Design for Identity: How to Design Authentically for a Diverse World - Publish Your Purpose
Design for Identity

Design for Identity

Design is expression, a service, an act of creativity. But if designers design for everyone, how can there be so little diversity in the profession? In this book, Jessica Bantom examines the implications of design in everyday life, from spaces and products to images and the fashion industry. Too often design concepts are based on assumptions and stereotypes that don’t necessarily reflect customers’ lives and values. Certain company symbols and brands, such as the image of Aunt Jemima, have stirred controversy for years but only recently has there been a corporate social awakening. The demographics of our society are changing and becoming more diverse, yet different perspectives are often ignored unless there’s fallout from public backlash.

Bantom explores the concept of human-centered design that taps into an understanding of identity: how people live, what’s important to them, and what informs their perspectives and experiences. Engaging directly with customers to identify their challenges and working with them to test ideas and solutions is the foundation of human-centered design. It’s vital for businesses to get on board and change outdated mindsets if they want to be successful.

Bantom explains the six habits of culturally competent designers that can make this shift happen, and result in design solutions that resonate with people of diverse backgrounds. She offers a Design for Identity blueprint that honors humanity, celebrates diversity, promotes equity and inclusion, and ensures that the design profession mirrors and keeps up with the realities of our evolving world.

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Jessica Bantom

About Jessica Bantom

Jessica Bantom is a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) practitioner and workplace strategist whose mission is to enable individuals to take immediate actions that create meaningful outcomes for historically excluded people. A graduate of the University of Virginia and Marymount University, Bantom is a skilled management consultant with over 20 years of experience, a compelling speaker, and a certified facilitator and coach with a passion for helping people and organizations activate the values of DEIB to become more culturally competent and thrive in our increasingly global economy. Bantom is also active in the interior design industry as an interior design and color consultant and as an engaged advocate committed to promoting DEIB in the industry and in practice. You can learn more about Jessica and her blog, ‘Start Where You Are’ at

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What People Are Saying

What People Are Saying

"With changing demographics and cultural dynamics, firms have embraced multicultural ethics and diversity to adapt to the growing market needs. So why is the design profession yet to acclimate to the changing cultural landscape? Jessica Bantom is an interior designer with decades of experience in marketing and consulting. With Design For Identity: How to Design Authentically for a Diverse World, Bantom explores the necessity for designing spaces that represent people from a wide range of backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, socioeconomic statuses, and sexual identities. Despite affirmative action, diversity, equity, and inclusion haven't been fully embraced in the design profession until now. In this book, Bantom emphasizes the need for cultural awareness and competence, providing an in-depth analysis of the two and their roles in the design industry.

Design For Identity offers readers a framework to help boost the cultural quotient and showcases the application of that knowledge for the cultural competence shift. As society becomes more multicultural, there is a growing need for a firm establishment of ethics that celebrate the diverse and inclusive nature of the modern world. Author Jessica Bantom shows ways to bring that cultural shift to the design industry, with an increasing focus on the needs of the customer and the distinct aspects that play a part in making them who they are. This book is a must-read for contemporary designers and business owners in the design industry. The author presents the content in an accessible manner to ensure that even readers who may not be too familiar with the technical aspects will have no problem understanding the topics explored in the pages. Personally, I found the book very informative and inspirational. Highly recommended."

—Pikasho Deka for Readers’ Favorite

Empathy and understanding are core principles of user-centered design. Yet we seem to struggle as a society to understand the impact of race, gender identity, and culture outside of our own lived experiences. Grounded in concrete examples ranging from innocent mistakes to willful ignorance, students, interior designers, and architects will learn from the mistakes of others and Bantom's wisdom as they strive to center the cultural identity of all users in their designed solutions. This book should be required reading in every architecture and design program.

—Doug Seidler, Director, School of Design + Art and Professor, Interior Design at Marymount University

In our unique way, each of us has a hand in designing a more equitable world. We design every day, but without close attention to who’s included, heard, and valued as an integral part of that process, we will be designing an incomplete future. Jessica has laid out a roadmap for all designers that invites us to consider how we might shift our process to generate a more complete and representative reality. This book is a critical contribution to the conversation.

—Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO, Jennifer Brown Consulting, Best-Selling Author of Inclusion, Beyond Diversity and How to Be an Inclusive Leader

Design for Identity is a must-read for forward-thinking designers willing to design beyond the competitive edge! The book takes the mystery out of applying cultural awareness to the existing design process. It will inspire your creativity and change your approach to problem-solving.

—Towanna Burrous, Founder and President, CoachDiversity Institute

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