Bob Gill, graphic designer who inspired an era of profundity in print

Bob Gill, a graphic designer who brought to print a rich language inspired by an ever-shifting current of utopian ideals and American life, died of pneumonia March 10 at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He was 90.

A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Mr. Gill moved in 1941 to New York City, after graduating from Wellesley College. He worked as a writer for Yale University Press and then for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes until he joined the design studio of Stuart Cook, a New York architect and industrial designer.

Cook, who held a background in theater and visual arts, was one of the earliest designers to enliven the rough feel of many newsprint media with a carefully composed graphic vocabulary.

Gill was instrumental in drawing a small assortment of photographs and renderings for press releases and advertisements. Such techniques have become familiar for many in the craft.

Gill’s letters and pieces of paper found new life as metaphors and symbols for complicated ideas, conflicted ends, psychological and social tensions and more. Their repetitions and tentative punctuation, confident subject matter and a flair for decorum delighted the publications and institutions with which he designed.

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