Spring 2014

Reputations: Louise Fili

Liz Danzico
Louise Fili

‘Most restaurants are not used to dealing with designers, so I ask lots of questions. It’s being able to talk about colour, texture or architectural details. All I need is one element to latch on to that can make the logo work.’

Louise Fili (b. 1951) grew up in an Italian-American household in New Jersey – her mother was from Calabria and her father from Sicily. When she was sixteen Fili taught herself calligraphy with an Osmiroid pen and a book of type samples. She went to Saratoga Springs, where she studied studio art, or ‘commercial art’ at Skidmore College. Her senior project was a hand-lettered Italian cookbook. In 1973 Fili left to go to New York City, where she did an internship at the Museum of Modern Art, and completed her degree with a final semester at the School of Visual Arts [SVA].

She first worked in a small ad agency, then for B. Martin Pedersen, now owner, publisher and creative director of Graphis, who at the time had a small studio. Fili later became a freelancer at Knopf working on picturebooks, where she discovered that she loved book design.


Identity design for the Mermaid Oyster Bar (2010) and Mermaid Inn (2003). Design: Louise Fili and Chad Roberts. Illustrations: Anthony Russo. When the Oyster Bar sibling opened seven years after the Mermaid Inn, the mermaid image was flipped and a pearl choker added around her neck.
Top: portrait by David Eustace.


Liz Danzico designer, editor, educator at the School of Visual Arts, New York

Read the full version in Eye no. 87 vol. 22 2014

EYE87 Cover

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. You can see what Eye 87 looks like at Eye before You Buy on Vimeo.

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