It is with great sadness that FORA.tv joins the mourning for Michael Cronan who passed away on January 1, 2013. Michael, with his wife and business partner, Karin Hibma, was a creative force, influencing people’s personal connection to technology and elevating graphic design to a key part of business strategy. Michael and Karin designed the original FORA.tv logo and branding materials. They helped give birth to the company’s founding mission of helping people discover the brilliant ideas being expressed around the globe.
Michael and Karin’s firm, : : CRONAN : :, worked closely with FORA.tv’s founding team to create our distinctive brand. ”Michael and his wife Karin Hibma were partners from the early beginnings of FORA.tv, from the day Bob Appel and I trekked up to their Berkeley home to envision the brand and the business. We came up with the tagline, “The World is Thinking,” while sitting around their kitchen table,” recalled FORA.tv founder Brian Gruber. “They were generous, committed, and pivotal in setting the aesthetic and conceptual tone of the Company. More than that, Michael was a great friend, and one of the most impressive men I have ever worked with.”
CRONAN is well known, of course, for having conceived the branding for Amazon’s Kindle and TiVo. Their client list includes everyone from Apple to Levi-Strauss to Estee Lauder, among others. He was a founding member of the American Institute of Graphic Art (AIGA) chapter in San Francisco and the AIGASF chapter president after serving on the AIGA national board for three years.
Here’s how CRONAN described their work on our behalf: FORA.tv is one of the most thought-provoking sites on the internet. Visionary founder CEO Brian Gruber conceived of lectures and debates from all over the world on politics, public policy, history, and culture served up in broadband video, “We want to create a global community for intellectually curious people.” : : CRONAN : : created the identity, brand and design strategy to make FORA.tv, look and feel like a global media company. The world IS thinking.
Just two weeks ago, Michael and Karin had sent a box of oranges – Seedless Organic Satsuma Mandarins grown in Newcastle, California, to be precise — to the gang here at FORA.tv. It was something they did every year — so simple and so generous. Over the past four years Michael and Karin had welcomed my family and I into their beautiful Berkeley home, I’d shared drinks with Michael at the Bohemian Club, and I frequently called up Michael to discuss branding and positioning. No matter how busy (or sick) he was, he always made time to help.
Michael was an inspiration and a friend to all of us at FORA.tv. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Karin, his sons, and granddaughter. We will miss him.
From the New York Times: Michael Cronan, Who Gave TiVo and Kindle Their Names, Dies at 61
From the San Francisco Chronicle: Brand name creator Michael Cronan dies
Donations in Michael’s name can be made to the local organizations Coaching Corps, Cook for Your Life, Healthy Child Healthy World, Futures Without Violence or the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. His family plans to hold a public memorial on June 9 at the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park in Berkeley.
Watch Michael with Richard Saul Wurman at EG 2008: