A statement that was sent to our Slack community:

We want to thank everyone for their overwhelming support in helping to build this community. We are so grateful to see so many of you sharing design and anti-racist resources and holding one another accountable. We want to be as transparent as possible in everything we do.

A week ago the two of us devised a plan to create a google form for designers we knew to offer pro bono work for organizers, black folx and people of color who needed quick design. Almost overnight, the designer form grew far past our expectations hitting the 200 mark, then the 500 mark, then 1000, and today, where it has surpassed 3000 creatives. We are beyond thankful to have all of you here, however, this quickly grew into a lot more work than either of us were prepared for. That being said, we know a project like this is so important and overdue, and we are more than willing to put in the work.

For now, our main goal and focus is getting creatives paired with people who have requested design. Every single project request that has come in is discussed and read thoroughly before pairing the project with a designer. We want to highlight that the projects we take on are in no way taking away from paid projects. They are all requests from small black-owned businesses, educational non-profits, and organizers who hope to have their information made more accessible.

When reading a project brief, in order to create meaningful design that is congruent with the organizations and people we intend to help, we are giving creatives with similar identities and backgrounds the first opportunity to design for these groups. For example, we received a project request that needed anti-racism content in Arabic, we chose a designer that natively spoke Arabic. On another project, the request came from a non-profit that empowers queer people of color. We paired them with a queer designer of color.

On one hand, we hope this process pushes back on the status quo of the design community, which is majority white. On the other hand, we fear that by pairing underrepresented creatives with pro bono projects, we are denying them the opportunity for paid work. We do not have the solution to this problem, nor do we expect any individual to. We have created #anti-design to open up this discussion to those who want to join. We ask that you hold yourself accountable during these conversations and recognize that it can get uncomfortable, but it is a discussion that needs to be had.

We have also created #black_creatives for black creatives to not only continue this conversation but to have a place to connect and collaborate.

This work cannot be done in a day. It requires all of us to educate ourselves, unlearn euro-centric design practices, and hold each other accountable. Design for Black Lives will not be a short-lived project and as it grows and changes we hope to implement more discussion and resources around anti-racist, anti-design topics.

Thank you for remaining patient with us throughout this process. We are beyond excited to see where this project goes and the changes it can create.

In solidarity,
Natalie Hawkins and Mazzy Bell