This website contains my research into the history of women in graphics in Britain. I'm Ruth Sykes, a graphic designer and educator. I co-founded REG Design with Emily Wood in 2004 and we continue to work from our studio in Brick Lane, London. I currently teach on the graphic communication design programme at Central Saint Martins. My research into the history of women in graphics in Britain began with an exhibition at Central Saint Martins in 2016 (pictured above) and continues in the form of curation, writing and teaching.
Graphic design history often overlooks the contribution of women. My research asks why this is, why it’s a problem, and what can be done about it. I hope that an increased awareness of how gender bias leads to historical underrepresentation and undervaluation can contribute to the move towards gender equality in graphic design today. My research has been encouraged, supported and inspired by colleagues and students at Central Saint Martins as well as the graphic designers who feature in the outputs. I am very grateful for this support and could achieve nothing without it.
I recently collaborated with the Central Saint Martins Museum & Study Collection and students of the graphic communication design programme at CSM. We made an exhibition featuring work of current and past students called 'I Don't Know Her Name, But I Know Her Work' which ran from December 2017 to February 2018. I wrote about the exhibition in the AIGA 'Eye on Design' print journal, published in March 2018.
In 2017 I contributed an essay to the book that accompanies the current London Transport Museum exhibition ‘Poster Girls’. This major exhibition features the work of over 100 London Transport posters designed by women and runs until January 2019.
In 2016 I curated the exhibition 'A+: 100 Years of Graphic Communication by Women at Central Saint Martins' which showed graphic design by women who studied or taught at Central Saint Martins from 1910 to 2016. There are short biographies of the designers who were in the show on this website, and I wrote an article about the exhibition for 'Typographic', the journal of the International Society of Typographic Designers.
My aim is to continue my research and use it to inform my teaching and my design practice.
I tweet about my research @GraphicsUKwomen: