In honor of Women's History Month, we're highlighting a few of our favorite influential female surface designers of the 20th century that inspired our industry and continue to inspire us today.
The Finnish-born designer Maija Isola (b. 1927) was a versatile and bold artist. She created unique designs that were both current and timeless. Her body of work includes over 500 prints, an impressive portfolio of designs drawing from far-ranging inspiration such as traditional folk art, modern visual art, nature, pop culture, and her world travels. When Isola presented her supersized poppy print to her client Marimekko in 1964, the unconventional textile designer delivered the brand the colorful aesthetic it's know for today.
The Trinidadian-born textile designer Althea McNish (b. 1930) was responsible for some of the 20th century's most memorable prints. A hugely influential figure in the world of interior design and fashion, she was also the first woman from the West Indies to rise to international prominence in her field. She saw design "through a tropical eye" infusing designs created in Britain, her adopted country, with a distinct Caribbean flair. McNish is credited with transforming grey, post-war Britain with colorful creations that brought vivid life to interior spaces and apparel.
Lucienne Day (b. 1917) was the foremost British textile designer of her time. Finding inspiration from an assemblage of places, including nature, abstract painting, typography, ceramics, and hieroglyphs, she created motifs that were original and modern. Day was commissioned by a wide range of companies to extend her personal aesthetic to carpets, wallpapers, tea towels, and ceramics. With a career in design spanning 60 years, her patterns would come to define mid-century print design and her fresh, jubilant artwork is still relevant to interiors today.