International Women’s Day

Maria Montes
3 min readMay 9, 2020


In honour of International Women’s Day, and in solidarity with women in Spain, I want to show my face and give my support to ALL creative women out there.

Photo credit: Peter Tarasiuk

Many people tell me that I’m always happy and smiley, but let’s make it clear: This is a personal decision I make every morning, and not a reflection of an easy and light-hearted life.

As a white woman born in the western side of the planet, I have as many reasons to be happy as to be sad, angry and frustrated.

I’M HAPPY because I consider myself extremely privileged to be surrounded by people who care about me and for being able to do what I love. My partner tells me constantly that he is my number one fan; and being supported in that unconditional way has made who I am today.

I’M ALSO GRATEFUL for being part of Alphabettes, an international and supportive group of women kicking ass in the type design world. Being part of Alphabettes has changed my life. Listening to females voices in the industry means a lot to me, they encourage my work and build my confidence.

In the past, things were extremely different. My father was very competitive and I was never good enough, tall enough or fast enough for his expectations. In the last ten years, my family has changed dramatically — due to the great distance between us. I would say that by now, he is within my top ten fans most of the time.

You can’t choose your parents, but you CAN choose your partners, and I made pretty bad decisions in the past.

I’M ALSO ANGRY at politicians who think they can have an opinion — or worse, a law — on what to do with our bodies — #handsoffmypussy.

AND I’M FRUSTRATED at finding out that women in Switzerland gained the right to vote in federal elections only after a referendum in February 1971. Thanks to Michael Poland and Claire Snyder for the screening of The Divine Order.

First I’m a woman, then I’m a partner, then I’m a daughter, sister, friend, educator, artist and designer.

Being a solo full-time freelance designer means you have to absolutely believe in what you do; have the passion and tenacity for it; don’t give up when things go wrong or very wrong; hope that all your hard work will someday pay off and have faith in yourself; AND that’s a lot of things to carry on mentally on a daily basis.

If you are wondering what am I laughing at, here are my answers:

I’m laughing at men who think women have it easy;
I’m laughing at people who ask you to work for free;
AND I’m laughing at everyone who thinks our creative job is done quickly;

Why does creative work cost money? Go try to make it, and find out.

Advocating for a supportive, inclusive and caring creative community.



Maria Montes

Barcelona born, Naarm based independent lettering designer and illustrator specialised in branding assets and calligraphy education.