We are thrilled to announce a 12-month partnership with nonprofit design advocacy organization, Where are the Black Designers? Together, we aim to create equity through service, and drive tangible change across the global design industry to rectify systemic inequalities.
WATBD? originally launched in the U.S. in 2020 and is now a global community of 10,000 people, of which 60% of members are Black and 40% allies. Co-founded by Mitzi Okou and Garrett Albury, the organization seeks to support, amplify and make space for Black creativity in all its forms, as well as host a dialogue about change within the design industry.
The partnership comes at a crucial time; according to the 2019 AIGA Design Census, only 3% of its member designers in the U.S. are Black. In the U.K., statistics on Black designers are hard to come by - indicating that action on this issue is still very much in its infancy.
As an award-winning global studio, with clients such as Peloton, The Body Coach and Google, we believe ustwo is well placed to offer access, knowledge and support to the Black designers within the WATBD? network. This initiative also aligns closely with our values and commitment to tangibly improve diversity in design, and is in keeping with our B Corp status and employee ownership structure. It is also an acknowledgement that, like many in the industry, there is more that we can do within ustwo specifically to improve the representation of Black creatives in our teams.
A critical component of the partnership is an impact report, which will be delivered in 12 months’ time. This report will measure criteria such as the number of permanent Black employees hired or referred by ustwo, the number of Black creatives supported by knowledge sharing activities, and ongoing feedback from the WATBD? community.
Our partnership with WATBD? will be formally unveiled at a global launch event on the 27th April 2023 at our London and New York studios. This will act as the first of many opportunities throughout the partnership for Black designers to network and make media contacts with recruiters and leaders in the industry. Ensuring that the takeaways are tangible, salary transparency cheat sheets will be available, providing valuable information on salary bandings in both London and NYC, as well as tips for negotiating salaries.
“I wish an organization like Where are the Black Designers? existed when I started my career. I’m so excited to partner with WATBD?, and to support the growth of its community. ustwo is proud to take this step towards building a truly inclusive design industry, and we hope others will join us. This program truly aligns with our core values and we are excited to see the industry become more diverse.”
"At ustwo, we know that the most effective work happens when we have diverse talent and teams working together. Yet the design sector has not made the changes needed to broaden access to diverse talent — the industry needs to reflect the world it is designing for if it is to reach its full potential. By partnering with Where are the Black Designers? - the first U.K company to do so - we hope to spark a conversation about where the design industry needs to go, and meaningfully support the growth of the Black creative community.”
Other components of the 12 month campaign include a monthly Instagram takeover, which will spotlight various Black creatives who can showcase their work on ustwo's socials. The team will also host talks and events to discuss relevant topics to engage with a community and foster meaningful discussions.
“We couldn’t be happier for ustwo to be our first long-term partnership in both the UK and US. Our goal is to heal, support, amplify and make space for the entire spectrum of Black creativity, and we’re excited by the opportunities ustwo can offer us to drive tangible change on a global scale.”
Join us in London and New York on Thursday 27 April to celebrate our partnership with Where are the Black Designers? Register for a free ticket on Eventbrite.