Women in History of Typography

Hello ! As there are great but perhaps not always well known women Type Designers today I would be interested to know if anybody has infos about women in the History of Typography and Type Design.
I am also interested about this forum Type Design womens experience in their work relation with the industry.
Thanks in advance for any little information in these areas.


  • Historically there weren’t many women in type design. Like a lot of fields, women weren’t allowed in prior to the advent of feminism. Margherita Bodoni helped Giambattista Bodoni run his press and took it over after he died, seeing the Manuale Tipografico to print; even that adds up to less than a page of Lester’s biography of Bodoni. Monotype employed women in the department where technical drawings were produced, but not much is known about them because nobody was keeping records about the staff. Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse designed a handful of typefaces in the metal type era.

    If you’re interested in the graphic design side of things Type has a feature article about art director Cipe Pineles: 
  • @James Puckett and @John Hudson Many thanks already for your so interesting and documented replies ! I just found this site : Typequality
  • Check out the Alphabettes.

    As detailed in their About Us page, they're "a showcase for work, commentary, and research on lettering, typography, and type design. Our loose network is here to support and promote the work of all women in our fields."
  • I should probably add that when I wrote about “historically” I meant the pre-digital epoch. Obviously there has been an explosion of wonderful women type designers since the 1980s.
  • @Nick Shinn What a fantastic article ! It's still so important to know how the changes occurred, particularly through the XIX Century and the beginning of high industrialization. @John Nolan Thanks ! I am a long time fan of the so clear Carol Twomby's design. I am a fan of "Nueva" ; even this isn't the most effective long texte font it's dynamics is marvellous on a page with short texts, commentairs, titles. @James Puckett Thanks for the precision !
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 989
    edited November 2018
    I think the Women in Type project that John mentioned is the most promising and recent answer to your question. 
    “The Monotype & Linotype type-design departments, which had divergent practices, were both run or staffed principally by women from their inception.”

    In his own research, David Shields is discovering that women were also very involved in the production of wood type all the way back to the 19th century. He mentions it in this talk.

  • @Stephen Coles Indeed Women in Type is the kind of project which should multiply. Hoping it will go on with a great success and will show that women were not limited to secondary tasks (or even only the artistic part of this activity). That's also important to determine the mecanism which causes that this fact is often so badly known.
    Thanks also for the link to David Shields lecture (on the other hand it make me better discover Wood Type, but this is another so interesting subject).
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited November 2018
    At the moment I have just a little regret that no women of this forum told anything about the subject at this stage. This is also a place where they could talk about their own experience and I would encourage them to speak. Please do it ! Of course this is not an obligation but any little info could be so interesting and useful !
  • Hi ivan, speaking for myself, I haven't said anything yet because your question regarding experience is much too broad. Also, I encourage you to search in the archives of this forum and see how this topic has been covered already. 
  • @Dyana Weissman Thank you. I am not in search of comprehensive experience. The track you encourage me to follow is already interesting and I will take it. On the other hand very simple an short stories may be evocative. And of course I am not in search of scoops or sensational things.
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