International Women's Day 2018 Beatrice Warde

One of my many heroines of design and typography is Beatrice Warde. 

Born on September 20th, 1900, she lived during a rebirth of graphic design both in Britain and America and was famed for her work in the male dominated world of typography.

From a young age, Warde developed an interest in calligraphy and letterforms and curated this interest after gaining employment at The American Type Founders Company in the 1920s. She researched further into typefaces and print, publishing 'The Garamond Types, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Sources Considered' in which she discovered that type attributed to Garamond was cut by a woman, Jean Jannon.

The article was published in The Fleuron (the Monotype journal) under a pseudonym, Paul Beaujon, securing her alter ego a job offer from Stanley Morison (formerly of Cambridge University Press). On moving to London with her husband, typographer Frederic Warde, she accepted the job, revealing her real identity, earning a rare place in the craft of typography. Within a few years she was promoted to publicity manager, a post she held until retirement in 1960. 

Monotype Corporation attracted many highly skilled type designers including Eric Gill, who Warde would most certainly have worked with. 

Beatrice Warde This is a printing office.png

The statement resonated so much that words were cast in bronze and still stand at the entrance to the United States Government Printing Office. They are framed on many walls including my own here in Cambridge.

Warde was a lifelong mentor to young type designers, urging the benefits of classic typography and passionately talked about type design in her famed essay, "The Crystal Goblet" stating that 'Type well used is invisible as type'.

You can buy Warde's words in sixteen languages and Latin, thanks to Monotype's wisdom in reissuing it in 1978, a period of change as printing houses moved from metal type. A powerful tribute to a woman who paved the way for the next generation.