The Design Loop

Diversity in Design: Too much white space?

Posted on: May 30, 2012

Have you ever looked at those “About Us” pages for design/ad agencies?  Or maybe you’ve attended a couple conferences on design… If you are observant, you may have noticed that there aren’t too many minorities in those pictures or at those conferences.   One of the most embarrasing truths of the industry is that graphic design firms and ad agencies have some of the worst rates of diversity in their workforce.

Why is this?  Its hard to say really, as there are probably many factors at play.  This article on diversity in design tries to investigate this question by bringing up some really good points.   But a more pressing question is what to do about this issue?   How can a minority student trying to make it in the design world succeed when most people like to hire folks that talk like, live like and look like themselves?

The only thing I’ve got so far is that the minority trying to get a job in design has to work even harder than everyone else.  And I mean really hard.  Its not enough to be a little bit better than the competition.  The idea is to be so much better than everyone else that there is no hesitation to hire this person.  Not because the agency needs more diversity but because this person is the best fit for the job.   The design world is already competitive as it is, but for minorities (including women and homosexuals) it is more so.

These issues were brought to light on a national level recently during AMC’s new reality show, The Pitch.  The ad agency Muse created a short PSA that quickly and succinctly explained the problem and hopefully made some of those at the top more aware of whats going on in their organizations.


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