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 | September 10

Rachel Berger’s Shooter Box—an exhibition protesting the United States military’s use of Microsoft Xbox controllers as battle equipment—now on view at California College of the Arts. [JH]

Pantone No. 1837, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a conspiracy theory about art and commerce. [JH]

Designing a better airport. [JH]

Revisiting a seminal guerilla signage project, twenty years later. [JH]


Observed | September 03

Everyone’s a (design) critic! The internet goes wild—not in a good way—for the cover art “design” for Drake’s new album. [JH]

A new graphic novel on censorship—from MITPress—gathers insights and highlights from a profession under attack. [JH]

Rebranding Chernobyl with a logo that decays over time. (Via Michael Bierut.) [JH]

Today we chase after information, without gaining knowledge. We take note of everything, without gaining insight. We communicate constantly, without participating in a community... This is how information develops a lifeform: inexistent and impermanent. [JH]


Observed | August 27

A spectacularly researched—and meticulously produced—history of design and visual culture in Louisiana. (Via Nancy Sharon Collins.) [JH]

Alan Heller, who collaborated with Mario Bellini, Massimo and Lella Vignelli, and others to produce memorable objects in plastic, dies at 81. [JH]

Originally located in Marshall Field’s unused 1905 South Prairie Avenue mansion, The New Bauhaus school opened its doors on October 18, 1937. Bauhäusler László Moholy-Nagy, director, began to shape the original Bauhaus curriculum to suit his purposes. Gone were the craft-based distinctions that helped enforce gendered segregation and discrimination in the German workshops. An in-depth look at the founding of American Bauhaus. [BV]




Observed | August 20

Preserving Black historical resorts is a radical act: Amid the violent segregation of the Jim Crow era, leaning into Black joy, leisure, and recreation was a form of quiet radical resistance. [BV]

Our favorite water bottle designers have debuted their newest product, a sleek, steel vessel for all your portable beverage needs. [BV]

Populism—fascism—and design: Derek Hill explains. (Via Mike Errico.) [JH]

Punishment for ... a logo? [JH]

Data visualization in three parts: Mars rover, seabed geochemistry, and drought and climate change. [BV]

How the ice cream truck made summer cool. [BV]


Observed | August 13

Instagram apologizes for wrongly censoring a poster for a new film byPedro Almodovar. [JH]

Designing the ding dong: a beautiful interactive review of global subway chimes. [JH]

Watching My Name Go By’ is a must-see vintage short on graffiti in 1976 NYC. [BV]

The story of a logo—and the complexity of cultural memory. [JH]

Bruce Mau on optimism and action—and designing new ways of living. [JH]

Designing a new and universal symbolic language for food. [JH]

Autistic readings of David Byrne’s cult 1986 ode to the odd everyman: People Like Us. [BV]



Jobs | September 19