4 Questions 4... Gail Anderson - Extensis.com


4 Questions 4… Gail Anderson

Thursday August 11th, 2016 by Extensis


Gail Anderson is a designer, writer, and educator, partner at Anderson Newton design, and co-author of The Typography Idea Book, which comes out on August 23, 2016. Gail’s work has been included in the permanent collections of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, the Library of Congress, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Medal from AIGA, the 2009 Richard Gangel art direction award from the Society of Illustrators, and numerous other awards. Fun fact: the postage stamp Gail was commissioned to design for the USPS, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, sold over 50,000,000 copies, appeared on the evening news, and even became a Jeopardy clue! We’re thrilled that Gail joined us for our mini-interview series, 4 Questions 4.

How did you originally get interested in typography and design?

I used to make little teen magazines as a kid—tiny folded spreads about the Jackson 5 and the Partridge Family. I Ioved designing layouts with crude cutouts of Michael’s head from 16 and Spec magazines. I copied groovy Letraset fonts like Candice, and there were lots of hearts and stars involved, and words like “luv.”

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My sister and I had a “band” (quotes intentional), which we called the Stark Impressions, named after a page of caricatures by Bruce Stark that appeared in the New York Daily News.

What typography trends are you loving most these days?

Typography Idea Book

I’m actually enjoying the more stripped-down type designs I’m seeing right now. I’m growing a little tired of excess—though I still can’t stop myself when I’m working. But it’s nice to see others paring down. It’s my goal, though I’m not sure I can pull it off.

Which of your projects are you most proud of, at this point in your career, and why?

I’m most proud of the stamp I designed for the USPS commemorating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.


It is both the biggest and smallest thing I’ve ever done, and it has reached more people than I ever could have imagined.

Describe your dream project.

My dream project starts with: “And so we’re sending you to Italy for a few months…” Enough said.