5 Black Graphic Designers Who Paved the Way for Black Designers of Today

They were trailblazers.

Edina Abena Jackson
Feb 25 · 5 min read
Left to right, Thomas Miller, African-American male, smartly dressed in a white shirt and necktie. Three green, glass soda bottles with white 7up logo, encased in a green bottle case. Mosaic portrait of Wilberforce Jones, African-American male, an artistic impression.
Left to right, Thomas Miller, African-American male, smartly dressed in a white shirt and necktie. Three green, glass soda bottles with white 7up logo, encased in a green bottle case. Mosaic portrait of Wilberforce Jones, African-American male, an artistic impression.
Left to right: Thomas Miller; 7-UP Packaging and Identity, c.1970; Mosaic Portrait of Wilberforce Jones.

Aaron Douglas

A black and white photograph of an African American Male — graphic designer Aaron Douglas. He is wearing round spectacles, he has a thick moustache and he wears a black and white suit, with a white dress shirt and black dress jacket.
A black and white photograph of an African American Male — graphic designer Aaron Douglas. He is wearing round spectacles, he has a thick moustache and he wears a black and white suit, with a white dress shirt and black dress jacket.
Image: Aaron Douglas Wikipedia
Graphic book cover design with bright yellow background and image of a railroad drawn in black. The words “Nigger Heaven” written in purple bold typeface. By Carl Van Vechten in italic black writing underneath the bold writing. A silhouette image of a person kneeling down with the left knee protruding outwards and the hands raised up in a graceful dancer pose. Next to the figure is a silhouette of buildings and the cover is decorated top and bottom with a yellow zig zag design.
Graphic book cover design with bright yellow background and image of a railroad drawn in black. The words “Nigger Heaven” written in purple bold typeface. By Carl Van Vechten in italic black writing underneath the bold writing. A silhouette image of a person kneeling down with the left knee protruding outwards and the hands raised up in a graceful dancer pose. Next to the figure is a silhouette of buildings and the cover is decorated top and bottom with a yellow zig zag design.
Image: Nigger Heaven book cover- aiga.org

Leroy Winbush

African American male Leroy Winbush in a black and white photograph. He has a thin mustache and a friendly yet serious expression on his face. He wears a tweed dress jacket, black necktie and a white dress shirt.
African American male Leroy Winbush in a black and white photograph. He has a thin mustache and a friendly yet serious expression on his face. He wears a tweed dress jacket, black necktie and a white dress shirt.
Image: Leroy Winbush — aiga.org
Image of branding materials by Leroy Winbush. To the left is an orange brochure or pamphlet with “Black Expo” written in bold typeface. Two silver coins above and below the typeface. Another round symbol or logo with a black fist, black edges with white writing. The bottom right has an image of a black pen with white tip. There is white writing on the black pen. Small printed text at the bottom. To the right is a purple booklet with a brickwork design and the words written in black and white.
Image of branding materials by Leroy Winbush. To the left is an orange brochure or pamphlet with “Black Expo” written in bold typeface. Two silver coins above and below the typeface. Another round symbol or logo with a black fist, black edges with white writing. The bottom right has an image of a black pen with white tip. There is white writing on the black pen. Small printed text at the bottom. To the right is a purple booklet with a brickwork design and the words written in black and white.
Branding images for Black Expo by Leroy Winbush — aiga.org

Eugene Winslow

Image of graphic designer Eugene Winslow. He is an elderly African American male, smiling in a black and white photograph wearing a zipped up winter coat and hat with white text on it.
Image of graphic designer Eugene Winslow. He is an elderly African American male, smiling in a black and white photograph wearing a zipped up winter coat and hat with white text on it.
Image: Eugene Winslow — aiga.org
Great Negroes Past and Present book cover. The title is written in white typeface and the background is light brown with beige and white accents. There is a silhouette of a man on the front cover.
Great Negroes Past and Present book cover. The title is written in white typeface and the background is light brown with beige and white accents. There is a silhouette of a man on the front cover.
Great Negroes Past and Present cover by Eugene Winslow — Chicago Library aiga.org

George Olden

Image of George Olden, African-American male with a slight smile on his face, no teeth showing. He wears a black and white suit. To the right of the image is a United States postage stamp designed by Olden. The stamp is white, blue and read. White background with a blue image of broken chains. The dates 1863 to 1963 at the top in blue and “United States” in red print typeface. The words “Emancipation” and “Proclamation” are written at the bottom of the stamp in blue.
Image of George Olden, African-American male with a slight smile on his face, no teeth showing. He wears a black and white suit. To the right of the image is a United States postage stamp designed by Olden. The stamp is white, blue and read. White background with a blue image of broken chains. The dates 1863 to 1963 at the top in blue and “United States” in red print typeface. The words “Emancipation” and “Proclamation” are written at the bottom of the stamp in blue.
George Olden and Emancipation Proclamation postage stamp — Post News Group

Thomas Miller

Image of African-American Male Thomas Miller. The photograph is black and white and stands with a white shirt and black necktie. He has a mustache and a smile on his face. His left arm is on his left hip and he wears a watch on his left wrist.
Image of African-American Male Thomas Miller. The photograph is black and white and stands with a white shirt and black necktie. He has a mustache and a smile on his face. His left arm is on his left hip and he wears a watch on his left wrist.
Thomas Miller — Wikipedia
Image of Thomas Miller’s 7up design. Six green glass bottles in a green box with green, blue and white polka dot design. 7up is written in white bold typeface with a polka dot design. The green bottles have a red label with 7up written in white. There is a blue sign on the central bottle that says “money back bottles.”
Image of Thomas Miller’s 7up design. Six green glass bottles in a green box with green, blue and white polka dot design. 7up is written in white bold typeface with a polka dot design. The green bottles have a red label with 7up written in white. There is a blue sign on the central bottle that says “money back bottles.”
Thomas Miller’s 7UP design — Chicago Reader

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Edina Abena Jackson

Written by

I write about Health, Wealth, Race and other things. Founder Pink Intrigue + Freshlight Media. I give away my earnings to change lives in Ghana

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +788K followers.

Edina Abena Jackson

Written by

I write about Health, Wealth, Race and other things. Founder Pink Intrigue + Freshlight Media. I give away my earnings to change lives in Ghana

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +788K followers.

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