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Motivated by the discussion from Tuesday (and Armin’s gentle prodding) I give you the following Show-and-Tell, which I offer as nothing more than a Friday afternoon diversion. I’ve chosen six book cover designs; can you guess the designers’ gender? Don’t be fooled by the subject matter: some choices are more obvious than others.

[1]  [2]  [3]   [4]  [5]  [6]

Familiar with the work already? There must be some other way you could kill ten minutes of your day; how about a brisk walk or a personal phone call? Alternately, you could post something of your own anonymously and see if we can guess your gender. (Based on the makeup of previous comments strings my bets are on “dude,” but you never can tell).

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PUBLISHED ON Apr.18.2003 BY rebecca
griff’s comment is:

my guess...

1,3 female designer

2,4,6 male designer

5 hermaphrodite designer

this was harder than i would have thought. I always feel my work is very "male" looking.

related or unrelated, when cartooning, i have a hard time illustrating women. perhaps a childhood incident is to blame.

On Apr.18.2003 at 11:36 AM
Pinky’s comment is:

I have absolutely no effing idea. None at all.

On Apr.18.2003 at 11:52 AM
pnk’s comment is:

I'm with Pinky. No clue, but I'm glad you took it to this level Rebecca!

Off topic, but it gave me a thought: what about doing some book reviews where we "judge a book by its cover." Make guesses as to what we think the content of the book is like based solely on the cover design. Whoever posts the book cover must have actually read it and can provide perspective on how close/far the interpretations are from truth...

On Apr.18.2003 at 12:01 PM
Sam’s comment is:

Yes, very difficult. I am guessing all the way, drawing to a gutshot straight:

1: Male aesthetic designer.

Best guess: J. Abbott Miller, but doubtful

2,3: Male conceptual designer.

Best guesses: Chip Kidd, Michael Ian Kaye, Evan Gaffney.

4. Female conceptual.

Best guess: Paula Scher, but very doubtful

5. Male postmodern.

Best guess: Paul Sahre

6. Male aesthetic.

Best guess: some kid from Portfolio Center who admires James Victore just a little too much

The trim size of 1,2,4 and 6 is odd, leading me to think they're published by the same publisher--an academic press judging by the titles--which could mean they're all by the same person. The whole rack could be the same person just to mess with our heads.

On Apr.18.2003 at 12:06 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

wouldn't it be funny if i never posted the answers?

On Apr.18.2003 at 01:01 PM
Damien’s comment is:

I only know one designer - Ori Kometani [number 4]. Who also did the Information Design cover edited by Robert Jacobson.

I see he's no longer a desginer at the MIT press.

The other books are by other publishers it seems.

On Apr.18.2003 at 02:20 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

Damien, you spoiler!

Actually though, Ori Kometani is a woman, at least according to my friend who worked at MIT Press for several years. He says, "If she's a man, she's passing beautifully." She's also one of my very favorite designers; I wish I knew what she was doing these days.

So that's one down. I'd feel bad giving away all the other answers before Armin had a chance to guess, since this whole thing started with his comment. I think I'll wait until next week.

On Apr.18.2003 at 02:31 PM
Damien’s comment is:

I had to guess at Kometani's gender - I'd only ever experienced 'her' through cover designs and a distinct name I could remember through striking MIT Press covers I would come across.

I heard Armin is at the bookstore right now looking up those six titles.

On Apr.18.2003 at 02:58 PM
Jonathan ’s comment is:

I am guessing it might be a trick question and they are all female?

On Apr.18.2003 at 04:06 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

Good guess! But wrong. Try again.

On Apr.18.2003 at 04:56 PM
rebecca’s comment is:


1) Sara Eisenman

2) Peter Grant

3) Alan Hill

4) Ori Kometani

5) Barbara de Wilde

6) Richard Hendel

I chose them from a few years' worth of winning entries in the AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show. I tried to choose designers who, with the exception of Barbara de Wilde and Rich Hendel (he's one of the jurors for this year's AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers show) are not terribly well-known.

On Apr.21.2003 at 05:06 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>I'd feel bad giving away all the other answers before Armin had a chance to guess, since this whole thing started with his comment. I think I'll wait until next week.

>I heard Armin is at the bookstore right now looking up those six titles.

Shitshitshitshit, I feel like a complete and utter ass. This whole thread just flew past me. I didn't pay enough attention and there is no excuse... well, maybe just the fact that I was stranded in Canada with a Windows machine sporting a dial-up modem and little to no time to check the site. Oh, and also that I was very busy today.

I really apologize. Especially since I started the whole thing and prodded Rebecca to start the topic.

Shame on me.

But to tell you the truth I had no fricking clue if the covers were done by a he or a she.

On Apr.21.2003 at 07:22 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

A likely excuse! You were too busy doing research at the bookstore.

; )

On Apr.22.2003 at 10:48 AM
armin’s comment is:

>You were too busy doing research at the bookstore.

I couldn't even do the research, the line to get some coffee was too long.

On Apr.22.2003 at 11:22 AM
joy olivia’s comment is:

Anyone care to guess whether a man or woman created this one?

I picked up this title at a book sale at the library in the small town where my grandparents live. I did judge the book by its cover, and I was pleasantly surprised by who was the creator.

On Jun.18.2003 at 07:51 AM
armin’s comment is:

>and I was pleasantly surprised by who was the creator.

If you were surprised it could mean it was somebody famous, it looks like a Milton Glaser. Except for the type, that looks like a Herb Lubalin. But a man did it for sure, women don't tend to depict their sex parts as flowers. Unless they lived in the Renaissance. Or in Savannah, Georgia.

On Jun.18.2003 at 08:23 AM
joy olivia’s comment is:

Good call. It's Glaser. The flowery girl parts I thought would trick folks. Man or woman, it's a lovely composition, no?.

On Jun.18.2003 at 08:46 AM
armin’s comment is:

>Good call. It's Glaser.

Yeah baby!

On Jun.18.2003 at 08:51 AM
rebecca’s comment is:

Cool cover. I'm with Armin on the flowery genitals, though I'd add unless you're Georgia O'Keefe.

On Jun.18.2003 at 05:03 PM
joy olivia’s comment is:

God, I feel so out of the loop and ashamed. Why hadn't I picked up on the trend of male artists representin' lady bits with botanicals before? Egads!

On Jun.19.2003 at 07:38 AM
What am I’s comment is:

This logo:

Done by guy or girl?

(Please don't look at the image source —that would be cheating)

On Aug.13.2003 at 12:37 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Fine! nobody wants to play? I did it! Yeah, I have a feminine side too... besides the stuffed animal collection.

On Aug.13.2003 at 04:42 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

dude, i was totally going to say: "that has armin written all over it!!!"

On Aug.13.2003 at 04:48 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Did Filosofia give me away?

Just FYI, it's for a spa, hence the fumey emanations. The three hearts and the colors were a set requirement.

On Aug.13.2003 at 05:08 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> The three hearts and the colors were a set requirement.


On Aug.13.2003 at 05:20 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

Did Filosofia give me away?

Mmmmm, no. You just seem like a pink hearts and curlicues kind of guy.


On Aug.13.2003 at 05:59 PM
Armin’s comment is:


>You just seem like a pink hearts and curlicues kind of guy.

Oh shut up both of ya!

On Aug.13.2003 at 06:35 PM