Hall of Femmes aims to highlight the work of women in art direction and design. The project was founded in 2009 by Samira Bouabana and Angela Tillman Sperandio. It includes lectures, exhibitions, interviews, podcasts and the publication of the Hall of Femmes book series, each book portraying a designer and her work through in-depth interviews and previously unpublished images.
The project started as a personal desire to find female role models in graphic design, a field where women’s contribution to developing the profession had not been documented or had enough recognition. Angela and Samira travelled several times to New York to meet up with a few of the female giants of the design world. They talked to them about work and career opportunities, about mentorship and what it’s like to be a woman in the design world. These conversations have been transformed into a series of books . The first book, about Ruth Ansel, published in 2010, was followed by seven additional books: Carin Goldberg (2010), Lillian Bassman (2010) and Paula Scher (2011), Tomoko Miho (2013), Janet Froelich (2013), Lella Vignelli, (2013) and Bloggboken (2013, in Swedish).
In May 2013, Hall of Femmes produced a two-day design conference Design Talks, with prominent speakers from the world of visual arts, design, communication and fashion, held at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Book signings have been arranged at Danziger Gallery and Art Directors Club in New York and the project have been written up in magazines like The New York Times Magazine, Creative Review and Vanity Fair.
Team & Contributors
Ika Johannesson is the editor of two Hall of Femmes books: Ruth Ansel and Lillian Bassman. She also participated in the initial interviews with Tomoko Miho and Janet Froelich and has conducted interviews for the Hall of Femmes Podcast. Ika is a journalist and author with an interest in popular culture of the darker kind. She recently co-wrote Blood Fire Death – a non-fiction book about the Swedish death and black metal scene, and is an avid follower of any music that makes her teeth rattle.
- What do you do when you’re not working for Hall of Femmes?
- I’m the editor of Kobra on Swedish television and the author of the book Blood Fire Death, about Swedish death and black metal that I co-wrote with Jon Jefferson Klingberg.
- What have been the most interesting about working on the books?
- To meet the women and hear all of their stories. I originally joined the project as a way to work with Angela and Samira, whom I already knew, however it quickly grew into something that has given me a lot. To meet Lillian Bassman and hear her life’s story was one of the most inspiring encounters I’ve ever had.
- Heavy metal rockers and art directors, do you see any similarities between the two?
- Both art director ladies and heavy metal rockers have strong visions that they believe in and work hard to achieve.
- What is your best advice when conducting an interview?
- To follow each question with “why?”, “how do you mean?” and “tell me more!” and then keep quiet until it gets really uncomfortable.