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Diversity in Design: Alphonso Jordan

Alphonso Jordan

Design Director & Entrepreneur
Yellowbird, HUE Collective
Atlanta, GA

Alphonso Jordan is the founder and CEO of Yellowbird, an Atlanta-based startup helping millennials understand personal finance on mobile devices in fun and engaging ways. He is also a co-founder of a design collective that empowers black creatives through an un-conference called the Hue Design Summit. Outside of his design endeavors, Alphonso is a member of the USA Track & Field Team, competing in the horizontal jumps.

 

1. Conversations surrounding racial diversity in the graphic arts community are not new. What is the overall benefit of diversifying the graphic art / design industry?

“More diversity leads to more innovative solutions because they incorporate different perspectives, ideas, and efforts. Because design is seen through different lenses across the world, it’s important to create from these different communities as well.”

2. Black graphic artists / designers are often the only one of their kind in any one room at a time. What can we do to change the makeup of the graphic art / design community so it looks more like the world we live in?

“It has to be approached from both sides of the funnel – the top, and the bottom. We need to increase the level of access and support from the top. These are the design leaders, the executives, the conferences, etc. that are seen as the gatekeepers. Because it’s a problem that wasn’t created by black creatives, we shouldn’t be expected to solve the problem (alone, for that matter). Allies are needed. Secondly, grassroots efforts need to be put in place to encourage younger talent that the graphic arts are viable options for the black community. This is through school, the community, and the home.”

3. Name a black graphic artist / designer other than yourself, living or deceased, that made an impact on your aesthetic or work style. How does that impact present itself in your work?

“Kristy Tillman. I admire Kristy beyond her work. She’s led tremendous design efforts at IDEO, Society of Grownups, Human Utility, and now Slack. What I take from her the most, is her unapologetic blackness and uncanny ability to be relatable. When she speaks, people listen.”

Images © Alphonso Jordan. Used with permission.



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