I’m incredibly happy to post an interview that will be the first in a series of many conversations I hope to have about the importance of diversity in the design industry. Diversity, or rather the lack of it, in design is sadly not a new topic, but it’s something that is rarely discussed in design media, blogs, television or the popular conferences and panels of our niche. Quite frankly, I have been embarrassed about my own lack of commitment to the issue, so I decided that if I was going to stop being part of the problem, I needed to try being part of the solution. I don’t know all the answers for solving such a widespread problem (and I don’t think the solution lies with just one person or one area of the industry), but I do know that the biggest problems seem most manageable when you just start talking about them.
A few months ago, I met with Tina Shoulders, whose work and contributions to the design industry, I’ve admired for a while now, but what really caught my eye was an e-book (inspired by a preceding web series) she created called 28 Days of Diversity. In her e-book (which you can — and should — read for free right here), she profiled 28 fantastic designers of color and highlighted the incredible works they are making. The idea was simple, but the impact for me was profound. It was a humbling (but much-needed) moment to realize that not only did I not know these designers, but I also didn’t know how to find them. Rather than remaining in the dark, I decided to meet with Tina to talk about that project and what I could do to improve my own research techniques and be a better supporter of designers of color.
Following up on that initial conversation, Tina and I had a really thought-provoking and enjoyable half-hour discussion on Monday’s radio show, where she shared some valuable insights about the problem, possible solutions and ways that both artists and bloggers can help increase visibility, awareness, inclusiveness and support systems for designers of color. I see this as part of a broader discussion that includes all non- “mainstream” creatives, whether that has to do with someone’s age, sexuality, gender, geographic location or race. It’s not something people talk about much, but I plan to start doing more of it. They say change starts at home, and today I’m making some changes around my online home. I’m working on some big ideas with Tina and hope to implement them this fall, so please stay tuned for updates. Also, please feel free to join the discussion in the comment section below. I will be continuing this series every month on After the Jump and would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
Thank you again to Tina for sharing her time and thoughts with me. I really hope this is just the beginning of a broader discussion that will include all bloggers and designers. Finding ways we can work together (and as individuals) to better reflect the broad spectrum of creative people in our industry is absolutely crucial, and while I wish I had started this process earlier, I’m glad we’re off and running with a conversation. Thanks for listening. — Grace
WAYS TO LISTEN