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Cipe in the 1980s, when her reputation was established.

Cipe Pineles

Cipe Pineles

The story of the great mid-century art director who broke barriers for women—and who belongs in the design pantheon.

Cipe Pineles was at the top of the graphic design profession by the mid 20th century—in terms of talent and accomplishment. Yet most of us don’t quite remember her. Is that because she was a woman? She might have said so, after rising to become chief art director of Charm and Vogue, but waiting for 10 years to be allowed as a woman to join the New York Art Directors Club. Looking the archive of her work at RIT, we realize how great she was.

TYPE has compiled a special collection of writings and images that tell the story of one of the 20th century’s most incredible designers: Everyone called her simply, Cipe. This package starts with a short biography by Amelia Hugill-Fontanel, accompanied supplemented by images from the archives at RIT. As sidebars, we include a series of short remembrances from designers such as Paula Scher, Louise Fili, and Ilene Strizver. At the end Cipe’s own words in the form of a the transcript of a wonderful, witty talk that she gave at a design conference, giving us insight into how she thought about type and how she used it.

All images are from the Cary Graphic Design Archive at Rochester Institute of Technology.

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