Tuesday 31 January 2012

Miss Representation

Looking forward to this film.

The W Project

Words of Wisdom is the second exhibition from the W Project, scheduled again to coincide with International Women’s Day. They are inviting an exciting mix of female talent to contribute a creative response to the question: what are your words of wisdom?

The exhibition opens with a private view on the 8th of March 2012 at The KK Outlet in London. Events taking place alongside the exhibition include a symposium dinner featuring talks by women who have succeeded in their creative field, a film screening and a youth workshop.

For more information about the exhibition or the W Project in general, please e-mail info@thewproject.co.uk or visit the-w-project.tumblr.com/

Monday 30 January 2012


A feminist publication on art and politics

Read more on the Heresies archive

Sunday 29 January 2012

US Women

In October 2010, The White House published its paper on ‘Jobs and Economic Security for America's Women’, you can download the complete pdf here.

‘When America first put the Equal Pay Act on the books in 1963 women earned 59 cents for every dollar paid to men. Today, almost 50 years after the Equal Pay Act became law, women are paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. The gender wage gap has narrowed, but it has not disappeared and has been virtually flat over the past decade.’

Is the Arab Spring Bad for Women?

‘Overthrowing male dominance could be harder than overthrowing a dictator’ writes Isobel Coleman at Foreign Policy. Another FP article gives the following percentage of college students who are female:
71%    Bermuda
57%    United States
56%    Brazil
53%    Iran
38%    South Korea

Suffragettes to She-Devils

Suffragettes to She-Devils: Women's Liberation and Beyond
The developing role of graphics in the struggle for women’s liberation. Written by Liz McQuiston, with a foreword by Germaine Greer and designed by Pentagram. Order via Phaidon.

What designers look like

Someone still thinks that all designers look like men. Time to crash this website!

The Female Factor

‘Why do so few women reach the top of design? The short answer is the same lack of self-belief and entitlement that dogs them in every other profession, combined with opposition from those who commission the majority of design projects, most of whom are men. The graphic designer Paula Scher once described this as the “Why did I get the woman?” syndrome. Read entire article by Alice Rawstorn on the website of The New York Times

Hal of Femmes

The first series of monographies on female graphic designers, initiated, designed and edited by Swedish collective Hjarta Smarta. More information on www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/09/29/hall-of-femmes 

Jacqueline Casey

‘There are many women designers who deserve to be recognised for their immense contributions to the field of graphic design, but few so deserving as Jacqueline Casey (1927–91).’ Read more about her on the Eye website.

Offensive typographic jokes?

‘Whatever your opinion about prostitution, it is surprising that the brief – and most entries – appear to accept this form of selling sex. So while we could discuss, given this premise, whether tart cards succeed in their mission, the project makes us wonder instead at what point a designer’s moral viewpoint meets such a brief.’ More on the Eye blog

Card by Abake

Elephant no.6

Issue 6 of Elephant magazine includes an article on the status of women in graphic design today, written by Astrid Stavro. With interviews with Mia Frostner, Apfel, Linda van Deursen and many more. Order your copy here.

Slanted #12

Issue 12 of Slanted showcases the work of female designers such as Ariane Spanier (Berlin), Julia Born (Amsterdam) and Verena Gerlach (Berlin), the photographic essays “Brides of Krishna” by Kalpesh Lathigra (dmbmedia / London) and “Female Marines” from the archives of the U.S. Marine Corps as well as contemporary typefaces, illustrations and graphic projects by female designers. Type essays by Laure Boer (Berlin) and Gerda Breuer/Julia Meer (Wuppertal) are dealing with the role of women in graphic design and typography and outline a corresponding history. Numerous interviews with Verena Gerlach (Berlin), Ariane Spanier (Berlin, Nadine Chahine (Bad Homburg), Veronika Burian (Prag), Laura Worthington (Washington), Kapitza (London), Geneviève Gauckler (Paris), Esen Karol (Istanbul), Akiko Kanna (Tokyo) and Susanne Baer (Tokyo) as well as the second part of the Tokyo report by Ian Lynam (Tokyo), a musical travelogue and a paper report round up stuff to read. Order your copy through the Slanted website or see some more images here.

Women of Design (book)

‘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.’ More information on this book can be found here and a review of it here

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville

Sheila de Bretteville, renowned designer and typographer, left the Feminist Art Program at CalArts to co-found the Woman’s Building, the Women’s Graphic Center, the Feminist Studio Workshop and Chrysalis Magazine. After that she became the founding Chair of the Communication Arts Department at Otis College of Art and Design. She is currently on faculty at Yale. More info on the AIGA website

This video was commissioned by Otis College of Art and Design and is part of an ongoing series of oral histories about the Woman's Building partially funded by the Getty Foundation.

The Women's Graphic Center

In 1981 the Woman’s Building founded the Women’s Graphic Center Typesetting and Design, a for-profit business designed to strengthen their finances and support the artistic endeavours of the Building. They provided phototypesetting, graphic design, production and printing services. 
The Woman’s Building was founded in 1973 by artist Judy Chicago, graphic designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and art historian Arlene Raven.
More information on Wikipedia 

Women in Design: The Next Decade – A conference for women who work with public visual and physical forms, Mar. 20 at the Woman's Building. Forms part of: Woman's Building records 1970-1992

Doing It in Public

Doin’ It in Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman's Building comprises an exhibition, two scholarly publications, and series of public events that document, contextualize and pay tribute to the groundbreaking work of feminist artists and art cooperatives that were centered in and around the Los Angeles Woman’s Building (downtown L.A.) in the 1970s and 1980s. 
The exhibition website is here
A tour of the exhibition is here
And some suggested reading can be found here

Michael Bierut & The Glass Ceiling

Michael Bierut tackles Milton Glaser's comment:
‘Women get pregnant, have children, go home and take care of their children. And those essential years that men are building their careers and becoming visible are basically denied to women who choose to be at home.’ He continued: ‘Unless something very dramatic happens to the nature of the human experience then it's never going to change.’ About day care and nannies, he said, ‘None of them are good solutions.’
Read more on Design Observer

Zuzana Licko

ZL: Rudy and I are both very detail-oriented and hands-on. This makes it difficult for us to work together. I’m not a great collaborator and neither is he. It’s one reason why I switched my studies from architecture to graphics. I realised that having to compromise with so many outside opinions wouldn’t allow me the kind of creative freedom I desired. I’m no diplomat! Our Emigre collaboration works because we each control a distinct part of the equation. I control my typeface designs, Rudy controls the magazine, and Emigre is the symbiosis. 
As for the gender-biased recognition, I don’t know what the perception is from the outside, but I feel that I do get as much recognition for my type designs as Rudy is getting for the magazine.
A bigger problem for me is that type designers in general are under-recognised. For example, it often happens that a graphic designer takes full credit for a logo, even when most of its character came from the typeface. Even other designers tend to forget that there is a high level of creativity in typeface design. So it’s not so much a problem of being a woman in a man’s world, it’s being a type designer in a world that gives little recognition to this art form, and I find this disillusioning.

RR: You named your Baskerville revival after Sarah Eaves, who became Baskerville’s wife and finished printing the volumes he left incomplete on his death. Is the typographic world as male-dominated as it appears from the outside?

ZL: The history of type design is rooted in the use of heavy machinery and lead founding, which have traditionally not been considered women’s work. Today, the discipline is available to any artist who embraces computer technology, but it is one of the more technical specialities within visual design. A type designer does benefit from some understanding of computer programming – another field that women traditionally seldom enter, though maybe this will change. Certainly, the field of type design is more open to women than it ever has been.
Read the rest of her interview in Eye 75.

Ellen Lupton

Two articles by Ellen Lupton

‘Today, women are among the most influential designers of American books, having forged key paradigms in the exterior packaging and internal architecture of jacket and page.’
Read more on Typotheque

‘Younger mothers, I’ve learned, are more likely to stay at home with their small children than women my age. I was born in 1963, at the tail end of the Baby Boom, and I grew up in a household with two working parents, always believing that work would define my life.’  Read more on AIGA or Ellen's website

Women giving feminism a bad name

Spare me from the whining women who are giving feminism a bad name article
"Sadly, a lot of what passes for feminism these days is just moaning about men, congratulating ourselves on nothing in particular, and mocking them for being big kids while doing everything we can to keep them that way." Read Julie Burchill's full article on The Guardian