Awards season is a hectic time at ADC — and doubly so this year with our upcoming merger with The One Club — with phalanxes of couriers passing through every day with entries. It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of UPS brown and messenger bag-carrying cyclists, but somehow Harv Toback stood out. He was a slight, elderly gentleman who was looking for assistance on entering the ADC 96th Annual Awards. Not for himself, mind you, despite having been an art director and creative director during the heady, Madison Avenue glory days you’ve seen Don Draper and Roger Sterling depict. Harv was here to submit an entry on behalf of his longtime friend, famed art director, photographer, illustrator and lifetime ADC Member Gino Garlanda.
“Back in those days, you didn’t have social media, or email or things like that,” Harv explained when discussing how he and Gino became friends. “If you saw some ad that you liked, you’d call up the art director on the phone and say ‘hey, I saw the work you did on such-and-such, and I just wanted to let you know I thought it was fabulous!’ That’s how I first met Gino. I was blown away by an ad he had done, and phoned him up to say so. We arranged to meet up a a Type Directors Club event in Silvermine, Connecticut.”
Born in Paterson, NJ, in 1926, Gino attended the School of Fine and Industrial Arts in Newark before heading to New York to work as an art director at the famed Doyle Dane Bernbach. This was followed by a stretch at Gilbert Advertising, and another at Irving Serwer, a highly respected agency known for its fashion advertising. It was here that Garlanda, met Murray Salit; the pair hit it off almost immediately, and went into business together as Salit & Garlanda, remaining a team for fifteen years.
Throughout his advertising career, Garlanda took a keen interest in photography. “As an art director working on fashion accounts, Gino got to work alongside legendary photographers like Jerry Schatzberg,” reminisces Harv. “In time, he came to see that working with the camera would be the best way to document his ideas, create his concepts and tell his stories. By the time Salit & Garlanda dissolved in 1977, he had already been shooting on a regular basis, exploring different techniques and subjects.” Arming himself with his trusty Leica Rangefinder, Gino contacted Harv and to inform him that he decided to start his own photography company, and would be most appreciative if he could send any assignments his way. “I told him ‘tell you what; you do all of my photography!,” laughed Harv. Thus began a fruitful business relationship, on top of their longstanding friendship.
Gino eventually retired from professional photography, but didn’t give up his love for the camera. He published two volumes of his photos; the first, aptly named Photographs, was released in 2005, with forwards by Harv, Schatzberg and famous author and futurist Faith Popcorn — it was Gino who came up with her unusual and eventually legal surname, back when she was a young Salit & Garlanda employee. This collection of black and white images was followed by a second book of color photography. Named Color, this 2007 publication featured images of ‘people full of pride’ that Gino captured over decades of travel to places such as Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Jamaica and New York City in the 1960s — almost a different world unto itself.
Despite becoming an accomplished photographer, Gino never left his art director roots, and continued to sketch and draw throughout his life. During the 1970s and 80s he turned his whimsical style into a successful greeting card company, ‘G’s By Gino’, alongside Harv’s wife Barbara Toback. Together, Gino and Barbara earned numerous accolades, including Graphis and LOUIE Awards.
Last year, Gino felt that he had one more book in him to create — a publication of brand new illustrations in the humorous spirit of his greeting cards. In that vein, the book was named Smile Awhile, and was brought to life a few short months ago. “The camera has become heavy, I shoot very little these days,” he says in the book’s forward. “The pen and pencil are light in weight, so I’m doing simpleminded drawings by a simpleminded man. Less is more… sometimes.”
“Gino was not well by the time the book was released,” explains Harv. “He was wintering in Florida, but we spoke every day, and he was very clear about his wishes. As a lifetime member of the Art Directors Club, and having won numerous accolades over the years, he held the organization in his highest regard. As such, he wanted to be recognized by the club one final time, and had asked my wife Barbara and I to submit Smile Awhile to the ADC Annual Awards. I told him it would be my utmost honor.”
Gino passed away in December at the age of 90.
“Gino was a true and dear friend to me, and a lifelong supporter of the Art Directors Club,” said Harv. “It was the least I could do to help him earn one more accolade, or at least be seen by this generation’s creative professionals. Mind you, he won all the awards over the years, and left the merit certificates for me!”
Tags: Gino Garlanda