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Flashback // The Colorful World of Alexander Girard.

Graphic, bold, playful, fun….we are big fans of Alexander Girard over here! His work has a childlike simpleness but is also rather sophisticated. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of his awesomeness—and how he has really inspired so many of the looks we are all loving today!

Alexander (“Sandro”) Girard was born in New York City in 1907 and was an influential figure in post-war American design. Girard was head of textile division at the renowned Herman Miller furniture company and worked closely with his dear friends Charles & Ray Eames and George Nelson. (Now *there’s* a dinner party I’d love to be invited to!)

Alexander Girard’s playful patterns and bright colors were a breath of fresh air into the otherwise stodgy and often colorless domestic world of post-war America. Drawing inspiration from folk art — Girard’s personal collection reached some 100,000 items — he brought a dimension of taste and color to his work with Herman Miller and their other design leaders, George Nelson and Charles Eames. Today, Girard’s fabric designs are timeless expressions of charm, wit, and originality.

(from Herman

An avid world traveler, Girard’s designs always reflected his love of festive colours and patterns and influences from around the globe. You might remember this post I did a while back on airlines of the 1960s. Alexander Girard was responsible for revamping Braniff Airlines, launching an amazing campaign called the “End of the Plain Plane.”

He redid their entire identity…from airport lounges and plane interiors (orange and pink seats, anyone?) and even painted all the jets in bright candy colors. He also infamously hired Emilio Pucci to redesign all the flight attendants uniforms!

Yep. This was a man who had a fine appreciation for color! Sadly he passed away in 1993, but his legacy and passion lives on! There have been many awesome re-releases of his artwork. Here’s how you can add a little Alexander Girard into you (and your kiddo’s!) life.


The always awesome House Industries has partnered with the Girard Estate and released some amazing pieces featuring Alexander Girard’s artwork. The memory game is one of my favorites! He originally created the colorful images as environmental “enrichment panels” that were designed to spice up the Herman Miller offices. Each game comes with 72 pieces and a limited-edition wooden box. Buy one here. The building blocks are also colorful and fun (and printed with non-toxic, kiddo-safe inks). AND then a little something for mama…..they also have an amazing collection of Gerard-inspired fonts. Me want!


Pincushion has taken some of his most iconic designs and put them on five fantastic growth charts! These are so great and would look pretty fab in any wall on your house. {yyou can order one here.)


The Vitra Museum has released some of his artwork on these super snazzy serving trays. Score this sweet Alexander Girard Mother + Child Serving Tray here.


image: alison moore

This adorable chunky board book celebrates the vivid, playful, and sophisticated world of Alexander Girard (the cover features the vintage 1972 illustration “Girls” and there are 26 other classic Girard designs inside). Get a copy of Alexander Girard Color, here.

So there you have it. His work just makes me smile! And has me dreaming of a more colorful and fun airport….


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Posted in Vintage Graphics.

4 Responses

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  1. babyshapes says

    I’ve bought that board book for many a baby shower! 🙂 That and Charley Harper’s ABC book are two of my fav baby books. 🙂

  2. erin says

    Great post. I love Alexander Girard’s work. The mother + child art is so iconic!

  3. Julie says

    Last year when I got to take the tour of the Miller House in Columbus Indiana there was SO MUCH GIrard there!!! I was swooning constantly and the other people in my tour kept sideways glancing at me. BUT OH MY GOSH, all the textiles (right down to the napkins at the table), drapes, the dollhouse, the RUGS… I thought I was going to explode! I want to go back again next year! 🙂

  4. Dolly Dahl says

    Our wonderful designer friend got us the Alexander Girard Color book for our little one and it’s one of my very favorite gifts. Those blocks look AMAZING!

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