The Missing Legacy of Muriel Cooper


Alice Rawsthorn has a wonderful piece on Muriel Cooper and the tragedy that is her lack of legacy. Mentor to people like John Maeda and Pentagram partner, Lisa Strausfeld, and colleague to such luminaries as Nicholas Negroponte, Rawsthorn makes a case that not only was she an incredible designer, but she was on the forefront of bringing design work to the computer and vice versa. If you haven’t heard of Cooper before, you really ought to read it, if just as a way to say thanks for helping lead the momentum toward building some of the tools you work with today.

…Cooper launched the Visible Language Workshop with Ron MacNeil to encourage students to use graphic design techniques to translate computer data into easily understandable text and images. Technically she remained flummoxed by computers, and relied on MacNeil’s expertise. “I’m fascinated by Muriel’s confidence in what she did not know,” said Strausfeld. “She was not at all skilled technically, and she wasn’t even that tech-savvy, and she leveraged her ignorance in a truly brilliant way.”