Women in Graphic Design
Whether working with clients or on independent projects, the women graphic designers featured here have made lasting contributions to the field of visual communication. With technological developments in the 20th and 21st centuries, graphic design has become an important vehicle for creative and intellectual expression. The information conveyed by typefaces, book covers, posters, and magazines is the result of deliberate choices made by graphic designers.
Alice Cordelia Morse
A prominent artist of the Arts and Crafts movement, Alice Cordelia Morse (American, 1863–1961) started her career as a glass painter for the firm of Louis C. Tiffany before returning to The Cooper Union for postgraduate training in art and design. She began designing book covers in the late 1880s and quickly became one of the most sought-after artists in the field.
Trained at the Kansas City Art Institute, April Greiman (American, born 1948) continued her studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland. Establishing a studio in Los Angeles, California, in 1976, she became the leading figure of the emergent “NEW WAVE” design movement. Greiman’s transmedia approach to design juxtaposes typography, photography, and other elements.
Elaine Lustig Cohen
After the death of her husband Alvin Lustig, Elaine Lustig Cohen (American, 1927–2016) took the reins of his graphic design business. Retaining his clients, she quickly learned how to run the business and became a successful graphic designer herself. Cohen fulfilled numerous commissions before opening the bookstore and gallery Ex Libris with her second husband, Arthur Cohen.
Ilonka Karasz (Hungarian, 1896–1981) studied art at the Royal Academy of Arts and Crafts in Budapest, where she was one of the first women to be admitted. After immigrating to the United States in 1913, she became an active member of the New York design scene. Working in a variety of mediums, Karasz is well known for her wall coverings and illustrations.
In 1996, Rebeca Méndez (Mexican-American, born 1962) opened her eponymous studio, specializing in film and video installations for cultural programs and institutions, collaborations with architects on interior commissions, photography, book design, and public art. Her practice embodies experimentation, collaboration, and creative integrity.
Exhibitions Highlighting Women
Rebeca Méndez Selects
Guest curator Rebeca Méndez considers how culture, design, technology, and the natural world have converged throughout history.