An adventurous collection that examines how the design field has consistently failed to attract and support Black professionals—and how to create an anti-racist, pro-Black design industry instead.
An Anthology of Blackness examines the intersection of Black identity and practice, probing why the design field has failed to attract Black professionals, how Eurocentric hegemony impacts Black professionals, and how Black designers can create an anti-racist design industry. Contributing authors and creators demonstrate how to develop a pro-Black design practice of inclusivity, including Black representation in designed media, anti-racist pedagogy, and radical self-care. Through autoethnography, lived experience, scholarship, and applied research, these contributors share proven methods for creating an anti-racist and inclusive design practice.
The contributions in An Anthology of Blackness include essays, opinion pieces, case studies, and visual narratives. Many contributors write from an intersectional perspective on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and ability. Each section of the book expands on community-driven concerns about the state of the design industry, design pedagogy, and design activism. Ultimately, this articulated intersection of Black identity and Black design practice reveals the power of resistance, community, and solidarity—and the hope for a more equitable future. With a foreword written by design luminary Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall, An Anthology of Blackness is a pioneering contribution to the literature of social justice.
Kprecia Ambers, Jazmine Beatty, Anne H. Berry, John Brown VI, Nichole Burroughs, Antionette D. Carroll, Jillian M. Harris, Asher Kolieboi, Terrence Moline, Tracey L. Moore, Lesley-Ann Noel, Pierce Otlhogile-Gordon, Jules Porter, Stacey Robinson, Melanie Walby, Jacinda N. Walker, Kelly Walters, Jennifer White-Johnson, Maya Aduba Williams, S. Alfonso Williams
About the authors
Terresa Moses is the Creative Director of Blackbird Revolt, Director of Design Justice, and Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota. She created Project Naptural, co-created Racism Untaught, and is both a core team member of African American Graphic Designers and a collaborator with the Black Liberation Lab.
Omari Souza is an Assistant Professor of Communication Design at the University of North Texas, the organizer of the State of Black Design Conference, and a Design Researcher at Capital One. Formerly, he worked at VIBE magazine, CBS Radio, and Case Western Reserve University.
Best books of 2023 — Architecture & Design, Financial Times
"Born from the Black Lives Matter movement, this collection on design responds to a field in which black voices remain severely underserved and often unheard...A valuable and provocative addition."
–The Financial Times
"Unapologetic is the only way to describe this anthology; it’s a scholarly “state of the union,” with design practitioners, researchers, scholars, and educators documenting their groundbreaking perspectives, research, and advocacy. An Anthology of Blackness offers bold treatises of where Black designers have been, where we are, and where we are heading, bridging the gap between the past and today’s advancement of the Black designer in the global design conversation."
“This collection of essays, opinion pieces, case studies, and visual narratives looks toward the horizon of an anti-racist design industry. Divided into three sections that focus on the design industry itself, surrounding pedagogy, and activism, the book analyzes how Black graphic designers—from the early 20th century to today—have called for social justice while exploring the legacy of Eurocentric beauty standards, especially hair. There’s a brisk survey of African histories of making in the pedagogy section, as well as an investigation of why Black students don’t enroll in design electives. The portion on the design industry offers technocratic and heartfelt suggestions: for example, using video games to attract Black youth to design, and improving practices of arts and cultural stewardship. With intersectional perspectives on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and ability, the anthology reminds the reader: 'Design is not a master’s tool.''
"The history of design as we know it excludes centuries of highly skilled and creative production by Africans and the African diaspora. This book – edited by Terresa Moses of the University of Toronto and Omari Souza of the University of North Texas – seeks to turn things around. Starting from the media attention sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, it delves into the protests of African American communities in the 1920s and 1960s and examines the creative tactics they employed. Building on these historical roots, the book leads us to question design's ability to challenge racial biases, forms of oppression, and establish itself as a truly inclusive social practice."
“An adventurous collection that examines how the design field has consistently failed to attract and support Black professionals—and how to create an anti-racist, pro-Black design industry instead…Through autoethnography, lived experience, scholarship, and applied research, these contributors share proven methods for creating an anti-racist and inclusive design practice.”
–Diversity in Action