above > lew with daughters l>r sharon & roberta circa early 90s courtesy greg samata
i can’t think of one designer who was practicing in the 60s thru 2000 or even later that didn’t know lew. he was engaged in everything designers were engaged in. he could have been a father figure for me. but let’s here it from renoun chicago designer greg samata who delivered the following at lew’s services.
I loved Lew Asher!
A week ago Pat and I told him as he lay in his hospice bed. He smiled and heard us.
Thursday I will turn 72 years old. One of my first clients was Nuclear Data,it was 1976.
I was 26 years old and Lew Asher walked into my office and my life.
He was hired by the company to do the printing of the book I designed.
My first all color brochure!!!!
Ruth, his wife, was in the car. She would go to meetings with him and stay outside in the car.
Afterwards they would go to lunch or spend the afternoon together. He was a great father, husband and friend.
I would have sat in that car too. It was BMW 2002, silver, black top and red interior. It happened to be my all time favorite car at the time. He was instantly my hero!
He came into the office, I laid out my art boards to go over the job with him. Lew stood there quiet and very professional, looked at me with a serious tone and said “I can’t print this”.
I said “well why not” the young, not to be denied kid that I was.
It was my first lesson from Lew Asher, although I did not realize it at the time.
He said every book printed is multiples of four pages , you can’t bind 19 pages..
I knew nothing.
We went on to do volumes of work in multiples of four. After that he taught me
everything I know about the business, and he was the best at it.
Back then designers and service providers could put mark ups on goods and
products that you re-sold. It was common then but now no longer in favor.
And designers were always trying to get their own books and posters and marketing
materials printed. Of course there was never enough money.
So Lew and I created a system we called “put it on the wall”. Every job that was
marked up, the mark up would go “on the wall” and we used it to pay for personal projects.
My dad died in 1981. Pat and I were married 3 months before he died.
And Lew was passed the mantle to be my second father… It just happened.
A natural unspoken progression for two people who cared about each other.
I needed advice. Lew was there.
I needed to be talked off the ledge, constantly,…Lew was there
The issues ran from things that had nothing to do with printing.
Things like…honesty, loyalty, morality, family, friendships, business and yes even
sometimes ink on paper.
Together, professionally, we set a new standard in printing in Chicago, with
IPP Lithocolor doing the film back them, and Lew’s company Great Northern Design Printing
leading the way with all the best designers in the city.
Printing was taken to an art form and we never looked back.
Lew was generous, smart, sincere, honest to the end, and the best damn friend
and father anyone could have.
I loved Lew Asher