Monday, May 17, 2010

Cilla: Woody Pirtle

Woodrow Tyler Pirtle, Jr., was born in Corsicana, Texas, in 1944, but by the time Woody was three years old his father had moved the family to Shreveport, Louisiana, so he could become a corporate pilot for what was to become Pennzoil. The world that Woody inhabited from the ages of 3 to 24—Louisiana and later Arkansas—really gave no clues of what was to come.

Armed with a body of work in fine arts from the University of Arkansas, Woody made his first stop after finishing college in 1967 at a small ad agency in Shreveport. A couple of years later, realizing that he needed to be in a larger market if he was to make anything of himself, he moved his young family to Dallas. Woody may have been born in Corsicana and raised in Shreveport, but his professional birth was in Dallas in 1972. That was when he went to work for Stan Richards and where he would grow up for the next seven years.

In 1978 Woody Pirtle established Pirtle Design in Dallas, Texas. Over the next 10 years, the firm created identity programs and marketing materials for Baylor University Medical Center, The Dallas Museum of Art, TGI Friday’s, Dallas Opera, Diamond Shamrock Corporation, National Gypsum, Centex Homes, Gerald D. Hines Interests, Simpson Paper Company and NCR, to name a few.

In 1988 Woody merged Pirtle Design with Pentagram, an international design consultancy founded in London in 1972, becoming a partner at their New York offices for the next 18 years while continuing to work with some of the firm's most prestigious clients. Between 1988 and 2005, Woody and the office of Pentagram produced work for Brown-Forman, Bacardi Global Brands, Flying Fish Brewing Company, Watch City Brewing Company, Murray’s Cheese, Really Cool Foods, IBM, Champion International Corporation, Fine Line Features, The Rockefeller Foundation, Nine West, Northern Telecom, Knoll International, Wellesley College, Princeton University, Brooklyn Law School, and Amnesty International, plus many others. In 2005 Woody left Pentagram to re-establish Pirtle Design.

Woody Pirtle was commissioned in 2002 by Amnesty International to design a series of posters focusing on twelve of the individual articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to Pirtle's website, "Woody’s work has been exhibited worldwide and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Neue Sammlung Museum in Munich, and the Zurich Poster Museum. He has taught at the School of Visual Arts, lectured extensively, is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, and has served on the board of HOW magazine, Sustainable Hudson Valley, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. In October 2003 he was awarded the prestigious AIGA Medal for his career contribution to the design profession."

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