Gail Anderson is an American graphic designer, writer, and educator.
Early life and education
Gail Anderson’s family migrated to the Bronx, New York from Jamaica. She was the first-generation American, and first-generation college-educated in her family. In her youth, Anderson created Jackson 5 and Partridge Family pretend magazines. As she got older, she began to look into what was then called “commercial art” as a possible career field.
She graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in 1984, where she was taught by Paula Scher. She joined the faculty at School of Visual Arts MFA, undergraduate, and high school design programs, and has served on the advisory boards for Adobe Partners by Design and the Society of Publication Designers. She currently serves on the board for the Type Directors Club, and is a member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee for the US Postal Service.
Upon graduating, Anderson worked as a designer at Vintage Books (Random House) and then at The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine from 1985 to 1987. She became the senior art director of Rolling Stone, where she worked for fifteen years from 1987 to 2002, starting as a designer and deputy art director. In 2002, she became the creative director at SpotCo, an agency specializing in advertising for the arts and entertainment, where she stayed until 2010. Her first piece for Spotco was a subway poster for the play Harlem Song. Anderson was also in charge of the typeface library at SpotCo. She is currently a partner at Anderson Newton Design with Joe Newton.
She specializes in creating theatrical advertising for Broadway productions. Her work, which has received awards from the Society of Publication Designers, the Type Directors Club, AIGA, the Art Directors Club, Graphic, Communication Arts and Print, is in the permanent collections of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and the Library of Congress.
Anderson designed the 2013 Emancipation Proclamation US postage stamp.
Working with Steven Heller for over twenty years, she has co-written books on graphic design including New Modernist Type, New Ornamental Type, New Vintage Type, Astounding Photoshop Effects, American Type Play, The Savage Mirror, Graphic Wit, and the upcoming The Typographic Universe. Anderson is a contributor to magazine Imprint and Uppercase.
Her philosophy for type design is that “the process has to be fun and you need to be willing to step outside your comfort zone”.
Anderson is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in the Designer as Author MFA department, where she also teaches graduate, undergraduate, and pre-college courses in graphic design.
She was among AIGA’s 2008 medalists for her accomplishments in Graphic Design. She serves on the advisory board for the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. Anderson served as the Director-At-Large for the Type Directors Club from 2014 to 2016.
Currently based in New York City, Anderson teaches in the School of Visual Arts MFA, undergraduate, and high school design programs, and serves as creative director at the school’s Visual Arts Press, the in-house design studio for the School. She is a partner at Anderson Newton Design, serves on the board for the Type Directors Club, and is a member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee for the US Postal Service.
Her career has ranged from magazine design to teaching, designing for the theater, packaging, writing, and now designing for academia. Anderson’s work has received many awards from major design organizations, including the Society of Publication Designers, the Type Directors Club, The American Institute of Graphic Arts, The Art Directors Club, Graphis, Communication Arts, and Print. In addition, her work has also been included in the permanent collections of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, the Library of Congress, and the Milton Glaser Design Archives at the School of Visual Arts. Anderson has been featured in magazines that include Computer Arts (UK), designNET (Korea), kAk (Russia), STEP Inside Design, and Graphic Design USA. In 2018 Gail Anderson was honored with The National Design Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Accolade, the first year that women of color were awarded.
Anderson has always passionate about type. She is obsessed with the element of type and finds ways to improve her skill. Anderson developed her typestyle and incorporates it into commercial fonts, lettering, old advertising posters, vintage signage, pages from antique specimen books. All of this sparks her impassioned typographic emotions. Anderson now has to focus her career in creating artwork and campaigns for Broadway theater. She is also specializing in hand-lettering and packaging design. She has had a chance to published her work in the book called ”Hand- Drawn Packaging from around the world.” The book has contribute the document about Anderson talent and graphic design skills. It has won the best illustrating award-winning design.