Jan Rajlich

Jan Rajlich (born 10 April 1920), painter and graphic designer in Brno, initiator of the Brno International Biennial of Graphic Design. One of the most significant Czech graphic designers with a wide international renown, for his organisational credits in the field of development of graphics, which have been repeatedly acknowledged by the leading graphic design organisation ICOGRADA (1972, 1983, 1985), as well as for the results of his own multi-faceted creative work. His work involves most graphic design disciplines – visual communications – he has designed signs and symbols, posters and graphic layout of printed materials, worked with architects in artistic design of buildings and public space, as well as in exhibition design. His free creation focused first on painting, and later on graphic work (serigraphy) and especially collage.

Especially Rajlich’s posters are prized, presented at exhibitions and included in both public and private collections; they appear at auctions in renowned auction houses in London and New York. Rajlich’s work in the field of signs and symbols was awarded a prize at the First Logo-design Festival in Ostende, and the prestige Euro-Design Award (1994), supported by the European Union cultural commission. His creation and name are mentioned in prominent specialist journals and publications. He has been included in e.g. the special issue of the Japanese revue IDEA – "100 Graphic Designers of the World" (1993). His name constitutes an entry in Czech dictionaries and encyclopaedias, as well as in the "Who Is Who in Graphic Design" (Benteli Werd Verlag, Zurich 1994). During his professional career, Jan Rajlich was awarded more than forty prizes; the recent ones include e.g. Master’s Eye Award from Trnava (Slovakia, 1991), the City of Brno Prize (1995) and the international award "Design Prestige" of the Design Centre of the Czech Republic (1996).

Rajlich’s authority in the professional designers’ community both at home and abroad is documented also by his membership in professional associations: among the most prestigious of them is the selective graphic "superclub" AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale), associating some three hundred authors from all over the world.

A monograph of Rajlich’s graphic work has been published at the end of 1999. Gérard Mermoz, professor at the University of Coventry (England), has made the introduction, while the authors of art-historical essays are Bronislava Gabrielová, Jiøí Hlušièka (Brno) and Dušan Junek, graphic artist and publicist from Bratislava (Slovakia). Scientific texts are supplemented with complete biographic and bibliographic data. Nearly 200 colour reproductions represent a survey of Rajlich’s work, beginning with 1948 up to the present. The selected examples evidently document the lasting consistency of Jan Rajlich’s creation and, according to Professor Mermoz, convincingly prove his "persistence in artistic view in the field of graphic design" as well as his embedding "in highly individualised artistic practice, combining free experiment with analytical approach to problem solving."