RIP, Oliver Lincoln Lundquist


The graphic designer who lead a team of designers in creating the emblematic United Nations logo died last week. He was 92. From ArtDaily.

Lundquist was born in Westbury, New York, the son of an architect. He grew up in Peekskill, New York and studied architecture at Columbia University. As a senior there in 1937, he was hired to work in the office of well-known architect Raymond Loewy, receiving training from Loewy himself. At the Loewy firm, he worked on the Chrysler pavilion for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, devising a wind tunnel which would show the air flows around Chrysler’s latest car. He also devised a “frozen forest” which would dramatize Chrysler’s latest automotive feature, the air conditioning system. Made up of trees with refrigerant inside, the forest became a popular retreat on hot summer days at the Fair site.

Lundquist was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Navy, which utilized his graphic design talents. Lundquist served in the Office of Strategic Services, where he worked with Alger Hiss and fellow architect Eero Saarinen. Lundquist would prepare visual presentations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as for the Washington press corps.

In 1943, Lundquist won top honors in Art & Architecture’s Post War Living housing competition, for a house which he designed with Saarinen.

After being discharged from the Navy, Lundquist led the team responsible for graphic design for the United Nations Conference in San Francisco in April 1945. The initial design for the badge, initially created by Donald McLaughlin, who worked for Lundquist, was only intended to decorate the delegates’ badges, not as a logo for any organization. The design, as developed by the team, was blue because the color was seen as the opposite of red, the color of war. It was more centered on the United States as host nation of the conference than is today’s United Nations logo, and it excluded southern South America, since Argentina was not expected to join the United Nations (it did so later). The UN kept the idea of an azimuthal north polar projection of the world within olive branches, but rotated the design somewhat, and expanded it so that all major continents could be seen in full.

A few years ago we celebrated Donal McLaughlin’s centennial here on Dispatch. These were two amazing designers whose works are universally recognizable. Lundquist’s professional legacy will certainly live on.