By Nancy and James Chuda, founders of LuxEcoLiving and Healthy Child Healthy World
"Michael, a true treasure of the heart." -- James Chuda
"The world has lost a genius. Michael Cronan was way too young to leave us. He gave us his view of the universe and it remains the gift that keeps on giving." Nancy Chuda
Born to Share
Born in San Francisco, Michael Cronan studied at the California College of the Arts and graduated with a degree in fine art from California State University, Sacramento. He taught at CCAC for 20 years, is a founding member and former president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts San Francisco chapter, served on the AIGA national board and presidential nomination committees, the advisory council of the International Design Conference at Aspen, SFMOMA's Architecture and Design Accessions, and the National Endowment for the Arts ART WORKS.
He wanted to invent a brand for the brain better than Ginko Biloba. He put little legs on a television box which gave you the freedom to miss your favorite anything and come home to find your little guy had done the job. He tippy toed over to the big guy and said record.
It gets better. He had an idea that made more sense then sitting in a library. What if you could take the entire library and sit in a park, ride the subway or fly in a plane and just order The New Yorker or read a poem by Ogden Nash. Michael helped to set the brain on fire and Amazon captivated the worlds words in every language so that all cultures could come together swarming over best sellers and continue doing what any cognescenti does best. Agree not to agree.
In the chaos of collaboration Michael and Karin Cronan knew best. It was like shelling peas.
"Come up with a list of names," he would say. This was his way of making you do your homework. But in all honesty, his was already done.
No one knew better than the Cronans. Official brandmeisters (new word), their world spins faster than ours due to their imaginative perception.
For over 30 years, tucked in his native San Francisco Bay, Michael, as a partner in CRONAN created names, strategic brand identities and designs for some of today's most successful companies which also included Apple, Estee Lauder Origins, Levi Strauss & Co., SFMOMA, TiVo, the United States Postal Service and Williams-Sonoma.
Awarded by leading national and international design organizations and publications, Cronan's work is in the collections of the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institute, the permanent Design Collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, London's Victoria & Albert Museum, and featured in the Museo Fortuny (Venice, Italy) exhibition Pacific Wave, California Graphic Design.
Cronan and partner Karin Hibma each made Fast Company's first list of 100 Most Creative People in Business. Cronan holds the AIGA Fellow lifetime achievement award.
Cronan was featured in In the Public Eye, the first ever graphic design exhibition at SFMOMA, in 1993.
His work is in the American Graphic Design permanent collection of the Denver Art Museum. He has spoken to design communities and judged design competitions throughout the United States and internationally.
Michael was the creative director of Cronan Artefact, a product development, manufacturing and marketing company. The Walking Man line of apparel, designed by Cronan and Karin Hibma, won International Design Magazine's 1992 Consumer Product Gold Award and 1993 Honorable Mention, presented at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York.
Our good fortune came by stork. We consulted with Michael Cronan and Karin Himba together we gave birth. Our charity, Healthy Child Healthy World, which the Cronan's helped to rebrand, was suffering from non-identity. Originally created as CHEC (Children's Health Environmental Coalition), no one knew our universe accept for a growing base of supporters, advocacy groups who comprised smaller organizations whose goals were to bring greater awareness to the dangers of toxins in the environment. Specifically, those that adversely affect children's health.
We met eye to eye and heart to heart. When we spoke it was difficult for Michael and Karin to understand the loss of a child to cancer at age five. It seemed like an oxymoron.