Known as one of the first women art directors in major magazines (Seventeen, Charm, and Mademoiselle) Pineles broke gender barrier in the publications world.

Born in 1908 in Vienna, Austria. Pineles immigrated to New York at the age of 13. After graduating from Pratt Institute, she began to search for a job in the corporate design industry. Although her work gained her interviews, she was not hired by any company due to her status as a woman. Her first job was a low position at Contempora, Ltd.

Condé Nast’s wife noticed Pineles’ work at a Contempora display window and introduced her to M.F. Agha - the art director for Vogue and Vanity Fair. Agha pushed Pineles to expand her creative boundaries and offered her equal opportunities. Under his influence and directing, Pineles built the foundation for her future art director career.

Back in the days, Vogue did not have an established logo and Pineles was free to experiment.

She later became the art director for Seventeen magazine, a radical publication that targeted its market towards young girls. A group of audience that is often ignored and was seen as "husband hunters". The purpose of the magazine was to educate teenage girls that they are smart, and deserve to be treated seriously. To compete against titles that misrepresented young women, Pineles abandoned the traditional, rough illustrations for magazines. Instead, she commissioned artist like Andy Warhol, Ad Reinhardt, and Ben Shahn to produce illustration. By doing this, she exposed her audience to modern art. This indeed increased the status of the magazine.

Seventeen Magazine

During her career as an art director, Pineles strived to create a new image for women. Perhaps motivated by the discrimination she faced as a woman in the design industry. While working for Charm, a magazine for working women. She designed spreads that showed styles of women running errands and working in different professions. Redefining women's magazines as well as their progressing role in the society.

Charm Magazine

One of her greatest innovations would be introducing the use of fine artists in publications, therefore giving them access to commercial work. As an artist herself she knows how to work with other artists. She would ask them to read stories, pick their favourite one, and leave them alone. Personally, I think this is a great way to work with artist because it allows them to fully express their creativity. In many of her works, we can see that she replaces letters with objects. This later became the American figurative typography trend. As a designer, Pineles loves to keep her work concise in playful typographic designs, she also tend to integrate text and images together. Under her influence, we can see the earliest version of modern layout design.

Potato Spread on Seventeen

With her creativity and famous "potato spread" on the Seventeen magazine, Pineles won a gold medal at the Art Directors Club.


  • First female art director in U.S.
  • Introduced the use of fine artists to create and design marketing campaigns on a large scale.
  • First woman to be asked to join the all-male New York Art Directors Club and later their Hall of Fame.
Created By
Lily Li

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