Creatives have been working to continuously shine light on the fact that the design world, like all professional spheres, is greatly influenced by the patriarchy—specifically the white, cisnormative male narrative.
We’ve been fortunate that publications like AIGA’s Eye on Design, Design Week, and others have been elevating the voices of women and people of color in design, yet there has been a lack of voices, platforms, and resources that support queer designers. Although designers are talking more about the issue of overt whiteness and maleness in our profession, there should also be an increase in outside awareness and support for those of us who don’t fit into the mold.
Professionalism is often coded as passing for cis-het, both in our physical appearance and in terms of the conformity of work. This is further enforced as design becomes more synonymous with corporatism. While design was once difficult to define, and visual storytelling was generally approached as a multifunctional, diverse experience, it is now often seen by some as successful only if it is delivered in a certain way. With the design field growing more saturated and cutthroat every passing day, what society sees as professional and successful design is shifting. But is that because designers are objectively better? Or is it because their work and narratives conform increasingly to a normative concept of professionalism that has bled into the creative sphere?
Enter the Queer Design Club (of which I am a proud member): a free, cross-platform community that went live earlier this year. The QDC holds two primary functions: 1) as a designer directory, and 2) as a community Slack group. The directory, with over 300 designers and growing, acts as an almanac of global LGBTQ designers with diverse skills and backgrounds. By making such a resource publicly available, businesses now have less excuses for not readily hiring queer folk.
The Slack forum is where the community truly engages and comes together through discussion, networking, and support. With queer designers representing from all walks of life, the Slack community provides a sense of safety and encouragement to share stories and content about the intersection of our personal and professional identities.