Olivia House is a graphic designer from the Twin Cities, living in Chicago. She has worked across multiple industries and produced work from publication design to large-scale murals. House focuses primarily on print design, branding, and exhibition design, with social impact being at the core of her practice. She hopes to use design in a variety of media to teach, heal, and build community, with strong emphasis on Black women’s empowerment.
I wanted to take my favorite guerrilla art forms (zines, flyers, sidewalk chalk, stickers, graffiti) and bring them into poster form as an homage of all the ways we’ve created and communicated throughout our history in a way that exuded the power of these means of expression and communication.
Using creativity as a means to communicate beyond words and bring people together is one of my greatest sources of joy. I love solving problems visually and using visuals to answer questions.
For me, being Black in the design world is tough. It’s constantly knowing that your work is beautiful, unique, profound, but never feeling like your work is treated as such. Being told that your work isn’t “polished” enough, or always being compared to traditionally white, European design standards. But being alongside other Black people in the design world is liberating. Seeing the backgrounds and perspectives of designers shining through their work, and unconventional approaches being taken in so many different ways always creates energy within me, and gives serious sparks of inspiration.
Throw out everything we consider to be “good” design!!! So many of our standards come from decades of uplifting the same kind of designers from the same kind of places, and if you don’t fit into that box you aren’t welcomed into that world and the spaces within it. The design world needs to even throw out the idea of “appropriate” or “good” design, because no singular form of design can communicate to everyone in the world. I think just being open to techniques, approaches, and perspectives that differ from the norm would help open the design world up tremendously.
Action. We need to go beyond listening and hearing and move towards making change in the spaces and industries we’re in every day.