This blog entry seeks to investigate the lack of diversity within the design industry. The majority of members within a design team are white and male, with as much as 83% of professional design practitioners being Caucasian.
The AIGA Women Lead Initiative (WLI) has been in constant pursuit of the equal representation of women within design. With its main goal to eradicate bias and inequalities that face women within the design industry. The platforms from which this goal stems are as follows; to celebrate the achievements of women in design, to cultivate awareness of gender-related issues while building knowledge and leadership skills, and to connect by facilitating relationships within and beyond the design industry. The WLI have gained support from many different supporters in their endeavour to facilitate equality within design, these include; Amazon, IBM, Adler Design, Decker etc. Earlier this year the AIGA WLI became a platform from which a new initiative was launched for the promotion of Diversity and Inclusion, this task force strives to support integration from which designers can work professionally and without bias towards and form of minority representation.
A recent Worth Global Style Network (WGSN) Insider report highlights an issue within the design and execution of an installation within the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, wherein the “Rain Room” relies on the detection of reflected light to stop the rain from falling wherever the user walks through. However it seems that when calibrating and executing the program the software struggles to detect a user that does not have a white complexion, “We had somehow managed to sync up our outfits –grey T-shirts, dark jeans and white trainers. The only difference was in our skin colours, I am white and he is black. He got drenched and I did not.” Petah believes that the main contributor to this error is the lack of diversity within the art collectives design team, the team was mostly Caucasian and therefore their testing was mainly done on those with lighter shades of skin colour.
The evidence presented within this blog has shown some key factors which influence and mould the way that diversity can influence design. The steps that are being taken through third party organisations to correct this imbalance is an indication to the solution being found over time, however observing the rate in which change is happening can show that there is a greater need for the diversification of design teams and general wider perspectives being taken when designing for a culturally diverse population.