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Graphic Design School Grad Creates ‘Platform for Women’

It began as a student project in a classroom at Academy of Art University‘s graphic design school. Now it’s taken shape as an award-winning publication—Greta Magazine, founded by alumna Sadie Williams.

Excerpts from “Greta Magazine”

First Steps

Williams, a 2018 BFA graduate, envisioned the magazine as a showcase for female artists and writers interested in exploring topics related to feminism.

She designed the publication in School of Graphic Design Director Phil Hamlett’s Visual Systems 2 class. Initially, she meant it to be “just a design project.” But after reaching out on Facebook to see if others would be interested in becoming contributors, she received an onslaught of responses.


“People that were friends of mine were reaching out to their friends that I didn’t know, and they were responding to the post,” recalls Williams. “I had over 40 volunteers after that, so now it’s a magazine with all original content.”

Staying in Class: Greta Takes Shape

Williams created the first issue in class. Then she did two more issues outside of the classroom. Those three issues featured the themes “the contemporary woman,” “the body” and “maternity.”

Greta Magazine is a platform, meaning I did not prescribe what the topics would be,” explains Williams. Instead, content was guided by volunteers’ interests. “I kind of sifted through and categorized what the volunteers wanted to write about,” she says.


Contributors come from different age groups, backgrounds and demographics, even different parts of the world, Williams reports. “They have different ideas and different backgrounds religiously and politically, and that kind of makes it an interesting read because not all the opinions are totally aligned with current feminist thought.”


Curating the artists and photographers who contributed to the magazine was fascinating to Williams. “With my fine arts background, it was just a blast to sift through what artists at the present are doing,” she says. “Of course, every artist in Greta is female, so it was awesome to see how many phenomenal female photographers there are in just the Bay Area.”


In 2018, the magazine was recognized by Graphic Design USA prior to being published. It also received a silver award from Graphis in the Design Editorial category earlier this year.

The ‘Core of the Class’

Williams acknowledges Hamlett’s role in Greta, with appreciation. “He really helped refine art direction,” she says. “This was a really expressive piece. It had a lot of room for experimentation, so he helped channel that creativity into something that made more sense.”

Hamlett continues, “Within a class structure, students are encouraged to think about all kinds of different ways to strike a balance between how much consistency you develop as a framework and how much variation you allow to happen. In Sadie’s instance, she elected to play that out in a publication. She did a really good job of building something that has some obvious presence and some obvious attributes that remain constant. But [she provided] a platform through which a lot of other different things can flow and take different forms.

“That’s the core of the class. And that’s how she realized it—and did a wonderful job with it.”

Academy of Art University School of Graphic Design alumna Sadie Williams

Experimental and Expressive

Williams’ advises Academy students to have fun with their projects. “You are going to get so much more experience and learn so much more from being really experimental and expressive, and trying something really crazy. Being a student is the time to do that.”

Images courtesy of Sadie Williams

Original article by Caroline Andrade of Academy Art U News,

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