August 27, 2020 —- Black Designers Ignite launched! Our inaugural event was livestreamed via Crowdcast to over 730 people: featuring 30 Black Designers and 6 special guests uniting under the 2020 theme, Transitions, on 8/27/20.

Opening keynote discussion with Annis R. Sands, Mitzi Okou, Zariah Cameron.

In 2 months, we designed a brand, got over 40 talk submissions, secured 8 sponsors, and sold 738 tickets! This community was lit! (Read our origin story here). Thanks to sponsors, we were able to pay everyone behind the scenes and thanks to those buying & donating tickets, we paid each speaker $736.

Shout out to the 2020 organizing team behind the scenes And big thank yous to our friends and community partners (especially silent $ sponsors), and our special guests Glennette Clark, Cheryl D. Miller and Meryanne Loum-Martin.)

In the weeks leading up to the event several speakers became the organizing/design team, we went live on Instagram, we hyped up the event on social, and we got our whole networks excited about this virtual event (to go on in the midst of a global pandemic, unemployment and racial uprising), We united!

It was a very inspiring and memorable event. With representation from 15 US states and 10 design disciplines, these 30 Black Designers shared their unique perspectives as a Black creative living and working in America. Together, over the course of 5 hours we celebrated all their transitions and triumphs along the way.

View All Talks here.

@dsgnrswrkshp on Instagram said this about the event..

“Did anyone else attend @black.ignite’s Inaugural Conference last night? 👀 There was so much love & empowerment all in celebration of Black design & futurism! We really love to see it.”

Fireside chat speaker Meryanne Loum-Martin said,

“I loved it.. Fabulous line up. Very interesting people. I think it should become a regular rendez vous maybe once every 3 months?”

“So much wisdom and words
of encouragement were
past down from the speakers. 

I left feeling inspired
and empowered.”

– #Blackignite2020 audience feedback

We look forward to sharing more about each of these designers as they transition into new roles and phases of life. Currently, we know that several people have taken on new jobs, started businesses and some of our speakers, like Amanda (see below), were hired by companies who were in our audience. We love to see this!

Thank you for celebrating Black designers today, tomorrow and evermore. We look forward to connecting with anyone and everyone committed to this work. #fortheculture — See you in 2021! —

To see all 30 Transitions talks check them out right here, or watch on the YouTube Playlist! (Don’t forget to hit subscribe).

Love & Gratitude, Heatherlee