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The Austrian-born designer, Cipe Pineles was a pioneer of her field and has had a major influence on magazine publishing. Without question she is one of the most famous female graphic designer to ever work out of the United States. Born June 23, 1908 in Vienna Austria Pineles came to Brooklyn with her Jewish family at the age of thirteen where she attended school and after graduating from Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge High School, she was awarded a Tiffany Foundation Scholarship to attend Pratt Institute where she would study fine art and later graduate in 1929.
Immediately after graduating, Pineles began attempting to break into the design world but for an entire year, she faced constant rejection in interviews from companies that had no desire to hire a female designer. But Pineles’ career finally took off after being discovered by Condé Montrose Nast, who had initially taken an interest in her models of store window displays. She began working at Condé Nast Publications in the office of Dr. Mehemed Agha, art director for the magazines Vanity Fair, House and Garden, and Vogue. Pineles began training in editorial art direction under Agha, who at the time was one of the design world’s leading experts. While working under Agha’s office, Pineles married her first husband and fellow designer, William Golden, in 1939.
After many years of working under Agha, Cipe Pineles became an art director for the magazine Glamour in 1942, making her the first independent female graphic designer and art director to ever work at a mass-media publication company in the United States. She would soon leave Glamour and to move to Paris to work at a magazine for servicewomen during WWII. In 1947, after her time in Paris came to an end, Pineles began working for the newly founded Seventeen, a magazine geared towards teenage girls. However Seventeen was the first of its kind to treat its audience as intelligent young women with the intention of educating them in hopes of improving their future.
Cipe Pineles was someone that had been turned away many times for being a woman and who had to fight against sexism throughout her career, being the only female art director in the design industry until the 1950’s. And so Pineles was inspired by the feminist goals of Seventeen magazine, and its founder and editor, Helen Valentine. Pineles made it her mission to help Valentine turn Seventeen into a successful magazine.
Being an innovator, Cipe Pineles revolutionized editorial design while working at Seventeen by becoming the first art director to incorporate fine art into editorial design. Pineles commissioned illustrations from several famous figures in the fine arts world, like Andy Warhol, for magazine articles. This not only helped to make Seventeen visually beautiful, but intriguing to the young audience, Seventeen was trying to reach, by including popular modern artists into its designs. Pineles would use this method which had made Seventeen a success after leaving to become the art director for the magazine Charm in 1950 and until 1959 and then Mademoiselle in 1961. In 1963 Pineles joined the Parsons School of Design faculty, also serving as Parsons’ director of publication. Later serving on the visiting committee in 1978 for the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Her work as an art director lead to much success and many awards from different organizations including the New York Art Directors Club, which would not allow Pineles to become a member because she was a woman, despite club member and Pineles’ former mentor Dr. Mehemed Agha proposing letting her join for ten years. It was not until 1948 that Pineles became the first woman to be admitted into the New York Art Directors Club. And in 1975 she became the first woman to be inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame
Cipe Pineles’ career in design spans nearly sixty years

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