Introductory notes on Blackness & Design

I’m a designer. I like beautiful things. I like boldness and minimalism, balance and chaos. I like aesthetics ™.

But most importantly, I’m a problem solver.

Design is about solving problems

You own an online shoe store. It’s a problem getting customers to buy shoes from your site instead of a physical retailer. If you ask me to build you a website, my goal isn’t to just make something that looks pretty, it’s to establish trust between you, your brand, and your audience. We want potential customers to have such a fantastic experience using your site, that it’s easier than going to a different retailer.

There are many different ways to approach this single problem, unrefined as it is. The site should be aesthetically pleasing, it should have intuitive navigation, and a painless check out experience. It should offer something that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s an experience.

I’m a problem solver. I’m Black.

I’ve read a lot of writing on design thinking from white men and the occasional white woman. They are not me; they are not my community. What do they know about problem solving? What problems do they have?

Photo by Godisable Jacob from Pexels

Photo by Godisable Jacob from Pexels

Black people problematize the supremacy of whiteness. Trans people of color trouble gender. We are problems to the binary and the status quo; we show the instability of colonial narratives and the impermanence of existing power structures.

Photo by Saya Kimura from Pexels

Photo by Saya Kimura from Pexels

There is no problem that Blackness cannot solve. There is no solution that we cannot imagine. Blackness is a design pattern of repeated resistance. Blackness is the solution. We have always been the best designers.

Kyem Brown