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Herbert Matter: Defining Knoll

Discover the man behind the overhaul of Knoll's post-war graphic identity

Herbert Matter once said, “If you love something, the work will be just fine.” But in the case of his own extensive oeuvre, “just fine” may have been something of an understatement. No single label can encompass all that Herbert Matter was: a photographer, filmmaker, graphic designer, but above all, an artist of the most gifted sort. Of his protean abilities, John T. Hill, a student of Matter, explained, “I don’t care if you gave him a film camera, a still camera, or a pair of scissors and some paper. He was an artist.” “He was just straight-forward great,” Massimo Vignelli said of his immediate predecessor at Knoll. As Knoll’s chief graphic design consultant for two decades during its most formative years, 1946-1966, Herbert Matter did more than shape the company’s public image, he shaped its underlying identity.


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