I had the wonderful fortune of attending a lecture by Louise Fili—thanks to Tim Coolbaugh of Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts.
This marks another hero on my list of designers to meet before I die and Ms. Fili did not disappoint—she was even better in person than I had imagined. She willingly shared her life and career story to an overflowing room full of young students and handful of “older admirers.” We were invited to sit in the front row and her lecture was the perfect compliment to our letterpress tour as she demonstrated her understanding, appreciation, and application of its tactile quality.
Top 10 things I learned from Louise Fili.
1. You don’t have to shout to get attention.
2. Italians are experts in style.
3. The importance of patterns and personal projects.
4. Menus should be tactile.
5. Copyright information doesn’t have to be flush left or centered.
6. Every client likes to be taught—but only just a little.
7. Design is 1% inspiration and the rest of the time is used to not fuck it up.
8. Well set type can look great in the shape of a triangle—or “tapered to a point” as Ms. Fili put it.
9. Design is about the details.
10. If you are going to meet one of your heroes…
bring your favorite book that she wrote. I can’t believe I didn’t do that – duh.
What a wonderful treat for my Pratt Typographic Design class—Thank you, Louise.
New York–based graphic artist Louise Fili is as passionate about letters, typefaces, and historic signage as she is about food, Italian culture, and savoring life’s simple pleasures.
The recipient of lifetime achievement awards from AIGA (2014) and the Type Directors Club (2015) – just the pinnacle of an awards mountain – Fili is the consummate designer’s designer. She has created unforgettable corporate signatures (the Tiffany & Co. monogram, the Paperless Post stamp), restaurant identities (Artisanal, Mermaid Inn, Pearl Oyster Bar), and food and wine packaging (Tate’s Bake Shop, Sarabeth’s); published a dozen prestigious design books, many with her husband, Steve Heller; and has so far been commissioned to design two USPS postage stamps, the most recent of which, an ode to skywriting, debuted in January.
The New Jersey–born Italian-American began her career as a senior designer for Herb Lubalin, spent 11 years at Pantheon Books quietly revolutionizing the art of book design, and then flew solo with the launch of her design studio, Louise Fili Ltd., in 1989. * text from: 99u http://99u.com/articles/55880/louise-fili
Click [here] to hear her interview with Debbie Millman from Design Matters.