Graphic design is a tool for moving people to action. When design is utilized to further the cause of social justice, to promote equity and opportunity, amazing things can happen. The type of design I’m most interested in and see the most promise with promotes diversity and inclusion, brings people together to solve problems, and advocates for a progressive culture of creativity and overall well-being for individuals and communities.
Reflecting on UNL’s Design + Social Justice Symposium, I feel so honored to have been a part of an educational institution celebrating the graphic design of a justice movement and having a discussion about how design can have an impact today, whether social, political, or environmental. Meeting Emory Douglas is certainly something I’ll never forget. I asked for his signature right next to the masthead of a Black Panther paper. He also wrote, “All Power To The People.” Something to always be mindful of. In the face of inequality, injustice, and hate, All Power To The People brings us together, breaks through the madness, and allows us to find ways to address our most urgent issues.
Graphic design can make you smile. Make you mad. Make you change your behavior. It illuminates and can silence all irrelevant noise with magnificent clarity by perfectly capturing the core of an idea. It’s an obvious tool for social change as seen in the history of successful movements for justice. And it will continue to be so.