• PRINT

From “Black Designers: Missing in Action” to “Forward in Action”: 3 Essential Industry Articles



With 2020’s “Black Designers: Forward in Action,” Cheryl D. Holmes-Miller completes a nearly 35-year journey that began with the 1987 publication of her seminal PRINT article “Black Designers: Missing in Action.”

In 2016, we commissioned her to write a follow-up (in which she revealed the backstory of the original piece), and this year she connected with us about writing a four-part final volume, deeply exploring the subject from its many angles—from education to design organizations to the historic roots of the black graphic designer.

Here, PRINT collects all of Holmes-Miller’s articles in one hub.

It’s been our deepest honor to take this journey with her.

Volume 1 (1987): Black Designers: Missing in Action

As the original subheading read: “The reasons there are so few Blacks in the design field are complex and frustrating. But much can be done to change the situation—to the benefit of the field and the society it serves.

Volume 2 (2016): Black Designers: Still Missing in Action?

As the original subheading read: “The author of a 30-year-old PRINT article on diversity surveys the industry to see who is designing the solution to a problem that continues to this day.”

Volume 3 (2020): Black Designers: Forward in Action

“A look at where we’ve been, where we find ourselves in the present moment—and the brilliant Black designers carrying us into the future.”

  • Part I: “Where are the Black Designers?” They Asked: How an Instagram campaign and subsequent conference built upon the past to ignite a movement—and what it all means for the industry today

  • Part II: Being Part of the Club: Reflecting on the past, present and future of design organizations, and the inherent white supremacist structures within many of them

  • Part III: Miseducation: In which Holmes-Miller explores design schools through the lens of recent developments—and her own experiences—at RISD

  • Part IV: The History of Black Graphic Design: Tracing the roots of the very first black designer—and laying the groundwork for a new canon.

Cheryl D. Holmes-Miller holds a master of science in communications design from the Pratt Institute, and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, with foundational studies held at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her former business, Cheryl D. Miller Design Inc., serviced corporate communications to a Fortune 500 clientele. She has won countless awards from institutions and organizations including AIGA, The Art Directors Club, Desi Awards, Peabody Awards, Crystal Awards, the CEBA Award and more.

She further holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, and attributes her design systematic liberation theology to being exposed to the liberation theories of Cornel West, James H. Cone, James Washington, Delores S. Williams and Katie Cannon.

For a guided tour of her portfolio, click here.


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