April Greiman is the second influential woman designer in our mini blog series: Celebrating Women in Design after we kicked it off with Cipes Pineles. Greiman is considered one of the leading women designers in the New Wave, post-Modern style.

The early years

April Greiman grew up in New York City. From 1966 to 1970, she attended the Kansas City Art Institute studying graphic design. Then during the early ’70s, she enrolled at the Basel School of Design (then Allgemeine Künstgewerberschule Basel) under the supervision of two renowned masters of that period—Armin Hofmann and Wolfgang Weingart. This is also where she developed her interest in International Style, as well as her later well-known ‘New Wave’ style.

Design Quarterly #133: Does it Make Sense?. Credit: Design Museum

introduction to the digital tools

Before the digital revolution in 1984 with the introduction of the Apple Macintosh computer, graphic design had been a manual, hand-done and photomechanical process. During the 1970s and 80s, many modernist and contemporary fellows of Greiman were afraid of digitalization and the advancement of computer technology. However, she saw beyond the threats and decided to make the best use of what it had to offer. Her experimentation and curiosity in digital art soon liberated her from the traditional approach to design. By involving advanced technology in her design process, her work soon encompassed a unique and multidisciplinary aesthetics. This marked Greiman’s name among other leading voices for the New Wave style in this turning era of the American graphic design landscape.

“The digital landscape fascinates me in the same way as the desert.”
—April Greiman

experimenting with digital media and multi-disciplinary approach to design

In her work, Greiman explored the various meaning of typography and ways to alter the flat two-dimensional canvas into a three-dimensional space through the process of “layering”. This was something that had been difficult and almost impossible to achieve with traditional analog tools.

Beyond print design, she also experimented with video and motion-based media. Her ongoing experimentation in digital media continued to showcase in her best-known “hybrid” pieces. Here, she integrated New Wave typography with traditional design elements. She sets an example for the upcoming generation to strive for new ways of creating work and embracing the newness in design.

SCI-Arc Admissions. Credit: Made in Space Shop

Wet Magazine cover. Credit: Ready Magazine

April Greiman was also one of the leading voices to advocate for the importance of Macintosh in graphic design. In addition, she demanded more recognition and influence of woman designers. Greiman and other’s advocacies for woman designers have continued to this day and contributed greatly to the current gender landscape of the graphic design world.

Sci-Arc, Changing Concepts of Space in Architecture and Art. Credit: Made in Space shop

Currently, April Greiman is teaching at the Woodbury University, School of Architecture as an art instructor. She also teaches at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. She was presented with the Gold Medal for lifetime achievement for her invaluable contribution to the American graphic design landscape. Greiman also received four honorary doctorates, awarded to her by different institutes, including Kansas City Art Institute, Art Center College of Design, The Art Institute of Boston and Academy of Art University.