Collaborative Aims To Increase Design Diversity

Diversity in Design Collaborative (DID) is a group of nearly two dozen companies united by a common belief in both design’s power as an agent of change and in the critical role that diversity plays in creating strong, impactful businesses and innovations. DID includes prominent member companies across design fields – including Herman Miller Group, Knoll, Adobe, Dropbox, GAP, Pentagram, Wolf Olins, and others – joining forces to improve the representation of Black creatives in design by increasing career opportunities and focusing on the education pipeline. Comments Andi Owen, President and CEO of Herman Miller Group: “At Herman Miller, design is core to who we are – we believe in its power to solve problems and make the world a better place. But the alarming data about diversity and representation in the industry has served as an urgent call to action for us to do better. In our early stages of research on how to best address the underrepresentation of Black designers, it was immediately clear that we could not make substantial and lasting change alone.” DID was initially formed at Herman Miller Group, with Senior Vice President of Special Projects Mary Stevens and Caroline Baumann, former Director of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, co-leading the creation of the initiative.

The collective hopes to ease the path of Black designers into the industry by promoting the design professions widely within high schools while working with historically Black colleges to create curricula. Plans also call for establishing a set of shared metrics that companies can use to measure success, create an inter-company network for Black designers, and launch a design fair next year in Detroit. States Caroline Baumann: “The members of DID, all companies with design at their core, are dedicated to making the systemic change necessary to transform the industry for good, moving the needle on the stark less than 5% that represents brown and black people in our industry.”