AMPLIFY: Sharing the Diverse Design Voices From the 2021 Detroit Month of Design

6 images of the 6 designers form one horizontal image banded together by a color gradient border along the bottom. From left to right: Olayami, Yazmin, Malika, Erika, Mike, and Artis.

What could the future of our city and world look like if more designers of color were given the opportunity to pursue careers in architecture, interior design, manufacturing, product design, visual communication or historic preservation? Could it become a place where dreams are born and thrive, despite our differences? Could we solve some of our world’s most pressing issues in new ways? In order to create a more equitable and sustainable Detroit, we must include those most excluded when shaping the products, services and systems of tomorrow. 

Detroit Month of Design is an annual multidisciplinary festival that showcases the latest works and ideas coming out of Detroit every September. This year, approximately 30% of the 150+ designers participating in the festival identified as a person of color, which makes the Month of Design five times more diverse than the national design industry average. However, as unwavering advocates for inclusive design, we know that this is not enough. 

Through the generous contributions from the William Davidson Foundation, Design Core, in partnership with Octane Design, captured interviews and behind the scenes footage of six BIPOC designers as they prepared for their Month of Design events. The videos highlight their processes, design philosophies and festival activations, honoring their contributions and shining a light on the importance of diversity within the design industry.

The six designers featured include:

  • Yazmin Dababneh, designer and artist
  • Mike Han, Korean Detroit artist, designer and modern vandal 
  • Olayami Dabls, Storyteller and owner of Dabls Bead Museum
  • Erika Baker, Interior Designer and owner of Urban Alterscape
  • Malika Pryor, Senior Education Director at the Detroit Historical Society
  • Artis Lane, Sculptor and Fine Artist 


Kiana Wenzell
Director, Detroit Month of Design