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Recognized for setting a new standard for unified creative direction across publications, products and experiences for one of the most influential media phenomena of our era.
In 1990, the art director Gael Towey was asked to help launch a magazine—a how-to about homemaking that broke with convention by putting its founder’s name
on the cover. That magazine, Martha Stewart Living, was unusual in other ways. Under Towey’s creative direction, luminous photos and restrained
typography portrayed the domestic arts as anything but quaint or dowdy. They were the lyrical expression of one’s highest self.
Martha Stewart Living
became an inspiration for our current DIY movement. And it is to Towey’s credit, as well as that of her famously perfectionist boss, that her role in
visualizing the joy of creativity was acknowledged from the beginning.
As Stewart’s empire, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), expanded, Towey’s contributions grew with it. She oversaw product development, marketing and
advertising for hundreds of Martha Stewart products, working with her husband, the 2014 AIGA Medalist Stephen Doyle, on the branding and packaging of many
collections. And she directed and produced videos for “American Made,” an awards program celebrating American makers.
All the while she was at the creative helm of a growing number of Martha Stewart publications, including a digital version of Martha Stewart Living, first published in November 2010, whose award-winning cover presented a peony that blossomed before one’s eyes. Named chief
creative officer of MSLO in 2005, Towey also played an important role in the company’s management, especially when legal troubles forced Stewart
temporarily to step aside.
Raised in Short Hills, New Jersey, the oldest of six children in an Irish Catholic family, Towey might have seemed destined to work with Stewart, who grew
up Polish Catholic and the second of six. They were even born at the same hospital in Jersey City. They began collaborating in the 1980s, when Towey was
art director of the Clarkson Potter publishing company and Stewart was capitalizing on her talents as a caterer with books on entertaining.
By the time she met Stewart, Towey had already connected with other monumental figures in publishing. A 1975 graduate of Boston University’s College of
Fine Arts, she was a mechanical artist at Viking Press in the days when Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was the star editor. There she collaborated with Onassis
on In the Russian Style and worked on books by Irving Penn, Alfred Eisenstaedt and Georgia O’Keeffe.
After Clarkson Potter, Towey spent a year at House & Garden, which gave her a disillusioning view of Condé Nast’s designers, who were walled
off from the editorial staff. Then Martha Stewart Living came along. The job Towey was offered there had few precedents: It was a place where art
directors, editors, photographers, stylists, chefs and crafters conceived stories together, where content and presentation were fused.
And it lasted for 22 years. Towey’s decision to step away from MSLO in 2012 was spurred by turning 60, she says. She was ready for a next act and has since
turned a long-standing interest in narrative into a series of videos about creative people, including the fashion designer Natalie Chanin and artist Maira
Of everything in her career, she says, the storytelling part has been most fulfilling: “I don’t think there’s a very big difference between telling a story
with photography and text and video.” She added, “but video is the new way.”
Gael Towey will be presented with the AIGA Medal at The AIGA Centennial Gala on April 25, 2014, in New York City.
AIGA’s design community will gather in New York City for “The AIGA Centennial Gala,” a celebration honoring the 2014 AIGA Medalists and supporting national design initiatives.
The distinguished AIGA Medal is awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements in the field of design.
Section: Inspiration -
Designer and educator (and AIGA Fellow and Medalist) Meredith Davis on the growing role of trade organizations in the design community, and how they must work not only together, but with everyone from individuals to universities to extend the reach and relevance of the industry.
Section: Inspiration -
Education, personal essay, education
As the time that people spend in virtual environments increases, it becomes more and more important to design healthy “visual” spaces where people can still find some connection with nature.
When it comes to design, most companies have at some point found themselves at a crossroads, choosing between doing work in-house or hiring an agency. The more important design becomes to business, the more businesses are inclined to try their hand at developing in-house talent. This presents a challenge for agencies. As the work shifts, how do we shift accordingly? And what would the goals of such a shift entail?
Section: Why Design -
in-house design, digital media, business strategy, partnerships, problem solving, strategy, technology, business plans, new business development, studio management
In an effort to gather all of our philanthropic activities under one umbrella, King Arthur Flour has created Bake for Good, an overarching concept that includes Bake for Good Kids, the Bake for Good Tour, and a pay-it-forward concept of encouraging everyone
to bake for the good of others.
Section: Why Design -
branding, marketing, packaging, Design for Good, social responsibility
“Eclectic” and “diverse” are perhaps the best words to describe this year’s submissions to “Justified: AIGA Design Competition.” Examining clarity of concept, quality of execution and ability to engage and inspire, the jury selected 14 works from nearly 300 submissions.
Section: Events and Competitions -
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) 2009 Summer Campaign
"I always think that creating the identity for a design conference is one of the most thankless commissions around." http://t.co/0rIbCIGGP2
4 hours ago
The New York Times
Win a Copy of Dezeen Book of Interviews
2 days ago from
Designers & Books Blog
Monotype's Dan Rhatigan talks type design in illuminating videos
Posted by Rob Alderson
3 days ago from
It's Nice That
Parker Marketing Identity
Video: AIGA Medalist Jonathan Hoefler & Tobias Frere-Jones