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Design Identities

Celebrating Black voices from the College of Design.

Design Identities will celebrate five Black Design alumni who have been influencers in their fields. Students from each department will conduct one on one interviews with an alumnus in their field to learn about their successes as designers and to encourage the next generation of students, especially BIPOC students, with an introduction to and an interest in design. 

Interviews, portfolios of work, and backgrounds on each designer will be released weekly throughout February and the first week of March on the College of Design’s social media channels and on a dedicated webpage.

Our Designer Lineup:

Our Student Interviewers:

Our students from each department tackled interviews with these notable designers — asking them about their careers, how to navigate as a black designer, and what brought them to design.

Let's talk identity.

To be a designer is to be a storyteller. We want to tell the story of design through the BIPOC lens.

Help us keep the conversation going.

Share your unique experiences, ideas, thoughts and work when you post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Tag #DesignIdentities and @ncstatedesign when you post.

Explore on Instagram 
Welcome back, designers! What are you looking forward to this semester?
Just days after the start of the Greensboro sit-ins In February 1960, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered what would become a widely influential speech titled, “A Creative Protest.” 

Despite the historical and rhetorical significance of what is commonly known as the “Fill Up the Jails” speech, no recordings exist. 

Here, for the first time, using advanced digital and audio technology, this collaboration between the NC State College of Design, @ncstatechass, and @ncsulibraries provides an opportunity for scholars, students and citizens to experience and explore this important speech.

Explore the Virtual #MLK Project, and gain an embodied sense of what it might have been like to sit, stand, and move around the historic White Rock Baptist Church sanctuary, listening to King’s speech with others: link in bio
Design Identities: Breeze Outlaw

Breeze is interested in connecting physical and perceptual realms of access to public spaces. In zir work, zie emphasizes the process of community engagement, the connectivity of natural and cultural systems, and the preservation of community integrity. Breeze believes in the essential qualities of diverse narratives and the role of exploring and investigating to create spaces that reflect all experiences.

Prior to joining Sasaki, Breeze worked as a Food Systems Designer where zie worked with community members, food producers, and municipalities on small and large scale planning projects to strategically address food access disparities.

Breeze holds a Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University, is a recipient of an ASLA Certificate of Honor and ASLA Student Honor Award, and a Landscape Architecture Foundation University Olmsted scholar. Zie is also the co-founder of the initiatives Blackscapes and Designing While Black.

Our Designer Lineup:

Renee Seward

Design Identities: Renee Seward

Reneé is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Communication Design program at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. She is a graduate of the Graphic Design program at the University of Cincinnati in 2002 and received her Master’s from North Carolina State in 2008.

Reneé has been teaching typography, exhibition design, graphic design in the Communication Design program for the last fourteen years. Her students have won countless awards from Graphics, Graphic Design USA, and Creative Communication Awards Design competitions over the years.

Her research focuses on developing digital and physical tools that seek to address our society’s literacy problem. Currently, she has a company that sells her reading tool called See Words Reading®. Renee came up with See Words because a friend’s child who attributed his reading struggle to the letters’ layout on a page. Reneé, as a designer, felt that she could help with the problem. Renee is a Cincy Innovates winner and has been acknowledged as a Rising Tech star by ComSpark, awarded by the Business Courier Best Software of the Year, and the University of Cincinnati Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. Recently, a font her team has designed called SeeType just won an STA award, and she has given a TEDx talk on Eradication Literacy Through the Power of a Font. Additionally, she is working in a collaborative research team awarded a grant from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to develop a tool to help correct speech problems in children.

Renee has also been named a winner in the Graphic Design USA Design competition for the poster she developed for the AIGA to promote voting.

Featured Work

Tim Allen

Design Identities: Tim Allen

Tim Allen was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2017. He leads the global product design team at Airbnb, centered on design and inclusivity. His focus on fueling human potential is key to building products and cultures that inspire people to do their best work. As an additional outlet for his passion around design thinking, Tim speaks and instructs at schools and events around the country.

Tim’s work has been recognized with several of the industry’s most esteemed awards, including multiple Cannes Cyber Lions, D&AD, ANDY, Webby and OneShow awards. Named in the Creativity 50, Creativity magazine’s 2013 list of the year’s most inspiring and influential creative figures, he also played a key role on the award-winning R/GA team who created Nike+, the platform named Campaign of the Decade by AdWeek magazine, Nike Training Club, Nike’s first ever iOS App, and Nike.com.

Prior to Airbnb, Tim led Microsoft’s Experiences & Devices design practice and Amazon’s Product Design Studio as Executive Creative Director leading the experience design for Echo, FireTV, and Kindle products. Tim also shaped the vision for one of the largest Experience Design teams in the United States at R/GA, whose Nike work established the future of connected experiences for brands. Through innovative work with Adobe, Red Hat, and IBM, Tim holds seven patents related to software design, ranging from chat interface modeling to mobile device synchronization.