Design is all-encompassing but is it always all-inclusive?

Hidden Women of Design is a series of talks committed to encouraging and supporting female designers.

While the world has made strides in its consideration of women and bridging inequality across industries, we’re not quite there yet. It's 2018 and the struggles are still as real as ever. 

The design space is no exception. We’ve only this year had the first black woman head a design faculty – anywhere in the world.

It’s not hard then to understand why British design graduate Lorna Allan established a talk series dedicated to showcasing the work of female designers. 

Hidden Women of Design was a response to the research question, “Who are those that sit in the blind spots of design and have transformed design paradigms over the years?” The more research she did, the more she realised that perhaps the majority of those people may be women.

Hidden Women

Having worked as a photographer for 10 years, Lorna pursued studies in Visual Communication at the London College of Communication. She was intrigued enough to enrol for an MA in Graphic Design, which is how Hidden of Design came to be.

It started as a hashtag campaign but garnered so much attention from educators, practicing designers and students that Lorna felt compelled to turn it into something more.

“I truly believe that design has the power to bring about change. I really wanted to give people the chance to hear from some great female designers. Creating a space where people can be encouraged is a key aim behind my pursuing this subject.”

While Hidden Women of Design was created to start a conversation around gender equality in the design industry, Lorna acknowledges that a general lack of diversity exists beyond gender. She hopes that her platform will inspire these necessary conversations.

The project is run by a team of three – herself and fellow designers Jessie Prior and Alice George Turner. All of them juggle Hidden Women of Design alongside full time jobs. The events are free so it’s a real labour of love, with speakers presenting at no cost either.

Conversations on design can no longer be separated from how it can be used to improve life, so Hidden Women of Design introduced a ‘5 Minute Pitch’ session to the events. Designers get to share a project that uses design to tackle a pressing issue, like climate change, for example.

“Us designers are great at providing creative solutions to problems. Hearing about these initiatives provides some much needed hope that all is not lost!” she adds.