Instagram and Brooklyn Museum Announced Recipients of Black Design Visionaries Grant Program

published Nov 6, 2021
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Since its launch in 2010, Instagram’s @design handle has been a key player in highlighting the craft and creativity of the design community. In partnership with the Brooklyn Museum, @design has announced the five recipients of the inaugural #BlackDesignVisionaries grant program.

Aiming to uplift, center and invest in rising Black designers and Black-led design businesses, #BlackDesignVisionaries is championing those who offer experimental expressions of Black culture and have a powerful vision for the future.

The grant committee, which included Jungalow Founder Justina Blakeney, Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter, have chosen five designers and businesses from a shortlist of exceptional talent. In addition to funding, the designers and businesses will receive mentorship from industry experts. In total, $205,000 has been awarded to the following #BlackDesignVisionaries recipients:

Head of State

$100,000 Visionary Small Business Grant

Fashion design house, Head of State, was founded by multidisciplinary artist and designer Taofeek Abijako in 2016, at the age of 17. The brand is inspired by Abijako’s Nigerian roots and, at 19, he became the youngest designer to show at New York Fashion Week. He also debuted his first womenswear collection, ‘Homecoming’ in September 2021.

Morcos Key

$75,000 Impact Grant 

Founded by Jon Key and Wael Morcos in 2018, graphic design studio Morcos Key prioritizes advocating for underrepresented groups, creating visual systems that present complex historical narratives with contemporary urgency. Key and Morcos have worked with organizations including the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; the Studio Museum in Harlem; MoMA; Nike; and the Sharjah Triennial.

Dominique Petit-Frère

$10,000 Aspiring Designer Grant 

Petit-Frère is the founder and Vision Director of Limbo Accra, a collaborative spatial design studio dedicated to architectural projects, art installations and urban design.

Tré Seals

$10,000 Aspiring Designer Grant

Seals is the founder Vocal Type, a diversity-driven type foundry, confronting the lack of diversity in the graphic design industry. Each typeface Seals develops is designed to highlight a historical moment — from the civil rights movement in the U.S. to the the women’s suffrage movement in Argentina.

Sablā Stays

$10,000 Aspiring Designer Grant

Sablā Stays “seeks to channel the multidimensionality of the Black collective experience through image and design”. In her work, Stays aims to showcase people and subjects that live within the shadow of mainstream culture, using storytelling and design as a tool to educate and challenge narrow perspectives.