Where Are the Black Designers?

Ask yourself the following question:
How many Black designers do I know?

15% of the US population is Black yet they only make up 3% of the design community. This statistic has not changed much within the past 20 years and we need to do something about it. We should see 15% of the Black population represented in all aspects of design.⠀

Maurice Cherry of Revision Path, a weekly podcast that features Black creatives, gave a SXSW presentation on the barriers that are preventing Black people from pursuing a career in design.

Some barriers and issues include the fact that Black people were not able to pursue design education until desegregation in the 60s, the expensive cost of design education, and lazy employers who have not diligently worked to employ, maintain, and support Black designers. All of these are just a few of the examples of how systemic racism is so deeply rooted, in a multitude of ways, and continues to affect employment opportunities.⠀

We encourage you, as we’re encouraging ourselves, to do your part as a designer/creative/business owner. You can start by supporting Black creatives, especially those in our own state. Follow them, hire them, support their work, leave reviews, tell your friends, and CREDIT them for their work!


Below are four incredible designers located in Utah.

ARLANDER TAYLOR IV
IG @chieflander

Arlander is a Natural Gas Trading and Optimization Analyst by day, and a self taught designer with many successful side projects the rest of the time. Some of which include work for Adidas, Atlanta Design Festival, and SLC streetwear shop, Fice Gallery and Boutique. Check out his work here.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and moved to Birmingham, Alabama after Hurricane Katrina.

What is your education background?
I graduated with a degree in finance from Tuskegee University. After graduation, I got an offer to work for Goldman Sachs as a Global Investment Research Analyst here in Salt Lake. I worked there for about two years, and I now currently work as a Natural Gas Trading and Optimization analyst for Summit Energy, a local Natural Gas company.

What do you like to do outside of design?
I really enjoy boxing and hiking.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?
My biggest accomplishment to date would be be launching and maintaining my graphic design practice while still working my day job in finance.

Favorite Vine/TikTok/internet vid:
The Fibonacci Sequence: Nature’s Code


CHRIS OWENS
IG @evil.monkee

Chris is a Creative Director at Canvas Studio and could probably design with his eyes closed  standing on his head. You can see more of his projects here.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the island of Guam. The military brought me and my family to Utah.

What is your education background?
I went to Weber State and finished up at Provo College. I’m a visual interactive designer, a fancy way of saying I design beautiful interfaces and make them move. 😉

What do you like to do outside of design?
Outside of design I’m a breakdancer, and help rule our nonprofit called 1520 Arts.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?
My biggest accomplishment is expanding on my design skill into motion. It was very challenging to learn to animate UI elements for interactive apps and websites.

Favorite Vine/TikTok/internet vid:
Kevin Hart on: Rollercoasters


DAVID ONWUKEME
IG @divadivadivad

David is an ambitious multi-disciplinary design student at the University of Utah who will do big things.

Where did you grow up?
I began the first half of my youth in Lagos, Nigeria and spent the latter half in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

What is your education background?
After graduating high school in 2017, I moved to Utah to pursue a degree in multi-disciplinary design at The University of Utah.

What do you like to do outside of design?
Outside of design, I love to do music research. I’m extremely fascinated with the post-war rock scene in Nigeria, as well as Nigeria’s broader music scenes from the 70s to early 90s (Fela Kuti, Joni Haastrup, Sonny Okosun, King Sunny Ade, etc.). Aside from that, I’ve recently fallen more in love with coding.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?
My biggest accomplishment would probably be gaining acceptance to the U’s Multi-Disciplinary Design Program, learning from the teachings and direction of Cord Bowen and Elpitha Tsoutsounakis has been an extremely eye-opening and life-changing experience.

Favorite Vine/TikTok/internet vid:
Roger Waters’ Synth Noodlin’

 


CAMILLE NUGENT
IG @buffy.creates

Buffy is a senior designer at Dinng, and a creative in many other aspects of her life. View her work here.

Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Jamaica.

What is your education background?
I came to Utah to attend BYU after I graduated high school. I got my BFA with an emphasis on drawing and painting. I still love to do that (painting) when I can.

What do you like to do outside of design?
I also love dancing, golf, travel, yoga, and I’m a bodybuilding competitor.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?
A couple of my favorite/biggest accomplishments have been working with Adobe on art exhibits featuring Black Utah artists for Black history month and for a Juneteenth celebration… Also planning competing nationally in bodybuilding


Resources for hiring Black creatives


Each month, modern8 will be doing a spotlight on a company or organization that we admire. Some of them might be clients, current or old, and some may not, but one this is for sure, our features will be on businesses we admire with really, really cool people. Each month you’ll just have to wait and read for yourself to find out who.

In these spotlights and interviews, we want to provide you a sense of who these businesses are. We want to share who we find intriguing and undeniably interesting while also giving you a bit more of the story and the experience of the companies. We hope these stories will intrigue you, introduce you, or inspire you regarding something and someone new.