Alex has been recognized as “one of the few pioneering global designers who’s had a significant hand in bringing design to where it is today.”
His distinctive, editorially driven approach to design reflects imagination, confidence, spirit, and humor. Alex’s expertise in exhibit and signage design infuses our work, where even traditional printed pieces often feature structural and dimensional elements.
Alexander Isley first gained recognition in the early 1980s as the senior designer at Tibor Kalman’s influential studio M&Co. He went on to serve as the first full-time art director of the funny and fearless Spy magazine. Alex founded our firm in 1988 in New York City, and in 1995 he relocated the office to Connecticut, where we work in a barn.
He has created award-winning identity, communication, environmental, interactive, and publication design programs for an unusually wide range of clients, including The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Museum of the Moving Image, Nickelodeon, Giorgio Armani, The Chautauqua Institution, The National Endowment for the Arts, Choate Rosemary Hall, The Smithsonian Institution, Bobby Flay, Design Within Reach, Starbuck’s, The Barefoot Contessa, Reebok, Steelcase, Goodwill, The Museum of Modern Art, Waterstone’s Booksellers, Toys “R” Us, Pez Candy, The Amsterdam Tulip Museum, The U.S. Green Building Council, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Rizzoli Publications, Sotheby’s, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Blue Hill Restaurant, David Byrne, Highlights for Children, and Yale University.
Alex holds a degree in Environmental Design from NC State University and a BFA from The Cooper Union in New York. He has taught graphic design, typography, and exhibit design at Cooper Union, RISD, and the School of Visual Arts. For over fifteen years, he served as a lecturer and critic in the Yale School of Art MFA program.
In 1993 Alex was named an inaugural member of “The I.D. 40,” a survey of the country’s leading design innovators. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Zurich Design Museum, the Poster House Museum, the Letterform Archive, and the Library of Congress.
Alexander Isley is a recipient of the New York Art Directors Club Herb Lubalin Memorial Award for Art Direction and Design, the NEA International Design Education Fellowship, the SEGD Global Design Award, the Webby Award, and the Federal Design Achievement Award. He is past president of AIGA (the professional association for design) New York, and is an AIGA Fellow.
In 1998 Alex was elected to membership in AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale), an international association of designers who represent the highest level of professional achievement.
In 2014 he was awarded the profession’s highest honor, the AIGA Medal, in recognition of lifetime achievement and contributions to the field.
In a recent Graphic Design: USA magazine poll, Alex was named by his peers as one of the most influential designers of the past 50 years.
Donald Trump has called his work “a piece of garbage.”
Alex and his wife and partner, Veronica Burke, are the proud parents of three curious children.
When Alex was a boy, he met Colonel Sanders. As they shook hands, they came very close to making eye contact.