Gone are the days when accomplishments in the visual arts world overwhelmingly went to the guys. Talented women in design have always been making their bold, creative mark—though their stories often remain untold. No more!

In celebration of International Women’s Day, let’s shine a spotlight on 10 boss ladies who took graphic design by storm. From iconic logos to radical magazine layouts, these legendary women left an indelible print on design.

Dorothy Hayes: Graphic Design’s Barrier-Breaking Founding Mother

Lord knows the 60s design scene in NYC wasn’t exactly rolling out the welcome mat for women of colour. But that didn’t stop Dorothy Hayes from founding her own wildly successful design firm. She blazed trails for Black women in design—all while delivering covers, branding and ads for top clients. Eat your heart out, Madison Avenue!

Valentina Kulagina: The Avant-Garde Darling of Soviet Propaganda

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This Russian radical dazzled the design elite of 1920s USSR with her singular Soviet propaganda. Combining painting, figurative elements and arresting graphic composition, Kulagina captured Communist ideologies in works known for their electrifying visual energy. But it was more than Soviet politics: paper shortages meant working in wildly limited colour palettes, which became Kulagina’s startling signature.

Bea Feitler: Brazilian Bombshell of Magazine Design Revolution

Feitler brought feminism and multiculturalism to American magazines before most knew what either meant. As art director for Ms., Harper’s Bazaar and beyond, her vibrant aesthetic smashed the status quo. And she fearlessly put the first Black supermodel on a major fashion magazine cover in 1965. Bazaar reportedly lost deals over the groundbreaking move—but Feitler has zero regrets. Because Bea Feitler takes no prisoners, baby!

Carolyn Davidson: The Genius Behind Nike’s Swoosh Fortune

Sure, Davidson only scored $35 for designing Nike’s now-iconic Swoosh logo as a student in 1971. But the ingenious wing-like shape—evoking flight and forward movement in one fell visual swoop—would ultimately net her sweet shares in Nike stock. The logo Lady is now happily retired after putting the Nike goddess’ indelible mark on sneaker culture.

Paula Scher: Pop Art Provocateur Turned Corporate Queen

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From subversive album packages to sleek Citi logos, Scher is fluidly fluent in multiple design dialects. Her prolific portfolio demonstrates equal mastery of irreverent pop art style and polished corporate communications. And yet her greatest feat of all might be ascending to the helm of the legendary firm Pentagram in the early 1990s as their FIRST female partner in a quarter century. Bow down!

Zuzana Licko: Digital Typeface Pioneer Turned Printing-Press Baroness

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In 1984, Licko was an early Mac adopter using pixels instead of pen nibs to craft insanely inventive fonts. As co-founder of Emigre magazine and type foundry, she and partner Rudy VanderLans became underground icons of digital design revolution. Licko rendered traditional metal typesetting entirely obsolete—then revived traditional letterpress printing just for kicks! Is there anything she can’t do?

Elizabeth Friedlander: The Typography Radical Who Survived The Reich

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After unveiling two groundbreaking typefaces in pre-war Germany, Friedlander was forced to flee the encroaching Nazi regime not once, but twice—first to Italy, then England. She survived by printing counterfeit documents for British intelligence (!) before returning to type design after the war. But her long, dark night hiding right under Hitler’s nose makes Friedlander’s against-all-odds comeback story shine even brighter.

Gail Anderson: Typographic Trendsetter Turned Design Darling

Anderson’s signature hand-lettering graced the covers of Rolling Stone Magazine for a decade—but today this AIGA and Type Directors Club medalist has herself become a cover star. Anderson now shares hard-won design wisdom gleaned from trailblazers like Paula Scher in award-winning books and lectures across the globe. The designer gives candid advice on everything from handling sexism in the workplace to finding your creative voice. We’re taking notes!

Susan Kare: The Genius Behind Apple’s Graphic Interface Glory

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Chances are you’ve glanced at Kare’s iconic work tens of thousands of times without even realising it. Remember the yin-yang cut/copy/paste icons? The mini Picasso-esque MacPaint graphics? They’re all Kare! As early GUI designer for Apple in the ‘80s, she hand-pixelated many interface elements still used today. Talk about timeless relevance!

Jane Davis Doggett: The Wayfinding Guru Guiding Millions

Jane Davis Doggett
Jane Davis Doggett – Airport Signs | Photo:Jameeish on Pintrest

Next time you effortlessly navigate airports thanks to intuitive signs and symbols, tip your hat to Doggett! Her visual systems for airports from Atlanta to Amsterdam makes traversing huge public spaces a breeze. In fact, her firm, Jane Davis Doggett Associates, has cleverly steered over a billion passengers to their gates. Now that’s impact!

Thanks to women like these ten creative powerhouses, today’s female designers can unleash their talents like never before. Girl power forever! Who are your heroes among women artists of the past or present?