Jacqueline Casey

Jacqueline Casey, is one of the many women in graphic design that helped shaped the world of graphic design with her illustrations in her MIT poster designs. Born on April 20, 1927 in Quincy, Massachusetts. Casey Studied at the Massachusetts college of art and design earning her bachelors in fine arts degree concentrating in fashion design and illustration in 1949. After graduating from Massachusetts college of art and design she would get a couple of jobs in interior design and others in advertising. Her biggest break came from her work at MIT where she joined the office of publications in 1955. At MIT she worked under design director Muriel Cooper, fellow Massachusetts college of art and design Alumna. After Cooper left the the office of publications at MIT Casey would move to be director of the department. Both Cooper and Casey are among the few women of the time working at such a professional level. Most of their colleagues are male, but they seem to have the same interest in typography.

Casey would produce many important pieces during her time at MIT making her one of the leading women in the whole college. Her advancements in graphic design have placed her at the top with only male colleagues surrounding her making her work stand out from the rest. Most of her work came from publishing poster for events for her colleagues at MIT. Including people like Ralph Coburn and Dietmar Winkler who typographers at the time. Casey’s influences include international typography styles that at the time were recently developed in Switzerland. These early typography styles include some graphic designers like Karl Gerstner, Armin Hofmann and Josef Müller-Brockmann. Her projects drew a lot of influence from these designers, especially since she developed the style having a striking image with simple typography heading along with smaller print in order to provide the information of the event. Creating a balance in order to catch the eyes of her audience, but also making it simple an easy. Someone else she credited in helping her create the sense of a grid in her posters is Thérèse Moll a young swiss designer who helped around in Karl Gerstner’s studio. “She introduced the office to European typography … This use of proportions in designing publications series became a useful tool for developing MIT’s image.” (Resnick)

Typography became such an important part in Casey’s posters at MIT. Honestly thats all she needed to focus on in her poster because just like she said that the information on the poster can become the image itself and her style is very simple which created a space that she could do that. Using the information of the event and adding the elements of typography she did really helped create such interesting posters. Then by adding just a simple graphical image on the poster to create a point of interest also helped her design immensely. Her use of typography really helped set her apart from what her male colleagues were doing at MIT including Coburn and Winkler. Some posters you might have seen at the time would rely on the image itself and had the information as a second thought instead of using it as the focus point. Casey figured out a way not only giving the information on the poster a place to shine, but also making it an essential part of the poster that would catch the audiences attention. The audience also didn’t have to stand there for long to figure out what they should be getting from her posters especially if it was for something as important as an event at MIT. MIT is the leading school for teaching and research in science and technology. Casey’s ability to use her high level thinking audience to look at the essence of her pieces is astonishing. Her understanding of typography really helped her out in creating her pieces. She was also created with being good with word play and inventiveness. These elements of her design played in her favor when creating poster with other elements like photography. This also helped her create a more interesting poster just using type. Not only using type but color as well helped created and emphasis words or phrases in the poster. color, type, and shape really helped create point of interest in her posters. Really setting her apart from designers in the United States, but also aligning her with international designers like Müller-Brockmann.

I think that Casey’s influences really helped her push past her colleagues but also shot her to the top. Her backgrounds in advertising also helped immensely because being able to figure out the most efficient way of relying information in order not to bore an audience is extremely important which is the most successful part of her design. Studying Illustration at Massachusetts college of art and design also help her learn a new way of creating illustrations by using type as the shapes to create a graphic. Even her environment at MIT is something that really allowed her and pushed her to create these hidden essences in her posters. A school full of these brilliant minds in science and technology at the time really have given Casey a space to create these high level pieces of design. Her design really helped shaped the why designers at the time saw type, but also showing that the design field was just for men. Casey will later have her pieces stay at MIT in a museum they have on campus. Along with some of pieces being displayed the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Library of Congress. Her Legacy will still be seen across the design world since her pieces with type are so important especial in modern design.

“I just think of the problem at hand, and I solve it in what I consider an appropriate way…There is emotion, there must be. I’ve always thought of design as being a creative act itself, creating something with a lot of emotion and excitement. I don’t see that you can pin it down with any equation.” –Jacqueline Casey (Matthews)


Matthews, William. “Jacqueline S. Casey.” History of Graphic Design, www.historygraphicdesign.com/the-age-of-information/the-international-typographic-style/802-jacqueline-s-casey.

“MIT Museum.” MIT Museum | MIT Museum, mitmuseum.mit.edu/.

Resnick, Elizabeth. “Eye Magazine.” Eye Magazine | Feature | Woman at the Edge of Technology, www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/woman-at-the-edge-of-technology.