December 10, 2020

Decolonizing Design

What Does Decolonizing Design Mean?

Decolonizing design is to remove the white or Eurocentric thinking in design. Decolonizing design happens with the understanding of design that establishes and perpetuates the invasion, impoverishment, and destruction of indigenous cultures.

Colonization is rooted in indigenous peoples’ experiences of oppression: the theft of resources, the appropriation of culture, and the embedding of Western views into society. Decolonization no longer just means the withdrawal from a former colony, but also the acknowledgment that Western society has been built upon the colonization of other nations that many parts of white/European culture was (and still is) stolen from indigenous cultures.

What's the Difference Between Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonizing?

Decolonization is often used interchangeably with the words diversity and/or inclusion. It’s important to note that while the terms are related, they shouldn’t be confused with one another.

This video of a presentation by OCAD U (The Ontario College of Art and Design University) Dean of Design Dori Tunstall really breaks down the difference between diversity, inclusion, and decolonizing in design in a way that is easy to understand.

In short, the difference between diversity, inclusion, and decolonizing is:

  • Diversity is getting the invitation to the party.
  • Inclusion is if someone asks if you want to dance.
  • Decolonzing is allowing the most vulnerable to choose the music, plan the food, etc. for the party.

What Can We Do to Decolonize Design?

Decolonizing Design History

  • Unlearn that "good" design only means design created by white designers.
  • Learn about BIPOC (black, indigenous, person of color) designers, artists, and cultures.
  • Reclassify traditional craft as part of design history.

Decolonizing Design Values

  • Considered how people of different ethnicities may identify with what you’re creating?
  • Carefully consider imagery, fonts, and patterns before using them in your designs.
  • Educate yourself on how to use imagery, fonts, and patterns respectfully.

Decolonizing Design Work

  • Pass on a project where you cannot identify with the lived experiences of the audience. Refer someone appropriate instead.
  • Work and collaborate with minority-owned businesses and individual designers.
  • Realize that with every design choice made, there's potential to exclude or oppress others.
To find out more about decolonizing design check out Decolonising Design.
[the_ad id="901"]

Leave a Reply

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram