For about two decades, this week’s cover artist, graphic designer Walter Bernard has designed posters, programs, shirts and hats for the annual Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game played at Herrick Park in East Hampton.
Early in his career, Bernard was the Art Director at New York magazine and Time magazine, overseeing an innovative redesign of the latter. In 1983, Bernard and his teacher, mentor and friend Milton Glaser formed WBMG, a publication design firm. Together, they have designed over 100 magazines and newspapers in the United States, Europe and Asia. Under the banner of WBMG, Bernard has been responsible for the complete redesigns of several major newspapers: The Washington Post in the U.S., La Vanguardia in Barcelona, and O Globo in Rio de Janeiro. His current firm, Walter Bernard Consultancy, redesigned Dan’s Papers in 2012. Bernard has taught at the School of Visual Arts and Cooper Union in New York, and for the last 13 years at The Stanford Professional Publishing Course. He also lectures (on magazine and newspaper design) at seminars, schools and design associations in the United States and Europe. You can see Bernard take the field for the Artists at the big game on Saturday, August 19.
You’ve been playing in the Artist & Writer’s Game for years. What does this event mean to you?
I first played in the game after being invited by Elaine Benson. I met Leif Hope there, a really good player. Because there were many well-known writers and artists playing, the press coverage attracted an audience, which grew year by year. Leif now runs the game and I believe he had the idea to raise money for local charities. Because the charities now depend on us to contribute each year, it seemed like a good idea to donate my [design] skills to help the cause. The four organizations [Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, Phoenix House Academy, The Retreat and East End Hospice] are important to our community and deserve our support.
I hope to play [this year], but for only a few innings. I look forward to an Artists win.
I have no favorite [memory], but it was a thrill to play with Eugene McCarthy, Paul Simon, George Plimpton and Alec Baldwin, among others. I did enjoy throwing the turnip to John Franco last year.
Some of the participants in this game also play softball in Sag Harbor on the weekends; do you play with them?
I have played in the Sag Harbor game every Saturday since 1977.
What inspired you to go into graphic design?
The work of Henry Wolf (art director of Esquire in 1958) and the illustrations of Milton Glaser.
Do you paint or draw in your free time?
I do. I painted with David Levine and Aaron Shikler at their Painting Group every Wednesday night for 35 years. I miss them and their wisdom.
What are some of your favorite spots on the East End?
Our home is in Bridgehampton. We love the Candy Kitchen, Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor and driving around Sagaponack.
Can you tell us about a major project that you’re working on right now?
Milton Glaser and I are working on a new book about our magazine collaboration, starting with New York magazine and continuing through 2015, called MagMen, which we hope to have ready next year for publication in 2019.