Melanin Abundant by Daniella Gyambibi

Day 2 — Poster posted on February 1, 2023

Daniella Gyambibi

Pronouns: she/her
Located: London, United Kingdom

Tell us about yourself:

Hello! I’m a digital illustrator currently studying at Ravensbourne university. I have been pursuing a creative career for about three years now, but have become much more active since starting university (i was working full time in the noncreative industries prior to this). I would describe my art as bold, colourful, and black-centric. I also have a passion for lettering, and I love to make art that features motivational quotes. I have an online shop that I sell stickers and art prints from, and I also work on freelance projects when the opportunity comes my way. I also have experience in motion graphics and animation.

What is the inspiration behind your poster design?

Since my phrase was ‘melanin abundant,’ i wanted to make something that showcased the beauty of darker skin. as soon as I read the phrase, the first thing that came to mind was how darker black skin should be appreciated in the same way lighter black skin is. I always like my art to be fun and colourful, which is why I opted for the bright colours. In addition, I wanted to challenge myself and do something new. the style I created this in isn’t what I normally do, but I was happy with the outcome, and it was really fun to do something different. Although I will say, I made two versions, one with an outline and one without, as I couldn’t decide which I preferred!

Why do you love being creative?

Being creative allows me to experiment in a fun way. Some of my first experiences with illustrating include me using my finger to illustrate on my phone using adobe draw, decorating Christmas card envelopes for my friends every year at school, and making music using loops on music maker jam. by nature, I am someone who likes trying out something new, and I find that being a creative allows me to experiment with so many things without getting bored. Within illustration alone, I find that I am always learning new things, and I love that I can continue to grow and get better at what I do without getting bored.

Tell us about your experiences in the design world…

When I first started sharing my work online and trying to discover new illustrators, the majority of people I found were white. I did eventually find black illustrators (and thankfully, I continue to find more and more every day), but it was really tough in the beginning to see that many of the people getting exposure don’t look like me. I am lucky that I was able to get support from creative mentor network – a charity that works to get more under-represented people into creative work. Having their support helped me gain more confidence that I can also be successful, but unfortunately, I’ve learned that as per usual black people have to work twice as hard!

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

It seems like if we want to be seen and heard, we need to create our own opportunities. I think opportunities such as this one that allow black people to come to the forefront should be more commonplace, as they show the world that we are here and we can do the same things white people can, but with our own perspectives.

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

I fully believe in supporting black people and black businesses, so I think one small step could be deciding to shop with a black business. If you need some clothes, furniture, catering, photographs to be taken… literally anything, rather than going somewhere like ASOS, try and find a black business that suits your aesthetic if you can afford it. I have been trying my best to buy more and more things I need from black-owned companies, and it brings me so much joy to know that I am supporting another brother or sister. And make sure to shout about the things you’re buying!

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