Freedom Is Never Given by Kristle Marshall

Day 22 — Poster posted on February 21, 2023

Kristle Marshall

Pronouns:  She/Her
Located: Royal Oak, MI

Tell us about yourself:

Kristle Marshall is a Metro-Detroit-based artist who loves all things lettering, illustration, and animation. She has worked with a host of clients including Coach, Sephora, Audible, HarperCollins, and Harvard University Press. Kristle works full-time with hand-lettering artist, designer, and educator, Lauren Hom—assisting with graphic design, videography, and photography. Ultimately, Kristle seeks to create work that breaks down barriers and fosters meaningful connections.

What is the inspiration behind your poster design?

In Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, he makes plain the resolve of he and his comrades in organizing and carrying through direct action to disrupt an unjustly lawful status quo in America. He addresses his critics passionately, ending his letter with a hope that “the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation…” I wanted to capture that hope in this poster and balance it against the hard truth of my assigned phrase: “Freedom is never given.” It’s a reminder that better days are born in our laboring, in tension, in struggle. We bring about progress when together, we are willing to face down the obstacles before us.

Why do you love being creative?

Having a creative practice has expanded my world in so many ways. I grew up deeply introverted and drawing was such a rewarding way to express myself when words felt more tenuous. Art has allowed me to make friends and build a sense of community—it is always a safe space for exploration, personal challenge, and growth. It is a joyous task, to create work that tells stories and amplifies ideas that bring viewers to a place of shared meaning.

Tell us about your experiences in the design world…

I am always excited to learn about a new black designer or illustrator through social media or across the web, because growing up it felt like a very white space. There are SO MANY incredibly talented black creatives that don’t necessarily rise to the top of search results or make the listicles. I’m always wanting to see more of us, teaching, leading, and creating highly visible work.

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

We can make it natural to our practice to diversify our consciousness of the talent that is out there, and tap that talent all times of the year. I’m always down to utilize my work to celebrate Black History Month, celebrate Juneteenth, uplift prominent black figures, and raise awareness of the needs in black communities; but, I’d also love to be thought of to play in other spaces as well. I’m proud of my whole identity: my blackness, my womanhood, my love for music, my dedication to learning, all of it. I think black people deserve to be present beyond when their identity is salient for the moment.

In general… How can we make more equity or equality for us?

One of the things I’m working on is getting off my computer. I think we have to start by reestablishing our stakes in the physical communities we live in, then the communities adjacent, and so on. We can’t commit to embodying liberations alongside our neighbors if we don’t get to know them. I think this goes for the online community as well; we can no longer be content with the model of passivity that social media offers—but to take steps to reinforce the person behind the profile. We have to meaningfully engage one another and redefine who is privy to that engagement: from people with similar identities, jobs, incomes, and privilege to those who may not align with us so neatly.

More Posters