FOUNDER/OWNER, ANTIDESIGN, IRVINE CA
Being a mixed Asian-American woman, Selena has a passion for making space for BIPOC-owned small businesses, nonprofits, creatives, boutiques, celebrities, and organizations that promote culture and empowerment. With her experience in these fields, she founded ANTIDESIGN in 2020, a boutique creative collective specializing in a client base of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and community organizations in the arts, culture, and social movement.
Her approach to branding, design, and communication is firmly based on the Emotional Design school of thought, which advocates that humans come to understand the world primarily through perceptions and emotions. In a commercial context, this means that customers primarily want to be enchanted with the promise of a great experience.
“Brand identity, and great presentation — especially through online communication — is at the forefront of every business strategy. I want to inspire you to be creative, to encourage you to stay curious, and to help you fall in love with your brand.” – Selena
Tell us how and why you became involved in socially responsible communications, any thoughts on why design can be an especially effective tool for this goal, and, if you wish, give us an example of a project of which you are proud.
I have always had the same dream — to elevate untold stories through creative expression, and help mom-and-pop shops, nonprofits, and local organizations hone their skills, do what they love, and own their time. I’ve always been an artist at heart and being able to use my creative expression to make space for vision-based orgs is truly a dream. As creatives, we harness the power of design to amplify joy, celebrate culture, and move people to action. My work is a manifestation of what I hope for my community; joy, peace, and progress without leaving anyone behind. While my practice is deeply rooted in story, it’s also very much an exploration of the transformation of pain and struggle forged into new paths forward that are full of joy and light. I think joy is a beautiful act of resistance. To have it, and to hold it shamelessly, is something we all deserve.
For me, being a socially responsible designer means giving back to society, not just by creating but also by celebrating culture and diversity and creating a future that is people-minded. By releasing our designs into the world, we open the door to partnering with communities and allowing for the crafting of spaces for conversation/discussion around what we need to do to fight for our shared futures.
Given the confluence of events and challenges our society now faces, does this moment in time present any special opportunities, urgencies, obstacles to designing for good?
Designers today need to do more than just please consumers; they need to consider a wider set of values and ethical considerations. One of the major strategies of design is to influence behavior through indirect suggestion — which has been abused by large corporations to create highly addictive content that leads to over-purchasing and ethical neglect.
Designers are responsible for the effective communication of ideas. While doing this, we need to consider the necessities of the people our work impacts, social and cultural trends or ethics, and when it comes to the materials for these messages, along with sustainability and environmental effects. This generation of designers needs to be aware of their ability to emphasize deeper cultural meanings and develop their capacity to strengthen mutual understanding among people and nations. If I have any advice for aspiring designers, it would be to think critically about the implications of an idea at an early stage and to think deeply about the possible long-term consequences of design choices. Your designs are a manifestation of the future you wish to create — so please create responsibly.