Tibor Kalman was born in Hungary but grew up in America after his family was forced to flee from the country. He pursued journalism briefly at NYU. While there, he worked at the university’s book exchange (now known as Barnes and Noble). Initially he was just sorting books alphabetically but then he started designing ads, store signs, shopping bag and the original logo for them.
Kalman had a very strong belief in the power of design, more importantly thought provoking design. He felt that good design for good causes can improve the condition of the modern world. He stressed on the idea that designers should incorporate a global approach to their work and take more responsibility in the potential of the discipline to impact culture.
Kalman founded the design company M&Co (named after his wife Maira), that produced numerous thought-provoking political messages through product, identity and corporate work. He also took up the offer by Italian firm Benetton and designed for them. Kalman’s work can also be seen on colors magazine for which he was editor-in-chief.
Kalman’s works have also proven to be very controversial. Some very famous ones include examples from his commentary on Racism:
One of the most fascinating examples of his though provoking ideas was a gift box he sent out to his clients for christmas:
The christmas box example alone speaks volumes about his understanding of design and its power to influence.
Lastly, the following video is an interview of him taken during the time he was fighting cancer and towards the end of his life. it is a very long video, but at about 11:00 minutes they talk about designers and their capability to manipulate: