Graphic design and women (Shaw on AIGA)

The AIGA medal was designed by James Earle Fra...
The AIGA medal. The design dated to 1920 when James Earle Fraser created it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For design wonk Paul Shaw does a breakdown of the demographics of AIGA winners on his blog. His comments on the paucity of women medalists strike me as rather thoughtful: “Louise Fili implied that the percentage of female medalists was low relative to the percentage of women in the profession. She is absolutely right about that. But there are reasons for this. First, this demographic change in the profession did not begin until the 1980s and since we can assume it requires a stellar career of at least twenty years to qualify as an AIGA medalist we should not have expected to see a surge in female medalists until the early 21st century which is what has happened—albeit boosted by the large number of medalists in 2004 and 2014. Since 2000 26% of the medalists (85 medalists in total) have been women. And for the centennial 33% were women. This is still far below the percentage of women within the profession.”

Paul Shaw’s piece also talks about the traditional focus of design groups like AIGA on the northeast corridor, and provides regional breakdowns as well. (See the entire article with Paul’s extended breakdowns.)

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Published by Paul Romaine

Paul Romaine is a grant writer and independent curator in New York City.

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