13 Feb Diversity in Design: Randall Wilson
Randall Wilson is an Atlanta native, now working in Chicago for Capital One as a UX Design Manager. He is a community creator for the HUE Design Summit, and founder of the hip hop LEGO studio Most Incredible.
“Representation is never a bad place to start from. Simply seeing someone that doesn’t uphold the typical profile of success in design removes the expectation and pressure you put on yourself to look and act a certain way to get through doors you think won’t open for you. And even in that example, there’s a baseline understanding that your success is in other people’s hands. Being comfortable with breaking out of that school of thought and charting your own way, if you’re able to, is inspiring enough to people who might create new, more equitable doors someday.”
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?
“Create community. Go back to the places you came from and show up, because there are kids just like you looking to do what you do. Shorten that distance between a burgeoning designer and a well-renowned veteran, introduce them, give them some time to interact and hopefully build a relationship. It’s a long game we have to play, but the fruit is worth the labor.”
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?
“Being traditionally educated in architecture, there weren’t a lot of black architects throughout history for me to look to or read about in the curriculum. Transitioning from that field to graphic and user experience design where I’m mostly self-taught, my work has been such that I honestly haven’t found a way to incorporate styles from other black artists/designers, because there’s no curriculum that I’ve grown with in this discipline to contrast with, so I’m largely charting my own path. And even with that, my daily work, now, is less about graphic design and more about how people use digital products, which doesn’t allow much room to infuse any influences BUT does give me the responsibility to advocate for the many different walks of life that could possibly use these products.”
Images © Alphonso Jordan. Used with permission.