side note

Women in [type] design

In the last few weeks, some designer friends have asked me about websites or links to pages that showcase women in (type) design. I’ve decided to compile a list of resources for designers, conference organisers, or anyone with an interest in diversity and inclusion. Of course this could be a much larger debate, about gender issues, binary/non-binary, the role of women in design, the absence of women in conferences, etc., but there are other places for that. I just wanted to share a few links, the ones that I find interesting:

Alphabettes. Alphabettes started a few years ago, as a reaction to the predominantly white-male forums on design. Alphabettes has two parts, the slack forum —private for women in type design and a safe place for discussion— and the blog —a public resource full of articles, type critics, events, mentorship, etc.

Yes, equal. Isabel Urbina Peña’s website is a detailed list of professional women in graphic/editorial/web/type… design, lettering, publishing, editing, copywriting, etc. The perfect resource for companies looking for self-employed professionals, and for conference organisers looking for speakers.

Lists of typefaces designed by women: a non-curated one, Typequality, and a curated one, Victoria Rushton’s list, and the Badass Libre Fonts designed by Womxn curated by Loraine Furter.

Platforms that explore the gender issue and promote the work of women in graphic design: Women of graphic design; Graphics UK Women, created by Ruth Sykes with a focus on British history. Recently they organized the exhibition “I Don’t Know Her Name, But I Know Her Work” showcasing iconic British designs, all by women; Ladies, Wine & Design, an initiative started by Jessica Walsh to promote and mentorship women in creative fields.

Jeremy Till‘s 30% pledge. Jeremy Till, architect, professor, head of Central Saint Martins and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Arts London, has explained in his blog the 30% pledge:

“I have decided to only accept invitations to events/series/conferences that have at least 30% female representation […] the lecture series [where he was invited] is based on recommendations from lecturers and students, and herein lies the problem, because these recommendations will be based on what they have seen, and what they have seen will be male-dominated, and so the situation is endlessly perpetuated. My pledge is a tiny gesture to break the cycle. […] Why 30%, I hear you ask? Why not 50%? I am just being deeply practical and probably not idealist enough. 25% is too easy (one in four), 30% sounds better”.

30% percent is not that much, and many conferences don’t even get a mere one out of four (see Alphabettes’s list of 2017, only 4 type-conferences reached 50/50). We should all try to decline invitations to conferences that don’t reach that 30% both as the audience and as speakers.

When it comes to Spain the gap seems to be even bigger. I’ve only found two links promoting the work of women in design —hopefully there are more that I am not aware of— TipasType (from México) promotes the work of women in type design by featuring a type designer every week on their Facebook page, and a curated list of Spanish graphic designers by Rocio MC in her blog Not another fashion blog. And just today Pedro Arilla has sent his renovated newsletter that includes these and other links.


Update: 29.10.2018, the Baddas Libre Font by Womxn included.

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