In the middle of redesigning The Paris Review (stay tuned!) our new art editor, Charlotte Strick, takes time out to discuss how she got into the design business. (She’s also responsible for the gallery of book jackets you see above.) Read more on FSG’s new blog, Work in Progress.
I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer since the age of three, because my mom had been a fashion designer in England. I grew up with her talking about what London was like after the war, how it was this burst of color after so much gray. Carnaby Street, and Mary Quant . . . I just thought, wow. That’s what I want to do. Of course, that scene had long since passed when I became an adult. But that was my dream, and I grew up drawing, making little fashion magazines. I made a logo for myself. And I grew up with my father pointing out typography to me, because he had been very involved in the Calligrapher’s Workshop that’s now part of the AIGA. I remember at the age of five, him pointing out, “Look at that sign! That’s a terrible letter j!” I got quite snobby about stuff like that. I wanted to go to art school, I wanted to go to RISD. But my family said, “Go to liberal arts school, be a fine arts major, but study all these other subjects. Then you can go to art school if you really want to.” I went sort of frustrated. I did a lot of painting, I took art history classes. All the time I was drawing and trying to teach myself to sew.
I came out and I was working for Elie Tahari. At the time they were just branding Theory, which is huge now. There was a girl a few years older than me, who had gone to design school, and she was given the task of designing the Theory logo. I looked over her shoulder and thought, “What is she doing?” I hadn’t been on a computer much at that point . . .