FOUNDER, PRESIDENT + CEO, CREATIVE REACTION LAB, ST. LOUIS MO
Antionette D. Carroll is the Founder, President and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, a nonprofit educating and deploying youth leadership to challenge racial inequities impacting Black and Latino populations. Within this capacity, Antionette has pioneered a new form of creative problem solving called Equity-Centered Community Design (named a Fast Company World Changing Idea Finalist). Antionette is building a movement of a new type of leader coined Equity Designers. Within this role, Antionette has received several recognitions and awards including being named a 2018 Echoing Green Global Fellow, TED Fellow, and Camelback Ventures Fellow. Additionally, in 2014, Antionette was named the Founding Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force of AIGA: The Professional Association of Design. Currently, she’s an AIGA National Board Director and Chair Emerita of the Task Force working on long-term strategic initiatives with the likes of Google and Microsoft. She’s the co-founder of the Design + Diversity Conference and Fellowship. Antionette also is an international speaker and facilitator, previously speaking at TED, Capital One, Harvard, Stanford University, Microsoft, NASA, TEDxHerndon and TEDxGatewayArch, AIGA National Conference, The Ohio State University, and more.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
St. Louis MO
DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
I took many design classes at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, but didn’t graduate with a BFA. (I couldn’t stay awake in art history.)
LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU IDENTIFY WITH?
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. She challenged the status quo and lived on her own terms.
ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
More of a dancer. However, I used to play the clarinet.
Obviously, Pride and Prejudice. :-)
Resident Evil. I’m all about females kicking ass.
FAVORITE TV BINGE WATCH?
Real Housewives of Atlanta and House Hunters
FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?
Design + Diversity Podcast co-led with my partner in design Timothy Hykes
FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?
FAVORITE CHARITY OR CAUSE?
Clearly I’m biased with Creative Reaction Lab. Also, love the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
Watching Anime with my family
Shot glasses from every city to which I’ve traveled. And, movies – DVDs, currently, in the high hundreds.
WHICH AREA OF GRAPHIC DESIGN IS GROWING THE MOST?
Social impact design is being integrated across multiple techniques. But, technically, UX is taking over.
Dawn Hancock, Rich Hollant, and The Late Sylvia Harris
GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
I’m a systems thinker and visionary (not stating in an arrogant way). Therefore, I can imagine intersecting opportunities to build a campaign, brand, or movement. Challenging the status quo to create something that we’ve yet to accomplish (such as racial equity) brings me joy.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Find your passion and/or mission. If you don’t have a purpose or passion, it’s hard to sustain in this work that innately comes from our soul.
IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
An EDM DJ and Social Justice-focused Dancer (concurrently)
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
I always tell my sons that I don’t care if they’re the dumbest and least creative person in the world. What matters is that they’re a good person. Understanding the humanity of myself and others is key to a purpose-filled life.
Photograph: TED/Bret Hartman