In the 80’s, Tibor Kalman founded M & Co., the design firm which he founded with his wife, children’s book illustrator Maira Kalman (the “M” of M & Co.). Although he began with a high profile corporate client base, designing for Department stores and similar companies, the restless Tibor inevitably turned his attention to more playful, then provocative, work. From the “Legal Size Paperweight” design to the branding for NYC neighborhood/cult favorite Restaurant Florent which came from his studio, Kalman was determined to explore the edges of turning pop culture trends on their heads. From this, Kalman’s drive to express the importance of cultural responsibility through design had already taken hold. After ESPRIT clothing won the 1986 AIGA Design Leadership Award, Kalman leveled heavy criticism at the company for its exploitation of Asian workers. He pushed clients like Florent to incorporate social consciousness into their branding, and was never above a publicity stunt that might bring attention to himself and his firm, so long as its message delivered a powerful, socially conscious punch. And punch he did. Tibor knew well to surround himself with great talent to ensure his messages got through. Some of the designers who worked with Tibor at M & Co. included Stephen Doyle, Bethany Johns, Emily Oberman, and Alexander Isley.