I’m always looking out for new design opportunities to learn and grow. That’s part of being a creative person—that need to continually learn and use it to help the group, business or client you’re working with. Recently, one such opportunity came up. It was as a creative director for an educational non-profit. It really piqued my curiosity. I had several meetings with them and one of the key messaging points was the aspect of diversity—marketing for and experiences in developing diversity.
Having had such experiences with AIGA chairing its Diversity Task force, my years of design experience along with my childhood background being very similar to the audience they serve (black and latino kids from underserved communities), I saw myself as an ideal candidate. The more I progressed through the meetings and learned about the group, the more I felt the connection. Through the last meeting before the final decision, I sweetened the pot by presenting a digital publishing app I created off the initial exercise they asked for in the beginning of our process. Along with this and the issue of diversity experiences being highlighted again, I felt extremely confident about this opportunity.
Continue reading A Curious Turn of Events…
Plans are great…until they get fucked up. That’s something you can never plan for. That’s where I happen to be at.
Since my days at Pratt, I had thought about operating my design studio. Working on the projects that interested me, selecting the kind of clients I wanted to work with and creating gorgeous, satisfying designs was what I thought running a studio was all about. That’s why when you’re young and full of zeal, you are thinking about all the other factors. Like your personal life—you might be married, you might be divorced, you might become widowed, you might have a kid or two, you might have health problems, you might have family problems or you might (just fill in the blank). When you’re young, thoughts like that don’t come to mind. It’s seen as a clear, easy road.
After almost five years of running my studio, it appears that I will have to let it go. At least in terms of a physical space. Why you might ask? Simple, the cost is draining, I miss the creative banter among other designers and I didn’t market myself like I should. Supporting my wife’s business, preparing for the birth of my daughter (and subsequent removal of my wife from the business fold), still running low on spiritual energy after my first wife’s untimely death (probably should’ve taken the time off instead of plowing through the beginning of a new job) and the enormous pressure of being the sole provider for an entire family took up a lot of my focus that I needed for my studio.. I’ve always been exceptionally strong but just didn’t think I’d run out of that strength. Boy, did I get a rude awakening. Continue reading A Long Held Plan Gone Awry…
Several weeks ago I got this event notice on Facebook that really grabbed my attention. “Where Are All The Black People” was the title. How funny was that…as that’s been a mantra of mine since my early days at Pratt. This was to be a frank, no-holds-barred discussion about the lack of black people and others within the ad industry moderated by Jeff Goodby, co-founder of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners along with Jimmy Smith, Group Creative Director of TBWA\Chiat\Day/Los Angeles. The were three other panelists there: one was a black woman whose name was Cheeraz (like the wine) Gorman. She was a copywriter/planner. One was a British white woman whose first name was Danni, I believe. She’s a recruiter for agencies. Lastly was a young black man whose name I couldn’t hear. He is a soon to br graduate of Morehouse. Now I’m not an advertising man, matter of fact I hate it, but I thought it gave a diverse range of perspectives from the industry. The lack of color within the ad industry has been a raging topic since the ’60s. So we are talking over FORTY YEARS! It’s 2011 and still no real, tangible progression. I attended just to see just how frank it was going to be. Continue reading Where Are All The Black People?
This past October 28th through October 31, the Organization of Black Designers (OBD) held their 7th DesigNation conference in Detroit Michigan. The last OBD conference I attended was in 1996/7 in Philadelphia. I had only been in the industry for seven years working as an Art Director for Income Opportunities, a general market business magazine for the small business, home office owned by Essence Communications. Somehow I stumbled upon OBD and was amped to join because I had been searching for other black designers—hell, designers of color period. Since I knew Essence wasn’t going to pay for me to go (despite the hype, Essence really wasn’t all about black solidarity), I would go on my dime. Continue reading OBD DesigNation 7 in Detroit
My OBData hit my email a couple of weeks ago. For those that don’t know, OBData is the newsletter of Organization of Black Designers. As usual, I’m reading through the items when I damn near fell off my chair reading that Pentagram had just made a black designer a partner… A PARTNER. Pentagram!? The elite, prestigious, albeit, white bread design firm was actually making some one of COLOR a partner. Eddie Opara, a British graphic designer who heads the NYC design shop, MAP, was the one being made partner.
First, let me say to Mr. Opara…CONGRATULATIONS! CONGRATULATIONS! I’d only heard about Mr. Opara a few months early while investigating who was behind the design of the promotion I received from one of the design orgs I’m a member of. That’s when I first learned of MAP and was delightfully surprised to see one of the heads being black. I was like HOORAH!
Second, while I’m ecstatic that Mr. Opara has been made partner at the same time I’m still disappointed and frustrated that this is major news. It’s 2010 and from the time I graduated Pratt in 1989 to now, Mr. Opara is the first designer of color that I’ve heard of being a HEAD at any major design firm. That’s 21 years…twenty-one!. Continue reading Holy Shit! A Black Partner at Pentagram