Tibor Kalman, an influential graphic designer, is best known for his meaningful contribution as editor-and-chief to Colors magazine. As previously stated, Colors is based on radical ideas such as race, AIDS, war, and sex to promote sociocultural issues. As editor-and-chief, Kalman followed his wishes to display controversial topics through design, such as Issue #12 pictured above. Published in 1995 for young audiences, “Heaven” presents the concept of literal heaven on Earth. Each article in this issue aligns with the conclusion that heaven already exists on Earth, but people have not learned to take advantage. The replies of nearly 2,000 people on the subject, from atheists in Beijing to Buddhists in Mexico City, are interwoven into the theme as well as an image of Heaven that crosses religious and cultural confines. The magazine cover is especially intriguing because the girl is covered in what seems to be mud. Words fly around her as if they were birds to represent the joys of being on Earth. For instance, “running water” flies near the filthy girl to emphasize the gift of cleanliness. “Social justice” and “Rice + Beans” are noted as well. The cover displays both the Italian and English language since Colors is based on an Italian clothing company. Kalman designed an intriguing layout through simple typography, abstract birds, and imagery for the reader to contemplate. Religion is prevalent in the layout of the piece but is somewhat confusing. Because his idea is so abstract, I find it hard to interpret the underlying meaning of the piece. Although I do not believe this is Kulman’s best work, it successfully demonstrates the combination of a controversial topic with design. 


“Archive.” C O L O R S,

Heller, Steven. “Tibor Kalman, ‘Bad Boy’ of Graphic Design, 49, Dies.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 May 1999,