It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned vet or a newcomer to the world of design, knowing the history of your profession can help one change how a profession works and can help you become a leader in your field. Plus, you should know who were the ones who challenged the status quo and paved the way for today’s designers, and which designers are doing so at this very moment.
In recognition of Women’s History Month, we recognize a few of the notable women designers who were pioneers in their field and made a prominent impact in the world of design.
Paula Scher is considered to be the most influential female graphic designer; her designs are viewed by millions and many may not know it’s the work of a very talented woman. Paula has done work for NYC Transit, the Sundance Film Festival, the Public Theater, New York City Ballet, Tiffany & Co., Citibank, the MOMA, and even Microsoft. Many have seen Microsoft’s Windows 8 logo and it was Paula Scher who was the mastermind behind the design.
The New York Times called Muriel Cooper the “design heroine you’ve probably never heard of”, yet Bill Gates was interested in her work. Muriel started out as a print designer, but when the times changed, she jumped right to digital design. Muriel saw the computer’s potential in the creative process, and after she cofounded the research group MIT Visible Language Workshop she presented typography graphics that were shown in three dimensions. The graphics were interactive and able to move, change sizes and had the ability to shift focal points. Her interest in graphics and typography paved the way for later developments in the user interface used on smartphones and computers.
One of the original employees of NeXT, Susan Kare has designed for many big, well-known companies since 1983. She’s worked for companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, as well as Apple Computer. In fact, during the 1980’s Kare was the designer responsible for the interface design elements for the Apple Macintosh. She was also the designer responsible for the card deck design for the solitaire game that comes standard on the Windows operating system.
Cipe Pineles paved the way for female designers and serves as an inspiration to many. During the 1940’s when Cipe was looking for her first job she attracted interest due to her unusual name, but employers quickly lost interest when they found out she was a woman. However, that didn’t stop Cipe from getting back on the horse and leading by example. She eventually became the first woman to hold the position of art director for a major magazine when she was hired on by Glamour in 1942. Cipe went on to work for other major magazine companies such as Seventeen, Charm and Mademoiselle.