In a list of the Top 10 Best Designed websites by Ben Hunt, it's telling that the only named designers are men. Is it because women aren't designing well? Here are ten women who prove the answer is a resounding "NO!"
Ten Female Web Designers at the Top of Their Game
The problem with coming up with a "Top Ten List" of female designers is not in finding them. The problem is in trying to narrow them down because there are so many good ones.
Here are ten of top female web designers who are shaping the web every day:
- Molly Holzschlag is one of the most influential people, male or female, in shaping the web as we know it. Starting as an HTML coder and designer in the early days of the web, now she's the lead on the Web Standards Project, a well-known invited expert at the World Wide Web Consortium, and author of the seminal CSS work A CSS Zen Garden.
- Larissa Meek: A recent mother of twins, Meek has been working as a professional web designer for almost a decade. She was named one of the top web designers by .NET magazine and is a frequent speaker at major conferences such as SXSW. Her work as a creative director at AgencyNet is focused on marketing and has appeared on sites for big clients including Howard Stern and Warner Brothers
- Veerle Pieters: As half of the creative team behind Duohl n.v. Pieters is well known for the clear CSS tutorials on her personal blog. She came to web design via traditional logos and advertising in Belgium, where she lives. She selects her projects based on how well she connects with her clients who have included the Library of Congress. Pieters has stated in her bio that her work ethic is to "make the 'interweb' a better place".
- Gisele Jaquenod was born in Argentina but lives and works in Norway. Her site is festooned with colorful cartoons and handwritten fonts, and includes free blog templates. Her informal, friendly style complements her professional work appearing in Lee Munroe, Smashing Magazine, and more. Her site is a model for what an effective designer's site should look like.
- "Are you ready...to work with one of the top female web designers in the world?" This slogan on Kimberly Coles site is an example of the confidence she brings to her work as a freelance Creative Director and Designer. Coles has worked with clients globally, taking a "holistic approach" to working on all aspects of a site design. She has over 20 years of award-winning work on her resumé, and is also a prolific blogger.
- Natalia "Taly" Devalle is an Argentinian self-taught web designer. As she tells it, the first experiments with the "blue letters between < and >" led to her blog, and that in turn led to freelance work for companies such as netclick.org and Socialsnack.com. In 2010, before she had even turned 30, she secured a position as part of the User Experience team at Mercadolibre.com, but still identifies as "Girl. Blogger. Webdesigner." on her website.
- Carol Rivello is more a designer in the classical sense, with a degree in Design and a website lavishly illustrated with her own drawings. She works as a freelancer in Brazil for major clients such as Mitsubishi and Microsoft. She has received the Peixe Grande award for her design, and her clients use terms like "gorgeous, detailed and simple" to describe her work.
- Jina Bolton has worked as a designer for one of the best websites in the world: Apple.com. She has also co-authored several books on web design and is deeply involved in the digital arts education community in San Francisco. Currently working as a User Experience Designer at Engine Yard, her website reflects her passions: sushi and robots.
- While she is one of the youngest web designers in the list, 24-year old Jenna Smith has been doing web design since age 11, with her first professional work at age 16. Based in England, Smith works old-school, hand-coding XHTML, CSS and PHP to fill her "passion for front-end web development and design." Currently she works as a front-end web developer for Jack Wills as well as maintaining her own site at Growl Design.
- Jelena Jovovic didn't want to be a designer. She studied and earned a law degree instead, but the creative lure of design made her more happy, and so she works now as a designer and illustrator. Commercial web design is her bread-and-butter, but she is a self-proclaimed "average Photoshop addict" who paints digitally in her spare time.
An Old Struggle in a New Media
As a report commissioned by An Event Apart has shown, there are the same problems for women in the IT field as there are in any other male-dominated industry. At the same time, it is remarkably easy to come up with ten, twenty five, or even fifty examples of fantastic female web designers. These are the women who are on the front lines of "making the interweb a better place" for everyone, regardless of gender or nationality.