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7 Black creatives share their work and inspiration

In celebration of Black History Month, we’re sharing the bold and powerful work of 7 designers and illustrators of color.

A photo of two people wearing T-shirts that read “Human” and “We are the same,” against a Black History Month title.

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2020 was a whirlwind of a year that impacted the entire world. Amidst a global pandemic, we also experienced the continuous wave of civil unrest. We saw protests and riots against systemic inequality, spurring from decades of suppressed emotions and unanswered injustice.

It was an awakening to the many issues that still need addressing. While it’s clear systemic inequality is not an easy matter to solve, we can at least take positive steps in the right direction.

With this in mind and in honor of Black History Month, we’re celebrating 7 creatives from Black and POC communities across various disciplines of design.

Iman Diarra

Iman Diarra is a creative technologist and experience designer working at Instrument, a design and technology agency. In the past few years, she’s partnered with big companies like Cisco and Shutterstock.

Iman also has a lot of fun with personal projects. Last fall she challenged herself to create a 3D render every day for a month, and recently created her first Instagram filter. A graduate of the Wix Playground Academy, she’s presently working on a self-care computer game for young Black folks.

“I value the act of creating just for the love of it. Creatives of color are not just here to save the world, we are also here to fully exist as the creative beings we are. That in itself is a form of resistance and progress.”

A photo of Iman Diarra and a 3D design by her
3D render designs by Iman Diarra
An Instagram filter seen on a mobile phone, designed by Iman Diarra

Jimi Stone

Jimi Stone is the founder and creative director of Rich Minority Studios. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jimi started out as a graffiti artist, until he attended the OTIS & The Art Institute to study video production.

Rich Minority Studios was first formed as a collective of creative friends. Today, Rich Minority Studios is a creative agency working across many forms of creative marketing fields, like photography, video production, creative direction and website and product design.

Jimi has worked with musicians like Nana, ASAP Rocky, Reason and Mario. Recently, he launched his first fashion line, Eracism, voicing a clear anti-racist message of equality and unity. As stated on Jimi’s Editor X website, Eracism’s goal is to “Spread quality products that encourage love amongst one another across the world — while using the profits generated to help the growth of minority-owned art programs as well as small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.”

“My biggest goal is representing the unrepresented. I don’t only push how great it is to be Black - I promote how great it is to be an individual, and how important it is to love who you are despite what anyone else may think.”

A photo of Jimi Stone and a photo of a group of people wearing Eracism gear
Various Eracism garments that read "Human," "We are the same" and "Eracism," and people modeling them

Three visuals from different design projects by Jimi Stone

Mia Lee

Textile designer and illustrator Mia Lee grew up in Chicago studied costume design and theater production. She creates all kinds of designs, including print, digital, murals, and animations. Her animated cartoon Unwonderful World, which aired on Adult Swim, tells the story of a young floral artist named Mia.

She currently runs a satin design studio called Hot Funmia, bringing her creative patterns and illustrations to the world of fashion.

“To my young Black ladies who are pursuing art, you have to work three times as hard. Don’t be discouraged, hopefully society won’t treat you as bad but if it does, take that energy and put it towards your craft.”

A photo of Mia Lee surrounded by her doodles, and a silk scarf by her
Two framed posters by Mia Lee
A silk scarf and an illustrated typographic visual by Mia Lee

Leandro Assis

Leandro Assis is a Brazilian artist, art director and letterer from Rio. He’s known for his colorful palettes, bold letterings, and playful illustrations. He’s worked with brands like Nike, Apple, Disney, Netflix, and Twitter.

Above all, Leandro is interested in using design as a way to talk about things he feels passionately about, like Black culture, gender topics and LGBTQ+ rights.

“We should occupy all spaces. Design is a very powerful tool — we can use it to our advantage. I can use my work to talk about important causes in the Black community, or just do a beautiful identity for a musical festival!”

A photo of Leandro Assis against a gradient background
Lettering and illustration work by Leandro Assis
A visual identity for YouTube Black Brasil 2019 by Leandro Assis