Design Journeys

About Design Journeys

Design Journeys is a collection of stories about the professional lives, contributions, and portfolios of designers—contemporary and historical—from traditionally under-represented groups or backgrounds.

The series, which started in 2007 and was funded this year by an NEA grant, provides engaging media-based stories about human experiences and non-traditional professional pathways that demonstrate creative methods used to overcome hurdles—whether social, political, cultural, professional, or personal.

Part of AIGA Diversity & Inclusion initiative, Design Journeys celebrates candidates who represent the multi-faceted definitions of diversity, including gender, ability, cultural and ethnic origins and race, as well as age and socio-economic conditions.

Individuals selected for Design Journeys are published in this online archive along with a lively narrated slideshow, an interview with a colleague that they connect to on a deep level, or an insightful essay for posthumous celebrations, along with useful biographical milestones.

History of the Project

Design Journeys was originally conceived in 2005 through an AIGA task force on Professional Diversity. The first installment of 25 designers (below) was selected by a Design Journeys board of advisors in 2007 and was featured publicly in the interactive exhibition, “Design Journeys: You Are Here,” at the the AIGA national design center in 2010.

Following a second wave of profiles published in 2015, this new selection of profiles, nominated by the D&I task force, serves as an accessible body of research and captures talent to inspire the next generation of young people from diverse backgrounds to consider design as a viable and rewarding career opportunity.

Board of Advisors

  • Gail Anderson, creative director and designer, SpotCo
  • Rafael Esquer, founder and principal, Alfalfa
  • Steven Heller, columnist for The New York Times Book Review, co-chair of the MFA Design program and co-founder of the MFA in Design Criticism at the School of Visual Arts
  • Steve Jones, principal and creative director, Plantain Studio
  • Garland Kirkpatrick, founder and principal, Helvetica Jones
  • Ellen Lupton, director of the MFA program in graphic design, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
  • Victor Margolin, professor emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Rebeca Méndez, founder and principal, Rebeca Méndez Communication Design
  • Chris Myers, founder and principal, Mayer & Myers
  • Bennett Peji, founder and principal, Bennett Peji Design
  • Samina Quraeshi, co-founder and principal, S/Q Design Associates, Inc.
  • Carlos Segura, founder and principal, Segura Inc. Visual Communications
  • Lucille Tenazas, founder and principal, Tenazas Design
  • Michele Washington, founder and principal, Flow9
  • Maurice Woods, founder and chair, Inneract Project

Jury and Selection Process

This year’s selection was made with the help of AIGA Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) task force: under the leadership of Maurice Cherry, a list of potential profiles was gathered, then shortlisted by task force members Jacinda Walker, Nekita Thomas, Phim Her, and Nida Abdullah. A jury composed of Ashleigh Axios, Obed Figueroa, Heather Strelecki and Michele Y. Washington helped us filter to land on the final list published here.

NEA lock-upThe Design Journeys series is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Learn more about AIGA Diversity & Inclusion.

Feeling inspired? Read previous design journey interviews below.