Design is diverse
I absolutely love to see how designers from all over the work help each other learn and grow their skills. With this great wild thing we call the internet, we all not only have access to learning sources and materials but can also find ways to connect. However all too often when I see lists of influential designers and voices we should listen to the faces tend to look a little similar. So I thought it may just be time to mix up the crowd a little.
Give credit where credit is due
Don’t get me wrong all the people usually mentioned on such lists have done a great deal for our community and deserve all the praise they can get, but nonetheless, I believe it is important, that we who don’t match the western European standard model for success can find strong voices we can identify with. That’s why I set out to build this list of non-white male professional designers from all over the world. Obviously, this list isn’t complete and I would love your helping in bringing it forward. So if you know a someone that should be on the list please be so kind as to reach out or add them in the comments. I have a strong feeling that I am especially missing a bunch of people from Africa and the Arabic world.
Divers Voices of Design
There is no order of importance to this list. But hopefully, you can find someone that can inspire you.
Chris Do — Founder of Blind
Chris and his Agency Blind aren’t only responsible for some pretty amazing brand and design projects but with the futur he is also teaching designers around the world how to become more successful in the business of design. I can’t recommend the great content the futur is putting out there *for free* enough. Thank you, Chris and the Crew!
Teaches design at the futur
@theChrisDo | Twitter
Vicki Tan — Lead Product Designer at Headspace
Headspace is a meditation unicorn that is also well known for its distinct style & design. Vicki is also a believer in designing with intuition. Here you can see her talk on the topic.
@vickiheart | Twitter
Benjamin Evans — Design Lead, Anti-Discrimination Team at Airbnb
There is surely a lot to be said about Airbnb, but one thing is for sure they do some great design work. What Benjamin and his team are doing is quite a few steps ahead of the crowd.
@benjamineevans | Twitter
The challenge of designing for everyone | YouTube
Marissa Louie — CEO & Chief Designer at Animoodles
Dan Mall — Design leader, founder/director of SuperFriendly, co-founder/CEO of SuperBooked
Dan is one of my favorite experts on design systems. If you’re looking to step up the design systems game, Dan is the guy you want to follow. He has got a course on the topic on Skillshare and a great video series on design systems with Brad Frost & Josh Clark
Julie Zhuo — VP, Product Design at Facebook
I only recently stumbled upon Julie as a guest on the product breakfast club podcast and immediately became a fanboy. Julie is really open on how she got into design and how challenging and exciting it is to design a system that is used by so many different people from different cultures. Her book „The Making of a Manager“ is definitely on my must read short list.
Jen Cotton — Lead UX Designer at Amazon Alexa
Yes, you read right, Alexa. With that on her portfolio, Jen’s work is present in a whole lot of living rooms. Before her Amazon, she worked with Twitter where she led the diversity in UX group.
@jencotton | Twitter
Lola is a designer with vast experience as well as an expert in building design teams. Furthermore, she is a speaker for international conferences and gives workshops.
@LolaOye | Twitter
Temi Adeniyi — Head of Design at Blinkist
Blinkist is a service for books in short form. Something that fits perfectly into the busy designer’s lifestyle. They work from Berlin, Germany one of Europe’s great tech hubs. If you get the chance make sure to catch Temis talk on *Design Leadership for Imposters*.
Ian Spalter — Head of Design at Instagram
No need to introduce the company. Ian has a bunch of great brands under his belt Youtube, Foursquare and Nike. Check out his interview on 28 Days of Black Designers.
@ianspalter | Twitter
Pablo Stanley — Lead Designer for Invision Studio Platform & Co-Founder of Carbon Health: Modern Primary & Urgent Care
If you haven’t stumbled upon Pablo’s work until now you may have been living under a rock. He is not only a Lead Designer for Invision Studio but also regularly posts comic strips about designer life at The Design Team. All too often I find myself thinking „It’s funny, ´cause it’s true!“. Somehow Pablo always seems to capture what we as designers go through. As if that wasn’t enough Pablo also manages the site https://www.latinxswhodesign.com.
@pablostanley | Twitter
John Maeda — Global Head of Design at Automattic
I have to admit, John Maeda is probably one of the regulars in such List. But I just could write this without including him. As Global Head of Design at Automatic John leads the design efforts of Wordpress. I could hardly imagine a position that has more impact on the web as we know it at the moment. John is definitely a strong voice in the design community. But what I particularly love is that he manages to always come across humble and calm. — No boasting or yelling here.
@johnmaeda | Twitter
Mona Patel — CEO of Motivate Design
Talk about one impressive body of work. Mona is the CEO of a successful agency that has developed entirely new research methods, author of books like „Reframe: Shift the Way You Work, Innovate, and Think“ and „The Thing about Swings“ — which is a children’s book, CEO of UX hires which helps UXers find their dream jobs, mother and from what I can tell listening to her in different podcasts she also seems to be a genuinely nice person.
@monapatel | Twitter
Helen Tran — Founder & CEO of Try Jupiter
A self-proclaimed „7-Continent citizen“, Helen has been in the game for more than a decade and was a Design Lead at Shopify. She also joined the increasing number of designers turned entrepreneur and is currently building Try Jupiter — Scheduling and CRM software for beauty and personal care professionals. Make sure to follow Helen on Twitter for a bunch of short bursts of advice.
Leni Charles — Creative Director & Founder of KIDS OF THE DIASPORA
I believe that designers can have a positive impact on the world aside from commercial business. With her kids of the diaspora project, Leni is a prime example for just that. A fashion movement that stands for a diverse community of like-minded individuals regardless of their differences. Particularly fell in love with the slogan „deconstruct the concept of minorities“. You may expect this movement to come from the United States or maybe Paris but Leni is based in Vienna, where she is also a co-founder of Vienna’s 1st kinky weekend hair club afropopup.
@lenicharles | Instagram
Be the Inspiration You Seek in Others
Finding inspiration in people that have achieved greatness in our field can be extremely helpful in finding your own path and staying true to it. But even better would is surrounding yourself with people who share your passion and guide you along your way. At ux-mentorship.com we set out to build a community of like-minded UX professionals from around the world committed to helping each other grow through structured peer mentoring sessions. Hop on over and have a look and sign up for early access, you might just find someone who can help you grow your UX skills.