I Don't Know Her Name, But I Know Her Work

 Information panel and work in the exhibition 'I Don't Know Her Name, But I Know Her Work'. Upper poster by Catarina Sacramento, lower by Daniel Chapman. Information panel designed by Inês Da Silva and Ashley Gan

Information panel and work in the exhibition 'I Don't Know Her Name, But I Know Her Work'. Upper poster by Catarina Sacramento, lower by Daniel Chapman. Information panel designed by Inês Da Silva and Ashley Gan

 'I Don’t Know Her Name, But I Know Her Work’, was an exhibition of work by past and present students of graphic design at Central Saint Martins. New work was shown alongside historical work by female designers from the CSM Museum & Study Collection, and was on public view at the college entrance from December 2017 to February 2018. The name of the exhibition reflects the oft-heard observation about graphic design by women from the past that whilst their work seems familiar, their names are not. Along with making new work, students researched the careers of the historical female designers and wrote extended captions about their own work and the work from the museum. Students designed the exhibition following a concept of 'opening the archives'.

The historical female designers chosen from the museum collection had all designed posters for London Transport, and the initial idea for 'I Don't Know Her Name...' was in response to the current London Transport museum exhibition Poster Girls: 100 Years of Art and Design, showcasing London Transport posters designed by women. The historical female designers featured were Freda Lingstrom, Dora Batty, Enid Marx, Mary Kessell, Dorothy Hutton, Margaret Calkin James, “Herry” Perry and Claire Leighton. These designers had many significant clients between them, such as the BBC, the Curwen Press, Penguin Books, the Post Office and Shell.

The exhibition has given the student participants an expanded set of graphic design references from the period covered, to include female designers, and encouraged them to produce critical work with a creative and positive outcome. It allowed them to work with the incredible archive held by the Central Saint Martins Museum & Study Collection, and its staff. The Museum & Study Collection have collected the students work for the college archive.

There are blog posts about the exhibition on the Central Saint Martins website written by myself and Sarah Campbell, curator at the CSM Museum & Study Collection. I also wrote about the exhibition in the American Institute of Graphic Art print journal Eye On Design.