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When I first met Kevin Cornell in the early 2000s, he was employing his illustration talent mainly to draw caricatures of his fellow designers at a small Philadelphia design studio. Even in that rough, dashed-off state, his work floored me. It was as if Charles Addams and my favorite Mad Magazine illustrators from the 1960s had blended their DNA to spawn the perfect artist.

Kevin would deny that label, but artist he is. For there is a vision in his mind, a way of seeing the world, that is unlike anyone else’s—and he has the gift to make you see it too, and to delight, inspire, and challenge you with what he makes you see.

Kevin was part of a small group of young designers and artists who had recently completed college and were beginning to establish careers. Others from that group included Rob Weychert, Matt Sutter, and Jason Santa Maria. They would all go on to do fine things in our industry.

It was Jason who brought Kevin on as house illustrator during the A List Apart 4.0 brand overhaul in 2005, and Kevin has worked his strange magic for us ever since. If you’re an ALA reader, you know how he translates the abstract web design concepts of our articles into concrete, witty, and frequently absurd situations. Above all, he is a storyteller—if pretentious designers and marketers haven’t sucked all the meaning out of that word.

For nearly 10 years, Kevin has taken our well-vetted, practical, frequently technical web design and development pieces, and elevated them to the status of classic New Yorker articles. Tomorrow he publishes his last new illustrations with us. There will never be another like him. And for whatever good it does him, Kevin Cornell has my undying thanks, love, and gratitude.

7 Reader Comments

  1. That’s too bad to hear. I’ve enjoyed the illustrations as much as the articles. Best of luck to Kevin in his future endeavors. Thanks for the great illustrations.

  2. Very sad to hear. I can hardly imagine ALA without those illustrations; they are a big part of your style.
    But, if I may be so curious – have you found someone new, not to replace Kevin, but to give you a new style?

  3. Here here! Kevin’s illustrations have been such a huge part of ALA over the years; I’m sad to see him go.

    Many thanks, Kevin, for creating such an amazing body of work and defining a symbolic language for this publication. You will be missed!

  4. The illustrations that Kevin has created over the years have been just as much a part of ALA as any other element. They always seemed to capture so much so succinctly. I often remember the picture more than the individual words. I am curious to see how ALA will replace that part of each article.

  5. Oh no. 🙁

    Why? Any reasons you can share?
    Hope he’s okay and just wanting to try out something new?

    I read this only just now, two months after it was published.
    Maybe it’s just me but this kind of message (and Kevin) would have deserved a much more visible place imho!

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