Tony Gable (1951-2016) was a unique hybrid of graphic designer and musician. He was the first African American graduate of the Seattle Central Community College Graphic Design program in the 1970s during which time he also founded a funk band called Cold, Bold and Together featuring a then unknown sax player named Kenny G. Initially, Tony’s music career helped finance his dream of starting his own graphic design studio, Gable Design Group, which he launched in 1985 and proceeded to forge his reputation as a designer with great integrity, talent and compassion. As his firm grew, Tony acted as much as a mentor and teacher as he did an employer. Gable Design Group hired many interns and graduates fresh out of college, often giving them their first chance to work on a wide range of high visibility projects early in their design careers.
In 2006, Gable Design Group won a highly competitive contract to redesign Washington’s King County logo, beating out a field of nearly 30 local and out-of-state firms. When asked what this project meant to him Tony said, “My beliefs were shaped by the civil rights movement and other injustices from our time… I never dreamed I would be tapped for such an historic assignment.” Some of Tony’s other accolades include receiving the Art Institute of Seattle’s Gold Compass Award for his years of mentoring students, Seattle’s Media Inc.’s Design Person of the Year, and the mayor’s Small Business Award. He also served on the boards of AIGA Seattle and HOW Magazine. This year, King County issued a proclamation designating October 12, Tony’s birthday, as a day to remember his life and accomplishments.