After years of working as senior designer for the iconic Herb Lubalin and then as prolific art director of Pantheon Books, in 1989 the uncompromising Louise Fili decided to set up her own studio. On the very first day on her own, Fili got a call from the Disney’s publishing arm, Hyperion, asking for a new logo. With her signature sense of elegance and refined typographic flair, Fili tackled the brief with (seemingly) effortless ease. Today, the celebrated designer tells us the story of the first week of Louise Fili Ltd.

Louise+Portrait+(Cafe)

I had been art director of Pantheon Books for 11 years when my son was born. I took a three-month maternity leave with every intention of returning. But when I went back, the books had gotten less interesting than my own freelance work, which I had been pursuing throughout my tenure in publishing. I decided to take a six-month leave of absence to test the waters.

The transition was easy enough. I already had a studio set up in my apartment (which had two entrances and two buzzers, an ideal live/work situation) and I had enough clients. Even so, I was surprised that on the very first day on my own I was called and asked to design a logo for Hyperion, the new publishing division of Disney.

They called on a Monday and they needed the logo that Friday! Having worked in the industry for so many years, I already knew that the most important use of a logo was on the spine of a book. Since Hyperion is a longish name I decided to do two versions, a horizontal and vertical. I took my cues from the fact that Hyperion is a type of day lily, as well as the name of the avenue where the Disney studios were located.

Miraculously, by Friday I delivered the logo.