24 Things You Don’t Know About Gail Anderson

As a fan of ornamental and woodblock type, Gail Anderson has mastered the art of “theatrical typography” and has shared it through award-winning editorials, posters and signage for nearly 35 years. But did you know that Anderson worked with GQ’s creative director Fred Woodward for 14 years, or that she believes the original Ford Mustang is one of the best designs of all time?

As we gear up for AIGA DC’s event with Gail Anderson on February 27, we’re sharing 23 things that will help you get to know her better.

  1. Anderson’s mentor is Pentagram partner and AIGA medalist Paula Scher.
  2. Fascinated with celebrity culture as a kid, Anderson crafted magazines for The Jackson 5 and The Partridge Family, complete with kissable centerfolds.
  3. In high school, Anderson took weekend drawing classes at Pratt University.
  4. Anderson is a School of Visual Arts graduate.
  5. Anderson worked as a designer at Vintage Books (Random House) right after college and The Boston Globe Sunday magazine.
  6. Anderson is a member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee for the United States Postal Service.
  7. Anderson designed the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation stamp with AIGA DC Fellow Antonio Alcala — which sold 50,000,000 copies and became a clue on “Jeopardy!”
  8. Anderson worked at Rolling Stone magazine with AIGA medalist Fred Woodward for 14 years, and loves that some of the work still holds up after 20 years.
  9. The Hillary for America presidential campaign selected Anderson to participate in the Forty-Five buttons project.
  10. Anderson served as creative director of design at SpotCo, overseeing a team of designers that worked on Broadway shows such as Avenue Q, Ragtime and La Cage aux Folles.
  11. Anderson created a youth empowerment poster with studio mate Joe Newton for Amplify!, a program that “leverages art and design to advance the front lines of social justice.”
  12. Anderson’s family is from is Jamaica.
  13. Anderson’s favorite font is Trade Gothic, which she considers “a good utilitarian font family and a reliable old pal.”
  14. Anderson counts Lynn Staley, formerly of The Boston Globe and Newsweek, as one of her early influencers.
  15. Anderson possesses “over 300 pairs of salt and pepper shakers, stacks of Fiestaware, a handsome bottle cap collection, a wall full of Mexican crosses, and a modest group of cast iron toys.”
  16. Steven Heller teamed up with Anderson on many typography books, including “The Typography Idea Book: Inspiration from 50 Masters,” “The Typographic Universe” and “Type Tells Tales.”
  17. Anderson worked with illustrator Terry Allen to create a poster series inspired by a quote from President Barack Obama’s inaugural address. The series, commissioned for the School of Visual Arts, appeared on subway platforms and inspired commuters.
  18. The original Ford Mustang, which Anderson drove in her teens and twenties, is what she considers to be one of the best examples of design.
  19. Another favorite design of Anderson’s is a 1950s poster by Swiss artist Donald Brun called “Zwicky.”
  20. Anderson’s work is in the permanent collections of Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and the Library of Congress.
  21. Anderson’s dream project is to do more academic rebranding.
  22. The best advice Anderson would give: “Be the first one in the office in the morning, and the last one to leave at night. Never send an angry email, and read Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers.’ ”
  23. Milton Glaser selected the colors for her house.
  24. For the first time in my life, I actually can’t stop looking at myself,” Anderson said, about her portrait illustrated by Paul Davis.

Register now for our February 27th event with this legendary designer.

More about Gail Anderson
2004 AIGA Medalist Gail Anderson is the award winning creative director at Visual Arts Press at the School of Visual Arts. She has taught at SVA for over 25 years and has lectured at conferences and universities around the world. Anderson is also a founding partner at Anderson Newton Design, where she works with Joe Newton on everything from book jackets to websites to tiny soaps. She is a frequent juror of design shows such as the AIGA/Worldstudio Scholarship and many typography contests. Anderson’s work is in the collections of the Library of Congress, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Milton Glaser Design Archives at the School of Visual Arts, to name a few.

The AIGA DC Design Continuum Fund celebrates 10 years of supporting local design-minded and underrepresented students as they pursue their education.