Cipe Pineles-Visual Reflexion

There were many calls this week to write about! We are getting close to the end of the book and things are getting mixed up! As an example the use of The New Typography with current immigration in US and various women’s issues resonated in my mind. The trigger this week for me was to start counting the women cited on History of Graphic Design Books and how much was the depth of their portrays as leaders in the Graphic Design field. Since I am referring to the books, I found more consistent to use the “Study Guides” supplied by the publisher of our text book and to count female and male people listed as key contributors to each chapter. Some of them (both male and female) are repeated on two or more chapters, but I did not remove them. The count goes as follow:

Cited males: 580

Cited female: 56

This gives a 9.7% of females listed as “key people and their Major Contributions.” for the official Study Guide presented for this book by the publisher.

I am glad I did not have enough fingers and toes to count women presented on the book, but being under 10% is still a slap on the face to the intellectual contributions of women on this field, and I wonder about the parameters used to be considered to be part of a history book, especially for the last 6 chapters.

The above raised my concern about the authors of these books and their approach to history. Considering that both of the books we have used for this class, one as text and the other as reference are recently published ( Megg’s is the fifth edition, 2012 and Drucker’s book was published in 2009), it is very strange for me that in the twenty first century, the authors didn’t bother to explore more and add more women to the glorious contributions of mostly white males. (Please notice other races are cited on the first chapters and then the influence of the Japanese Ukiyo-e and definitely in the last four chapters the mix is slightly better.)

It seems to me that history is relative to the perspective of the author. I though this was a fact typical of Science, Engineering and General History, but these two books, so far, are corroborating this statement to be true also for Graphic Design.

To illustrate my point, the contributions of Cipe Pineles went far beyond innovative ways to illustrate mass-market magazines. Among her work that lasted and impacted people in many other ways are her covers for the Lincoln Center Journal. She was also the coordinator of the educational and promotional material for the center while it was built. (1) Pineles worked as an educator at Parson’s The New School for Design, where she taught until the mid-1980. Here she developed a course on editorial design. During early seventies she contributed to change the visual identity of the school using strong colors, and amusing layouts and art and photographs provided by students and faculties.

If an image is worth a thousand words, here are some of the designs of this artist.



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