Photo credit: Jessica Walsh – 40 Days of Dating
Jessica was only 25 when she was made a partner by design legend Stefan Sagmeister, at the then renamed Sagmeister & Walsh, one of the world’s most reputable design studios – having famously turning down a lucrative contract at Apple to join the firm as a graduate. She taught herself to code in her teens and went to Rhode Island School of Design where she was introduced to a broad range of manual design skills. Her use of digital and analogue processes makes her bold, striking, playful work instantly recognisable.
One of her most notable projects is 40 Days Of Dating; where she and her friend Timothy Goodman documented dating each other for 40 days through a mixture of interviews, typographic work and still life photography of their time together. In 2016 Jessica founded Ladies, Wine and Design – an initiative which hosts networking events worldwide for female creatives aiming to increase the percentage of female creative directors – currently only 5-10% of creative directors are women.
With a stunning portfolio of work and her encouragement of her fellow female creatives in the industry, Jessica is an inspiration to me and female designers everywhere.
Amy Salter, Junior Designer
Photo credit: Louise Fili – Bellachina
Of all graphic designers, both male and female, Louise Fili is the most inspirational to me. At just 23, Fili joined Random House publishers as an Art Director for Pantheon books. In her 11 years there, she designed covers for close to 2,000 books, with particular success for her jacket design for Marguerite Duras’ bestseller The Lover, in 1984.
In 1989, the year I was born, Fili opened her own studio, Louise Fili Ltd, specialising in the design of restaurant identity, food-related logos, and packaging. At the time, there were few female-run design companies, so she knew naming it after herself could be a liability, but sent a clear message: “If you have a problem with my being female, then I don’t want you as a client.”
Best known for her branding work, typically for food and wine, with an emphasis on typography, her designs have a timeless quality, combining modern compositions and colours with a significant nod towards historical styles.
In her own words:“For a redesign to work, it is best to retain some basic element as an aid in recognition. When rebranding Sarabeth’s, for example, the aide de memoire is the oval shape, which is the essence of the original logo. In this way the old is made new, but recognition is maintained.”
Carla Juniper, Senior Account Manager
Photo credit: Toru Hanai
At 87 years old, Kusama has built up an impressive body of instantly recognisable work, characterised by the use of repetitive shapes, colours and patterns. Millennials, especially, have taken a particular liking to Kusama’s large-scale light installations and mirrored infinity rooms. Some artists slow down their production of work as they get older, Kusama seems to be only just getting started.
Kusama’s life story, however, is in stark contrast to her fun, brightly coloured wigs and loud, polka-dotted patterned clothing. As a young child, Kusama developed symptoms of mental illness and experienced disturbances, which continued into adult life – from vibrant hallucinations, to patterns in fabric coming alive and engulfing her (a process she named “self-obliteration”).
A truly inspirational person, she shows she has the capacity to overcome her personal difficulties and channel them into her creative work. Kusama’s style is iconic and literally brilliant. A unique talent, she is someone who uses her personal experiences as a tool to make art.
Everything Kusama creates is influenced by the workings of her mind. She creates an altered space of positivity, from something which has been, and surely still is, often painful. A creative coping mechanism that we can all take inspiration from.
Denise Llanera-Whittleton, Senior Designer
Photo credit: Margo Chase
Margo Chase (1958-2017), was a truly pioneering and inspirational graphic designer, creating iconic logo insignias and brands for Madonna, Prince and Cher. This early ‘fame’ with her very unique style and high level of craftsmanship, led Margo to film and TV work, creating the unmistakable identities for Dracula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, earning her the nickname ‘The Queen of Goth’. Her unique style stood, and still stands out from the crowd today.
In 2000, the success of Margo Chase Design extended beyond the entertainment sector and into corporate branding and consumer packaging. Rebranded Chase Design Group, today it has offices in Los Angeles, New York and Bristol, having created award-winning solutions for hundreds of brands.
Margo, you and your legacy will live forever.
Emma Angel, Senior Designer
Photo credit: Pierre Jeanneret
Charlotte Perriand was a 20th Century architect, designer and pioneering modernist. She aimed to create functional living spaces in the belief that better design helps to create a better society. She was born in 1903 in Paris, France to a tailor and a seamstress. Encouraged by her mother to enrol at the Ecole de L’Union Centrale de Arts Decoratifs, she was inspired by one tutor especially, interior designer Henri Rapin. Her design for a Parisian bar that rejected traditional decorative materials in favour of modern ones: steel, chrome and aluminium attracted attention.
Infamously snubbed by architect Le Corbusier when she first approached him “We don’t embroider cushions here.”, he nevertheless visited her 1927 show at the Salone d’Automne, which finally persuaded him to co-create. She worked with Corbusier until 1937, creating iconic tubular steel chair designs plus furniture for his Unité d’habitation building in Marseille.
She worked in Japan until 1942, then lived in exile in Vietnam until the end of the Second World War. She designed furniture and interiors for the Les Arcs ski resort in France in the 1970s. She died in 1999, having lived through and contributed her radical design thinking to arguably the most constantly-changing century in history.
Russ Hodgson, Creative Director
Photo credit: Gemma O’Brien
The brilliant Gemma, also known as Mrs Eaves, is an Australian artist specialising in hand-lettering who’s bringing a human touch back to typography. Her career really took off after she got noticed for hand-drawing lettering on her body for a university project called ‘Write here, right now’ in 2008 and her progression has been meteoric ever since. Only a year later, at the age of 21, Gemma was invited to give a talk at Typo Berlin, one of the most influential International Design Talks in the world – and has since presented at many more design conferences globally.
Currently based in Sydney, Mrs Eaves works independently and has been commissioned by an impressive collection of international brands such as Volcom, Nike, Heinz, The New York Times, Smirnoff and Kirin. She has also worked in art direction and motion graphics for a number of brands. On top of all that, she also creates non-commissioned artwork that has been exhibited in numerous gallery shows across Australia.
Combining typography and illustration beautifully and merging it into extraordinary images, Gemma is a great source of inspiration to me – for her amazing responses to creative briefings and the genuine passion she has for her work.
Sara de Castela, Senior Designer