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Only 4.8% of designers are Black. Herman Miller, Adobe, and Gap unveil a plan to change that

Design is a particularly white profession. Depending on the poll, only 3% to 4.8% of designers are Black. But a powerful new collective of design companies is looking to change that.

Launching today, the Diversity in Design (DID) Collaborative is a group of nearly two dozen companies from across the design world—ranging from the furniture company Herman Miller to the software maker Adobe to the ubiquitous fashion brand Gap to the brand consultancy Wolff Olins—all of which are pledging meaningful efforts to bring equity to the field of design. Equity matters for any profession, but it has outsized importance within the world of design, which influences the look and feel of just about every product and service. Design can help create or crush equity.

Over the next year, DID’s efforts are focused on seeding more Black designers into the talent pool. DID will promote the profession of design in high schools, while working with historically Black colleges to create design curriculum (only about 10% of them offer design courses today, according to an audit by Pensole Design Academy. The group will throw a design fair in Detroit in 2022, where partner companies will show up to offer mentors and internships. (Detroit was chosen because it’s the nation’s largest Black-majority city.)

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