Pussy Power is the celebration of the 21st birthday of the typeface design legend Pussy Galore, a woman on a mission named after the James Bond character. She created a conceptual typeface (named after herself) designed as ‘stop signs’ to reclaim as positives various stereotypes of women. Armed with her font, and her no-holds barred attitude, Pussy Galore travels the world empowering individuals and contributing to an emerging discourse on design and feminism. Her story, documented by eight women design artists, will be for the first time presented to the public. Each artist created her own interpretation of Pussy Galore in a graphic-novel-style panel that all together constitute the Pussy Power exhibition.
Whilst the exhibition focuses on the life of Pussy Galore as a champion of women in design, she is a personification of the original Pussy Galore font created in 1994 by Teal Triggs, Sian Cook and Liz McQuiston, the founders of the Women’s Design + Research Unit. The WD+RU collective was founded the same year with purpose of raising awareness (and education) about women working in the field of graphic design. The exhibition Pussy Power was born out of the Teal Triggs’ Archive held at the University Archives and Special Collections Centre at London College of Communication and depicts one of its overriding themes: the disparity between men and women working in the design industry.
The show has been created in collaboration between students from two UAL colleges – Central St. Martins College and London College of Communication. The project is initiated by MA Culture, Criticism and Curation students (CSM) who have been working with MA and BA design students from LCC and CSM. Of Pussy Power, Professor Teal Triggs said: ‘What an amazing present for the WD+RU’s 21st birthday! We are thrilled that MA Culture, Criticism and Curation students have been innovative in their commissioning of responses to our work. Through the curators’ efforts and those of their collaborators, the issues surrounding women working in the graphic design profession will continue to be highlighted’.
The imbalance between women studying design and women working in the industry is huge. Of the BA students enrolled in Graphic Design at University of the Arts London, 70% are female. However, in 2010 the UK Design Council reported that only 40% of designers working in the industry were women.
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