Ray Hrynkow, FGDC, husband and partner of 36 years to Casey Hrynkow, FGDC, and alumnus of Emily Carr University of Art and Design lost a ferocious 6-year battle with pancreatic cancer on March 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm. He was only 58 and had so much more living to do. He was surrounded by a huge loving family keeping a constant vigil by his bedside.
Ray was a champion for design and design education in Canada. A recipient of over 200 national and international awards for design, Ray advocated for design and its role in Canadian business and culture. He was a leader in the profession in Canada. Ray knew that Canada was made greater through the work of its communication designers. He spoke and wrote frequently about design's role in growing our economy and cultural awareness. He was principal of Herrainco Brand Strategy and Design from 1986 until his death.
Of all the descriptors used by people that knew Ray, the words "gentle" and "gentlemen" are the most common. He was incredibly passionate and uncompromising, yet soft. He loved design, but he loved people, too. He took great joy and pleasure in championing a young student or graduate. Many new and spectacular careers were launched from Herrainco.
Ray was made a Fellow of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada in 2011 in recognition of his profound influence on the British Columbia design community. His commitment to design, best professional practices and community support were a major factor contributing to the sum of the GDC as a profession and as a Society as a whole. Ray loved promoting young designers. He respected their vision. He wanted them to be better than he ever was. In honour of that love, in late 2011 he created the Ray Hrynkow Scholarship to be awarded to a third year student in a four-year design degree program. The award will go to a candidate showing great promise as a “thinking” designer — one who demonstrates an understanding of sociology and anthropology in their work.
Ray loved communication design, design in general, and burgeoning talent in the field.. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
— Casey Hrynkow, BDes., CGD, FGDC
On behalf of the GDC executive and all our members, we extend our deepest sympathies to Casey and her family on their loss. It’s very sad news.
Ray was one of a kind. His amazing talent, his leadership, and his generosity will be sorely missed. The Canadian design community has lost a special veteran who helped move the bar on the design profession. He was an inspiration to all who met him, worked with him, and learned from him. May he rest in peace.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Casey and her family.
Sincerely, Jim Hudson, BDes, CGD
GDC National President
Reminiscences of Ray may be sent to and we will add them to this article.
A Celebration of the Life of Ray Hrynkow will take place April 1, at 2pm at Emily Carr University of Art & Design on Granville Island.
In lieu of flowers, the family would greatly appreciate donations to the Ray Hrynkow Scholarship through the GDC.
Donate online: www.gdc.net/about/
By mail: Send your cheque (made out to GDC, with a note that it is for the GDC Foundation, Ray Hrynkow Scholarship fund) to: GDC, Arts Court, 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6E2
By phone: with your credit card, call toll free 877-496-4453.
In Memory of Ray Hrynkow...
I remember the first time I met Ray - I think it was at a GDC event at Rep-art back when they were on Pender Street around 1989. I was struck by how sincere he was and how open he was to share his knowledge and spend time with a young upstart like me. I think he was the GDC Ethics chair at the time. I've always looked up to Ray (and Casey) and have held their firm's design and ethical practice as one of the best anywhere, and something our firm - and me personally - constantly aspire to.
Sadly, I hadn't seen Ray for the past few years, the last time was at Ion's 20th anniversary party. I knew he was battling cancer but I had heard it was in remission. I'm so very sad I didn't get an opportunity to say goodbye, or to see him more recently. It's unfair that one of our best be struck down so young. We've lost a great designer, a good friend and a wonderful human being. You will be missed Ray.
— David Coates, CGD, FGDC
Personally, and on behalf of Karo Group, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Casey and the rest of Ray’s family.
Ray was a lovely man, a strong competitor, a talented designer, and a long-standing mentor in Vancouver’s design family. His legacy will live on through those he inspired along the journey.
— Anne Farrer, Vice President, Managing Director, KARO
Truly a sad occasion made all the sadder that Ray was the same age as me. A reminder of life's capricious inevitability - unfortunately he and I will now never have the chance to meet. Sympathies to Casey and family. Ray's creative accomplishments speak for themselves and his passion to promote design was obvious.
— Michael Marshall, CGD, FGDC
If you were, as I was, a semi-clueless wanna-be designer in late 1980s Vancouver, there were a handful of people who really stood out as the thinkers/leaders/doers in the design community.
No one stood out more than Ray Hrynkow.
I was very lucky to get to know Ray—and of course Casey—as I began to make my way in design. His sense of design was clearly impressive, but it was really Ray the person that always impressed me most. I don't recall him ever having anything but a positive outlook about our profession, about people, or really about anything, come to think of it. Plus Ray had cool glasses before cool glasses were cool glasses.
Ray always struck me as someone to whom commitment, to design or to anything else, REALLY meant commitment. He and Casey always complemented each other professionally—Vancouver design's power couple!—and their individual and collective dedication to design is clear, but to be around them on a personal level was to get a glimpse of something much, much deeper.
So here's to you Ray.
You were truly one of the good ones, and those of us who were fortunate to know you even a little are so much richer for the experience.
—Dave Mason, FGDC
Gentle man. That is definitely how I'll remember Ray. He was warm, lovely, funny and so very talented. My husband & I agreed how special he made everyone feel...whether you were an old friend or a new one. Our last conversation was about indie rock bands we loved & the calming wonders of tai chi. He was passionate and so optimistic about everything. I wished I'd known him longer...but the time I did have with him, as short as it was, was always warm, kind, positive. Made me want to be a better person, being around Ray. We parted that day with a big bear hug (he was much taller than I, so that's how it felt) and supportive smiles for one another.
I found out about his passing in the middle of the night. Friday night I was pretty tired and went to bed the same time as my little boy. Before going to bed, I noticed some Facebook messages that didn't seem well and got worried. Around 3am, my worst fears were realized. I cried a little and then felt very grateful to have known him and to experience some of the immense love between him & Casey, and his family.
Ray, you left quite a legacy...and a long trail of admirers, friends and family who will never let you go.
— Nancy Wu, CGD
Casey and Ray took me into their office as an intern over a decade ago. I remember Ray as a teacher, mentor and, most importantly, a great example of what it meant to be a professional in the design community. Ray exhibited a gentle intensity in his method and an enthusiasm that I will always aspire to match. I'm grateful to have known Ray and to have been the recipient of his generosity. What a nice man.
— Peter Robertson
Ray was a design legend in Canada and one can truly say that. Along with his great wife Casey, I always saw them as Canada's version of the US power design couple Massimo and Lella Vignelli — both unique talented individuals but great great together. I was fortunate enough to get to know them (which they encouraged) and even more fortunate to work with them for many years. Ray epitomized everything a designer should aspire to be. He was one of the main reasons I got into this wacky but wonderful business. He loved design and all things related, he encouraged everyone he came into contact with — especially design students and any fellow professionals who may have been in between jobs — he always had time for a coffee or some good words of help. He has left behind a great legacy of work, a legion of admirers and of course an incredible family. Here's to you Ray.
— Jim Skipp, CGD
Ray was an inspiration to so many of us starting our design careers in Vancouver in the 1980s. I remember being somewhat anxious the first time I met him, but both Ray and Casey made this shy, awkward rookie feel at ease and welcome. Like many here have said, Ray was one of the good guys.
— Steve McGuffie, CGD
Although I met Ray only a few times, and then rather briefly, the impression he made on me was indelible. I was then a member of the Design faculty at Emily Carr, and Ray was either looking for Casey (with whom I taught) or seeking information about our students at the annual graduation exhibition. He emanated goodness, a gentleness of spirit, intelligence, good humour, and a passionate dedication to design and the mentorship of young talent. In an age that wants for more of his kind, Ray was truly a fine man, and we will remember him with deep respect and affection.
— Sharon Romero
Many years ago I dropped into visit Ray and Casey in their Gastown studio and was warmly welcomed with tea and a chat about design. What I quickly came to realize about Ray was his sensitivity and gentle approach to creating images or the act of communication itself. This tiny moment shared provided a lasting impression on my own work of which I am grateful to this day. Oh, we both had a very good laugh over our love for the photo copier. I recall Ray referring to his (pre/Mac/scanning) technique as "Kachunking", like him - brilliant!
- May 05, 2013Design leader, typographer extraordinaire & educator passes away.
- April 13, 2013World Communication Design Day April 27: how will you celebrate it?
- March 26, 2013Applied Arts is Canada's premier magazine of the communication arts.
- March 13, 2013New National Scholarships Announced for 2013
- February 27, 2013Application deadline April 15, 2013
- February 25, 2013Carl Dair (1912-1967) Typographic Designer
- February 19, 2013Don't miss the P22 Underground type sale for members!
- February 19, 2013Take a Digital Media Labour Market Survey.
- February 14, 2013University of Toronto responds to demand
- February 08, 2013Canadian typography mates with Canadian technology.
- December 17, 2012How many shopping days left?!?! Yikes!!!
- December 13, 2012Special eNews edition for all you Holiday Givers!
- November 23, 2012$15 for 16 cards!!! Holy Black Friday Batman!!!
- November 14, 2012Designers, designer cards, designer prizes, designer members, designer sales, designer ethics, all things designer.
- November 03, 2012GDC well represented in the Student Awards
- October 22, 2012Great cause, great prizes to be won!
- October 11, 2012
- October 10, 2012Historic news from across the country and around the globe.
- October 01, 2012Working together to raise awareness of the value of the certification of designers worldwide
- September 29, 2012Want to create the new identity & brand platform for Canada's national design association?
- September 25, 2012
- September 12, 2012Welcome back to school!
- August 08, 2012Acknowledgement for Lifetime Contributions to Design
- August 07, 2012...a significant step forward in unifying, refining and enhancing visual communications certification in Canada.
- August 07, 2012Tasty design news from across the country.
- July 16, 2012National Survey closes at midnight tonight
- July 01, 2012Vintage poem and Canadian letterpress typography to commemorate Canada Day.
- July 01, 2012Canada Type builds a legacy for Canadian typography students with a new GDC National Scholarship Fund
- June 15, 2012Calling all Canadian Creatives!
- June 15, 20122012 National Scholarship Recipients Announced
- May 30, 2012GDC@50 Poster Sale to Benefit GDC Foundation
- May 30, 2012GDC is proud to support this inaugural workshop organized by Rod McDonald FGDC and Patrick Griffin of Canada Type.
- May 23, 2012New National Executive & Fellows Announced
- May 07, 2012First election in memory to decide president.
- April 13, 2012Get ready to commemorate World Communication Design Day
- March 27, 2012BC Design Leader Loses Battle with Cancer
- March 20, 2012It must feel like spring somewhere out there...
- March 15, 2012Sales from font to support GDC design education programs.
- March 02, 2012Don’t let your certification inadvertently lapse.
- February 29, 2012Long time collaborative relationship formalized.
- February 20, 2012Sharing the love of design.
- February 20, 2012A Canadian icon who followed his own unique path and style.
- February 15, 2012GDC Foundation Announces the Ray Hrynkow Scholarship
- January 31, 2012January marks the launch of the GDC’s Annual Chapter Member Surveys
- January 25, 2012New Group Benefits Plan includes dental, medical, life, disability and critical illness insurance.
- January 16, 2012Deadline of January 20, 2012
- January 13, 2012All the news that is design-worthy!
- December 12, 2011Donate and your name will be entered to win!
- December 01, 2011GDC Fellow, graphic designer, illustrator, artist, NSCAD Professor Emeritus and mentor, Horst Deppe, has passed away at the age of 82.
- November 30, 2011Only 25 days until Christmas... get working on that office promo now!!