• Steven Heller

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In the 1940s, the remarkable Reba Sochis was one of the very few women in the world of design (with the notable exception of Cipe Pineles Burtin, art director at Seventeen magazine).

Initially working for the Beacon Studio, she was responsible for a staff of over 20 men. Late in 1949, she set out on her own with Talon zippers as her first account. Her eponymous studio was a wellspring of future design masters, including George Lois, Seymour Chwast, Bob Gill, Kit Hinrichs, Steve Horn, Rick Levine, Tony Palladino, Anthony Russell and Bob Tucker.

Eventually, she acquired some major NYC clients, including Pappagallo’s (below), a well-known fashionable shoe emporium. I was given some of the job books that were maintained as a record, like these from the early 1960s. As we consider the history of graphic design, it’s useful to see not just the heroic monumental pieces but the day-to-day works that even the heroes had to produce.

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