Connect 4: Design Bridges

Design shapes our world, no question. But who gets to do the shaping? The professional graphic design field, like so many other industries and spaces, has long been dominated by white people. Indigenous, Black, and other designers of color are changing that dynamic; design students have a chance to change it further.

The young creatives of color in this podcast are starting that journey. Here, they talk with their mentors—some of today’s most influential BIPOC graphic designers—about finding inspiration and confidence; beginning a career in the arts (and explaining it to your parents!); and what it’s like working within the largely white design field.

The mentors and mentees in this podcast were brought together by Connect 4: Networking for Equality in Design. Connect 4 is a growing initiative and current collaboration between the Mercy College Design + Animation program, Pentagram, and design leaders that supports design students of color by opening real pathways to leadership. Learn more about Connect 4 on Instagram: @cnnct4.

This podcast was produced by Hawk and Paw Productions in collaboration with Mercy College, Pentagram, and Design Observer. The theme music was composed by Isabel Sanchez.

Min Lew and Zaiah Sampson: Finding Your Creative Voice
Feeling confident in yourself and your work—especially when you’re still a student—can be a challenge.


Kojo Boateng and Brian Jean: Making Decisions, Making Your Mark
Brian Jean and Koto Boateng talk about decision-making as a creative, about being a Black designer, today and in the past—and why now is a great time to enter the design world.


Victor Newman and Ana Amaro: Becoming an Animator
In this episode, hear student Ana Amaro and her mentor, creative director Victor Newman talk about how they each found their calling and first encountered their animated favorites.


Natasha Jen and Adnan Bishtawi: How Do You Survive as a Designer?
How can you stay inspired, make great work, take care of yourself—and still pay the bills?


Forest Young and Sakinah Bell: Follow Your Curiosity, Find Your Inspiration
Finding joy, purpose, and personal evolution through creation.


Eddie Opara and Tyriq Moore: How Do You Build Knowledge as a Designer?
How learning and discovering new things is at the heart of being a good designer.


Man-Wai Cheung and Angel Blanco: “Mom, Dad, I Want to Be a Designer”
Man-Wai Cheung, founder and creative director of Adolescent and design student Angel Blanco, talk about choosing a creative career as first generation immigrants—and how they each explained that choice to their parents.


Jonathan Jackson and Avalon Garrick: Time for Change
Jonathan Jackson, Creative Director at We Should Do It All, and design student Avalon Garrick talk about the joys and challenges of finding their footing as creatives.



Observed | October 29

Black students make up only 9% of enrollment at 96 schools teaching art and design in the United States. But thanks to D’Wayne Edwards, that is about to change. [JH]

At just 61 years old, Nigeria is still an emerging nation—and it’s a hotbed of design. [JH]

Humor, art, activism: discuss amongst yourselves. [JH]

What do the words “design” and “delicatessen” have in common? You’re about to find out! [JH]


Observed | October 26

Graphic designers will swoon to see Ricky Jay’s collection, which will be auctioned this week at Sotheby’s in New York. [JH]


Observed | October 22

Elizabeth Diller interprets Edmund de Waal’s book, “The Hare With Amber Eyes” as a cabinet of curiosities. The exhibition opens at The Jewish Museum in New York on November 19. [JH]


Observed | October 15

Karim Rashid opines on the harsher realities of a life in design. [JH]

Richard Schultz, American pioneer of modernist furniture, dies at 95. [JH]

Pixar movies, and the subtleties of dystopian cities. [JH]

In celebration of their relaunch Print magazine comissioned a wonderful video that you should watch. [BV]


Observed | October 01

Adnan Lotia recreates iconic album covers with ... Lego. [JH]

Designers Verònica Fuerte and Sebastián Londoño turn circles into an international design language. [JH]

Jim Jarmusch, collage artist. [JH]

Posted without comment. [JH]



Jobs | December 01