August 21, 2018
Robert Vogele, of Burr Ridge, IL, passed away on Friday, August 3, 2018. He was 89. He was born in Chicago on September 28, 1928 to Violet and Albert Vogele.
Do a quick online search for designer Robert Vogele and terms like "local legend" and "internationally recognized" will appear.
Bob and his wife Ruth moved to Burr Ridge, Illinois, in 2006 after 50 years in Western Springs, Illinois. Bob is considered a pioneer in the field of strategic design. In 2012 he received the highest award in the field. Vogele was honored with the AIGA Medal from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the professional association for design based in New York.
While both of the firms he founded — Robert Vogele Design, that became RVI Corporation, and VSA Partners, Inc. — focused on creating corporate strategic design programs, Bob became a consultant to businesses helping companies use design as a management tool.
"My role has always been to manage and grow our design consultancy and mentor the staff who creatively service the clients and actually create financial success for the firm and the client," he said.
Bob is respected for sharing his philosophy of design's role in business with individuals who are now running his former company and with many who have gone on to start their own consulting design firms.
When Bob started in design the tools of the trade were X-Acto knives, wax machines and typesetters. "The tools have changed, said Bob, but my belief of design as a function of management has remained constant."
RVI Corporation, founded in 1958, grew to be one of the most respected corporate design consultancies. In 1982, he founded VSA Partners; a strategic corporate design agency that today lists IBM, Nike, Harley-Davidson, P&G, GAP, Caterpillar and GE among its many clients. VSA has offices in Chicago, New York and Detroit with a combined staff of 400.
The initials VSA represent Vogele and his former partner Ted Stoik and partner Dana Arnett. Bob said the letters have a second, perhaps more important, meaning. "In strategic design you start with the Vision of the client, develop a Strategy with client top management, and then put the plan into Action," he said.
Richard Grefe, AIGA executive director, said in presenting Vogele's Medal award, "Mr. Vogele's contribution to this vital profession has been stunning and probably far more influential than you will ever imagine. He has during all of his career been first and foremost a mentor who for over 60 years advocated design as a function of management."
He is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years Ruth Gorman Vogele, his children and their spouses Tom and Jennifer Vogele (of Carmel, CA), Mark and Lisa Vogele (of Carbondale, CO), Bruce and Tammy Vogele (of LaGrange, IL) and Nancy Vogele and Lynn Feenan (of Manchester, NH); his grandchildren, Britta, Margit, Patrick, Taylor, Ross, Adam, Felix, Mikkel, Lucas, Alex, Ariel, and Lily; and his great-grandchildren, Maddox, Bo, Aidan, Olivia, Amelie, Warren, Jude, and Link.
Bob and Ruth were frequent visitors to Aspen having second homes in Snowmass Village since 1970 through 2006. They loved the mountains and Mark and Lisa still live in the Roaring Fork Valley.
A celebration of Bob's life in design will be hosted at a later date by VSA Partners. An interesting article about Bob's life and career can be found at: http://www.trope collaborative.com/blog/2011/10/a-man-for-all-seasons-interview-with-robert-vogele.
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