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Shillington Book Club: Women In Graphic Design by Gerda Breuer

Shanti Sparrow, Full-time Teacher, New York

Women in Graphic Design 1890-2012
Author/Publisher: Gerda Breuer / Julia Meer

These days there are significantly more women studying graphic design than men. Yet when you look at the genders of the designers we tend to study from history, only a small proportion of them are women. Why is this? Well, this is one of the many important questions that ‘Women in Graphic Design 1890-2012’ explores.

This bilingual book (English and German) celebrates some of the most significant, contemporary female designers and traces their pioneering paths within design through biographies, essays and interviews.

The book attempts to answer some of the more complex questions related to women within the design industry. Why is it still the case that so few women speak at conferences? How have previously celebrated female designers gradually been forgotten?

Are women today judged solely on their work? Why is there still a wage gap?

Historically, women were up against the ‘boys club’ in the design industry. Despite women nowadays enjoying more of a level playing field, the issue still remains relevant and needs a spotlight within a modern context. There is still a gender pay gap in the industry, which increases as designers age. We must continue to investigate why there aren’t more women reaching the higher roles.

Thankfully in my own practice I have found the industry of design fantastically inclusive. Within our digital age we are able to share work freely and gain recognition on the design itself, regardless of gender. I have worked with many talented and brilliant female designers and am encouraged to see more high profile representation like Jessica Walsh and Jessica Hische. Hopefully with these advances more women will have the chance to breakthrough and become the designers we study in the future!

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