Trailblazers in Design: Celebrating Famous Black American Graphic Designers

Kok Cheow Yeoh
Apr 19, 2024By Kok Cheow Yeoh

Graphic design is a field that has been shaped by the creativity and innovation of many talented individuals. In celebration of Black History Month, we want to shine a spotlight on some trailblazing Black American graphic designers who have made significant contributions to the industry.

Emory Douglas

Emory Douglas is best known for his work as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. His powerful and politically charged graphic design work played a crucial role in shaping the visual identity of the Black Panther movement during the 1960s and 1970s. His bold and provocative artwork continues to inspire designers and activists today.

Emory Douglas Black Panthers

Sylvia Harris

Sylvia Harris was a pioneering graphic designer and design strategist who focused on creating accessible and inclusive design solutions. She was a strong advocate for the use of design to address social issues and improve the lives of marginalized communities. Harris' influential work has left a lasting impact on the field of graphic design.

Sylvia Harris design

George Olden

George Olden was a groundbreaking graphic designer who made history as the first African American to design a postage stamp for the United States Postal Service. His innovative and influential work extended to television, where he designed iconic graphics for CBS, including the network's famous eye logo. Olden's contributions to graphic design continue to be celebrated and recognized.


Black graphic designers in the USA have made significant and enduring contributions to the field, despite historical challenges and underrepresentation. From pioneering figures like Emory Douglas to contemporary talents such as Gail Anderson, their creativity, innovation, and unique perspectives have enriched design culture. Despite facing systemic barriers, they have reshaped narratives, challenged norms, and amplified diverse voices through their work. They have not only influenced design aesthetics but also championed social justice causes and cultural movements, leaving an indelible mark on the design landscape. As their stories continue to be recognized and celebrated, it underscores the importance of diversity and inclusivity in shaping a vibrant and dynamic design community.