It’s 2024 and Have We Got a Year in Review for You!

January 4, 2024

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First things first. 

The team at Impact Collaborative (DxD’s managing entity) would like to express ‘bottom-of-our-hearts’ appreciation to our partners and collaborators throughout the design ecosystem. Your shared time, resources, insights, and expertise enables us to continue our collective mission to create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive design industry. Without you, Diversify by Design (DxD) would not exist. Thank You.

Since DxD launched in January of 2021, we’ve seen progress made towards greater diversity in industry. We’ve also seen Affirmative Action overturned, Chief Diversity Officer roles being eliminated (or folded into HR?!?), as well as entire DEI and CSR departments being “downsized” or completely eliminated. Two steps forward, three steps back. There’s clearly still much work to be done. 

As we enter our 4th year, DxD is keenly aware of the challenges that lie ahead. DEI is not the ‘flavor of the month’ any longer. With corporations not fighting over each other to see who can bank the most Black and Brown people first, and community-based organizations with the lived-experience doing the heavy lifting still strapped for resources, the gap to fill has widened once again. 

Achieving systemic change requires ongoing, collective effort. There’s not one right, simple answer or quick fix. How we think about diversity, equity, and inclusion has to actually change in order for our behaviors and systems to follow. Only then can we create an inclusive environment where all people feel they belong. 

A daunting enterprise? It certainly feels that way. And yet, folks are hopeful. We are. We know change is possible. We’re doing it. One scalable initiative at a time. And together, we will continue to move the needle on the systemic change needed to right-side the design industry to one that is more inclusive; where those who create the things we wear, live-in, use and make our lives easier reflect and express the diversity that is our global society. 

Join DxD’s coalition effort to make the change you want to see in the world through the lens of design. For more on how you or your organization can participate, email us at today.

Now, on to the really good stuff!

If you’ve been tracking us on social or via blog, you know that DxD has had an extremely busy 2023. If you haven’t been able to keep up, we’re very excited to share our progress and impact over the last 12 months with you now…in addition to what we have in store for 2024. Let’s get started!

Youth Exposure: Design=

You already know that DxD seeks solutions to inequity at every stage of the design journey, from exposure to design to education and experience to employment opportunities and empowerment throughout the ecosystem. DxD’s signature program, Design= was created to get the ball rolling; introducing Black, Latinx, and Indigenous youth to design—its core concepts and how it can be a viable career path for them. 

This year, DxD expanded Design=, scaling the program to reach even more schools and community-based programs, more educators, and tons more students by developing the Design= Curriculum Kit.

Comprising 9 lesson plans, a curriculum guide, educational videos, and hands-on design projects for students, the Kit launched last August. This free resource is available for download and is supported by an online community app. Educators and design mentors alike have access to all they need to bring the Curriculum Kit to life, including additional materials, events and guest speakers dedicated to bringing design to the classroom, design concepts: and design as a possible career path to historically excluded highschool students. 

So far, and with the help of DxD Industry Partner, Amazon, and Program Partners, YWCA National Capital Area and Breakthrough Cincinnati, the Kit has reached:

  • Nearly 100 educators interested in the Kit who represent…
  • Over 5,300 students located in…
  • 6 geographies across the US 

There’s so much more to come for Design= in the new year…new partners, additional lesson plans, and greater mentor engagement.  

Know an organization, educator, or design mentor who could benefit from the Design= Curriculum Kit? Send them this link and we’ll get them started!

Education & Experience: DxD Intensives

DxD’s signature program for higher ed, D×D Intensives, helps to fill the gaps in the next phase of the design journey: education and experience. Bringing together industry and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Intensives addresses major challenges historically excluded students often face when studying design: limited access to impactful capstone projects, professional mentorship, and internship opportunities.

2023 “graduated” three Intensives cohorts: Workday partnered with San Francisco State University (SFSU) for two, and Delta Dental of California partnered with Lehman College in the Bronx, NY this past fall semester.

The Delta Dental + Lehman student cohort tackled a “real-life” challenge that Delta Dental is facing with its web and mobile applications: optimizing search functionality for inclusivity. Four  teams presented their solutions to the Delta Dental mentors and Lehman instructor. Here’s a bit about what they said: 

“This was a very fun learning experience! I actually got into UI/UX more than I thought as I worked on this project. It felt good to be proud of something I made that in theory would be used to help people.” — Lehman College Student

“It was a pleasure being a mentor for the students at Lehman College. Not only was I able to teach, but I was also able to widen my experience as a professional and a mentor. The growth and fascination from the students made everything worthwhile. I would highly recommend this DxD mentorship program to anyone who’s interested,” said Delta Dental’s Ryan Chang. 

Workday + SFSU challenged their spring cohort by looking at “future of work”, asking students to apply their design thinking skills to mobile applications for various populations post-COVID. Students addressed the needs of single parents, working families, and hybrid office operations. 

This past fall, the second cohort “got green,” working with a challenge posed to engage San Franciscians in the city’s Environmental Department’s Resident Initiatives. Solutions ranged from aggregating mass transit information to increase ridership, to scheduling compost pick-ups encouraging the practice.

One Workday mentor captured the experience perfectly. “There's not a lot of opportunities where designers in industry can be so hands-on in mentoring up-and-coming design students. DxD and Durojaiye [the Instructor] provided this opportunity and did a great job with leading the curriculum. I also have to give my kudos to the students for being engaged and excited about their respective projects.”

To date, 6 Intensives cohorts, comprising 53 mentors, have reached 183 students, culminating in 30 designs for student portfolios, two internships, and one hire.

Could your company benefit from mentoring an Intensives cohort? For more information email us at today!

DxD Partners & Advisors

DxD welcomed Program Partners YWCA National Capital Area in Washington, DC and Lehman College in the Bronx, NY last year. Both have played pivotal roles in the development of the Design= Curriculum Kit and DxD’s signature program, Intensives, respectively. They couldn’t wait to get started!

Also in 2023, DxD welcomed three new members to the coalition’s Advisory Council (AC), Bre’Anne Sims, Bernard Suber and Shawn Williams.

Bre’Anne, CX Strategist at Delta Dental, wasted no time diving right into the lead role of Delta Delta’s Intensive with new DxD Program Partner, Lehman College.

Bernard Suber AIA, NOMA, NCARB, LEED AP, is the Co-Founder & Co-Director of East of the River Career Exposure Camp and is getting his AC-legs actively participating on the education side of the house.

Associate Footwear Designer at Vans, Shawn Williams, joined the AC in the spring and by summer was on stage at the IDSA conference addressing the systemic barriers to design for people of color, while sharing practical ways for audience members to be part of the solution…including joining DxD!   

In addition to our new AC members, the seasoned pros have been hard at work as well. The Agency Working Group, comprising DxD Program Partners Three Spot, Fringe 22, and BBMG, recently completed The Agency Best Practices Guide. Nearly two years in the making, The Guide was created to help agencies fill gaps in their programming, structure, and experience of the hiring, onboarding, and retention of Black and Brown designers. Its ultimate goal: to support the building and maintaining of a culture of inclusion and belonging.

The Guide is in its final peer review round and will be available mid-2024. Want to get in on the review process? Email us at  

What’s in store for 2024

There’s a lot in the works and on the horizon for the coming year, and the momentum is already building. Here are just a few of the exciting things DxD is working on for 2024:

  • The Perfect Equation.
  • Worldstudio Foundation + AIGA + DxD = Design Scholarship Program
  • Program Partners digging deeper on their commitments to right-siding diversity in design.
  •  Amazon, Workday, and Delta Dental expanding roles into Design= programming
  • More design to more kids!
  • Design= Curriculum Kit expansion with more lessons, more challenges, more students excited about design

With so much more to come you must stay tuned. Better yet, join DxD today and get a front row seat! You’ll be inspired by being part of a coalition that is truly making a difference in the future of design. Whether you’re sitting in on a classroom filled with young people learning about design for the first time, or mentoring 3rd year college students on their first corporate design challenge, you, your colleagues, and your entire organization will be contributing to a more diverse, more equitable, better designed world.

So! What are You waiting for? Contact us today. The time is now for a different tomorrow.

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