Graphic Design can take on many forms and meanings. It can range from simple logo designs for a small company or encompass iconic branding with companies such as Nike or GOOGLE. While both simple and iconic designs make their marks, we often don’t think about the people behind those designs or the social and cultural impacts they can make.
Often design work goes beyond the obvious of what we see and remember and dives deeper to inspire social or cultural change. The female designers I have chosen to highlight have pushed boundaries in their design work as well as in their design-based social initiatives. The women designers mentioned below are bridging gaps of inequality in their unique way.
Tina Roth Eisenberg aka SwissMiss
Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka SwissMiss, is a Swiss-born Graphic Designer and global creative influence. She was an early pioneer in the cooperative workspace movement, starting the Brooklyn-based Friends Work Here.
She also created Tattly in response to the poor quality temporary tattoos her young daughter would apply. The brand has since become globally recognized. They state; “we believe that great design and art can make people happy.”
Eisenberg also started Creative Mornings in NYC, 2008. Creative Mornings has since grown and is in over 207 cities worldwide and continues to expand. It brings together like-minded creative individuals promoting a free and open environment over breakfast.
Topics for the events are chosen based on a global theme with past events focused on issues such as symmetry, revolution, love, and justice. Find a free event near you.
Liza Donovan, Bright Paper Werewolves Graphic Design
Liza Donovan owner and creative energy behind Bright Paper Werewolves Graphic Design works out of Charlotte, NC. Promoting Activism through art, Ms. Donovan has created many prolific designs that have gained global traction for their thought-provoking and significant designs. Her poster, Hear Our Voice, was one of five official poster designs chosen to represent the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.
It has been archived at the Library of Congress and has become a symbol in the modern women’s rights movement. Hear Our Voice has been co-opted worldwide, with her blessing, by like-minded groups who uses her work to promote the same cause of rallying for improvements in women’s rights.
In addition to her poster work, Ms. Donovan has a wide array of design work ranging from magazine covers, children’s book illustration, and logo design.
Isabel Urbina Penã
Isabel Urbina Penã is a Venezuelan multi-disciplinary designer working out of Brooklyn, NY. Her work has included clients the likes of Penguin Random House, The New York Times, and Buzzfeed. Ms. Penã has received multiple awards for her book cover designs, notably The Best Book Covers of 2014 from the New York Times.
Her desire to close the gender gap in creative communities led to the 2015 creation of Yes, Equal. Yes, Equal is a website/database that allows women to register themselves and their skills as a way to network with other creative professionals.
It also provides a pool of 1500+ women that conference and event organizers can reach out to when they are planning for speakers at events. By combining her passion for the arts and a drive for social change, Isabela Urbina Penã is helping to bridge the gender inequality gap in the art and design world.
Jane Bowyer is an independent graphic designer and illustrator working in Manchester, UK. Her work is thoughtful and well informed. She has designed for several notable causes which she highlights in her digital portfolio.
In addition to her personal work, Jane Bowyer started Women in Print. This project is bringing together women’s stories, past and present via print. Bowyer curates Women in Print, and twenty-two UK Based, female artists, participate.
They spotlight women from the north of England or those who have made a positive impact in the region. Their print art pieces bring stories to the life of women who may otherwise fall through the cracks of history.
To hear more about Jane and her work, you can read her interview with Shillington.
Jessica Bellamy is a Motion Infographic Designer out of Louisville, KY. She was the 2017 Adobe Creative Resident and is the Founder and Executive Director of GRIDS: The Grassroots Information Design Studio. GRIDS works exclusively with nonprofit and community groups and has an impressive client list including Louisville Urban League, ACLU of Kentucky, and the Louisville Pride Foundation.
Her work assists these organizations in communicating crucial organizational information to those whom they seek to reach, partner, garner influence, or seek funding. GRID focuses on “creating conscious and responsible design, and inspiring mindful collaborations “ as well as leading courses and workshops, strategic planning sessions,
In addition to her work with GRID, Bellamy started the Infographics for Social Change: A Graphic Ally Hackathon in 2017. She has subsequently held this Hackaton in several cities. In each session, participants will learn “to tell visual data stories to inspire policy change and mobilize information at the grassroots level.” Empowering each person to be able to then use their design work for positive social engagement.
Is there a fierce female designer you would like us to know about? Leave a comment below.
We would love to see and learn about other women who are making social and cultural impacts through their design work.