There’s Nothing Better Than ‘Good’ Design

Remembering CT's Own Peter Good

Peter Good, a prominent graphic designer, illustrator, and fine artist, passed away on May 2, 2023. He is best known for his iconic Hartford Whalers logo, revered and fondly remembered by fans worldwide.

Good partnered with his wife, Jan Cummings, a fine artist in her own right, and founded Cummings & Good – a multi-disciplined practice and studio in Chester, CT. For over 50 years they developed deep and lasting relationships with a multitude of clients who sought their unique approach to realizing ideas.

It was this approach to problem solving which drew clients from the corporate and the non-profit worlds alike. United Technologies, Wadsworth Atheneum, Champion Papers, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the Mark Twain House, Special Olympics to name but a few of those lucky enough to work with them.

Logo concept sketches for the Hartford Whalers by Peter Good

The cover graphic we’ve selected for this post exemplifies Peter’s personality and method of communicating creatively with his peers and business contacts… In the days before email, facsimile (fax) was the ‘go to’ for sending communications.

Fellow designer and friend Theo Bertz, held onto this fax all those years ago, and today shares it with us.

Peter Good served on the AIGA CT Chapter’s board of directors for years. He earned an AIGA Fellow Award in 2009 for raising the standards of excellence within the design community. 

Prior to the establishment of AIGA, Peter served as a founding member of the CADC and was inducted into the CADC Hall of Fame in its first induction ceremony in 1995.

Good’s work was published in design periodicals all over the world, and well recognized by the major graphic design organizations we know and love. Peter Good’s outstanding work made it to permanent collections both here and abroad. (Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Library of Congress, The Museum fur Kunst und Gerwerbe, Hamburg, the Neue Sammlung Museum Munich, and the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan)

A ‘Person of the Week’ article from December of 2009 quoted Good, “Graphic design, Peter explains, is making connections between disparate things.”

“When I’m designing and thinking about a problem, I’m thinking about what it means to people; I’m open to human traits, philosophy, humor, popular culture, and the idiosyncrasies of language and there are many more connections one could make.”

Peter Good has been described as a mentor and creative inspiration to many. Throughout his career, Peter shared his talent generously and did pro bono work constantly. In retirement, he built on that generosity by volunteering designs for several local organizations and clubs within his community.

Peter Good’s obituary speaks to his “kindness, generosity and support for everyone who got to know him.”

Since his passing, many of Peter’s closest contemporaries state that they are still slowly getting used to the world without him.

What can I say about this extraordinary human being that hasn’t already been spoken?

He was a dear, generous, warm, kind, supportive friend who had brilliant creativity, wit, humor, and ingenuity in abundance and he leaves a hole a mile wide in the hearts of everyone who knew him.

At one of the CADC One Show events we sat next to each other. A short film was shown illustrating the studio of yesterday with T-squares, rubber cement jars, x-acto knives and the studio of today with an enormous computer, mouse, cords everywhere. Peter leaned over to me and said “My studio still looks like yesterday”. So did mine. We both felt pretty strongly about the mind-body connection to design. Drawing ideas with your hand connected to your mind. On sketch pads or napkins over lunch. Didn’t matter. It’s where ideas were born. Peter could do and make anything with those tools. And he did. Over and over and over.

It was such an honor to be his friend and to be a part of this design community together for over 50 years. Miss him to pieces.

Anita Soos

Shared with our AIGA CT chapter, a tribute that was read at Peter’s memorial:

Peter Good, great friend Peter was so present, so alive and so gifted. He was thoughtful one moment and laughing the next. I feel lucky that this fine fellow and I were close friends for decades. And he is still with us—in our hearts and minds. Our periodic dinners were a treat. They often included Bob Appleton and Frank Lionetti. 

We brought work— both by us and others to show and discuss. Our rants and raves were wide-ranging. Everything was fair game. One key subject was the advent of the computer. Sometimes, Peter and I helped each other privately. If one of us had a question about a project in progress, we might call the other to brainstorm about possible solutions. We occasionally competed. But, Peter’s generosity of spirit was boundless. Once, he even shared a client with me. He called about a key client needing more design 

help. So, he urged me to meet the two partners. Thanks to Peter, they became my client as well. Mutual respect and common values were ties that bound us together. 

Jan — You and Peter were a unique pair. Your personal and professional partnership has been an inspiration.

With love,
Nathan Garland
Chester Meeting House
4 June 2023

PETER Don’t ask why but I have always kept correspondence from a few people in a special folder.

Peter was at the top of that list, usually his messages were about graphics or fine art and always laced with humor, our common denominator. We shared our funny bones, he and I, boy did we ever. We would laugh our asses off over the most mundane stupid three stooges moments, oh shit, I lost my train of thought. Ok I’m back, anyway Pete, (I know that’s out of line), but sometimes I called him Pete damn it, so there, after all he was my brush brother. Brothers since 1969 when he joined the design team at Wesleyan University Press. Still remember that kid in bell bottoms and tie-dye ties. Yeah, we had to wear ties and dress like professionals. A serious lot they were but Peter added new vibrancy to their straight laced life. His solutions were so simple and direct, for instance, on his own Peter saw a need for classroom teaching aids like posters. Students and teachers loved his posters, so simple but with subtle messaging and enlightenment.

Peter Good Facsimile

The art of surprise was used by another genius, Frank L Lloyd Wright, who always designed his homes with hidden main entrances; his rationale, to have the visitor search for the entrance, exploring the architecture and in the process finding the main opening. Peter always made the viewer part of the process by coming in the “back door” with well thought out rationals and concepts. His solutions held a SNAP, like an old vaudeville joke “Ba Da, Boom” !!!!! “Surprise! Voila!"

Peter just up and left; called me on Tuesday and said Teddy “are you going to be in CT in June?” Don’t know, why? Well we are having a party and I would like you to be here; you know tell your funny Ohio stories, jokes, and drink and yuck it up. It will be a big party, “my funeral.” At this point I was speechless, spent and searching for some rational processing to happen. It is just now beginning to become a reality; but still a huge void in my heart Peter. But for anyone who ever knew this genius, Peter Good, you also had to know the other one, Janet Cummings Good. They combined talents to form a formidable creative engine to produce material for the global community. Could not have one without the other, “PB&J,” “frick & frack,” “Curley & Moe”....ya know!

He did not just up and leave, he orchestrated his farewell with the highest class and courage.

Oh my old pal sparrow,
You fly like a splendid arrow,
Up high in the sky,
You have your own liberated fly.

Author: Arnav Roy

Theo Bertz

Jan Cummings, Peter’s wife, shared a touching memoir in the form of a visual flipbook, called: It Was All Worth It, and can be viewed here.

The Let It Be image closing our blog post was a poster designed by Peter.

Take a moment to reflect upon Peter’s fine legacy to our Connecticut community.

Let it be. - Poster design by Peter Good
By Christine LeBlanc
Published November 1, 2023