Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the respect, appreciation and love towards women (although shouldn’t that be every day?!) and honour the struggles of those who have fought and are still fighting for justice to get us where we are today. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is actually a national holiday.
I am fortunately surrounded by a huge array of inspiring women in my life, however we need to reflect on those women around the world who don’t have the same rights, freedom and respect we enjoy in the developed world (with inequality still rife throughout the first world too).
I’m loving this poster made for the International Woman’s Day Special Edition of Kosova Times by Tabi Aziri.
How are you going to celebrate International Women’s Day? (And if you are a fella reading this, there is International Men’s Day too, on 19 November!)
I’ve spoken of my love for Jessica Hische before and was super excited to hear she has collaborated with Paul Buckley (the Penguin Art Director) to produce a series of Penguin book covers featuring an illustrated drop cap designed by Jessica. Each book will also have “a foil-stamped paper-over-board case and a decorative color stain on all three edges.”
A is for Austen.
B is for Brontë.
C is for Cather.
Happy International Women’s Day everyone!
Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of attending an AGDA (Australian Graphic Design Association) event entitled “Pink is the New Blue – Where the hell are all the women?”
I listed to Zoe Pollitt (Co-founder, Eskimo), Linda Jukic (Creative Director, Moon), Jacqueline Morony (Creative Director, Generation Alliance) and Yolanda Vega (Founder and CEO, Australian Womens’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry) speak and was beyond inspired by these talented and successful women.
It was interesting listening to other people’s stories – one girl was recently told by her (female) teacher at uni that she would have a tough time finding a job when she graduates as she is of child bearing age (!!). I personally have been told by a few guys that they didn’t see me as a threat because when they are going for creative director roles, I will be off having babies. Nice.
I have touched on the subject of gender inequality in graphic design before in this post. I also have a Girls in Design category on my blog that currently features Jessica Hische and Gemma O’Brien - I have many, many more amazing and inspiring women to add to this section so stay tuned.
Go give your mum, sister, girlfriend or grandma a big hug and tell them they are awesome.
Firstly I’d like to state this is not some form of a feminist rant – it is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and why I started the Girls in Design section on this blog. Time and time again, females are underrepresented in the graphic design industry. Did you know that only 3% of creative directors are female? Why are there so few well known female graphic designers working in the industry when all of my graphic design classes are made up of at least 50% women?
I was recently reading an interview with Belgian graphic designer Sara De Bondt in the book How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul by Adrian Shaughnessy (fabulous book, by the way). Adrian asked Sara:
“I meet lots of female students when I visit design schools, but it is less usual to find them in positions of influence in professional life. In the UK there are lots of female clients commissioning design. You might think this would lead to more female designers, but it doesn’t seem to….”
Highlights of Sara’s reply:
“When Grafik magazine ran a profile about my studio, a colleague responded “Ah yes, I heard they were looking for a woman”… I still frequently end up as the only female designer on the bill in design conferences and on juries.
A number of reasons have been invoked to explain the unequal representation of (celebrity) male vs. female graphic designers: from technology (lead typecases were too heavy for women to carry); society (the pay gap in Britain has grown over the last few years); the nature of the profession (late deadlines and last-minute problem-solving does not accommodate family life); to women’s supposed nature (more shy, less competitive, less self-promotional, more “collaborative”).
For me, the only valid reason for this persistent inequality is prejudice, both at the level of individuals and governments…”
Whilst Sara’s opinions are focused on the situation in the UK, I believe that there is a similar situation here in Australia and likely around the world as well. I mentioned these quotes to some male students in my graphic design class and they joked “when we are going for Creative Director positions you’ll be off having babies”. Yes they were joking, but I couldn’t help wonder if this was a sentiment often echoed throughout graphic design.
But steps are being taken in the right direction. In May I attended the Semi Permanent conference in Sydney and they had 6 female speakers talk over the 2 days.
Semi Permanent female speakers: (clockwise from top left) Kelly Thompson, Fuel VFX (not sure of the lady’s name – anyone??), Gemma O’Brien, Annie Sperling, Kayt Jones and Biddy from We Buy Your Kids
Also the website Good recently published their list of 25 Female Designers and Illustrators We Love which showcased some truly inspiring works. Hopefully things continue moving in the right direction and women in design gain more recognition and respect.
If you are a lady working in graphic design, where are you located and what are your experiences (positive or negative?)
Welcome to the second part of Girls in Design! You can find part 1 on Jessica Hische here.
Today’s spotlight is on Australian typographer and illustrator Gemma O’Brien. I had the pleasure of seeing her talk last week at the Sydney design conference Semi Permanent. I was initially struggling to stay awake due to battling a pretty intense food coma. Then the bubbly Gemma bounds onto stage, a ball of energy- waving and smiling and instantly winning the audience over. I snapped out of my slumber pronto and was hanging onto her every word.
Gemma attracted the eye of the design world back in 2007 through her blog For the Love of Type. Things really took off for her when she drew lettering all over her body in the performance piece “Write Here, Right Now” and she was invited to speak at the international design conference TypoBerlin while she was still studying at uni!
Her hand drawn typography is stylish and elegant, she even designed Bob Hawke’s (Australia’s “favourite Prime Minister”) 80th birthday invitations!
She also creates stunning illustrations, often incorporating typography into the images as shown in this drawing of a jaguar with letterforms in its fur.
Gemma currently works at Animal Logic and her previous clients include The New York Times, Design Made in Germany and Canon. Check out more of her work on her blog!
Jessica Hische is one of my favourite typographers and I look up to her elegant designs and typography work immensely. She graduated from the Tyler School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design in 2006. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Hische started off working at Headcase Design before moving to New York to work for Louise Fili. Jessica then decided to stride out on her own and is now a freelance designer, illustrator and typographer.
You might know her from her wonderful Daily Drop Cap project, which features beautifully designed drop cap letters posted daily (or at least regularly!)
She is also the creator of the delightful Buttermilk font which you can purchase from here
High profile clients of Jessica’s include Tiffany & Co, Penguin Books, Victoria’s Secret and The Wall Street Journal. Here are a few samples from her portfolio.
For more examples of Jessica’s work visit her website at http://jessicahische.is/awesome/
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