This June, AIGA Colorado is honoring two of our brightest and boldest creatives to be recipients of the prestigious AIGA Fellow Award. The Fellow award program is a means of recognizing designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design community as well as in their local AIGA chapter. The areas of education, writing, leadership and reputation, as well as the practice of design are given equal consideration in measuring significant contribution. I’ve been honored with the request to design the gala event invitation.
At the 2011 Fellow awards, I had the opportunity to make the introductions for one of my favorite people—a fine Fellow she is. I would like to share with you a little about my wonderful friend and colleague, Marian Halliday.
AIGA Fellow Award 2011: Marian Halliday
Star Date: June 2011 — Introduction Speech
Good evening. I’m pleased to have the honor to introduce one of my favorite people in the graphic design industry, Marian Halliday. Or as some of you may know her affectionately as Marian Jolly Halliday, Maid Marian, Marian, Marian the Paper Librarian, or even... Marian the Barbarian!
You maybe wondering why Marian is being symbolized by animated stills. Actually, it’s only fitting because Marian’s entry into the design world was first as an illustrator for animator Paul Fierlinger in Philadelphia. During her two years there, she hand drew cells for animations featured on The Children’s Television Network. Yep, Sesame Street! Paul’s most memorable work from that time was Teeny Little Super Guy.
Marian Halliday started her career as a designer in the publishing world as a paste-up artist at the newspaper Canyon Courier. And eventually she worked as a designer for Macnimera Publishing for eight years where she design collateral for quintessential Colorado clients, like National Cattleman’s Association.
Although her career started in Philly, her love affair with design, designers (one in particular) and AIGA grew when she came to Colorado. As she merged families, she also corralled her passions into something much more far reaching.
Fastforward to 2011. On a particularly sunny day this spring, Marian came by and shared with me that she had been helping Bob Taylor’s daughter clean out his office. Given Bob’s love of this creative community, she wanted to be certain nothing of historic importance was lost. But when she said, “You’ll never guess what I found…,” I knew there was a surprise coming with a story to match.
I met Marian in 1993, when she had moved on to paper. I was new to Denver and had just four years of design under my belt. We bonded immediately over the gorgeous textures, the newest colors, the heaviest weights — she knew them all. And best of all, she could read that scary spec chart behind the decks.
Along those lines, let’s just take a moment to review Marian’s career history with this handy, and much simpler, timeline. On left is the Archaic Eon circa 1972 to 1989 where she worked as an illustrator and designer — represented by the T-square.
During this period, it was often noted that Marian could draw a straight line, a skill many clients covet to this day. Then we enter the eventful Paperozoic Eon. It starts with the 5-year Zellerback period and is followed by the more substantial Unisource Period that lasted through 2009. Note the correlation of the founding of the local AIGA chapter in 1989 and the inaugural Heart Art event, in 1994.
If you look very closely, you’ll notice a tiny blip during the 1999-2000 millennium called the Steinian Period, or more commonly known as the Scottie Dog in the Lobby Event. Finally, Marian landed at Johnson Printing where she now functions as their paper librarian by day, and Bat Girl by night. [Marian is now with Sprint Press.]
Woven throughout this enduring career has always been AIGA.
I served with Marian on the board in the mid to late 1990s. A few years prior, the board had conceived Heart Art. A beautiful event at chocolatier Coco Loco, it had captured Marian’s heart and she made it her priority to run it. And she boy did she run with it.
Heart Art became the single most consistent event held by AIGA Colorado. Moreover, it is a significant fundraiser for the association, as well as the community. That longevity and its great return is due to Marian's passion, hard work and ability to recruit a great team of volunteers to make it happen. She's a practical gal, understanding the time and budget limitations, but still managing to turn out great attendance every year. Not to mention, gather the artwork for auction, from our local deadline-stretching designers.
When I see Marian in action on Heart Art, I think of Dick Van Dyke's one-man band in Mary Poppins. Quite a physical feat, with a dash of comic genius. Marian has served on the AIGA Colorado Board, it’s executive committee and as Advisor to the Board. She is always ready to lend a helping hand. She remains involved in many events, as encourager, instigator, organizer, sounding board, and welcoming face.
In 2010, she was instrumental in the advancement and renaming of The Robert Taylor AIGA Scholarship. Earlier this evening, you heard from Robert’s daughter, Jenny, about this wonderful resource. Beyond AIGA, Marian loves being it touch with the community. She's often called upon as a recruiter by creative principals or a head hunter by job seekers. She's like a walking Twitter feed.
One hour with Marian and I feel connected. She's how I keep in touch with what's really going on in printing, design and advertising firms, who's working where, and what great account just landed on whose desk. So, at lunch, I got all caught up. Caught up in what a remarkably valuable asset Marian Halliday is to AIGA Colorado.
The momentum builder and worker bee. The bringer of industry news, paper promos, and now printing technologies, too. The caretaker of the past, so we don't forget how we got here. I think when Bob left us, he passed that well-carried torch to Marian.
So, I thought for a good while before responding to her you’ll never guess teaser. What would surprise me in Bob's dusty collection of design tools? No, those are probably still in my basement. We need to go back even further...
“Not a clue,” I finally said. “What was it?"
Marian laughed: “A 300-sheet pad of Rubylith!”
Certainly one for the archives.
Thank you Marian. From all of us. And especially from all of the volunteers and members, past and present, who make AIGA Colorado a lively and lovely organization.
Credits: Mary Poppins, Maid Marian, Walt Disney Studios; Bat Girl, DC Comics; Red Sonia, Marvel Comics; Side of Beef, Ask The Meat Man; Brady Bunch, ABC. The imagery collected here was found via Google nearly two years ago. If an image is yours, please contact me and I will add a credit and a link.