New Book Profiles 21 of the Modern Era’s Most Dynamic Women Designers

Women Design includes a balance of prominent figures (such as Aino Aalto and Denise Scott Brown) and lesser-known names (like Lora Lamm, a Swiss-born graphic designer).
Women Design book

The Damsels of Design, a group of women working within General Motors in the 1950s. © General Motors

Women Design by Libby Sellers (Frances Lincoln, $30) profiles 21 of the modern era’s most dynamic female designers working across all media, scales, and disciplines. “We might think that women’s voices are echoing around the world right now through the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements—yet in design publications, conferences, judging panels, and other public realms, women designers tend to be outnumbered by their male counterparts,” says Sellers, a design historian and former senior curator at the Design Museum in London. While many design books have focused on men’s contributions to the field, Women Design, in large part, aims to change that.

Sellers was keen to include a good balance of prominent figures (Aino Aalto and Denise Scott Brown, for example) and lesser-known names (like Lora Lamm, a Swiss-born graphic designer who made her name working in midcentury Milan). Supplementing this survey are case studies investigating why some women have been historically overlooked. A number of designers were completely new to Sellers, such as Althea McNish, a Trinidadian-born, London-based textile designer whose vibrant prints were carried by major U.K. outlets like Liberty and Heal’s. “I think this highlights one of the main themes of the book,” says Sellers. “Design history teaching tends to focus on industrial design and architecture and on texts written from a patriarchal point of view.”

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Categories: Architecture, Design