“Spurred by Ewa Satalecka’s poignant questions Lenk paints a vivid and enthralling picture of a designer’s profession ... from the linear articulation of narrative in magazine and book design into the three dimensional, non linear narration of the internet ... it becomes evident just how much we owe him for our understanding of information and data, the subject he chose to pursue in his practice and teaching in the USA.”
Krzysztof Lenk was born in 1936 in Warsaw, Poland. His early memories include time witnessing World War II. After the war he lived in Warsaw with his parents and later his wife and children throughout the first half of his life.
He studied at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Art and then at the Department of Graphic Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, where he graduated in 1961.
After earning his degree, Lenk worked as a freelance artist designing books, book covers and posters. He travelled to Paris, where he worked for the Société Nouvelle d’Information et Publicité (SNIP) advertising agency (which later became TBWA) and for the magazine Jeune Afrique.
These experiences led him to discover his interest for design of information and narration, and steered his work toward magazines.
In 1973, Lenk started his carrier as an educator in Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź, where he taught typography and design of periodicals in the Graphic Design department until 1982.
In 1982, living under Martial Law in Poland, Krzysztof Lenk was invited to Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) as a visiting professor.
While there, a permanent position opened up in the Graphic Design department, which led to his tenure at RISD for nearly thirty years until he retired in 2010.
Professor Lenk taught information design and typography to undergraduates and graduate students, and traveled widely abroad as a visiting scholar.
Krzysztof’s expertise in logic of visual communication coincided with the rise of digital media and the launch of the World Wide Web. In 1990, he co-founded the information architecture firm, Dynamic Diagrams.
The studio rapidly grew to a company with offices in Providence, Baltimore, and London, England. Dynamic Diagrams worked with many global institutions, including IBM, Microsoft, Harvard University, Holocaust Museum in Washington, Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Merrill Lynch, MacMillan in London, Musee des Arts et Metier in Paris, and Samsung Electronics in Korea. Between 1990 and 2001 Krzysztof served as the Creative Director. After retiring from the company, he remained active as an advisor and consultant.
1977 & 1980 – Excellence in Teaching Design award from the Ministry of Culture and Art in Poland
1983 – IBM Fellow at the International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado
2011 – A ‘Silver Cane’ recognition for excellence in teaching awarded by the Association of the Friends of Academy of Fine Art in Warsaw, Poland
2011 – Honorary Doctorate Degree from The Academy of Fine Art in Katowice, Poland
Contemporary Designers – (p 332); St. James Press, Chicago, 1990
Information Architects – book by Richard Saul Wurman – “Krzysztof Lenk and Paul Kahn: Dynamic Diagrams” (pp 190–201); Graphis Press Corp. New York, 1995
Who’s Really Who – 1000 the most creative individuals in the USA – (p 558) book by Richard Saul Wurman, 2002
Very Graphic – Polish designers of the 20th Century (pp 310-317); Instytut Adama Mickiewicza, Warsaw, 2015