Five Black Designers Whose Work Reshaped the Creative Landscape

During Black History Month, Dot Think proudly celebrates the groundbreaking Black visionaries who have indelibly shaped the worlds of fashion, art, architecture and design, enriching these creative realms with perspectives rooted in the Black experience. Delve into the lives and legacies of five icons whose extraordinary artistry is infused with the richness of their cultural heritage – challenging norms and igniting important conversations about identity, race, and representation.

Willi Smith: Fashioning a Revolution

Willi Smith wasn’t just a designer; he was a cultural architect. Dressing icons like Diana Ross and Muhammad Ali in vibrant, bold pieces that reflected the spirit of the 1970s, he blurred the lines between sportswear and evening wear. Smith’s legacy is a testament to the power of fashion to express identity and challenge convention.

Willi Smith for Digits, Fall/Winter 1972 Collection, 1972 Image source:



Ronald Jackson: Painting the Landscape of Belonging

Ronald Jackson‘s canvases are more than just portraits; they’re portals to lived experiences. His brushstrokes capture the complexities of Black identity, celebrating both the joy and the struggles of finding your place in the world. Jackson’s art invites us to see ourselves reflected, reminding us of the beauty and strength within our communities.

She Sang a Song No One Would Hear: Songs of Stories Untold Series (painting by Ronald Jackson)



Lorna Simpson: Speaking Volumes through Visual Poetry

Lorna Simpson‘s art is a conversation starter. Using text, photography, and installation, she tackles complex themes of race, gender, and memory. Simpson’s work is not just visually stunning, it’s intellectually stimulating, prompting us to question our assumptions and engage in critical dialogue.

Players, 2013 (photographs by Lorna Simpson)



Tosin Oshinowo: Building Bridges with Brick and Mortar

Tosin Oshinowo‘s architectural vision reimagines the built environment. Her designs blend traditional African motifs with modern forms, creating spaces that are both functional and aesthetically captivating. Oshinowo’s work is a testament to the power of architecture to bridge cultures and inspire positive change.

Adidas flagship store in Lagos, Nigeria, by Oshinowo Studio



Eddie Opara: Designing with a Purposeful Punch

Eddie Opara‘s graphic design is anything but ordinary. His bold, impactful visuals have graced campaigns for major brands like Nike and Coca-Cola. Opara’s work is a testament to the power of design to communicate powerful messages and spark meaningful conversations. Brand Design by Eddie Opara


Shedding light on the incredible contributions of these Black designers is an invitation: to explore the diverse tapestry of design history, and to celebrate the richness that different perspectives bring to the creative process. In embracing and learning from these visionaries, together we can be part of creating a more inclusive and vibrant future for the world of design.