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30th Anniversary 2008 Sir Misha Black Medal Awarded to Gonzalo Tassier

Professor Gonzalo Tassier, one of the most revered teachers of design in Mexico, has been awarded the 2008 Sir Misha Black Medal for distinguished services to design education.

The Misha Black Medal will be given to Gonzalo Tassier at a special award ceremony to be held at the Royal College of Art at 6pm on Wednesday, March 5th 2008.

Following this presentation Professor Tassier will deliver an address on his design and education philosophy and speak about his own career as teacher and designer.
Born in Mexico City in 1941, of Spanish extraction, he is quoted as saying ‘I was born with a gift and I feel that my duty is to give it back to others’. And that he has done this with generosity of spirit and mind has been testified by generations of students at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) in Mexico City and at other universities and colleges throughout the country where he has been a guest lecturer. He is also President of the company Retorno Tassier, the Communication Design Agency which has numerous Mexican and International companies as clients as well as Government institutions and state organisations.

Like Misha Black, Tassier is a self taught designer having first registered at the School of Architecture at UNAM - The National Autonomous University of Mexico. Later he undertook a four year degree in philosophy when he responded to a vocational calling and became a member of the community of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit. His students are on record as saying that his classes were a unique experience in their education but he insists that he learned, at least as much, from them. In an introduction to a book on Tassier’s work, Eduardo Calderon Munoz de Cote has said: ‘He has been a guiding light for generations of designers - so much so that we could call him a philosopher of graphic communication. His original, sensitive style, which is simple yet methodical and perfectionist has made him one of the pioneers in graphic and industrial design in Mexico’. He goes on to say that Tassier has had ‘a remarkable influence as a communicator, a publicist and an artist‘. A former student has recently written ‘The natural lines in his face are the result of his emblematic smile, they are the map to find inspiration and motivation. The painted lines witness his love for Mexico, the country that fuels his talent, his devotion to history, folk art and culture. Most design schools in the country‘, the statement continues’ have been exposed to his talent and loving embrace. He makes you want to grab a pencil and create beautiful things. He makes you proud to be a designer’.

Misha Black had a powerful belief in the creative interaction of all design disciplines and removed previously perceived barriers in design education. Like Misha Black, Gonzalo Tassier has been a pioneer of design in his own country and, like Misha Black, in his own very distinctive style. Professor Frank Height, a member of the Sir Misha Black Committee has said: ‘Professor Tassier’s understanding of the philosophy and practise of design is eloquently expressed through his writing, speaking and design practice. He is an inspiring influence in Design Education and therefore a worthy winner of the 2008 Sir Misha Black Medal.’