African-American Legends in Graphic Design?

I’m a graphic designer and I am looking for professional inspiration. Are there any African American graphic designers that are considered icons or legends in the field, at least amongst us? If not, can anyone give me the names of those considered the creme of the crop.

AIGA recently held a gala celebrating several legends in the graphic design world and none were african american (not that I suspected there to be). As I work to mature in this field, I would love to be able to have someone to aspire to. My professional inspiration for many years has been Joe Duffy of Duffy Designs, but I would love to know if there is an African American who has achieved such success. I wouldn’t mind being the first :slight_smile:, but it would be comforting to know it has already been done.

Have you checked this out on the AIGA site?
“African American Designers: The Chicago Experience Then and Now”
(BTW Victor Margolin was my design history prof when I was in grad school. Loved his classes.)

Also check out OBD:

You might also want to contact these folks:


Thanks for the links, laureng!
It’s kinda unfortunate that we’re so scattered in the SF Bay Area…I went to ODB’s washington site and I was wondering WHY none of the other chapters (SF included because that’s where I’m from) don’t have websites or contact information. I’m not making a huge thing about it, but in North Cal most design students of African American descent don’t tend to network as hard or extensively as other students. At SFSU I’ve only met two black students in the Design and Industry department but they’re about to graduate anyway…

Just a thought to bring up.

I think there might be a more active chapter in Oakland. Seem to remember reading that somewhere.

I know here in chicago the obd had a portfolio review for several schools… open to all (not just African American’s) They invited professionals to review student portfolios.

Maybe you can find out through the DC folks who to contact in the SF area. Then see if they need help getting a site design/developed. Having a site will give the chapter more visibility. I’m sure there are many others like yourself that want to network but have yet to connect. You could even set up a forum on Yahoo for free. (I did this for my schools student AIGA group last January. Currently we have 60 members and growing. We are about to add alumni to the list and recruit more faculty.)