The large-scale letterpress print visually represents data from the 2019 design census, which sought to better understand social, economic and cultural factors shaping the US design industry. Nearly 10,000 designers across the country participated in the survey conducted by AIGA, The Professional Association for Design, in partnership with Google. Trade Craft uses a random sample of people from that dataset—focusing on their race/ethnicity, gender, level of completed education, and status as either a full-time designer or freelancer—to critically look at the design industry.
The data show that the industry is primarily white and comprised of people with four-year college degrees. I hope to engender discussions about increasing access to the industry, potentially through trade unions as a way of increasing diversity and providing people with good wages, benefits, and job security. My inspirations for this piece include my grandpa, dad, and brother who all work in building trades.
This piece utilizes visual cues such as geometric shapes and colors that correspond with each person surveyed within the larger categories of race/ethnicity, gender, type of education (associate’s degree or below, 4-year degree and above), and employment status. The online key allows viewers to decipher the data visually and identify patterns, with the ultimate goal of increasing awareness about flaws in our design industry and promoting discussions about how to solve them.