28 Days of Black Designers

The AIGA and Google Design Census is over, and we are left to face the music. For some, the music is beautiful with a dash of glitter and magic, but for others, the epic soundtrack of death is destroying the very fabric of time and space as we are left of figure out where to find ourselves.

At this point in the game, we should be asking more questions and creating solutions to help the smaller underrepresented communities. We as a community of individuals in the design field should be running with the numbers to create projects that support the next generation of students choose a career in design. In my opinion, that’s the only way we can increase representation across communities.

I’m doing my part

The census revealed that out of the 7,703 U.S. participants only 3% of them represented the African American / Black community. To be fair, the census did show improvement from 93% whites to today’s new total 73% whites. I’m happy to see women made up 44% of the participants. This means the design field is not a male’s club anymore, but there are several areas of improvement in salaries and positions and that is another article for another day.

the census did show improvement from 93% whites to today’s new total 73% whites

In doing my part, I create a side project for Black History Month. The goal is to bring awareness to this disparity and celebrate the accomplishments that our black designers have achieved. The obvious fact is the for us by us model makes a big difference when trying to recruit for the industry. We love to see people who look like us doing the work that we want to do. It creates a hard work ethic to be the next Jessica, Tad or Tim. I believe that every designer should take a stable at creating some type of project to help solve or correct some of the numbers. Every little bit helps and it’s another opportunity to show the world how awesome we all are.

The Side Project

Why the 28 Days of Black Designers in Black History Month? Black History Month is the perfect marketing tool to use to publicize this project. It’s the only time of the year when we as a nation sit down to celebrate the accomplishments of the black community. I agree with many that this should be a longer project, but the truth is I don’t have the available time to focus more resources on finding and collaborating with my peers. I can say I’m totally looking forward to repeating this project next year with an updated site. Something where each site links to each other so you can see the history and how the project evolved.

The project is expected to run all 28 days delivering a new designer each day. The site focus is on the designers and not the design. Also, I’m not planning on using a content managing system to help manage the project. Html and CSS are simpler to work with in its purest form.

I want to tell my story

I’m still in the process of collecting stories. I have some friends who have made a name for themselves who would fit the project well, but I would rather have the unknown designers who’re doing remarkable things that no one knows. If you are looking for an opportunity to tell your story please reach out before the 28th of February. Email me personally at tim@timhykes.com with 28 Days of Black Designers as the subject to join the project.

Expectations of the outcome of the project

I would be a happy man if you could Google black designer or black designers and this project populates first. I’m not expecting this to be a project that put me on the map, but I’m am planning to educate the design community about black designers. For future projects, I’m looking forward to doing the same thing with designers from every community who are seeking to tell the world about their achievements. Until that time I’m happy with 28 days.

About Tim Hykes

Tim Hykes is the current User Experience Designer at LaunchCode. He’s the Vice President of AIGA Saint Louis and a member of the AIGA National Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Tim is the co-found of the Design + Diversity conference and podcast and now the developer of the 28 Days of Black Designers project.

Follow Tim on Twitter.