OPS / Events / Portland Designers in the Mad Men Era

Portland Designers in the Mad Men Era

Tuesday, October 7th 2014

PNCA Commons
1241 NW Johnson St
Portland, Oregon 97209

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Before the swoosh there was the Jantzen Diving Girl. Against the backdrop of political unrest, women’s liberation, and the sexual revolution, a new creative industry began to rise in post-war era Portland. Advertising agencies and commercial artists worked with local brands such as Jantzen, Reed College and Pendleton to lay the groundwork of the design profession for generations of creatives to come.

Remembered for their talent, impact, and community involvement across decades of work, we will honor and learn about three late, great Portland designers and artists of this era:
Byron Ferris, Bennet Norrbo, and Charles Politz.

About the men

Byron Ferris
Byron Ferris was a Portland native who founded Design Council, Inc. in the 60s, a full-service design firm with regional and national clients. He was a frequent presenter at Aspen and ICOGRADA design conferences, and was an Associate Editor of Communication Arts magazine, where he helped to define the emerging field of graphic design during the “golden age of advertising.”

Bennet Norrbo
Bennet was educated at San Francisco Museum Art School and worked as a commercial artist in Portland for 15 years creating ads for premier brands like Jantzen, Georgia Pacific, and Port of Portland. Setting aside his design career, he became a popular (though rogue) artist working with many mediums: clay, wood, metal, paint, film animation, and comics.

Charles Politz
Charles began his career under the name Politz, O’Gogerty & Raskolnikov, though he was just a lone designer, freelancing from his mother’s basement. From those humble beginnings grew a varied career. Charles wrote The Oregonian’s first typographic standards for computer-generated type, visually defined the Park Blocks’ “Cultural District”, and designed a best-selling book about Mount St. Helens in the year of eruption.

Learn the story of these men, their accomplishments, their struggles, and their impact on the local design scene from their close friends and colleagues. Browse a display of old sketchbooks, pamphlets, illustrations, comics, process documents and finished pieces. The evening will close with a panel Q&A.


We hope this event will serve to honor these men, and bring alive our region’s creative heritage.


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