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Design + Activism

By Dana Capistrano and Jo Chu

Back in December, my lovely friend and partner, Joanne Chu, and I had the honor of hosting a workshop at the #StudentLeadershipConference at the University of San Francisco. I ALSO had the opportunity to design + illustrate the main promotional work for the conference too (double bonus !) #USFCASLC2020

Regardless of this being the first time the Student Leadership Conference was online for the first time, we had an amazing experience hearing from the guest speaker Julian Dowell. Thank you, Bob Just, M.S., Sonja Angst, Jada Commodore, Anh Huynh, and many more for planning such an exceptional Conference this year. Also, a special shout out to our friend and volunteer, Troi Tim Tran, for taking the time to help us make sure we touch on points essential social justice work.

We talked about the steps designs, artists, and everybody in between and beyond can take when creating considerate activist design work. We did a case study on a brand, Thinx Inc., and how they follow trends and consider the audience that they serve. We even took time to reflect with our audience on what we can do to make our designs and actions more genuine and impactful and much more!


We felt that this topic was especially relevant in 2020 and moving onwards through 2021. With the BLM movement and the rise of racist hate crimes, now is the time to act. We wanted to highlight how activism comes in so many forms and how everyone can be involved. There was been an increase in informational graphics circulating on Instagram, and that is how many of us may be familiar with design + activism.

Design is more than just graphics or T-shirts or websites. Designers are problem solvers who create solutions. We take set limitations and aim to create the best possible outcome. In this way, we are all designers!

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