Tharp Did It: A retrospective exhibit

At the 2005 HOW Design Conference in Chicago the news spread quickly through the gathered design professionals: Designer Rick Tharp was missing. It was later learned that the man whose work I admired so much had taken his own life. At the time, as a contribution to my Logo Notions column, I wrote the well-received tribute piece An introduction - and farewell tip of the hat — to Mr. Tharp. Through that article I cyberly met many people who cared deeply for Tharp, including family, friends and design industry peers.

This evening one of those individuals, Lourdes Pollard of the Phoenix Data Center, contacted me to make me aware of an exhibit honoring Rick Tharp and his work.

The exhibit, THARP DID IT: GRAPHIC WORK - A Retrospective Exhibit, opened this past week at the Art Museum of Los Gatos in California. The show of Tharp's work will continue through March 30, 2007. On Saturday, March 24, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., there will be a Gala Reception, and silent auction, to benefit the Rick Tharp Design Scholarship.

The museum's website states:

Rick Tharp came to Los Gatos in 1974, and maintained a studio in Old Town for 30 years. He designed the masthead, mascot, and the first few issues of the Los Gatos Weekly in 1982.

Rick’s firm, Tharp Did It, specialized in corporate identity, package design and environmental design. Renowned for his humorous designs, his work ranged from wine labels, business logos, and award-winning advertising campaigns for companies such as Brio, a European toymaker.

Local Tharp customers include: Steamer's, Le Boulanger, Carrie Nation, Domus, Bears in the Wood, The Wooden Horse, Valeriano's Restaurant and Old Town among others.

In 1988 Tharp received a CLIO Award, often referred to as the "Oscar" of the advertising world, in New York for wine packaging design for Mirassou Vineyards. He designed street signs and banners for the Town of Los Gatos. His philosophy was "Don't break rules just to be breaking rules, but, on the other hand, don't let them get in the way either." and "Always have fun doing it."

Anyone having the opportunity should see the exhibit, which is sure to be a collection of incredible creative inspiration for any designer.

Photo: Saratoga News/George Sakkestad

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

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