Though there are several out standing issues within the graphic design industry, one of the most prevalent, remains to be the gender imbalance amongst designers, especially those at the top. For Lea Sievertsen, Silva Baum and Claudia Scheer, three designers who met during their Master’s degree at HAW Hamburg a few years ago, the persisting issue continued to niggle away at the group of friends, and so, they decided to do something about it.
“There are different issues around the subject that had already annoyed us for some time already” explains the trio of designers tells It’s Nice That. “Too few female role models in the design industry, an incomplete design history, an unequal distribution of male and female speakers at conferences; not to mention the boredom from the same old kinds of talks and personalities in the industry, as well as repeated experiences of sexism in the work place.”
When Silva, Claudia and Lea met back in 2015, they started discussing these issues and decided to start a project together in an attempt to understand the reasons behind our male-dominated industry and how to help women designers face the hurdles ahead of them. After extensively reading into feminism combined with design history, the three Master’s students started interviewing 22 women designers, design researchers, and gender/work life theoreticians. This material, forged the foundations of a new platform in the form of a website notamuse.de, showcasing the interviews with the intention of spreading the material as far and wide as possible.
Recently released as a book in June of this year, the three designers have continued to push the project beyond their Master’s studies and continue to support the network of creatives that notamuse has inspired. “Our dream is to host a symposium to dive deeper into gender equality and intersectional feminism within graphic design” they add on their future prospects.
And if all of this doesn’t sound like reason enough to support the design equality platform, below, the founders take us on a tour of five fairly unknown female graphic designers or studios currently working in Europe. Drawing attention to some beautiful work, as well as their unique experiences as female designers in a male-dominated sector; Lea, Claudia and Silva inform us of five graphic designers that we should really all know about.
Pandan was one of the first studios we met, and since then, we have been following their work very enthusiastically. With every new project, their teamwork grows stronger and better! In each project you can see how an intelligent concept has developed through its original context combined with an ambitious aspiration to create individual graphic design solutions.
Inês Nepomuceno, Porto
Inês Nepomuceno’s work has a strong focus on typography. It is rather reduced, focusing on clear typographic elements and some playful details, and in this focus lies the power of the Portuguese designer’s work. Though the work is kind of straightforward, simultaneously, it’s super strong and fun at the same time.
Zuzana Burgrová, Prague
We absolutely love the way Zuzana Burgrová focuses on strong typography in her work. She combines different fonts and forms to create very strong contrasts. Her font choices are often unusual but this only adds to the interest of her compositions resulting in something bold and powerful. A great example of this way of working is the printed matter for Lunch Meat Festival.
Minna Sakaria, Stockholm
Minna Sakaria’s work is playful and wild. It’s close to pop culture and doesn’t care too much about conventional ideas of beauty, or rather, she breaks them consciously. This approach makes Minna’s work robust yet entertaining; it has a sense of humour and we appreciate that very much.
Silvia Agozzino, Florence
We love Silvia Agozzino’s smart and structured approach to design. When you look at her posters Director’s Cut for Museo Marino Marini or La fine del mondo for Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci for instance, on first glances, you see graphic grids and structured compositions. But there is always some wit to her designs exemplified by how she uses it. She really cares about the details and the idea behind her graphics.
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.