Farinaz: Yulia, I stumbled upon an amazing book, that you have published and that we are going to talk about today. But first of all, I would like to ask you to introduce yourself. Tell me briefly about yourself: Who are you? What do you do at MetaDesign and why do you do what you do today?
Yulia: Sure. I am Yulia Popova, I was born and grew up in Moscow, Russia, where I studied Product Design at the British Higher School of Art and Design. After several years of experience working in this field, I decided to move to Germany, to continue my studies in Integrated Design at the International School of Design (KISD) and later to finish my master’s in Communication Design at Weissensee Academy of Art. After working at Pentagram in Berlin, I started working as a Senior Graphic Designer at MetaDesign two years ago. Why I’m doing my job? I really enjoy working in diverse teams and solving problems. There is a lot of bad user experiences out there. And good user experiences make our lives easier and more enjoyable.
FR: That's an excellent motivation. The world needs heroes and heroines like you to fight bad user experiences. Let’s talk your book now. It is called: “How many female type designers do you know? I know many and I talked to some.” As the title clearly indicates, it is about female type designers and the little visibility women apparently have in this field. What are the three key findings that you have discovered, while working on your book?
YP: First: There are certainly many female type designers out there. Second: The gender balance of a conference panel is in the organizer’s hands since conferences are curated. And the last one is that it is hard to recognize inequality if you are used to it.
FR: These are very interesting findings. How did they come about?
YP: My interest at that time was focused on several areas of design, particularly on typography and gender in design. This combination of topics has appealed to me since my studies at KISD. In 2017 I attended the TYPO Berlin conference. I could not help but notice that the percentage of female speakers at the conference was under 30%. This looked like a paradox to me and I decided to dig into this issue and picked it as my master thesis. Why was there so little female speaker at the typography conference? I wanted to figure out if there are really less women in this field. During the research I stumbled upon the problem that there is not much literature on this topic. The only book I found was from 2012. I thought, it would be interesting to collect all my findings and put them in a book for other researchers to use.