How AIGA Is Increasing Diversity In Graphic Design

October 22, 2014
AIGA Together

Encouraging diversity in design education, discourse and practice to expand the future strength and relevance of design in all areas of society.

According to the United States Census, we are expected to have a minority-majority population by the year 2043. With these inevitable demographic changes, workplaces will have to reflect this overall shift. However, many industries do not have workforces that reflect this.

In graphic design, about 86% of designers are Caucasian. As recently as 1991, 93% of designers were Caucasian, so there has been very little minority growth in the field in almost a quarter of a century. AIGA, the premier professional association for graphic artists, is looking to tackle this issue with a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Led by graphic designer and illustrator Antoinette Carroll, the Task Force consists of a diverse array of graphic designers, communication professionals, and students throughout the nation from different backgrounds and experiences. (Full disclosure: Revision Path’s founder and EIC Maurice Cherry is also a member of this task force.)

As the world becomes more interconnected, diversity and inclusion initiatives in a number of different fields will become more relevant — graphic design is no exception. AIGA had already established the Women’s Leadership Initiative to address the lack of public female role models in design and the challenges women face in their graphic design careers. The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force looks to meet similar goals to by encouraging diversity in design education, discourse and practice to expand the future of design in all areas of society.

The AIGA Diversity and Inclusion Task Force has the following goals:

  1. Celebrate a diverse array of influential designers, including historical figures and contemporary role models.
  2. Cultivate greater opportunity, awareness of diversity issues, and inclusive design cultures.
  3. Connect with students, emerging designers and like-minded groups to support a more diverse cohort of future practitioners and leaders.

The task force is looking to meet these goals with a number of activities and initiatives.

For years, AIGA chapters around the country have been committed to providing mentorship programs to high school students, college students, emerging designers and seasoned professionals. Task force members are also encouraged to get design students from minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to apply for Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships to help them realize their dreams of becoming graphic designers.

There are also links and resources for graphic designers to reach out and network with each other to find out about opportunities in the field. Designers can also help out the Task Force by recommending and nominating designers who have demonstrated concerted efforts to increasing diversity in the field.


AIGA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Chair Antionette Carroll

According to Carroll, “technology, multiculturalism and globalism make diversity and inclusion more relevant than ever in design and all aspects of business.” With the projected demographic shift in here in the U.S., that means clients, colleagues and collaborators will change as well. Having a diverse workforce in the field of design leads to more perspectives and more innovation. It’s not about “diversity for the sake of diversity”, but it’s about having a workforce that reflects the multicultural world we live in.

Make your voice heard! For more information about how you can help encourage, cultivate, and mentor diversity in the field of graphic design, visit AIGA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force web page.

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