This past Wednesday (May 19th) was the opening reception at the AIGA National Design Center in NYC for the exhibit “Design Journeys: You Are Here” — a showcase of 25 designers from different walks of life. It was a culmination of the AIGA Diversity Task Force that was put together back in 2006 (I was asked and served as the first Chairperson) when Bill Grant was the AIGA president. The idea of the exhibit was to showcase works of designers of color since there was such a lack of showing in mainstream exhibits and to begin educating the design community about its invisible designers. Believe it or not, no designers of brown or black tones had been recognized by AIGA until the task force was created. Subsequently, long overdue AIGA Medals have been awarded to Georg Olden, Gail Anderson and LeRoy Winbush.
It’s been a minute since I last posted. Many things kept me from writing like family, money stresses, work from the few clients I have these days, my teaching, Modern Warfare 2 and so on. But in all that time, I kept saying to myself “ you gotta get back to your blog”. 2009 has been a horrific year for me and so many others. Many of my clients halted their marketing plans, some have just disappeared…all in all it was a perfect time to think about the future of my studio.
Like I’ve done for many of my clients, it was time for me to rethink how I do my business. I started my studio basically after leaving corporate without really thinking of a plan. I just went ahead and put a “Open for Business” sign…and sure enough business was coming in. But I didn’t think about the dry season; about how to keep my studio out there. So for 2010, it’s time to finally get a plan and market my studio with all the gusto I give when creating design for my client. It’s time to give myself some of my magic.
I didn’t want to be another person who moans about an issue and not do anything. In small parts I’ve been trying to introduce design to students by participating in AIGA’s mentoring program, speaking at various HS career days and for the past 3 years teaching design as an adjunct at New York City College of Technology. So I figured another way would be to create a magazine to pass along information to as many people as possible. Since I’ve in the magazine game for years, I know what steps had to be taken.
So just before the 2006 HOW Design Conference in Chicago, I put together my digital magazine. It was pushed through kinda quick so it didn’t have a heavily styled look to it. To my delight, it was received very well. I had grand plans for it…to publish quarterly, getting contributors and so on. Ha! Life had different plans. Needless to say it didn’t happen. So now fast forward to this moment. Figured it would be better to create a blog that would be much more interactive and immediate. And so this is how it begins.
The idea behind this blog has been fermenting since I was in college. Here I was an eager, design student looking to learn all I can about my future industry. Semester after semester I’d pour over design annuals and magazines reading about the titans of design. But there was always something that really bothered me when looking through all this—I never saw anyone that quite looked like me. What I saw was page after page of designers that were male and white. Occasionally I saw some women but they too were white. The only folks of color I saw were the occasional Asian designer but they didn’t look like me.
All I keep saying to myself was, “Are there any black/brown folks in design?” One semester I did start coming across designers who looked like me but it was far and few. And it took a lot of looking. I noticed that not much was different years after graduating and now working. Most of the folks I encountered working were white and I was the sole creative of color. Basically I was used to the growing in school but was this really how I was going to live through my creative life. Not seeing, reading or hearing about any designers like me was extremely depressing. I mean it was the 90’s, right? What I discovered was that there were designers of color out there past and present…it’s just they weren’t talked about or given the same consideration as Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, April Greiman or Joe Duffy as examples. No disrepect to these legends but c’mon not one designer of color is ever put in the same conversation as them. Where are the legends that look like me? Continue reading So Why The Blog?