Freedom is Never Given by Karis Merritt

Day 9 — Poster posted on February 8, 2023

Karis Merritt

Pronouns: she/her
Located: St. Louis, MO

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a self-taught multidisciplinary creative based in St. Louis. Though my degree is in Cyber Security, I utilized YouTube and other online resources during college and still today to follow my passion for design. I plan to continue merging my tech experience and love for design while advocating for representation in this space.

What is the inspiration behind your poster design?

I was inspired by the full quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X for this design. They both speak on how unfortunately freedom is never given voluntarily, but it’s something we have to take for ourselves. As cliche as it is, breaking the chains is the perfect representation of that idea. The poster style kind of reminds me of a comic book, which is fitting since we are fighting against oppressors.

Why do you love being creative?

Being creative gives me joy because it takes me away from going through the motions of day-to-day life. I kind of feel like I’m in a different world when I get to create, especially if there’s a good reason behind it.

Tell us about your experiences in the design world…

I enjoy the parts of the design world that are safe for us i.e. the online communities and the events in my city. But, particularly when it comes to finding opportunities, it seems there isn’t space for us in the design world (especially on a corporate level). When I come across agencies and companies that are hiring or create work that I like, I go to their Instagram or website, and team photos always include a group of white folk…. not a person of color in sight. Even though we’re creating our own spaces, it’s still disheartening to see.

How can we create a more inclusive design world and ensure that Black people are represented?

I think this responsibility falls more on the people in powerful positions who can give more opportunities to us. We need to be in those rooms. I think we’re already doing our part in creating our own communities, supporting each other and creating spaces for us to thrive.

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