I’ve created graphics in celebration of Black History Month in the past. However, I wanted to do something different this year. I wanted to give some shine to African-American graphic designers that have made an impact on American culture. This design project also was my chance to learn about these designers I should know.
A simple Google search brought me to the Laughton Creatves website. Glenford Laughton wrote an outstanding, informative 2-part article highlighting 13 African-American graphic designers we should all know. It is from this list that I selected the featured designers for my design series. Laughton’s inspiration behind the blog post echoes my motivations for starting this series.
“While studying in the early 90’s we learnt of famous designers like Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Paul Rand and more. Although these designers changed the way graphic design is seen, we did not see graphic designers from the African diaspora proudly presented and applauded. With that in mind let’s now celebrate *African American graphic designers who have left an indelible mark on the field. Let’s check out those who flourished in the face of racial adversity, fighting to have their artistic voice heard; who created their own companies and excelled as Black entrepreneurs at a time when this was unheard of, and those who continue to do so to this day.” – Glenford Laughton
My project, Black (Designer) History, involves me taking photos of each designer and creating an illustration based on their facial features. While designing, I record my screen using QuickTime so that I can include a timelapse in the video. In each video, I have the time lapse of my Adobe Illustrator work playing over a voiceover of me reading their bio. Whenever possible, I like to include some samples of their work and have those pop up on screen. Thus far, at the time of writing this, I have featured Charles Dawson, Sylvia Harris, and Art Sims.
I’m learning a lot through this project. As an African-American graphic designer myself, it is important to study and appreciate the masters of this craft that came before me. It is also important to highlight these great designers for more to become familiar with their impactful work. They each inspire me to maximize the potential of the space that I inhabit.