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Design needs to actually champion its Black community—us included

4 min read
Sagal Muse  •  Feb 24, 2020
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The design industry would not be what it is today without the contributions and talent coming from the Black design community. As a Black female creative myself, I am very aware of the fact that this talented community exists, but rarely receives the recognition it deserves.

Searching through our own archives at InVision, I noticed an interesting pattern. Although our team, makes an effort to share content on the theme of diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) all year round, we fall short in regularly featuring the stories, insights, and voices of Black designers and other professionals of a minority background. We realize this and are working hard every day to change it.

Looking outwardly in the general design and tech community, you can also see a similar pattern—essentially, you have to seek out a niche platform that is dedicated to these voices, such as People of Color in Tech or Revision Path, in order to truly hear from them. On the flip side, when Black design leaders are featured on mainstream platforms, we see that they are mostly invited to speak on diversity and inclusivity topics rather than their design expertise.

However, it is evident that, beyond leading discussions on the push for DEI, Black design leaders such as Airbnb’s Benjamin Evans, tech world ethicist Nancy Douyon, and Indeed’s Kim Williams have led the way in designing some of the worlds most well-known products, while contributing to topics such as design systems, human experience design, and the like.

Taking notice of this wide-spread issue, the InVision team and I have already started to make procedural changes in order to truly make a positive impact on this front. As a company we believe our community is our voice, which is why we will be dedicated to sharing, honoring, and celebrating diverse stories all year round.

With that said: In celebration of the contributions of Black designers everywhere, we are rounding up some of the top stories, resources and individuals we should all look into, know and follow—both from our internal archives and from the external community. We hope to make this a living document with periodic updates and new additions, so please feel free to send us suggestions by tweeting us @InVisionApp!

Resources

Blacks Who Design highlights all of the inspiring Black designers in the industry. The goal is to inspire new designers, encourage people to diversify their feeds, and aid discovery of amazing individuals for hire.

Revision Path is a weekly award-winning showcase of Black designers, developers, and digital creatives from all over the world. They feature in-depth interviews with creative individuals about their work, their goals, and inspiration.

Afrotech is a groundbreaking, revolutionary conference for Black techies, startups, and entrepreneurs based in Oakland, California.

The 28 Days of Black Designers project focuses on the stories and work of African American and Black designers in celebration of Black History month.

8 resources for diverse stock photos sets up design to feature people of all walks of life.

People of Color in Tech highlights the stories of people of color in tech and hosts a recruitment platform for this community.

Black UX Collective centers Black UX designers and their stories.

Black Women in Design is a community for black women pursuing design careers in tech.

Valence Community connects, showcases, and empowers the global black professional community through the magic of technology and art.

Stories 

Black People Have Always Been UX Designers 

Space-making has UX principles at its core: making space for users in iterations improving usability, accessibility, and desirability.

Nancy Douyon: Listening is the best hiring skill 

In this episode of The Design Better Podcast, Nancy discusses her initial reluctance to enter a technical field and how she tailors research to represent a diverse user set.

A Black Engineer’s Perspective on Why Diversity Matters in Tech

Leighton Wallace, an engineering manager, discusses why diverse teams make better decisions and how to find a company that actually puts in the work to create an inclusive environment.

Jason Mayden: building stronger kids through Super Heroic

Jason Mayden is the CEO and co-founder of Super Heroic Inc., an advisor, d.Fellow, and media designer at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University. He also frequently lectures at the school’s prestigious Graduate School of Business and serves as an advisory board member to his undergraduate alma mater, the College for Creative Studies. In this Design Better conversation, he talks about designers as entrepreneurs, what inspired him to start Super Heroic, and more.

Benjamin Evans: The power of inclusive design

Benjamin Evans, inclusive design lead for Airbnb, is a new kind of problem solver, tackling issues like racism, sexism, and bias in digital product design. In this episode of the Design Better Podcast, Eli and Aarron chat with Benjamin about using techniques like design thinking, research, and storytelling to ensure a more inclusive experience for all users.

Recognize Design Anthology

RECOGNIZE is a design anthology featuring essays and commentary from Indigenous people and people of color—the next generation of emerging design voices.

Why I’m Not Doing Diversity Work Anymore

Amina Adewusi, engineer at The Guardian shares why Junior software engineers from under-represented groups should feel ok focusing on their technical work.

Kim Williams: Creating, scaling, and championing design systems

In this episode of the Design Better Podcast, Indeed’s director of design experience, Kim Williams, talks with Aarron and Eli about the evolution of Indeed’s design system, and why she thinks cross-company collaboration is key to any design system’s success.

Tech Folks Interview with Storj Lab’ Product Design Lead Atikh Bana 

Atikh Bana shares an insider look into his initial exposure to design, as well as his personal and career challenges as successes.

Timnit Gebru: Machine learning, bias, and product design

Timnit Gebru currently works at the Google as the technical co-lead of the Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team. In this Design Better Conversation, she discusses opportunities for designers in AI, algorithmic bias, and some of her recent research using computer vision and machine learning to make demographic estimates.

Designers to follow

Ashleigh Axios, chief experience officer and partner at &Partners
Maurice Cherry, creative strategist at Glitch and founder of Revision Path Podcast
Jacquelyn Iyamah, experience designer and founder of the Black UX Collective
Farai Madzima, UX lead at Shopify
Benjamin Earl-Evans, inclusive design leader at Airbnb
Wes O’Haire, product designer at Dropbox, design mentor at Backstage Capital, and creator of Blacks Who Design
Marcus Knight, head Of design at GfK
Kim Williams, group manager, UX Core at Indeed
Desi Reuben-Sealy, senior UX/UI manager at Debenhams
Tina Johnson-Marcel, senior director, head of design, mainstreet and resiliency at Capital One
Joshua Oluwagbemiga, product designer at InVision
Kristy Tillman, head of global experience design at Slack
Harrison Wheeler, manager, user experience design at LinkedIn
Jen Cotton, lead UX designer at Amazon
Dwight Battle, senior UX Designer at Amazon
Atikh Bana, product design lead at Storj Project
Alonzo Felix, product design manager at Coinbase
Neelum Etheridge, design lead at Fjord
Nancy Douyon, tech world ethicist, previously at Uber and Google
Deana Anglin, senior UX researcher at Google
Theresa Stewart, design lead, digital experience solutions at Northern Trust Corporation
Jason Mayden, co-founder and CEO, at Super Heroic and Trillconvalley
Cherian Porter, UX designer at Microsoft
Denise Nicole Francis, senior product designer at Salesforce
Marianne Abreu, UX designer at Google