David Lance Goines, the graphic artist and printmaker whose evocative posters helped define the aesthetic of Berkeley’s counterculture, beginning with his sensuous images for Chez Panisse, the artisanal French restaurant opened by Alice Waters, a former girlfriend, died on Feb. 19 at his home in Berkeley, Calif. He was 77.
The cause was complications of a stroke, a niece, Hannah Hoffman, said.
Mr. Goines’s signage for Chez Panisse, starting with the flame-haired woman with the plume of feathers he created for the poster announcing the now-storied restaurant’s opening in 1971, became emblematic of its visual identity and earthy, bohemian ethos. He said the woman was nobody in particular: an embodiment of romance drawn from his imagination.
His distinctive images and lettering, inspired by German Art Nouveau and Japanese woodblock prints, among other influences, and refracted through his own fastidious sensibilities, appeared on Chez Panisse matchbooks, menus, cookbooks and the posters he made every year to celebrate the restaurant’s anniversaries.
As the restaurant’s fame grew, so did Mr. Goines’s reputation and impact. His work came to symbolize Berkeley itself: he created posters for institutions like the Pacific Film Archive, run by his and Ms. Waters’s friend Tom Luddy; countless local businesses — his puffing locomotive, for Velo Sport Bicycles, is a standout; public service announcements, like an AIDS prevention poster designed for the University of California at Berkeley’s health services; and political movements.
His powerful response to the 1991 Persian Gulf war — a faceless soldier in camouflage holding a skull, titled “No War” — is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
It was an earlier antiwar protest, the Free Speech Movement, which erupted on the Berkeley campus in 1964, that set him on his path. He was a classics major swept up in the politics of the time, and when he and others were threatened with expulsion for handing out political leaflets on campus, it galvanized more than a thousand students to take over Sproul Hall, where the administration offices were.
The sit-in there made national news when nearly 800 students, Mr. Goines among them, were arrested.
He was proud to say he was arrested 14 times in the ’60s. He was thrilled, too, to have been thrown of school, which he hated, and by the art of printing, which he learned as an apprentice at the Berkeley Free Press, a small publishing house and haven for radicals dedicated to producing material for all sorts of political groups.
“The revolution ran on paper and ink and the BFP was where it all came from,” Mr. Goines wrote in his account of the times, “The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960s,” published in 1993. “The antiwar and civil rights movements kept us running at full capacity.”
The press also did work for pornographers, arcane religious sects and an organization called the Sexual Freedom League — Mr. Goines designed its letterhead, appropriating Albrecht Dürer’s engraving of Adam and Eve. The League invited the staff to its weekly orgies, but by his account Mr. Goines and most of his colleagues demurred.
Before long he was running his own print shop with Tom Weller, a graphic designer who went on to make psychedelic posters and album covers for Country Joe and the Fish.
Ms. Waters was working for the left-wing journalist Robert Scheer’s failed campaign for Congress in 1966 when she walked into the print shop to order leaflets. Mr. Goines wooed her with his calligraphy — gorgeous hand-lettered notes and illustrations — and she soon moved in with him.
Together they wrote a cooking column, called Alice’s Restaurant, for the counterculture newspaper the San Francisco Express Times, incorporating recipes she had adapted from friends and his block prints, which often had nothing to do with the recipe they accompanied (a medieval castle and knight above marinated tomatoes, for example).
Mr. Goines collected the illustrations in a book, “Thirty Recipes Suitable for Framing,” and with the proceeds he bought the Berkeley Free Press, which he renamed the Saint Hieronymus Press (a homage to St. Jerome, otherwise known as Eusebius Hieronymus, the patron saint of librarians and scholars). He ran the paper with Mr. Weller.
Mr. Goines was opinionated and passionate, Mr. Weller said in a phone interview. “His calligraphy was as intense as his politics,” he said.
He was particular in his dress, favoring a dark suit, vest and pocket watch and, often, a bowler hat. “It almost felt like he had dropped in from another century — his considered speech, his manners, everything,” Ms. Waters wrote in her 2017 memoir, “Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook.”
Ms. Waters loved visiting the press to watch Mr. Goines and Mr. Weller mix colors for posters. “It was a dream,” she wrote, “like watching someone cook for you in the kitchen.”
The couple broke up before Chez Panisse opened, but remained lifelong friends. His posters were gifts to the business, and he dined free of charge.
“My job is to get your attention and keep it long enough for the message to get across,” Mr. Goines wrote in the preface to a collection of his work published in 1994.
He likened his work to a pair of bluejeans, meant for everyday use. “Of course, you can’t wear bluejeans to the opera,” he said, “but I’ll let somebody else design evening wear.”
David Lance Goines was born on May 29, 1945, in Grants Pass, Ore., the oldest of eight children, and grew up in Fresno and Oakland, Calif. His father, Warren Goines, was a civil engineer; his mother, Wanda (Burch) Goines, was an artist and calligrapher who sent her children to school with their names elegantly rendered on their lunch bags. It was his mother who taught him hand-lettering and was, he often said, his biggest influence.
He is survived by his brothers, Lincoln, Lawrence and Daniel, and a stepdaughter, Cybele Leverett. His marriages to Sarah Leverett, Edie Sei Ichioka and Sophie Aissen ended in divorce.
Mr. Goines’s 1982 book, “A Constructed Roman Alphabet: A Geometric Analysis of the Greek and Roman Capitals and of the Arabic numerals,” is a touchstone for graphic designers; it won the American Book Award for typography in 1983. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the Library of Congress; and his alma mater.
Yet he adamantly rejected the title of artist.
“He considered himself of the artisan class,” said Richard Seibert, a poet and letterpress designer who worked with Mr. Goines for the last three decades. “And for him it was an almost sacred obligation to pass the craft forward. There was a steady stream of apprentices coming through the shop, including me. After you reached a certain degree of proficiency, the apprenticeship would end.”
Mr. Goines always marked that moment with a ritual.
“He would shake your hand,” Mr. Seibert said, “and say rather solemnly, ‘You are shaking the hand that shook the hand that shook the hand of Johannes Gutenberg’” — making the point that every printer was connected to the generations of printers who preceded him or her, straight back to the inventor of the European printing press.
“I am a competent technician,” Mr. Goines wrote in “Art in the Making: Essays by Artists About What They Do,” published last year by Fisher Press and the John Stevens Shop. “I give value for value. I am an honest workman, and I do not want people to think that I am a con man, running a scam, cheating the king out of his money under the pretense of making for him a suit of clothes that only the virtuous can perceive. Therefore, I do not call myself an artist.
“I make flat representational objects,” he continued, listing many of them, “in return for money. I’m glad that people like what I do, because that means I can go on doing it.”