The immense body of work produced by graphic designers around the world is astoundingly varied, rich and widely celebrated. Yet in publications, conferences and other public realms, women designers tend to be outnumbered by their male counterparts whose appearances, work and achievements are constantly in the spotlight. Luckily, it’s a reversing trend. While this book does not attempt to relieve the imbalance, it does bring full attention to the wonderful work, careers and contributions of women designers, writers, teachers and entrepreneurs around the world.
The women in this book have been divided into three groups, representative of the time in which their influence was most heartily felt: Groundbreakers, Pathfinders and Trailblazers. These three generations have helped shape the modern landscape of design. Explore the work, ideals and ventures that have helped define the last fifty years of the graphic design profession. Learn about the women who helped establish design’s relevance, importance and impact — and the ones who carry their tradition into new territory.
Just as we may find inspiration within the pages of this book and be influenced by the stories and work that these designers, teachers, and writers have shared, they, in turn, provide us with a glimpse of the women they have been influenced by or the ones whose work or persona they admire. While limited in scope to those included in the book — and to three choices, as otherwise a book could be filled with these associations alone — each choice amounts to a broader network of women defining the graphic design profession.
This diagram is included in the book as a fold-out spread. Click on the image to see a much larger version
This book about women in design turns out to be a great book about design, period, except with fresher, more surprising work, and less bombastic interviews. Highly recommended to 100% of the population.
— Michael Bierut, Partner, Pentagram
Photographers, film directors, comedians — design isn’t the only creative field in which the contribution of women is routinely overlooked. Thanks to this much-needed survey, no conference programmer, exhibition curator or magazine editor will have any excuse in the future.
— Patrick Burgoyne, Editor, Creative Review
A deep and enlightening compendium that smartly features writers and educators alongside designers. A great collection, which explores far beyond the usual suspects.
— luke Hayman, Partner, Pentagram
This modern matriarchy has given birth to practically every important visual and conceptual form of design expression. I remain humbled and indebted to these many courageous visionaries.
— Rick Valicenti, Designer and Founder, Thirst
Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit have documented one of the critical dynamics of the design profession. Those who provide clarity of thinking and writing about design, who influence its direction, and who demonstrate not just the reach toward but the grasp of excellence are women, many not regularly singled out for their achievements. This collection is a critical addition to the unfolding history of design during this, its most extraordinary era.
— Richard Grefé, Executive Director, AIGA|The Professional Association for Design
I don’t know if society is such now that appreciating designers based on their sex is any more or less arbitrary (and adverse) as doing so based on age, geography, or alma mater. I do know that women designers — especially amongst my students — seek to discover successful women in the field for role models and affirmation. Women of Design
is a popular collection that well serves this need: diverse, thoughtful, and progressive. I look forward to drawing from it exclusively when counseling aspiring male designers. Whether they gain a new perspective or take it for granted, it’s win-win!
— Kenneth Fitzgerald, Design Educator and Writer
Born and raised in Mexico City, Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit are graphic designers and co-founders of UnderConsideration
, a growing network and enterprise dedicated to the progress of the graphic design profession and its practitioners, students and enthusiasts. Since 2002, UnderConsideration has launched four websites — Speak Up, Brand New, Quipsologies, and The Design Encyclopedia — that have been part of the growing dialog in design, and in 2007, they formed its Department of Design to serve clients. Bryony and Armin each have a decade of experience in various disciplines including corporate and brand identity, annual reports, business collateral, packaging, web design and programming, and magazine and book design.
When not working, writing or obsessing about design, Armin lectures on a range of topics in a range of cities. Bryony allows it, and even joins him on occasion, like their last joint talk in Venice, Italy. As if that wasn’t enough design activity, they also find time to be judgmental and participate on national design juries for organizations like Adobe, the Art Directors Club, the Society of Publication Designers, the Type Directors Club, and the occasional magazine. They published their first book, The Word It Book
, in 2007 with HOW Books, and are currently working on a 400-page reference book that will serve as a guide to the graphic design profession.
They reside in Brooklyn, New York, with their daughter, Maya, and two cats.