Design= Makes a Tangible Impact in Year Two

February 2, 2023

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As the clutter of year-end reporting clears, DxD would like to share our excitement on the progress made to date with one of our core initiatives, Design=, which introduces Black, Latine, and Indigenous youth to key design concepts and how design can be a viable career path for them.

In collaboration with D×D Program Partner, designExplorr, and Foundational Sponsor, Amazon, Design= has reached more than 920 youth since October 2021 through direct-to-classroom workshops in seven cities: Akron, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. The reception among students has been extremely positive:

  • 92.2% would recommend the workshop to a friend
  • 84.9% were more interested in design after the workshop

By creating experiences that meet these kids where they are, Design= is helping address the racial disparities of the design industry at a foundational level. The facts: 76.1% of designers in the U.S. are white, but only 3.5% are Black, 10.2% are Hispanic / Latine, and 0.3% are American Indian / Alaska Native. In comparison, youth who have participated in Design= are 60.7% Black, 9.0% Hispanic / Latine and 7.5% American Indian / Alaska Native.* 

In addition, DxD collaborated with Program Partner, Project Osmosis, to develop a prototype for a  turnkey, design curriculum kit. Beta-tested under the name Ready, Teach, Design= (RTD=), the kit’s aim is to enable educators, professional designers, and youth mentors to deliver basic, yet purposeful design education lessons to middle and high school aged kids.

The momentum continues in 2023 

Intuit joined DxD as a core partner last year and will collaborate with the coalition in 2023 to expand Design=’s reach to youth in the Detroit and Baltimore/DC metro areas with additional in person workshops. 

And, with the feedback from the educators, professional designers, and DxD Advisory Council members,  DxD will expand and hone the RDT= prototype into a robust design curriculum for DxD’s Design= signature program. Collaborated on and delivered through educators in historically underinvested communities, the free, open access “kit” will focus on high school level youth, exposing them to design, design concepts, tools, and activities, while introducing them to the design profession and its career pathways. 

Our heart-felt thanks to everyone who has stepped up – and shared their time and resources to make the above good works happen. With all of our coalition partners, DxD and Design= are helping to move the needle on who will be the designers of the future — one educational experience, one engaged student, at a time.

* Sources: 2020 U.S. Census Voting Age Population by Race & Ethnicity and Zippia Designer Demographics and Statistics in the U.S.

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