Radical Design Pedagogy:

Towards an Autochthonic Black Aesthetic for Graphic Design Pedagogy


Since Cheryl D Holmes Miller's 1987 Black Designer's Missing in Action, there have been far too many calls for increased access and visibility of Black folx in Graphic Design education and the field at large. In 1998, Sylvia Harris offered educators ways to continue Searching For a Black Aesthetic in American Graphic Design. We now live in an age of a rising tide of Black Design Pedagogy, where the legacies of Radical, Intersectional Black Feminism. Simultaneously, the recent cluster Black Design Faculty at OCAD University, led by the first Black Dean of Design of any program in the world—Dori Tunstall—shows that progress sometimes happens quickly and sometimes slowly. Meanwhile, many Black Design educators have done been doing the work for years. Audrey Bennet brings an update to her Towards an Autochthonic Black Aesthetic for Graphic Design Pedagogy that brings us back to this course's beginning. Her work shows that by studying the ethnomathematics of African design, art, and architecture, as seen in the research on African Fractals by Dr. Ron Eglash, we can shift the underlying cultural grids of design education. This talk offers strategies and examples 0f educators and designers who are drawing inspiration from Black cultural aesthetics



  • Black Designers: Forward in Action” by Cheryl D. Miller. Print Magazine, 2020.

  • Black Designers: Still Missing in Action?” by Cheryl D. Miller. Print Magazine, 2016.

  • Decolonized Anthropology and Design: the Utility of Design Anthropology,”
    by Elizabeth Tunstall. 2012. Participatory Innovation Conference Digital Proceedings [CD], paper 94. Melbourne, Australia.

  • Design Anthropology: What does it mean for your design practice?” by Elizabeth Tunstall. Adobe Design Center Think Tank. May 13, 2008.

  • Culturally Situated Design Tools: Ethnocomputing from Field Site to Classroom.” by Ron Eglash, Audrey Bennett, Casey O’Donnell, Sybillyn Jennings, and Margaret Cintorino. American Anthropologist, 108.2 (2006): 347-362. AWARD: General Anthropology Division Award for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship.

  • Towards an Autochthonic Black Aesthetic for Graphic Design Pedagogy.” by Audrey Bennett. Journal of Design Research, 3.2 (2003).




  • Follow the Golden Ratio from Africa to the Bauhaus for a Cross-Cultural Aesthetic for Images.” by Audrey Bennett. Critical Interventions, 9.10 (Spring 2012): 11-23.

  • Module, Proportion, Symmetry, Rhythm by György Kepes