs them, prints them.”


“I have no desire to build an organization that goes on beyond me. I don’t really plan for any kind of a future, I plan very selfishly for a pleasant, personal life.”

— (via Communication Arts, June/July 1969)