Jessica Helfand is an author, columnist and lecturer on graphic design. She is the partner of William Drenttel of Winterhouse Studios, Winterhouse Editions and Winterhouse Institute located in Falls Village, Connecticut. She is a critic in graphic design at Yale University, where she earned her M.F.A. in Graphic Design and her B.A. in graphic design and architectural theory.
Jessica Helfand is a 1978 graduate of The George School in Newtown, PA. "After graduate school, Jessica joined the staff of a respected magazine design studio, and soon moved on to become Design Director for the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine. She credits those years of relentless photo layouts with teaching her the fundamentals of visual storytelling. In 1992, a seminar on computer imaging sparked her interest in new media, and she began to envision creating her own studio. By 1996 she was back at Yale, this time beginning her long-term faculty association in graphic design with the School of Art, where she is now Senior Critic." "She has lectured at the AIGA National Biennial Conference, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Walker Art Center, Columbia University School of Journalism, the Annenberg School of Public Policy, and the Netherlands Design Institute."
Helfand has written for many national publications, including the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Aperture and The New Republic. She is the author of numerous books on design and cultural criticism, including Paul Rand: American Modernist (1998), Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media and Visual Culture (2001) and Reinventing the Wheel (2002), which formed the basis for an exhibit in 2004 at the Grolier Club in New York City. Her critically acclaimed 'Scrapbooks: An American History' (Yale University Press, 2008) was named that year’s best visual book by 'The New York Times'.
She is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) and a recent laureate of the Art Director's Hall of Fame. In 2010, she and William Drenttel were named the first Henry Wolf Residents in Design at the American Academy in Rome. She was appointed by the Postmaster General to the U.S. Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee in 2006, where she chairs the Design Subcommittee.
Jessica Helfand received both her BA in Graphic Design and Architectural Theory and her MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University. She has taught for fifteen years in the graduate program in Graphic Design in the School of Art, where she is currently Senior Critic in Graphic Design and a Lecturer in Yale College, where she teaches the freshman seminar "Studies in Visual Biography."
Helfand is also a "founding writer" of the Design Observer weblog. with Michael Bierut, Wiliam Drenttel and Rick Poynor.