Angel De Cora
Betti Broadwater Haft
Louise E. Jefferson
Baseline Shift: Untold Stories of Women in Graphic Design HistoryEdited and designed by Briar Levit. Princeton Architectural Press, £25, $27.50.
In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of books and projects that challenge what has been universally accepted and understood as the graphic design canon. The creation of publicly accessible collections of graphic design ephemera, such as the ‘Letterform Archive’ (featured in Eye 100) or the crowd-sourced ‘People’s Graphic Design Archive’, help recognise previously ignored narratives and underrepresented voices. The latter was co-founded by Briar Levit, designer, educator and the filmmaker behind the documentary Graphic Means (see Eye 95).
Levit’s book Baseline Shift aims to shine a light on women who in various ways have shaped the history of visual communication. Fifteen essays seek to examine ‘the variety of alternative approaches and activities that are often part of women designers’ professional lives.’ Organised into four sections, ‘Publishing’, ‘Activism and Patriotism’, ‘Press and Production’, and ‘Commercial’, the collection is by no means comprehensive, but it provides a window into previously unseen lives and practices of women designers, typesetters, illustrators, printers and activists. Moreover, as the book exists through the collective effort of different writers, we are reminded that history is not authored by a single person, but many …
Cover of Baseline Shift, designed by Briar Levit. Top. Patricia Saunders using the enlargement camera at Monotype’s Type Drawing Office, 1955.
Gabriela Matuszyk designer, writer, educator,
Read the full article in Eye no. 103 vol. 26, 2022
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