Right, Source and Vibe magazines covers. Bottom, an ad for Universal Studios’s Jurassic Park ride plays on the stereotype of the overbearing large black woman.
Ice Cube, YouTube screengrab, Google Images
especially race, is an issue that all designers need to be con-
designer, both in the process of collaboration and in forming
cerned with in terms of the future of our profession” (Stone).
adaptive, responsive approaches to problem-solving” (Grefé).
According to a recent AIGA survey, 86 percent of
Every designer, regardless of race, should ask them-
designers are white, which corresponds with the number
selves the following questions at the beginning of a project:
of graphic design students enrolled in college. The fact
What is the goal of the campaign? Does that goal require
that the number of students mirrors the labor statistics is
a diverse approach or can the product stand alone? What
hardly surprising. In fact, it’s a clear indication that in
value does this product have and how can that alone be
order to change the industry, one must start at the educa-
leveraged? Sometimes, however, a narrative will require
tional level. Diversity initiatives have certainly helped,
a cultural touch, which means knowing and paying atten-
but more could be done to reach out to students who haven’t
tion to the intricacies that certain cultures present.
considered graphic design as a profession (Stone). If the graphic design industry doesn’t address the lack
Asian cultures are examples of that as well-meaning designers can easily offend without knowing they are
of diversity within its profession, U.S. studios and agencies
doing so. In one ad, a pair of chopsticks sticks upright in
could find themselves with fewer jobs as the global market-
a bowl of sticky rice. It’s an innocent-looking picture that
place continues to thrive.
might not raise an eyebrow among a certain set of viewers,
“The profession as a whole must demonstrate the understanding and perspectives that can only come from the interplay among many different backgrounds, cultures and experiences. This is where inclusivity will change every
but for many in the Asian community, this image immediately offends. Why? Because the image symbolizes death. interTrend Communications, an Asian advertising agency in Long
Published on Jun 14, 2012