How I Got Here: Gail Anderson

We talk to designer, writer and educator Gail Anderson about the mentors who shaped her career, diversity in the industry and her ever-growing collections of ‘things’

Gail Anderson has been working in design for nearly 35 years, and in that time she has built a body of work that has excited, engaged and inspired the design world. Upon graduating from the School of Visual Arts in 1984, Anderson dived straight into work and became a designer at Vintage Books. Soon after she left for the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and a few years after that she joined Rolling Stone and remained there for 15 years. It was here she defined the eclectic typography that personified the magazine’s distinctive design. 

In 2002, she left to join ad agency SpotCo where she became immersed in the world of Broadway and theatre. Then eight years later, Anderson struck out on her own to set up her own design firm with Joe Newton, forming Anderson Newton Design. You’ll also find Anderson back at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) where she is chair of BFA Advertising and BFA Design, as well as the creative director at Visual Arts Press at SVA. A co-author of 16 books, the recipient of the Cooper Hewitt Design Award for Lifetime Achievement and an AIGA medallist, Anderson is a powerhouse and surely one of the busiest designers working today.

Rather than simply reel off her achievements (though impressive), here CR speaks to Anderson to get an insight into when she realised a creative career was for her, what it’s like to shape young minds, and how diversity in the creative industries is slowly shifting. 

Anderson as a child with her family