ONLINE EXHIBITION

We Design

People. Practice. Progress.

 

We Design brings together creatives from a wide range of backgrounds to examine and celebrate the range of career paths, applications, and impact in design. The collaborative, evolving exhibition features career stories showcasing how people have forged their unique paths into different creative professions; from graffiti artists and architects to civic designers and strategic planners, We Design emphasizes the need for more racial and gender diversity in design and innovation fields and highlights the importance of equity and inclusion in terms of generating ideas. Beyond truly representing our community, each story shows that when creatives of different backgrounds and expertise come together, we can effectively create change and design for a more inclusive world.

SUPPORTED BY

Taniya Nayak
Taniya Nayak

Interior Designer & Founder
Taniya Nayak Design

Phil Freelon
Phil Freelon

Principal & Design Director
Perkins and Will

jeffstaple
jeffstaple

Founder
Staple Design

Explore the stories and careers of creatives working across seven design fields: Arts & Apparel, Community, Graphics, Objects, Media & Technology, Spatial, and Systems & Strategy. 

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“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Portrait of Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman

President & Founder
Children’s Defense Fund

A Message from our Executive Director

Welcome to We Design! This exhibition is the result of four years of planning, research, relationship building, and design. To develop this exhibition, in 2016 our team formed a committee of advisors made up of experts in design, art, education, career development, equity, human resources, and more. This group of advisors helped us build partnerships and invite individuals and organizations to get involved and share their stories. This work culminated in a physical exhibition that launched in September 2019 and was traveling to venues across Boston, MA and Portland, OR through mid-March 2020. (See photos from the exhibition here.) With the onset of COVID-19 we had to close our physical exhibitions, but we immediately pivoted to transitioning We Design into an online resource.

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This online exhibition comes at a time when those who have historically held power are more aware than ever before of the Black community’s pain in the wake of centuries of violence against, and murder of, Black people. Many White people are late to this movement, and we all need to ask ourselves why. As the Executive Director of Design Museum Everywhere, I find myself wondering why this wasn’t the first exhibition we produced at the Design Museum? It took the social and political events of the mid-2010s to spur us into action, but the Design Museum launched in 2009 — this should have happened sooner. People in positions of power must stand up for what we know is right and make a better world. We stand with those working to dismantle white supremacy and redesign every system to be just, compassionate, and equitable. One of the systems we at Design Museum Everywhere can make meaningful change within is the design industry itself. I hope this exhibition can serve as a starting point and a resource for designers of all backgrounds — we’ve also posted, and continue to update, a list of anti-racism resources here. I also hope young Black, Indigenous, People of Color see themselves in this exhibition because it is so important to see that path.

We Design is now part of the Design Museum’s permanent collection, meaning it will always be on view online, and once we’re all gathering together again, we’ll resume traveling it to venues around the country. We have more career stories from individuals we featured in the traveling exhibition; we’ll be adding those and more in the weeks, months, and years ahead. These are small steps, we can and will do more; you can learn more about our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives here

Enjoy We Design, and stay with us as we continue to evolve and grow the online exhibition,

Sam Aquillano, Executive Director

41% of new hires fail within the first 18 months due to poor cultural fit.

69% of practitioners in the interior design industry are women. Yet, firm leadership is only 25% female.

86% of graphic designers are White.

74% of middle school girls express an interest in engineering, science, and math, but only 0.3% choose computer science as a path when they
get to college.

71.5% of computer, engineering, & science occupations are held by those who identify as White.

74.4% of computer, engineering, & science occupations are held by men.

Black designers only account for 2% of licensed architects working in the U.S., while Black women represent only .2%.

25% of firm leaders are women.

55% of creatives cite lack of awareness of creative professions as a barrier of entry.

Design is Everywhere

Design shapes the world around us.

 

Arts & Apparel

Focuses on aesthetic expression and anticipating and reflecting cultural and social trends.

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  Ade Hassan
Ade Hassan

Founder & Director
Nubian Skin

jeffstaple
jeffstaple

Founder
Staple Design

Clint Ramos
Clint Ramos

Founder
Clint Ramos Design

Community

Focuses on the power of collective creativity by increasing opportunity for participants to be shared visionaries in their communities.

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Liz Ogbu
Liz Ogbu

Founder & Principal
Studio O

Gabrielle Bullock
Gabrielle Bullock

Director of Global Diversity
Perkins and Will

Graphics

Creates and combines symbols, images, and text to visually represent ideas. Graphic design involves product marketing, improving communication, changing the aesthetics of places, and more.

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Sabrina Dorsainvil
Sabrina Dorsainvil

Director of Civic Design
New Urban Mechanics

Janine Kwoh
Janine Kwoh

Owner & Artist
Kwohtations Cards

Media & Technology

Deals with how people access information and create a connected and informed world.

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Fady Saad
Fady Saad

Co-Founder & Director of Partnerships
MassRobotics

Nestor Castaneda
Nestor Castaneda

Senior Composites Engineer
Terrafugia

Objects

Create, plan, and style manufactured goods considering form, function, comfort, accessibility, marketing, sustainability, sales, etc.

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Debra Latour
Debra Latour

Occupational Therapy Educator
Prosthetics Designer & Advocate

Phil Kongtcheu
Phil Kongtcheu

Founder & CEO
eMotionRx, Inc.

Spatial

Shape ideas about spaces and how we navigate them, and ensure that each concept reflects the values and experiences of the people using the spaces.

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Elyse Ayoung
Elyse Ayoung

Designer
Gensler

Phil Freelon
Phil Freelon

Principal & Design Director
Perkins and Will

Systems & Strategy

Works with big picture change, and involves masterminding strategic and organizational plans based on understanding all the pieces of a larger puzzle. This field applies to challenges like business growth, education, game play, health care, city planning, and climate change.

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Rica Elysse
Rica Elysse

Founder & CEO
BeautyLynk

Taniya Nayak
Taniya Nayak

Founder 
Taniya Nayak Design

This is just a portion of the featured designers in our exhibition. We’re constantly adding more, so check back in for more updates!

Project Case Studies

Mamava

Lactation suites for breastfeeding moms on the go

NOW Hunters Point

A new kind of city center

Adaptive Products

Improving athletic wear for adaptive athletes

Nike FlyEase

Running and basketball shoes built for all athletes

Hosting Partners

ONLINE EXHIBITION

We Design

People. Practice. Progress.