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Black Connect
by on January 23, 2020

Design has the power to capture and influence our opinion of every product, service, event, and experience.  And despite the gross underrepresentation of African-Americans in the design industry, these entrepreneurs are running successful businesses while working to bring more diversity to their profession.

They stand on the shoulders of pioneering Black designers like Emory Douglas, who centered art around civil and equal rights, and Archie Boston, who challenged racism through his designs and attitude.  Their collective artistic bravery, accomplishments, and entrepreneurial spirit contributed to the advancement and representation of African-Americans in the field of art and design.

“I want to be remembered as someone who stood up against criticism and spoke out on controversial issues. And finally I want to be remembered as a designer and educator, someone who documented my experience as an African American.”  - Archie Boston

Here are 6 Black designers who are building on the legacy and making us proud.


Julian Alexander is a Grammy Award winning Art Director. He is the founder of Brooklyn-based design studio Slang Inc., whose clients include the world’s top agencies and brands. Founded in 2001, Slang, Inc. is one of New York City’s leading design firms.  The firm encompasses a wide range of design disciplines. It has expanded from its early days of print graphics to include retail and commercial environmental design, brand identity, product development and design, visual art direction, and advertising.

Alexander’s understanding of cultural nuance and deep passion for music informed his tenure as Design Director for Sony Music, where he won a GRAMMY® Award for The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions by Miles Davis for Best Boxed or Special Edition Package.

As Executive Creative Director of Guild, Julian led creative teams on experiential projects for Nike, Target, and Stella Artois. His iconic logos and album artwork for Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent, and Eminem among others can be seen on packages that have sold over 100 million units worldwide.

Alexander has moderated design talks at the American Institute of Graphic Arts and NYU, and presented at Apple. Julian is a graduate of School of Visual Arts, where he also taught typography.

Slang Inc. has been featured in several publications, including the anthology DEFinition: The Art and Design of Hip-Hop and Band ID: The Ultimate Book of Band Logos.



Jacinda Walker is a designer, entrepreneur and instructor with over 20 years of industry experience, who calls Cleveland, Ohio home. She believes that “participation is the key to success.” Her work ranges from designing publications to educational programming and event management.

A graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, Walker continued to earn both her Associates of Applied Business in Commercial Art and Bachelors of Fine Arts in graphic design with minors in drawing and computer imaging from the University of Akron. In August 2016, she obtained her M.F.A. in Design Research & Development with a minor in Nonprofit Studies from The Ohio State University. Her area of focus explored diversity in design disciplines and investigates effective strategies to expose African-American and Latino youth to design-related careers.

Walker is a strong advocate for young people and proudly mentors several design students on portfolio presentations, professional development and career planning. Ms. Walker’s future goals are to help scale diversity in design education initiatives in corporations, school systems, organizations, and museums for underrepresented youth.



Maurice Cherry is a pioneering digital creator who is most well-known for Revision Path, an award-winning podcast which is the first podcast to be added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Other projects of Cherry include the Black Weblog Awards, 28 Days of the Web, The Year of Tea, and the design anthology RECOGNIZE.

Cherry’s projects and overall design work and advocacy have been recognized by Apple, Adobe, NPR, Lifehacker, Design Observer, Entrepreneur, AIGA, the Columbia Journalism Review, Forbes, Fast Company, and many other outlets. Cherry is also an educator, and has built curricula and taught courses on web design, web development, email marketing, WordPress, and podcasting for thousands of students over the past ten years.

Cherry is the 2018 recipient of the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary from AIGA, Creative Loafing Atlanta’s 2018 Influentials in the fields of business and technology, was named as one of GDUSA’s “People to Watch” in 2018, and was included in the 2018 edition of The Root 100 (#60), their annual list of the most influential African-Americans ages 25 to 45. In previous years, Cherry was awarded as one of Atlanta’s “Power 30 Under 30″ in the field of Science and Technology by the Apex Society. He was also selected as one of HP’s “50 Tech Tastemakers” in conjunction with Black Web 2.0, and was profiled by Atlanta Tribune as one of 2014's Young Professionals. He is also a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Cherry is an HBCU alum.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Morehouse College and a Masters degree in telecommunications management from Keller Graduate School of Management.

Cherry currently works as a creative strategist at Glitch. Cherry was formerly the principal and creative director at Lunch, an award-winning multidisciplinary studio in Atlanta, GA that helped creative brands craft messages and tell stories for their targeted audiences, including fostering relationships with underrepresented communities. Past clients and collaborators included Facebook, Mailchimp, Vox Media, NIKE, Mediabistro, Site5, SitePoint, and The City of Atlanta.



Born and raised in the US Virgin Islands, DJenee Dunn moved to Tampa, Florida to attend the University of Tampa and graduated with a BA in Advertising and Public Relations. She worked in PR for several years before she officially launch D.TAMU, Inc. in February 2016.  

D.TAMU, Inc. is a boutique brand styling agency helping small business owners and organizations merge the gap between design and content. They work with business owners and organization leaders to create the best versions of their brand through content development, graphic design, strategy, and research. Dunn focuses on what the company or organization wants its target audience to know, see, and hear the minute they become aware of that brand.

“Being a small business owner is one of the greatest journeys you can take. It's a roller coaster of insanity and confusion, but the greatest feeling is how rewarding it is to watch your clients change their lives as you have yours!”  - DJenee Dunn



Rich Hollant is the owner of CO:LAB.  He founded the company in 1988 and immediately began developing brand and product launches for Fortune 500 corporations. Two decades later, he evolved his business to put all of that knowledge to good work.

He and his team have received numerous awards from AIGA, CADC, Print, How, Graphis, Cause/Affect, CXD, and Best of New England. His design work has appeared in trade publications and design books. He has been featured in Business Weekly and Communications Arts, was named one of GDUSA’s 20 People to Watch and one of Fast Company’s top 11 designers creating social value. His work on diversity is in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress.

An interdisciplinary major from Boston University and a media major from the Museum School of Fine Arts, Hollant’s approach blends comprehensive strategic thinking with tightly orchestrated execution. He has lectured and conducted workshops on ethics, design for good, and branding for socially conscious organizations. He has juried competitions including the Strathmore Paper Show, American Graphic Design Awards, Say Something Posters, Start-Up CT, Flux, and Sappi Ideas that Matter.

Hollant is an AIGA national board member, co-chair of Design for Democracy, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Hartford, board member of Billings Forge Community Works. His latest venture is Parkville Studios, an emerging artists residency space and 360° mentoring program in Hartford.



Nakita Pope is the owner and self-proclaimed “Chief Chick” of Branding Chicks, a boutique branding and design firm specializing in marketing for women-owned businesses and brands whose primary target market are women. Founded in 2011, Branding Chicks helps women make their dreams come true by giving their brands voice and life.

An HBCU alum, Pope attended Hampton University where she obtained a B.A. in Graphic Design, and then went on the attend the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, GA.  Over the past 15 years, Pope has worked with businesses large and small as a graphic designer, marketer, professor, and brand expert. She is also an advertising strategy and design professor at The Creative Circus. Pope says that these experiences provided a pathway to creating Branding Chicks. She combines her business acumen, knowledge of the female market and results-driven approach to everything that she does.

Follow Black Connect’s Design Contest Bringing Awareness to the Lack of Diversity in Graphic Design

Graphic designers are invited to join participate in the organization’s national #CloseTheGap Design Contest during the month of February 2020.  Members of the public will select the winning design.  Learn more about the contest, how to submit your entry, and when to cast your vote for the winner.

Tell a friend, share on social media, and tag a graphic artist!