Archie Boston: The Heart & Soul of Communication Design

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Open to: Public

Join us for a talk with award-winning designer, educator and author, Archie Boston.


Feb 17, 2022 11:30am – 1:00pm

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Vanessa Kam |
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Please join us for a talk with the esteemed designer Archie Boston. Professor Boston will present on his socially-conscious career as an African-American in advertising, design and design education. He will offer comments on his update of Black Lives Matter posters, archives and how spirituality informs his practice.

This virtual talk (open to the public) will take place on Thursday, February 17, 2022, from 11:30 am – 12:45 pm (Pacific Time) and features a presentation by Boston, followed by a Q & A session. This event will be presented and facilitated by Vanessa Kam, Electronic Resources Librarian and Liaison to Design and Dynamic Media, and Katherine Gillieson, Associate Dean, MDes and Associate Professor in Communication Design.

Professor Boston's presentation forms part of the MDes and DDM Speaker Series and is a collaboration with the ECU Library + Archives.


Professor Archie Boston is an internationally-known art director, designer, author, business owner, and educator. He was chair of the Graphic Design Program at California State University, Long Beach for 12 terms during his 33 years, and was named Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2004. He has also operated his design-consulting firm, Archie Boston Graphic Design, since 1972. He served two terms as president of the Art Directors Club of Los Angeles.

Considered one of the United States’ leading design instructors and a highly respected graphic designer, Boston was featured in Graphic Design: USA magazine as one of 35 design pioneers. In 2002, Boston published Fly in the Buttermilk: Memoirs of an African American in Advertising Design & Design Education, which described his experiences as a minority in the creative community. In 2009, Boston published, Lil’ Colored Rascals in the Sunshine City, a biography of growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida during the late 1940s and 1950s.

In 2007, Boston transferred 20 Outstanding Los Angeles Designers documentaries to DVD, which he videotaped on a sabbatical leave project in 1986. These historical design documentaries are now in university libraries across the US.

The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, presented Boston’s, My Soul is a Witness, a retrospective exhibition extending over 50 years from 1963 to the 2014. The exhibition consists of historical local landmark oil paintings, award winning socially-conscious posters, historic books, and educational and spiritual videos.

Boston and his brother, David, created a documentary titled Black Pioneers of the Sunshine City, in 2016, which has been shown on WEDU in the Central Florida area during Black History Month since 2017. Boston was also interviewed and his posters were featured in the documentary, The Real Mad Men of Advertising of the 1960’s, which was donated to the Smithsonian Museums in 2018.


The Duke University Libraries made the Archie Boston Papers available for public research at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in 2019. This unsolicited donation contains most of the advertising, design, art and educational material created during his career.

The Stanford University Libraries also houses the Archie Boston Graphic Design Files, a collection of posters, digital files and educational material, acquired in 2021.

In 2000, The Los Angeles County Art Museum purchased several of Boston’s posters for their permanent Graphic Design Collection. The Letterform Archives in San Francisco also purchased posters for their collection.


Boston has been a consistent award-winner in distinguished shows such as The New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles Art Directors’ Club shows, Communication Arts and Art Direction Magazine shows, Western Art Director’s show, Print Magazine’s Regional Design Annual, the Type Directors’ and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) shows, Graphis Annual and Typomondus 20, and the International Exposition of the “Best Graphics of the 20th Century.”

He was the first African-American recipient of the prestigious AIGA Fellows Award from the Los Angeles Chapter of AIGA in 2007. The Fellow award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to raise the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design community.

In June of 2022, Boston will receive an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London, England. Boston also received the AIGA Lifetime Achievement Award for his longstanding commitment to his students as an educator, mentor, and profound influence on the community of Los Angeles, as well as his bold, funny, polemical designs from a lifetime body of work.

This event is funded by the ECU Library + Archives and the Ian Gillespie Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media.