Discovering Australia's first female graphic designer — Australian Historical Association annual conference hosted by The Australian National University

Discovering Australia's first female graphic designer (42)

Jane Connory 1
  1. Monash University, Vermont South, VIC, Australia

This paper seeks to identify Ruby Lindsay (1887-1919) as one of the first women to practise graphic design in Australia. It explores the social context in which she worked, during the 1900s, and her relationships to other women in order to raise the visibility of her contributions. The justification of labelling her work as graphic design is explained through its evolving discourse and connecting its typology through the terms applied art and commercial art. Lindsay’s personal participation in the 1907 Women’s Work Exhibition (WWE), also offers an opportunity to categorise her as one of Australia’s first women to practice graphic design and raises the importance of creating a more inclusive history of Australian design. Currently, her voice remains almost silent however, led by historical documents, I have created a speculative conversation in the form of postcards written between her and fellow WWE participant Eirene Mort. This practice based research makes their stories more accessible and aims to demonstrate ways of widening the scope of graphic design history while encouraging a more intersectional approach to history on a broader scale.