Human Centered Design ········· 2020

Equity-Centered Community Design
“A designer is anyone who has the agency to make a decision, however small, that will impact a group of people or the environment. Every decision we make has an impact on equity. Using this definition of design, we hope that anyone who uses this Field Guide recognizes their power to work towards a more equitable future for all. Remember, inequities exist by design, and only intentional acts can dismantle them.”

Before changing my major to graphic design, I had no idea just how impactful designers have the power to be. I had a very corporate idea of what a designer was - someone who made logos and designed ads. Through my time in the program, specifically in classes such as Human-Centered Design, I’ve realized that design is so much more than that.

Design is everywhere. You can’t live a day in this world and escape design if you tried. The Starbucks menu, directions to the dentist, television commercials — you name it, someone designed it. Whether intentional or not, these design decisions have impacts.

“Inequities exist by design, and only intentional acts can dismantle them”

Frameworks like Human-Centered and Equity-Centered Community Design allow for designers to immerse themselves in the problems to develop a working concept for an outcome. Breaking down power structures, honoring diverse perspectives, and allowing space for empathy help us as designers to address complex problems.

I find it very inspiring and empowering that the work I do as a creative has the potential to dismantle inequities. As a trans person, the importance of progressing as a society past such inequities is vital. As a passionate designer, it’s exciting to use this tool and skill set to shift the status quo.