Bea (pronounced "Be-ah") Feitler was born in Brazil in 1938 to Rudi and Erna Feitler. She moved to New York in 1956 to study at Parsons School of Design. Three years later, she received a degree in Graphic Arts and Advertising and returned to Rio de Janeiro to work as a professional graphic designer.
In 1961, at the invitation of her former Parsons instructor and Harper's Bazaar art director Marvin Israel, Feitler returned to New York to work at the magazine, eventually replacing Israel as co-art director, with Ruth Ansel. Feitler credited Harper's Bazaar fashion editor Diana Vreeland for providing an apprenticeship in publishing and fashion, and for showing her how to harness the talents of illustrators and photographers. Over the course of her decade at Harper's Bazaar, Feitler honed a bold design style and developed the sensibility and working process that served to guide her throughout her entire career. During this time, too, Feitler manifested a gift for gaining the trust and establishing close, long-term working relationships with distinguished photographers.
In 1972, Feitler joined Gloria Steinem in launching Ms. magazine. As art director, Feitler was the force behind the magazine's look, overseeing layout, sequencing, creating graphic identities for monthly columns, and designing many of the dynamic covers.
After Ms., Feitler developed a long relationship withRolling Stone magazine, designing Annie Liebovitz's 60-page reminiscences for the 10th anniversary issue, and overseeing the format change from newspaper tabloid to magazine in 1981.
Throughout her years with Rolling Stone, Feitler built a thriving freelance career, designing numerous books, book and record album covers, catalogs, and advertising campaigns. Feitler was unique in the field for insisting upon title page credit--and royalties--for her book design work. She also designed costumes and programs for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and, as a consultant for Condé Nast Publications, developed the look of Self magazine.
Editors, publishers, illustrators, and especially photographers came to rely upon Feitler's discerning eye, insight and passion. She won numerous awards from the Art Directors Club in New York, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Society of Illustrators, and the Society of Publications Designers.
Bea Feitler died of cancer in 1982, shortly after designing the look for the premiere issue of Condé Nast's resurrected magazine, Vanity Fair.
Bea Feitler papers