Drawing Feminism: Women in Graphic Design during the 1960s Countercultural Waves


The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of women graphic designers within the American 1960s countercultural movements. Often neglected, the work of women such as Bonnie MacLean, Mari Tepper, and Donna Wallace-Cohen, contributed profoundly to the outcome of psychedelic graphic design. Their compositions evoke a deep connection with transcendental experiences, trance states, shamanic rituals, and mother earth, combined into innovative pictorial languages. The many posters and flyers addressed not only the west coast music scene but also brought awareness to the political and social issues of the time, including those specific to women, such as the access to birth control pills. This research explores how women navigated an environment that, although countercultural and revolutionary, was somehow conservative in what comes to gender, being mostly dominated by male figures. The methodology reflects a qualitative approach conveyed through literature review, documentary research, and content analysis. The study suggests that the work of some of these women is sometimes still misattributed or left behind, especially when comparing it to the better-known male counterparts. However, their work was able to challenge the praxis of graphic design while enhancing the power of women through creativity.


Juliana F. Duque
Researcher, Graphic Design, Centro de Investigação em Belas-Artes - CIEBA, Portugal


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design in Society


Graphic Design, Women Designers, Counterculture, Feminism, Women Power

Digital Media


Drawing Feminism (pdf)