Cornell Beard

RESP20_CORNELBEARD

ASSOCIATE DESIGNER, 10 THOUSAND DESIGN
MINNEAPOLIS MN

Cornell Beard is an associate designer at Minneapolis design firm 10 Thousand Design where he works on numerous accounts including Target. His creative interests span brand development, design, photography and content strategy. He is passionate about leadership and mentoring, which is why he co-founded and co-hosts @UnderRepresented, a weekly podcast about design and culture from the Black perspective. His varied experience includes six years of serving in the US Army, which taught him valuable lessons about leadership, perseverance, organization and the value of working as a team.

HOW AND WHY DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN DESIGNING FOR GOOD AND WHY DO YOU BELIEVE DESIGN IS AN ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR THIS GOAL?

There are two endeavors that I undertook during the past year that represent designing for good. The first is the podcast @UnderRepresented, which launched in February. While not a visual design project, its purpose is to promote design as a viable career choice to people of color. As a creative, I find that the best projects come from a collaborative and diverse environment. To create these diverse environments we need to attract more people from all backgrounds and experiences. Season One is about sharing stories like my own, as well as other black designers and creatives about how they got into the business. Season Two will focus on the different avenues of design: from design agencies to streetwear design to retail design. Sharing these stories helps people learn about possible career paths from successful people who look like them. The second endeavor is a line of posters I designed following the murder of George Floyd. In the midst of the protests that followed, I could not be as active in them as I wanted given my responsibilities as a full-time father and designer. To help make a difference, I did what I do best and designed the Black Lives Matter “Ally” Series of posters that friends, family and Instagram followers could download for free from my website. Design was vital to this project in creating a cool and powerful aesthetic, while communicating succinctly and powerfully when there are so many competing messages.

GIVEN THE CONFLUENCE OF EVENTS AND CHALLENGES WE FACE THIS FALL, DOES 2020 PRESENT ANY SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES TO DESIGNING FOR GOOD?

I think most designers naturally gravitate toward designing for good. We have the ability to motivate people, express shared experiences or inspire positivity through design. This year has been a big pivot point for people in every profession. Despite the struggles, we designers should gain clarity about what our calling is when designing for good and be moved to do it. I’ll always be energized and inspired to design and by design when times are tough.