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A potential pitfall of writing is becoming overly enamored of one’s subject. This is exactly what occurred when I started researching the work of Tom Morin whose work is now on view at Yale University Robert B. Haas Family Library in an exhibit entitled “Threads of Influence: The Visual History of a Life in Graphic Design.” Morin is an accomplished graphic designer specializing in corporate communications and branding and identity design whose career spans forty years. The exhibit, loosely modeled after his book of the same name, “displays snippets of his work” as well as traces the major influences in his life and their impact.

Aside from the work itself, an added dimension—especially for up and coming designers is, as commented on by Jae Rossman, the library’s assistant director for special collections and reported by Sharon Yin for the Yale Daily Press is that “he chose to show all of his work, not just the best or most important pieces. He is showing the journey of becoming a good designer, not just the destination.” Since Morin is an alumni of the Yale Master of Arts program special emphasis is placed on the work done while he was there and the faculty that influenced him. In all, it makes for a fascinating look into a graphic designer’s journey and development.

Self-admittedly not a natural student, Morin was drawn to art from an early age and after being awarded a Schaeffer School scholarship would go on to study advertising design with the Bauhaus-trained designer Dr. M. Peter Piening at Syracuse University before continuing on to work at Xerox Design Center in Rochester, New York followed by Westinghouse Design Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From there he went on to start Jack Hough Associates in Connecticut and New York, where he would serve as partner and Creative Director for twenty years. Later, he would open his own firm Context Design Inc., in South Norwalk, Connecticut and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

His portfolio includes work for well-recognized corporate, museum and foundation clients such as Xerox, Champion, GE, Avon, The International Museum of Folk Art, SITE Santa Fe and the Whitney Museum. He currently resides in Santa Fe where he teaches and continues to design. He also gives back as a volunteer writing coach for College Summit a non-profit that helps at risk students with college essays and applications. To learn more about Morin and view sample pages from “Threads of Influence” visit To view more of his firm’s work, visit

The exhibit will be on view now through April 13, 2012 after which time it will move to Yale’s Library Shelving Facility in Hamden as part of the Arts Library Special Collections.