Michael Cronan 1951-2013
On January 1, 2013, ABI lost a good friend, Michael Cronan, to colon cancer. In August, Michael and his partner Karin Hibma, worked closely with the ABI team to re-brand the company, resulting in our beautiful new logo and tagline.
In August 2012, Michael and Karin facilitated the ABI team through a process of getting to the core of who we are. They listened deeply to our aspirations, our vision, our “personality”. They interviewed key stakeholders. They helped elevate our vision. They accompanied us as we wrangled with all kinds of words to try to communicate who we were. And they brought us art, beautiful art, that encapsulated those ideas and vision.
In the end, we were left with a beautiful new logo (voted on unanimously by the group).
As he was developing this, Michael told me “it needs to be dignified, and it needs to communicate a sort of credentialing aspect”. He saw the crisp edges of the ABI as representative of the precision associated with engineering, yet balanced by the colorful circles that denote diversity.
He did the same with our tagline, “Women Transforming Technology”. So simple. So powerful. So aligned with the vision Anita talked about: women at the table, creating technology that had a positive impact on the world.
We also were given an expanded version of the tagline, a sort of guiding philosophy, to be used where appropriate. “Technology Transforms the World, and Women Transform Technology”.
Did I mention he was brilliant?
Michael was a close personal friend of mine, a brother really, and I was so glad that we had the benefit of his assistance in advancing our mission. He believed in it deeply.
Once in a blue moon, you meet a person who sees straight into the deepest core of who you are, validates you, and keeps you company in that deep place that very few people visit. Michael was that person for me. He knew me more than I knew myself. I suppose that is why he was the best person I had ever seen who did “identity” work.
In addition to being a great artist, Michael was schooled in ancient history and philosophy. I always tell people, “when Michael does a logo for you, you are getting the DNA of humankind brought to bear on your mission, it is so much more than a cute piece of art”.
Michael’s humility was astounding. I started working with him in 1994. In 1996 I spent a year working with him as his business partner in Cronan Design. It was during this time that I really figured out how famous he was. Students from out of state would swing by our studio just to meet him and hear his words of wisdom. High profile international magazines like Graphis would come to do a profile on him.
Yet he was always humble beyond belief. As I learned more about the design world, and teased him about being so famous, he would tell me “Barb, this world is very small. It’s like being Head Manicurist”. He was so funny!
We will be feeling the effect of Michael’s work for many years to come. He and Karin saw the potential in ABI to change the world. They believed in our mission and our organization, and they marshaled all of their resources to take us to a whole new level.
We will miss him terribly, and through our work, make him proud.