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Thursday, July 29, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Rick Eiber, 54, Renowned Graphic Designer

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Rick Eiber's logos and corporate-identity designs are everywhere. When Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas, he created the logo. Microsoft, Providence Health System and Virginia Mason Medical Center were among his major clients.

Richard Burch Eiber - founder of Rick Eiber Design, or RED - was known by all as innovative, passionate and creative.

"He had the highest standards for design of anybody I'd ever known," said Luther Hintz, a Seattle architect who worked with Mr. Eiber. "He was demanding, but one of the best clients I had because he understood what design was all about."

Mr. Eiber died Friday of cancer. He was 54.

His $250, two-volume book, "World Trademarks: 100 Years," is known throughout the graphic-design world. Its publication helped earn him a spot in the prestigious Swiss design organization, Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Until his death, he designed by hand, not computer. He believed in true, old-fashioned graphic design and was a master of his art.

Mr. Eiber donated his talents to several nonprofit organizations, including Pomegranate Center for Community Innovation. Milenko Matanvovic, its founder and executive director, said he and Mr. Eiber would spend hours discussing finer points of art.

Mr. Eiber's home itself is a piece of art, said his 17-year-old daughter, Kara. The "sugar cube" house sits on a hill overlooking the Snoqualmie Valley in Preston.

"Our house is a living museum," she said. "Everything he bought had to be artful. You'd sit in a chair, then realize maybe you weren't supposed to, because it was made by so-and-so."

Mr. Eiber attended Ohio State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in architecture and visual communications in 1968. He studied under well-known designer Gyorgy Kepes at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies, then earned a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin in the interdisciplinary areas of urban planning and visual communication.

He married his wife, Bonnie, in June 1972 in Akron, Ohio, their hometown, after his Navy ship was decommissioned. He had served as a communications officer in the Navy.

The Eibers later moved to Chicago, where he was project director at the Center for Advanced Research in Design. Two years later, he started a three-year stint as vice president and design director of RVI Corp.

In 1977 they moved to Seattle, where he spent four years as an associate professor at the University of Washington. He freelanced during that time, and quit his job at the UW in 1981 to start his company.

Also surviving are his son Erik ("Kit"), and his brother, Gary, of Stow, Ohio.

Funeral services will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Preston Baptist Church. Viewing hours at the family home in Preston will be 2 to 8 p.m. tomorrow and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Call Flintoft's Issaquah Funeral home at 425-392-6444 for directions. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that remembrances be sent to the Preston Baptist Church building fund, 31104 S.E. 86th St., Preston, WA 98050.

Sally Farhat's phone message number is 206-748-5820. Her e-mail address is sfarhat@seattletimes.com

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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