On Wednesday, Nov. 2 we gathered our design community to share a very important message— AIGA Raleigh (RDU) will take an active role in addressing the lack of diversity in our design community.
Jacinda Walker, chair of the national diversity and inclusion task force for AIGA national, made a special trip from Cleveland to share some startling statistics with us. Hold onto your hats, friends: 86% of designers are white; 6% are Asian/ Pacific Islander; 4% are Latino and only 2% are black.
So, what’s the big deal?
Designers have an enormous responsibility riding on our shoulders. We are designing products, services, and experiences, that, according to the numbers are overwhelmingly created for white people. Some of those among you may be particularly enlightened, perhaps you’ve even been to some sort of cultural sensitivity training… that’s a start, but it’s not good enough.
Why is it important to diversify our design industry?
I’ll give you the skinny and let you read the articles below that support these claims:
- Diverse leadership leads to greater financial gains for companies.
- Diversity of thought and points of view lead to innovation.
- To give our designs authenticity, our design communities must reflect the communities we serve.
As if this was not enough to spur you into action, I have one more statistic you should be aware of. By 2050, we will have a minority majority population in the United States. That means that minorities will comprise over 50% of the population of the US.
What can AIGA and you do to be part of the solution?
Jacinda unveiled 10 action items that we can act on TODAY to begin to address the overwhelming whiteness of the design industry.
- you can // provide internships/learning experiences
- you can // expand your social network
- you can // mentor
- you can // visit a school to talk about design
- you can // job shadow
- you can // support minority business enterprise
- you can // travel
- you can // use diverse imagery
- you can // recruit talent from different places
- you can // develop a diversity plan at your job
As the director of design impact, I have another to add to Jacinda’s list:
- JOIN OUR IMPACT TEAM! We need you, your ideas and your smarts to make our diversity and inclusion efforts sustainable and comprehensive. See #3 and let us know you are IN.
- Sign up for our mailing list and let us know that you are ready to join your fellow designers in this charge!
- Have questions? Reach out to Niki Litts, director of design impact.
- Tell the world how you can impact design on the web! Use #icanimpactdesign to tell us your ideas.
Thank you so much to those who made this meeting possible!
Niki Litts is a project manager at New Media Campaigns in Carrboro and AIGA Raleigh board member. When she isn’t fulfilling her duties as director of design impact, she is making paintings in her shared studio space in downtown Durham or chasing after her two rescue pups.