Deborah Sussman is known as a leader of environmental graphic design, a relatively new field at the time that had a surprising number of women leading the charge. Sussman had a passion for the arts and attended some of the finest art and design institutions in the nation, including the Black Mountain College, the Institute of Design in Chicago, and Bard College in NYC. Sussman interned at the Eames office then later started her own successful design studio with her husband Paul Prejza, Sussman/Prejza & Company. The pair made a dynamic team, earning a considerable amount of recognition in Sussman’s lifetime. The colorful modernism seen in much of Sussman’s work was most visible in her designs for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Her designs were highly regarded for the bold colors and graphics that were both attractive and functional. The Olympic designs were even included in Time Magazine’s “Best of the Decade”. In addition to the designs for the Olympics, Sussman/Prejza & Company did environmental design work for Disney and comprehensive design systems for the cities of Santa Monica & Philadelphia. While her designs for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles brought the most attention to the burgeoning field of environmental design, it was her dedication to pioneering the field that cements her place in the canon of graphic design.
1931 – b New York
1948 – Attends summer school at the Black Mountain College, for art & performance
1948-50 – Attends Bard College, New York for painting & acting
1950-53 – Attends the Institute of Design, Chicago
1953-58 – works at Eames office
1957-58 – Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Ulm, Germany
1961 – Returns to work for the Eames office
1968 – Establishes her own practice
1972 – Marries architect Paul Prejza
1975 – Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Calcutta, India
1980 – Founds Sussman/Prejza & Company, a partnership with her husband
1983 – Fellow and founder of AIGA/LA
1987 – Elected member of AGI, Alliance Graphique Internationale
1987 – Elected member of The Trusteeship, International Women’s Forum
1988 – Named an Honorary member of the American Institute of Architects
1990 – featured in Time Magazine’s “Best of the Decade” for ‘84 Los Angeles Olympic designs
1991 – Named Fellow of the Society of Environmental Graphic Design
1995 – First woman to exhibit at School of Visual Arts’ “Master Series”
2014 – d in Los Angeles at the age of 83
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