March’s Top 13: Women Leaders in Design History

March 11, 2023 | By Noise 13

Women’s History Month is well underway and already we are seeing incredible moments of reflection and celebration across the globe. Here at woman-founded Noise 13, this month gives us an opportunity to spotlight 13 women who have been influential and pioneering in the history of design. Read below and please share the achievements of creative women in design you admire!

Dava’s Picks: Founder and Chief Creative Officer 

  • I’m celebrating every single woman who has partnered with me at Noise 13 from my crew to clients to contractors and coaches. I can not list you all but you know who you are. Thank you for being part of my design and creative history as well as your own.
  • Jessica Walsh and the team at &Walsh always have fun and fashion forward vibes at the heart of their brand and advertising work. And like Noise 13, they are part of the .1% of  women founded and full of fem power in creative agencies. Would love to collab with more teams like this.
    IG: @andwalsh

Andre’s Picks: Associate Creative Director 

  • Barbara “Bobbie” Stauffacher Solomon, Swiss-trained super graphic designer, in 1962 set up an office where she designed the monthly program guides for the SFMOMA. Her work at Sea Ranch grew from her vocabulary of signs to generate motion and an awareness of space. The logo she created for Sea Ranch is a cross between Swiss design and California impressionism, a wonderful  interpretation of the property’s rams and crashing waves. 

Haley’s Picks: Creative Project Manager

  • Florence Knoll defined the standard for the modern corporate interiors of post-war America. Drawing on her background in architecture, she introduced modern notions of efficiency, space planning, and comprehensive design to office planning. She designed office spaces with sleek furniture, artistic styles, and created an uncluttered, free-flowing work environment. Florence’s legacy still stands today and she has had an immeasurable impact on interior design. 

Caity’s Picks: Creative Project Manager

  • Ann Lowe was a pioneering women’s fashion designer born in 1898 in segregated Alabama. She moved to New York in 1917 to pursue a dream and ultimately became one of the first Black female designers to achieve international acclaim. She is most known for designing Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding dress. She thrived in the years after WWII when women began to embrace sleek femininity and worked with a number of high profile New York celebrities and politicians. Lowe truly paved the way for so many to come.

Suzanne’s Picks: Operations Leader

  • Zuzana Licko, European born and based in Berkeley CA, is a typeface maven and founder of Emigre, a type foundry. Founded in 1984, the same year the Macintosh was unveiled, Emigre took advantage of the power of computers to create digital typefaces and is credited as the first foundry to design original fonts made on and for computers. A truly groundbreaking achievement!
    IG: @zuzana.licko

Elaine’s Picks: Designer 

  • Carolyn Davidson is a graphic designer who is best known for creating the iconic Nike Swoosh logo. In 1971, Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, hired Davidson, who was a student at Portland State University at the time, to design a logo for his company. Davidson was paid just $35 for her work, but her design went on to become one of the most recognizable logos in the world.

Meb’s Picks: Designer 

  • Anni Albers is widely considered to be the foremost textile designer of the 20th century. She studied at the Staatliches Bauhaus in the 1920s, when women were barred from most classes outside the weaving department. Throughout her decades-long career, she created groundbreaking works in textiles, printmaking, lithography, publications, and founded the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation with her husband.
    IG: @albers_foundation
  • Susan Kare is an American graphic designer celebrated as one of the most significant technologists in history. Most famously, she created the interface elements typeface for the first Apple Macintosh, inspired by mosaics, needlepoint, and pointillism. She also designed the Chicago typeface, which was used for the user interface of the classic Mac OS and the first four generations of Apple iPods. Her career has taken her to Apple, NExT, Microsoft, IBM, and Pinterest, where she is still working today.

Zili’s Picks: Designer 

  • Natasha Jen is a partner at Pentagram and leads the firm’s New York office. She has worked on branding and graphic design projects for the Guggenheim Museum, MIT, Kate Spade, and Samsung. Natasha’s known for crossing media genres while drawing on references from a diverse range of cultural, historical and technological sources.
    IG: @njenworks
  • Debbie Millman is the founder and host of the Design Matters podcast, one of the world’s first, where she has interviewed nearly 500 creatives over the past 17 years. Credited as being “one of the most creative people in the business” she founded the design division at Sterling Brands and worked on branding projects for Burger King, Hershey’s, and Pepsi.
    IG: @debbiemillman

Xiaoxiao’s Picks: Junior Designer 

  • Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons is one of the most visionary and influential fashion designers of all time. She shook up the established notions of beauty, gender, and the body after the post-war. She finds beauty in deconstruction, imperfection, and non-conformism.
    IG: @commedesgarcons

Sol’s Picks: Junior Designer 

  • Ray Eames was a leading American designer who worked in a variety of media including furniture, textiles, architecture, film, and toys. Ray and her husband, Charles Eames, worked as partners and are best known for their plywood furniture pieces. Though the couple was very much a creative team, Charles received more credit for their creations. Since her death in 1988, Ray Eames has moved into the spotlight. Or rather, the world is finally discovering she was there all along!
    IG: @eamesoffice

As always, if you’d like to collaborate with us, we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to to connect.