At Grafik we have always been committed to having inclusive representation in our creative. But after witnessing the horrific murders of Black men and women at the hands of police and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests of the summer, we knew we needed to turn a critical lens not just on ourselves as individuals, but as an agency to do more.
On the creative front, to start, we reminded ourselves that we are responsible for the content we put out in the world on behalf of our clients as well as ourselves. So we set out to compile inclusive design considerations to refer to as we develop new creative. Our mission is to tell more nuanced stories that are authentic, challenge assumptions, deliver the unexpected and (hopefully) help make impactful change.
We always strive to pitch original photography and video which gives us the opportunity to cast and style in an inclusive way, allowing for truly authentic storytelling. Same goes for commissioning custom illustrations, which can be a wonderfully creative way to represent diversity.
Regardless of whether we are searching for stock imagery, or commissioning custom, we start with the following list of considerations, taken from Getty Images “Inclusive Visual Storytelling for Women”:
How is the imagery reinforcing gender stereotypes? Are the roles depicted equally attributable to women and men, i.e. who is the caregiver, who has the power? Are people with all gender identities embraced?
– Race & Ethnicity
Are stereotypes used? Are people of different ethnicities used merely symbolically as “tokens” and can we make sure non-white people are shown in a variety of roles and professions?
– Sexual Orientation
Are LGBTQ+ people shown living full lives, as well as of various races, ethnicities and ages?
Are images that represent people with larger or shorter bodies considered? Are all people leading active, dynamic lives?
Are people with disabilities shown to be active members of society? How are they portrayed? Only as being helped or cared for, or living the whole range or experiences they may have?
Are mature adults represented by what they can do, versus what they can’t do?
Can tokenism when it comes to faith be avoided, especially when it comes to iconography?
We know that now more than ever, and long over due, consumers EXPECT brands to be inclusive and we as an agency need to take the initiative to showcase and champion a wide range of diverse identities. The creative solutions we pitch and deliver to our clients need to reflect the rich diversity and totality of our audiences. We are humbled by the work we have yet to do, so please hold us accountable.