Elaine Lustig Cohen

#OverIt Moment: After her husband’s premature death, Lustig Cohen was expected by Lustig’s clients to pick up after his unfinished projects as well as his entire midtown Manhattan design practice. So she stepped up to the challenge, and at age 28, she ran his design studio. Lustig Cohen specifically designed book covers and jackets, museum catalogs and building signs, initially sticking to her late husband’s style before developing her own modernist flair.

Elaine Lustig Cohen was born March 6, 1927 in Jersey City, NJ. She was a graphic designer who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from USC in 1948. After her husband Alvin Lustig died at age 40, she took over his design practice at 28 years old. She bravely pushed through to complete high profile commissions for clients, such as the architect Philip Johnson. The field of design at the time was mostly occupied by men, and Lustig Cohen’s fellow designers often saw her gender as something that made her inferior to them. Despite this discrimination, she nevertheless persevered and developed her own unique style that has come to be appreciated and vastly influential. She was awarded the AIGA medal in 2011 for having revolutionized graphic design as we know it.

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