Designing a Phenomenal Woman

Four colour palettes spot light my vector design of Maya Angelou to honour the influential legend and one of her most notable poems, “Phenomenal Woman” which continues to inspire.   

Design Elements 


Vector images can be scaled up or down, infinitely, without any loss of quality or fidelity.


I take my colour inspiration from the natural world.  Palette colour sets were inspired by the following plants.   

  1. scarlet runner bean, garden
  2. purple cauliflower, garden
  3. blue camas wildflower, native Alberta wildflower
  4. yellow lady slipper, native Alberta wildflower


Text in the images are excerpts from Maya’s poem, Phenomenal Woman, noted in bold in the following reprint.   

Phenomenal Woman

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.

Many phenomenal women employ their own creative dance, recitation, performance, or song designs to honour the legendary Maya.  Here is my A4Peace short Phenomenal Women playlist featuring some of my favourite creations.    

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