Diversity in Design | 332 | What Does This ‘Really’ Mean?

This is Convo By Design with a conversation about diversity in the design industry. In June of 2020, I published a conversation originally produced in October live at the WestEdge Design Fair. The concept was fairly straight forward, a panel featuring designers of color talking about their experiences in the industry. The purpose was straight forward as well, to provide a forum for the conversation to take place, to shed light on untold experience and extend the mic to those traditionally underserved. Originally, the term “of color” made me uncomfortable. It felt like attaching a label and I wondered if that was exactly what I was trying to avoid? I think the term ‘people of color’ has been debated quite a lot over the past year and it is more about nuance and in this situation, it isn’t a label but a descriptor. The ‘designers of color’ descriptor is intentional here and that is not to say that in some time, might no longer be appropriate. This is also not being used to compare, contrast or value any particular color or historical experience. I’m going to leave it here, but know this, I too continue to learn more about this subject. It’s not one I am at all comfortable with but to avoid it would be a disservice to the journey and the learning process. 

The response to that episode was incredible. It was good, bad, and surprising. If some people are uncomfortable by conversations like these, good, we should do them more often. If for no other reason than to normalize different voices, experiences and perspectives. 

With that, I give you the second installment of the Diversity in Design Series featuring designers Gail Davis, Sharon Lee, KD Reid and Edel Legaspi. Edel will be moderating this conversation, for which I am extremely grateful. 

This is Diversity in Design, a conversation about design, the design industry, and opportunity for all who seek it.

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Thank you, Sharon, Gail, Edel and KD. Your participation and willingness to share your experience is greatly appreciated. Thank you Walker Zanger for your partnership. And thank you for listening. Without you, there is no joy in doing this, you are appreciated. My hope is to bring you inspiration and sublime design through these conversations. To give you that extra push to be the most creative designer you can be. I think we did that here. Please make sure you are subscribing to the show so you don’t miss a single episode. You can also follow us on Instagram, @ConvoXDesign, with an “x” and convo by design dot com. Be well and remember to take today first.

Design Diversity | 274 | Crafting Our World The Way it Should Be

Following is a panel conversation that took place at the WestEdge Design Fair in 2019. I am always honest with you, and this is no exception, I lost sleep in advance of recording this panel last October and now in publishing it because I wanted to approach this topic with the respect it deserves. I feel now, as I did in prep for this, that we have some incredibly challenging issues as evidenced by the headlines today. We were witnessing similar issues a year ago, and 10 years ago, and 50 years ago. This is a conversation about the lack of diversity in design. It speaks to the broader issue that, and you will hear from the get-go, that the lack of conversation about this issue is a big part of the problem.

You are going to hear a conversation about diversity, or the lack thereof, racism, the great divide, and lack of opportunity. You will hear front line stories about issues at play but you are also going to hear from four highly successful creative designers who bring the fight to the forefront every day. Let’s be clear, this conversation is not going to fix the societal issues we have regarding race nor is it going to equalize the level of diversity in design and that is not why we had this conversation. Let this be the beginning of an open dialogue. I believe the only way we eventually fix societal issues is by having very challenging conversations, conversations that make us uncomfortable but ultimately that is the only way we can understand a foreign perspective. You are going to hear from four individuals who have achieved success in their fields and with that accomplishment comes a recognition of what it took to get there, how they can offer a hand to help others, and how you can too. 

I think one of the most important issues to understand and you will hear it for yourself is that there is room for everyone. This is not about bumping anyone out but making space where there is plenty of room for different voices and new perspectives. That, in turn, makes the industry stronger. It makes our society stronger. This panel is packed with amazing talent and I am so thankful that the agreed to participate. Thank you, Breegan Jane, Bridgid Coulter, Ron Woodson, and Brian Pinkett. In this episode, you will hear about: Exposure, Opportunity, Education, Mentorship, Internship, Availability, Inclusivity, and Outreach. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to present this conversation from the WestEdge Design Fair, recorded in October 2019 called, Design Diversity: Crafting our World the Way it Should Be. The take away from this is that there are more conversations needed, we need to be able to have honest exchanges of ideas without fear of saying the wrong thing and while we are not there now, my hope is that by having more conversations like this, we will be, soon. Thank you Walker Zanger and Thermasol for your support fo Convo By Design and thank YOU for listening to the show, subscribing to the podcast, and coming out to our events. There are more on the horizon and there will always be diversity in the voices and stories you hear. Thanks for listening and until next week, keep talking, listening, and creating.