London-based graphic designer, working across both physical and digital platforms with a keen interest in detail, typography and identity. My work this year has been focused on combining research driven concepts with editorial and exhibition design. The majority of my time was spent on The Female Imprint; uncovering and highlighting the work of women who worked outside the well known canon of graphic design was a rewarding and incredibly interesting process.
The Female Imprint
“The study of design history is a way of filtering the past; it’s a way of selecting what’s important to remember, shaping it and classifying it. It’s also a way of selecting what’s important to forget” J.Abbott Miller
The story of design in Italy is fascinating, but one that largely overlooks the women involved. Beginning my project with Nicola-Matteo Munari’s Archivio Grafica Italiana, I was struck by the number of women recorded on his site and emailed him questioning this. He stated that few female designers were recorded as there is little evidence of work under their name.
Therese Moll, Lora Lamm, Anita Klinz, Carla Buttura, Peggy Hopper, Carla Gorgerino and Adriana Botti Monti all worked in a male profession before it was legal for women to have a divorce, or illegal for a husband to have dominance over his wife. In 1970, Italian artist Carla Accardi formed the ‘Rivolta Femminile’: The face of Rome, Milan and Florence was plastered with posters of a one thousand word manifesto stating the right for women’s freedom. Design altered, moving from the office to the streets. Becoming less consumerist and more political, fronted by women not defined as graphic designer’s but who created vibrant explosive visual poetry: Lucia Marcucci, Ketty La Rocca and Tomaso Binga communicated a historical change through graphic language, yet received little recognition for it.
This publication intends to highlight and celebrate female creatives working from 1930-1980 in Italy. Aiming not only to showcase their work but provide social context to the time when they were working.
The Female Imprint: Exhibition
Designing the identity and branding for an exhibition featuring 13 female creatives working in Italy from 1930 – 1980. Using my research from the initial project as a starting point, I chose specific aspects to build the identity and design the physical space.
The Ornamental Parts of Life: The Flower & The Fleuron
Starting with William Morris’ book ‘Useless work Vs Useful toil’ I chose the following quote to depart from: ‘We must begin to build up the ornamental part of life – its pleasure, bodily and mental, scientific and artistic, social and individual”
After extensive research into Ornamentation and topics surrounding the subject, I focussed on the detail of ‘Printers Flowers’ or Fleurons – ornamental elements of typography. Exploring this further I came across the article by Alice Twemlow for Eye Magazine, titled Decriminalisation of Ornament; “The other impulse running through this work is a kind of stubborn celebration of uselessness. The Modernist-derived philosophy that has dominated twentieth-century design empties ornament of meaning and separates it from function, thus rendering it superfluous in the eyes of the canon”
My intent was to give meaning to these elements of ornament whilst communicating the social issue of plant endangerment. Both the flower and the fleuron are ornamental parts of life. They are details of beauty derived from the natural world, known by many for their decorative function. Both are at risk of being lost in the modern world. This book aims to highlight the fleuron and the flower. Providing a place to memoralize and celebrate both.
A typeface inspired by my memory of the Criterion Theatre. It is a building with elaborate Art Deco and Nouveau architecture, situated in Piccadilly, London. As a child I remember finding the building itself incredible; wildly ornamental, with delicate stained glass windows in the lobby and a tiled interior. I wanted to capture the striking details of this in each character, whilst retaining the overhanging reality that Theatre’s were facing during the pandemic; the emptiness and abundant space was something I felt important to capture in the type design. My Initial sketches began using the rounded exterior, circular seating and image of a spotlight as reference, primarily using the sloping curves of the building to inspire the strokes of each letter.
After deciding that the curved forms and calligraphic style of these characters lent themselves to being animated, I set out with the intent to explore how the letters would form organically; giving them a new kind of emotive and expressive function whilst referencing the organic style of Nouveau. See below for the motions created with After Effects.