ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF GRAPHIC DESIGN
CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY
Anne H. Berry is a writer, designer, and Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Design at Cleveland State University (CSU). Her research focuses on race and representation in design, and ethnic and racial disparities within the field of graphic design. She has been featured in Communication Arts magazine, Letterform Archive, and the recently published book Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators: Conversations on Design and Race by Kelly Walters, and was interviewed for designer Maurice Cherry’s award-winning podcast Revision Path. Her published writing includes “The Virtual Design Classroom” for Communication Arts magazine, “The Black Designer’s Identity” for the inaugural issue of the Recognize anthology featuring commentary from Indigenous people and people of color, and the co-authored article “The Intersection of Electoral Politics and Design Education” for the international design research journal Message.
Berry and collaborator Sarah Edmands Martin are co-creators of the awardwinning project Ongoing Matter: Democracy, Design, and the Mueller Report (OM) which was highlighted in the AIGA Eye on Design op-ed “Making Public Information Actually Accessible to the Public is the Responsibility of Designers.” Berry is also a 2018 Design Incubation Fellow and managing editor of The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression, and Reflection which was published in February 2022 and included in Fast Company’s “Best Design Books of 2022” and the 2022 Non-Obvious Book Awards Long List.
Looking forward to 2023, are you optimistic about the role and impact of Graphic Design and Visual Communication in Business? Culture? Causes? Have the events and disruptions of the past few years changed the role or trajectory of Graphic Design?
I think the most accurate thing I can say is that I am equal parts optimistic and pessimistic. I’m optimistic because I see design practitioners, researchers, and educators making genuine efforts to collaborate, learn, grow, and work at building a more equitable and inclusive world. I’m also pessimistic due to the biases that are baked into technology and technological advancement — to say nothing of the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation through design and technology — that threatens the health of societies across the globe. I hope that we are, collectively, up to the challenges that lie ahead.
Most influential graphic designer(s) or art directors(s) of the past 60 years?
Of today? April Greiman for the way she pushed the boundaries of design through the use of technology; Emory Douglas for his past work as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party as well as the ongoing influence of his work in the midst of the current social, cultural, and political unrest in the United States.
Most influential graphic design firm(s), ad agency(s), or inhouse department(s) of the past 60 years? Of today?
I’m naming Black designers as a group, as opposed to a specific agency or firm, because they have significantly influenced American culture yet have been systematically denied credit — over decades — for the impact of their creative contributions.
Favorite or most influential logo or branding project of the past 60 years?
Apple’s “Silhouette” iPod campaign
Favorite or most influential design project or campaign in any medium for the past 60 years?
Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan/tagline and ad campaign.
Most influential design products, services or technology of the past 60 years?
For better and for worse, social media and social networking apps.