The right to love freely and openly — just like the right to carve out one’s own identity — are at the very core of the LGBTQ+ movement. And while the movement still has work to do, Pride is a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ community as they pursue equality and the freedom to express themselves without persecution.
For designers and creatives, that liberty can take on the form of artwork that tells a profound story, and helps enhance the visual and cultural representation of the LGBTQ+ community. In celebration and honor of Pride Month, we asked 9 of our favorite LGBTQ+ designers and creatives to share their work and talk about what pride means to them.
Creative director, animator and illustrator Zipeng Zhu has collaborated with companies like Adobe, The New Yorker, CNN and many more. Zipeng is the founder and creative director of Dazzle, an NYC-based creative studio which he founded after working at Pentagram and Sagmeister & Walsh.
Originally from China, Zipeng uses his work as an outlet for speaking up candidly and wittily about anything from his political opinions and causes he believes in to his love life.
“I wanted to capture pride as a tangible object. Then I thought how a bottle of pride fragrance can really express the feeling of love and celebration in the air. For me, Pride is all kinds of love coming together.”
Hannah Jacobs is a London-based director, animator and illustrator who’s worked with clients like Netflix, Apple, the BBC and Google. Her films have screened at international festivals and received official recognition at the Tribeca FIlm Festival, Annecy Festival, SXSW and more.
Hannah’s illustrations and animations feature soft, loose shapes that inspire empathy and compassion towards any subject matter, from animating the experiences of a transgender parent for the New York Times to illustrating a children’s picturebook that tells the love story of two dinosaurs from the perspective of Fenn Rosenthal, the toddler who went viral for the song “Dinosaurs in Love.”
“As a queer woman, I feel insanely proud to love who I love so openly, irrespective of their gender, and that feels like a pretty frickin’ great reason to feel proud and celebrate! It’s also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate how proud I am of everyone in the LGBTQI community.”
Camila Abdanur is a Brazilian graphic designer, illustrator, motion designer and comic artist. Their humorous, colorful illustrations belie the seriousness of their subjects. Camila’s design often highlights important topics such as trans sexual assault or navigating the web as a queer person, as well as exploring the topic of identity.
Their illustration for Brazil’s National Trans Day of Visibility commemorates a January 29th, 2004 event when a group of trans protestors marched up to the National Congress to demand equal rights and respect. It’s a vital moment in the modern LGTBQ+ movement in Brazil, where, Camila points out, there are still threats of violence against the Brazilian LGTBQ+ community, especially those who identify as transgender.
“For me, Pride is about celebrating our differences, our community and our existence. It’s also about fighting, resilience and defending those in positions more vulnerable than ourselves.”
Based in New York, Juan Carlos Pagan is an award-winning designer, typographer, creative director and artist. He’s collaborated with brands such as Nike, Apple, Sagmeister & Walsh, Print Magazine and the AIGA.