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The Lee and Jan Kline Collection consists of everything one of the UCDA founders—Lee Kline—has collected in his nearly 50 years in graphic design.

The collection contains 20th century paper manufacturers’ sample books (swatch books), printers’ type speciman books, and other graphic design-related ephemera.

Among long-time members, the story of UCDA’s founding is a familiar one. In the early spring of 1971, a group of like-minded graphic designers—Lee Kline, Gene Church, and Charles “Bud” Deihl—gathered at a Holiday Inn on Route 66 in Bloomington, Illinois, to talk about their profession and interact with their peers. Within a short time, UCDA was formed.

As a designer at Illinois State University, Lee Kline spent about 5 years with UCDA. “I see designers kind of like auto mechanics,” Lee says. “We like to find a problem, fix it, and then move on to other projects. I never wanted to be part of an entrenched group that would run the organization for years and years.” Lee’s career moved from director of publications through a development position (“There’s nothing like moving away from your chosen profession to realize that you should never have left,” he says) and back to publications.

Lee is currently reveling in creative writing. His postcards and stories to his grandchildren are true gems. “I’m inspired by people who think for themselves,” he responds the question of his source of inspiration. “People who realize there is little they can do about the mess in Washington D.C. and instead focus on making their half-acres the best they can. I plan to live my life nicely and not leave a big splotch on this planet when I leave it.”

Gift of Lee and Jan Kline