David Ayllon


David Ayllon is the award-winning associate creative director for Korn Hynes Advertising in Morristown, New Jersey. As an avid graphic designer, photographer, and superhero aficionado, Ayllon has worked in the creative industry for 15+ years with clients such as Marriott, Rockstar Games, Todrick Hall, and RuPaul’s Drag Race winners. Ayllon received his MFA in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art & Design.

How did you become involved in socially responsible communications and why do you believe design can be an effective tool for this goal?

After the 2016 shooting at Pulse, I felt compelled and empowered enough to take action on my own. So, I created Posters for Pulse, selling prints of drag queens and queer performers to donate all profits to the victims’ families.

Then, in 2019, when my husband Joe (a.k.a. Pissi Myles) was asked to cover the first impeachment of Donald Trump, he met DACA students who left a big impression on him. As a drag queen in the Congress building trending on Twitter, we decided to capitalize by creating a tee shirt design with the statement “Grab ‘Em By the Pissi” to send donations to the National Immigration Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Fund. Most recently, I sold graphic tee shirts to support the Black Lives Matter movement, donating all proceeds to Black transgender people in need.

Joe and I moved to Somerville, New Jersey four years ago because it was so diverse and accepting, including when we would film videos in building lobbies and outside — people quickly knew who we were.

So, last year, Natalie Pineiro, the executive director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, asked us if we’d be interested in creating the town’s first Pride celebration online due to the pandemic. When we successfully produced the entire thing in our living room, she hired me and Korn Hynes Advertising to create an outdoor mural featuring queer history and important figures for this year’s Pride month. Because I live two blocks away from the mural — which is still on display — I get to see how all different types of people interact with it: families, kids, even super macho burly dudes will stop to actually read the mural. It’s been a testament to how inclusive this town truly is.”

Given the confluence of events and challenges our society now faces, does 2021 present any special opportunities, urgencies, obstacles to designing for good?

With everything being so crazy right now, I often find it difficult to believe anyone could be anything but terrible. However, whenever I complete a project for a social cause it always reminds me there are good people in the world. Whether it’s through their support, positive feedback, or donations, they let me know there are people who recognize what’s going on, that want to get involved and help.

Of course, these people could at any time donate to or volunteer with Somerville’s Babs Siperstien PROUD Center or the NILC’s Immigrant Justice Fund, but unless its in their face, they often don’t think to. Design is this weird superpower that can help remind people to do these things — to think about these issues. It’s very easy, especially after last year, to feel helpless, but in a very small way particular to me and my artistic skills, I can give back.

It may not seem like I’m making a huge impact on the social conversation, but I think my work shows how influential graphic design can be in drawing people’s eyes to the most important issues we’re facing. We all have the ability to use our superpowers for good.