Latinx Stories OF

Borderlands/ La Frontera


Incomplete Latinx Stories of Diseño Grafico centers the work and histories of art and design in Latin America. From a Latinx diasporic perspective, we look at the pluralistic work that comes out of the diverse cosmologies, perspectives, and points of view from the continent—inspired in part by Gloria Anzaldua's seminal Borderlands/ La Frontera. It is the second in a series of BIPOC Centered design history courses facilitated by Ramon Tejada and Polymode.

Through live and asynchronous lectures, readings, and discussions, the class sheds light on moments of oppression and visibility. The series revisits and rewrites the course of design history in a way that centers previously marginalized designers, cultural figures—and particularly BIPOC and QTPOC people.


Web site offerings are intended for use by
individual-purchasers only — no group or
institutional use.

Licenses for institutional use are available and customizable to fit your needs. Contact us at to provide your students, employees, and designers with access to our BIPOC Design History Course.

  SEPT 17th 
4 pm – 5:30 pm PST
7 pm – 8:30 pm EST

Arte y Diseño Latinx: Comunicación Cotidiana


Comunicacion Cotidiana is a hybrid conversation that analyses the distinct ways in which people in Latin America use imagery, typography, and local materials to communicate with distinctive nuances that reflect keen awareness of audience, location, and language. In our Charla/Chat, we interact with and consider artifacts, peoples, artisans, and artists from Mexico, Dominican Republic, and beyond that help piece together a better awareness of the ideas, stories, and tools people in Latin America use to create visual languages. 


  SEPT 18th 
4 pm – 5:30 pm PST
7 pm – 8:30 pm EST

Some Theoretical Considerations in Reading
Latin American Design History


A talk in two parts focusing on certain conceptual and theoretical considerations in response to reading design histories of Latin America. Through the lenses of Latin American philosophers, critical theorists, and writers, we will make observations on local art, design, identity, and the role of the creative imagination in the production of new forms. We will consider the relationships between pre-modern forms, modern materials, and visual culture – and what a sustained engagement with the past can provide for us in the present.

  SEPT 19th 
1:30 pm – 3 pm PST             
4:30 pm – 6 pm EST

Pecha Kucha: Latinx Diaspora in America 


In a Pecha Kucha format we examine four distinct perspectives on design by Latinx designers with roots in Latin America and Los Angeles. The talks include:

Pilar Castillo — Plantation to Paradise, Designing the Caribbean: explores the role of design and advertising in shaping Caribbean identity that exploits a visual narrative of pirate adventure, plantation nostalgia, and tropical romanticism.

Shannon Doronio Chavez — Colonization, Assimilation, and Gentefication: Graphic Design deliverables are artifacts that connect us to our history. The artifacts included in this presentation are related to the “Mexican American'' experience, exploring what is lost in colonization, what is learned in assimilation, and what is gained in the creation of a hybrid culture.

Roberto Rodriguez — Maria de Los Angeles: From Typography to Migration explores a brief history of the Virgen de Guadalupe and its significance within the Catholic community both in Mexico and Los Angeles, focusing on typography inspired by the first official Mexican flag.

MJ Balvanera — Mexican Design History: Printing and Protesting explores a collection of artwork made by and for political movements in Mexican history, specifically those originating from the Mexican Revolution and throughout the first half of the 20th century, and the socialist and communist ideals that have always been juxtaposed against capitalist influence.

  SEPT 24th
4 pm – 5:30 pm PST
7 pm – 8:30 pm EST

Diseñando Identidad:
Community Education, Design, and Politics in Puerto Rico


In the mid-twentieth century, Puerto Rico’s first elected governor, Luis Muñoz Marín, developed a radical educational program that leveraged design, film, and art to provide basic education for predominantly rural Puerto Rican communities. DIVEDCO (the Division of Community Education), a government sponsored program led by artists and designers, exemplified the disparity between the colonial regimes that pushed for modernization and Americanization of the island and the resistance movements that inspired Puerto Rican patriotism and a search for identity and cultural voice. These talks will serve as an introduction to Puerto Rican 20th century (typo)graphic design history with a focus on the individuals who helped lay the foundation for a vibrant tradition of visual and graphic arts both on the island and across the diaspora.


  SEPT 25th 
1:30 pm – 3 pm PST             
4:30 pm – 6 pm EST

On Queerness & Race in Brazilian Art & Design


Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, is “full of potential and imagination.” It is a land brimming with regional customs and traditions and multiple histories and encounters both clash and coalesce. This pair of lectures dig through layers of histories and representation in shifting how race and queerness are seen and understood. From “A Redenção de Cã” to the Enciclopédia Negra to the cultural figure of Marielle Franco, the myths of a racial democracy are unpacked and decolonized. We also look at the Manifesto Antropófago, the journal O Lampião da Esquina, and contemporary cuir artists who through sheer audacity and creativity have created new languages and ways of telling their stories.

  OCT 1st
1:30 pm – 3 pm PST            
4:30 pm – 6 pm EST

Caribbean Contrast:

Puerto Rican and Cuban carteles and their representation of distinct political relationships with the United States


Cuba and Puerto Rico are the two wings of a bird, they receive flowers and bullets over the same heart.
—Lola Rodriguez de Tió

The poster—an important medium for social, political, cultural, and economic communication—was adopted in the twentieth century by two prominent Caribbean nations, Puerto Rico and Cuba, governed under opposite political systems. The visual languages of Puerto Rican and Cuban carteles represent the historic reality of the "sister islands" as they struggle to define their identities within two contrasting political relationships with the United States: the colonial status of Puerto Rico and the United States' embargo against Cuba.

  OCT 2nd 
4 pm – 5:30 pm PST           
7 pm – 8:30 pm EST

Latinx Auto-Ethnography in educational spaces


This lecture refers to otherness in traditional design and art canons and looks at the invisibility of Latin American/Latinx identities, cosmovisions, and voices in design education, with a focus on the female experience.

Erasure of non-white, non-male, non-western identities and cultures in design and art history and education helps perpetuate abusive and exclusionary design practices, which complicates sustainable, pluriversal, and decolonial design efforts in these regions and those related, such as Latinx communities in the United States and beyond.

As a response, this lecture invites design educators and students to disrupt traditional design canons and histories through visual storytelling, using creative and self-reflective methods to unearth and explore individual and unique knowledges, identities, and lived experiences.

  OCT 8th
1:30 pm – 3 pm PST             
4:30 pm – 6 pm EST

In/dependence: An Incomplete Survey of Cuban Design


Cuban graphic design is complex; its breadth and depth links to politics, geography, nationalism, inventiveness, economics, and much more. This complexity, in addition to 60+ years of a communist dictatorship that continues to trigger a Cuban diaspora expanding the globe, makes it difficult to accurately and comprehensively pin what encompasses Cuban graphic design. This lecture, an incomplete survey of Cuban design from the 1900s through today, focuses less on the aesthetics and innovative aspects of Cuban design, and more on design as a tool of oppression, resistance, and liberation.

1:30 pm – 3 pm PST             
4:30 pm – 6 pm EST

On Typography and Language in Peru


This class will be an overview of the rich visual culture of Peru through the lens of typography and language. We’ll look at visual and written communication from pre-columbian times until the early 21st century, and explore the aesthetics of resistance, revolution, and quest for liberation which are recurrent themes in the history of Peru and Latin America.

 OCTOBER 10th 
1:30 pm – 3 pm PST             
4:30 pm – 6 pm EST

Otros Susurros Desde los Andes


A typographic-dingbat journey, titled Abya Yala: Visual Chronicles, through the little-known stories of the original cultures that inhabited the Andes. Vanessa Zúñiga develops her design from the semiotic and morphological analysis of the archaeological pieces’ visual signs. Then she translates them into a contemporary graphic universe, where geometry plays a very important role. In English and Español.