above > ruth and bob vogele at their phoenix home
vogele died at his home in burr ridge, illinois, on friday morning. he was 89.
visionary chicago design entrepreneur and mentor, robert vogele, is known for founding two of chicago’s most significant design consultancies. he’s remembered as challenging a long list of designers, business leaders, and anyone who would listen, to consider ‘big d’ design a valuable source of inspiration and goal attainment.
bob was gifted with an eye for creative talent, passion, and focus. he believed that the average person operated at less than 40% efficiency and his goal was to be twice as efficient. he would leave for the office at 4am and leave at 3p to avoid traffic. as much as he loved design though, he spent most of his time finding others to make things happen…a more efficient process to spread big d.
arguably a defining moment for bob was found at the first international design conference in aspen (1951) themed design as a function of management. designer ralph eckerstom (a unimark international founder) had hired vogele in 1949 while bob was studying advertising and graphic design at the university of illinois at urbana-champaign. eckerstrom ran the school’s press department and the two of them went to the conference. design’s relationship with management became a cornerstone of bob’s professional career.
in chicago, vogele’s professional and managerial presence was evident. in 1974 bob and patrick whitney founded the design foundation to promote chicago as a design capital and they collaborated with the international icograda congress to create a conference themed, design that works!
again, wanting a more national platform, vogele lobbied for installing an american institute of graphic arts (aiga) presence in chicago which did come about in 1986, under bart crosby and wendy pressley-jacobs. between 87-90 while i was president aiga restructured creating official chapters and we became aiga chicago. vogele served on both its board of directors and advisory board.
in 1989, the society of typographic arts (sta) found bob moving forces again to rename and reposition the sta to the american center for design (acd), essentially turning a local organization into a national. the acd shut down in 2002 and one wonders today if the internet could have saved it. and the sta is back in business again.
among his many professional achievements he was recently awarded the graphic design community’s most prestigious award, the 2011 aiga medal for being a business strategist and visionary.
bob also passionately loved architecture and art. he and his wife ruth were avid collectors of modern, native american, and folk art.
since 2002, bob among others, helped me create designapplause. he has been an official advisor since 2004.
he is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years ruth gorman vogele; his children and their spouses tom and jennifer vogele, mark and lisa vogele, bruce and tammy vogele, and nancy vogele and lynn feenan; his grandchildren, britta, margit, patrick, taylor, ross, adam, felix, mikkel, lucas, alex, ariel, and lily; and his great-grandchildren, maddox, bo, warren, jude, aidan, olivia, amelie, and link.