Misha Anikst may or may not be "the strongest" book designer in the world, to use the words of the late design luminary Massimo Vignelli, but he is certainly the most celebrated graphic designer to come out of Russia since the time of Lissitsky, Rodchenko and Telingater.
A graduate of the Moscow Institute of Architecture, he has tried his hand in architecture, stage design and various areas of the graphic arts. Since the mid-1960s he has primarily focused his attention on book design and it is in this area that he achieved a great acclaim, evidenced by a long list of prestigious national and international awards. As a member of an informal group of likeminded designers including Maxim Zhukov and Arkady Troyanker, Mr Anikst is credited with successfully introducing the principles of the International Style and modular grid systems into practice of graphic design in the USSR in the late 1960s–1970s. Their efforts have restored Russian prominence in book design and overcame political obstacles in communicating with professional community abroad to make a considerable contribution to the cutting-edge design practice of their time. Over the course of his long career as the art director of Sovetsky Khudozhnik, one of the most prominent Soviet art book publishing houses, that spanned from 1970 to 1990, Mr Anikst has been instrumental in establishing high typographic and layout standards emulated by other publishers. He inﬂuenced a large number of Russian designers both by the quality and variety of his work and by training young people that came to work with him. One notable project by Mr Anikst was designing the much-admired wayﬁnding symbols and signage system for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. As the censorship strictures of the Communist regime became relaxed in the mid-1980s, Mr Anikst undertook to research and publish a survey of Russian avant-garde graphics, Soviet Commercial Design of the Twenties, that brought to light a wealth of previously unknown works from the Moscow archives and became a source of inspiration to a number of important post-modern designers in Europe and the US.
Following the success of the book in 1990 he was invited by his publisher Laurence King to work in London, where he established his studio. He went on to build a thriving design practice catering to a number of high-proﬁle clients, including cultural institutions such as The Royal Collection and Zuellig Collection; corporations, including Dunhill and Volvo; and foundations, such as Aga Khan Foundation. His work is admired for its typographic excellence, boundless attention to every detail, versatility and beauty, engendering a continuous demand.