Messy History vs. Neat History: Toward an Expanded View of Women in Graphic Design


  • Martha Scotford


For the contributions of women in graphic design to be discovered and understood, their different experiences and roles within the patriarchal and capitalist framework they share with men, and their choices and experiences with a female framework, must be acknowledged and explored. Neat history is conventional history: a focus on the mainstream activities and work of individual, usually male, designers. Messy history seeks to discover, study and include the variety of alternative approaches and activities that are often part of women designers’ professional lives. To start the expansion, a typology of roles played by women in graphic design is proposed for further research.