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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


Think Before You Type by Nancy Palm  
Think Before You Type by Nancy Palm  

Think Before You Type by Nancy Palm. 2012 Thesis