While the internet has helped loads of people get into design, it’s design educators like Jennifer White-Johnson who really help teach the next generation of our industry. As a multidisciplinary artist, designer, photographer, activist, and advocate, Jennifer brings all this to her work as an assistant professor of visual communications and digital media arts at Bowie State University.

Our conversation began with talking about HBCUs and the responsibility they bear, and we discussed Jennifer’s background in art and photography and how a small stint at MICA prepared her for her current teaching career. We also talked about KnoxRoks, an advocacy photo zine dedicated to her son which helps give visibility to children of color in the autism community. As we move into 2020, I’m glad for this conversation and I hope it helps you think about how you can use your design talent in the world!


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I met Hadiya Williams at last year’s Black in Design Conference at Harvard University, and I have been a fan ever since then. Hadiya’s background in art direction and design are on full display through Black Pepper Paperie Co., her design and maker’s studio that focuses on boutique event design and one-of-a-kind handmade clayware and printed works.

We started off talking about the Washington DC design scene, and Hadiya walked me through a regular day for her while discussing why she started her studio. Hadiya also talked about her sources of inspiration, what she’s excited about next, and talked about her dream project. Hadiya says that she designs like an artist, and I think that’s definitely reflected in her amazing work!


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HBCU Month continues with an interview with senior UX designer Eric Johnson, who I first heard about from Jole Simmons.

Eric’s worked for some big companies like Walmart, AOL, and Adobe, and he shared how his passion for design started at an early age. He dropped quite a few gems in this interview, so I think this is one you’ll definitely want to take notes on while listening!

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