The Sorry State of Diversity in Design

The Sorry State of Diversity in Design

I wrote an article over at Quartz on diversity in the design industry. These excerpts are the heart of it:

I’ve been working as a designer in some fashion for more than two decades—as an employee and as an entrepreneur, in small studios and in large agencies, and at tiny startups and late-stage enterprises. What I’ve seen is that as an industry, we are teeming with progressive-leaning professionals, most of whom would avidly applaud the idea of greater diversity and inclusion in design workplaces.

But if I’m honest, I can only count a handful of times that I’ve worked with an African American, Hispanic, or Native American designer at any level. The reality of the design industry is that we’re homogenous—overwhelmingly white and, like myself, Asian American…

This egregious situation reflects an ongoing, industry-wide failure to prioritize the development of diverse and inclusive workplaces. I’m as guilty of this as anybody: When I was starting out in the design field, I readily accepted the commonly held belief throughout our culture that problems of race and cultural diversity were largely solved. And if things weren’t perfect, the consensus opinion seemed to imply that the best way to resolve them in everyone’s favor was to just ignore race, gender, and culture entirely.

Clearly, that hasn’t worked. If that were the only problem, it would be significant enough to motivate us all to act decisively. But this is more than just an issue of doing the right thing—it’s a challenge to the very notion of design itself.

This is the lates part of an ongoing campaign to use whatever influence I have at my job at Adobe to try and push this situation towards greater fairness and equity for everyone. More to come later this year. In the meantime, read the full article at