Women in Design: April Greiman


It’s Women’s History Month and to honor women’s contributions to American history, we are excited to bring back our Women in Design series! Each week we will shine a light on women trailblazers in the design industry. You might not know them all by name, but definitely by their work and influence on the design world as a whole.

April Greiman is known for being one of the first designers to use computer technology as a design tool. She has over 40 years of experience as a leader in shaping visual culture.

Greiman first studied graphic design at the Kansas City Art Institute and has continued her studies throughout the years at the Allgemeine Kunstgewerbeschule Base in Switzerland, where she was a student of Armin Hofmann and Wolfgang Weingart.  

After studying at Kansas City Art Institute, Greiman worked with the curator of design at the museum of Modern Art in New York City as a freelance designer. A few years later, she picked up and moved out to Los Angeles. There she met photographer Jayme Odgers, and together they designed a famous Cal Arts poster that became an icon of the California New Wave, defined as “an approach to typography that defies strict grid-based arrangement conventions – influenced by Punk and postmodern language theory”.

The modern poster for MOMA, 1988.

During 1970s, while “other designers were afraid of digitalization and that the advancement in computer technology would comprise the International Style, Greiman embraced the idea.” She launched her first design studio called April Greiman, Inc, now called Made in Space, where she was influenced by “blends of technology, science, word and image with color and space” and used pixilation and technology errors as parts of the digital art.

“Hand Holding a Bowl of Rice”, a mural in Koreatown, Los Angeles, CA.

Greiman went on to become the head of the design department at the California Institute of the Arts and returned as a student herself, eager to study in greater depth the effects of technology on her own work. After returning to work full time, Greiman purchased her first Macintosh computer and went on to win the Grand Prize in MacWorld’s first Macintosh Masters in Art Competition. Along a multitude of other awards and published in many magazines.

Greiman & Odgers. WET Magazine, Sept/Oct, cover, 1971.

Along with her many awards and publications, Greiman received a Gold Medal for lifetime achievement from the American Institute of Graphics Arts, along with four honorary doctorates from the institutes she has attended. Today Greiman continues her love of graphic design and is recognized as a pioneer in modern design. 

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