Submit a talk


Sorry, the submission period has ended. Get tickets to the 2020 inaugural event and come back to see who the speakers are on August 9th!

The Format / Talk expectations

  • Each designer gets 5 minutes to talk. The idea is to showcase YOU, YOUR amazing work, and YOUR unique story. This format will spark insightful commentary, inspire the audience, and be a source of inspiration for many others.
  • Your talk must consist of 20 slides, and they must advance every 20 seconds.
    It’s like a TED talk, just as insightful—but at a faster pace. We want to make this fun for you and the audience.
  • You will know the lineup order about a week before the event (you’ll actually get to pick it with your fellow designers).
  • We are here for you! We will schedule a Zoom session beforehand too, so we can all touch base and support each other (not required).

What qualifies me?

Be a Black designer. That’s it. You are enough. The intent is to curate a diverse lineup of designers from all backgrounds. There is no concern about seniority or where you are in your career. You could be a student, new to the field, or 20 years into your practice.
Please do not let this stop you from applying. Come as you are.

The Theme

The theme for this inaugural event is TRANSITIONS.

You are a black designer transitioning…

Each of you comes to your work every day with a unique story, a life full of transitions. It shows up in your work. Your intersectionalities as a Black person living in 2020 are your superpower. You are designing the next iteration of what American society should and could look like.  And we want to amplify that far and wide so the world can transition, and finally stop asking Maurice Cherry’s question of, “Where are the black designers?” 

Reflect on our collective transitioning, how can you use your work, your voice to move the audience? How has your work and how have your experiences as a black designer shaped what you want to say on the ignite stage?

Your stories matter—period.

Maybe you’ve transitioned from computer science to exhibition design. Maybe you’ve transitioned from the only black design student to the only black professor. Maybe you’ve transitioned from an HBCU, into a white-centered design firm. Has COVID-19 and the BLM movement transitioned your work?

We want to hear it! 

Are you up the challenge? Hiring managers, colleges, and HR professionals will be in the audience. Let’s showcase what you bring not just as a designer but as a whole person.


The submission process

• Submissions are due by August 1 at midnight.

• Your black selection committee will be choosing talks the week of August 2.

• You will know August 5th and by Friday, August 6th you must commit to speaking.

• You will have 3 weeks to design your ignite talk, from August 6th to the day of the event, August 27th.

• We will be posting updates on Instagram and Twitter about who the selection jurors are, so hit follow!

• If you are not already in our Where are the Black Designers slack? We’ll get you added! We have a channel called #blackdesigners_ignite where we are collaborating on this event together. During the submission period feel free to connect with other designers in the room.

The submission period for the 8/27 event is now closed.

Thank you for submitting a talk! We will be in touch ASAP.