Ed Fella is an artist, educator and graphic designer whose work has had an important influence on contemporary typography. Many of his early pieces feature enigmatic messages, a result of incorporating leftover bits of type into the design by greeking the font. Experimental personal work soon became his true passion.
He practiced professionally as a commercial artist in Detroit for 30 years before entering the MFA program at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1985.
He received an MFA in Design in 1987. He has since devoted his time to teaching at the California Institute for the Arts and his own unique self–published work which has appeared in many design publications and anthologies.
He has had a profound influence on a younger generation of designers. Famous for his obsessive hand–drawn alphabets, Fella creates work with the power and spontaneity that creates an awe–inspired reaction by audiences. His first book, Letters on America, features a collection of Polaroid snapshots of the signs and symbols he sees on the streets. These photographs, taken over a period of years, serve as a record of influential architecture around the world, and all the while continue to add layers of inspiration for Fella’s own designs.
In 1997 he received the Chrysler Award and in 1999, an Honorary Doctorate from CCS in Detroit. His work is in the National Design Museum and MOMA in New York. In 2007, he was a recipient of the AIGA Medal for his sustained contributions to design excellence and the development of the profession. Awarded annually the AIGA Medal recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the field of design and visual communication. The AIGA Medal is the highest honor of the graphic design profession, and has been given to its distinguished practitioners, educators and role models since 1920.