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Creative Voices

Visions Not Previously Seen: The Groundbreaking Design Work of Barbara Stauffacher Solomon

Barbara “Bobbie” Stauffacher Solomon is a very big deal, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to her. Mixing Swiss graphic design principles with West Coast Pop art stylings, Bobbie essentially created supergraphics, and in doing so shaped the history of design. Adobe Create is proud to bring you a documentary short film about her work and life.

Bobbie began her creative life as a dancer and an artist before studying graphic design with Armin Hofmann at the Basel School of Art and Crafts, and her work is shaped by both balletic movement and rigorous attention to form.

She created groundbreaking design work for the then new and innovative Northern California community The Sea Ranch—including its iconic ram’s head logo and the supergraphics painted inside the buildings: large-scale, boldly colored, geometric designs. She’s also known for the Ribbon of Light sculpture that graces San Francisco’s Embarcadero Promenade.

But don’t ask her to take a victory lap. Though recognized as a pioneering female designer (and a member of the Hall of Femmes), she sees herself not as a star but as a utilitarian designer, simply using her talents and training in the way that makes the most sense to her. And, as you’ll learn in our video, her experience has given her a realistic perspective on what design can—and can’t—do.

At 89, Bobbie is an enduring force, a badass, and a diligent craftsperson. She continues to work—for instance, on a new supergraphics project for the interior of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and on her ongoing book series, a culmination of her life’s work and experience.

Click on the image below to watch a documentary short about Bobbie’s life and work.