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Design Is Trans: Embracing the Power of Inclusivity in the Design Industry


The design industry has long been a realm of exclusion, with a predominantly white, cisgender, and heterosexual demographic. This narrow representation has resulted in a lack of diversity in perspectives and experiences, ultimately stifling innovation and creativity.

However, a transformative shift is underway, as designers from marginalized communities are breaking down barriers and reclaiming their place in the industry. The concept of "design is trans" encapsulates this movement, recognizing the fluidity and intersectionality of identities and the crucial role that inclusivity plays in unlocking the full potential of design.

Embracing Intersectional Identities

Design is trans means understanding that identities are not static but rather fluid and multifaceted. Designers must embrace the intersectionality of identities, acknowledging that individuals may identify as LGBTQ+, people of color, women, disabled, and more. By recognizing these intersections, designers can create work that resonates with a wider audience and addresses the unique experiences of marginalized communities.

Challenging Binary Constructs

Gender is a spectrum, not a binary. Design is trans challenges the traditional gender roles and expectations that have historically shaped the industry. By questioning and expanding our understanding of gender, designers can create spaces and experiences that are welcoming and inclusive of all.

Inclusive Representation

True inclusivity goes beyond mere representation. It involves creating spaces where individuals from all backgrounds feel valued, respected, and empowered. This means ensuring that marginalized voices are heard and that their perspectives are incorporated into design processes and outcomes.

Creating Transformative Experiences

Design has the power to shape the world around us. When designers embrace inclusivity, they create experiences that are meaningful, accessible, and empowering for all. From accessible websites to gender-neutral products, inclusive design can break down barriers and foster a more equitable society.

Case Studies of Inclusive Design

Numerous design projects exemplify the transformative power of inclusivity:

  • The Adaptive Design Association develops open-source design tools that empower people with disabilities to create accessible and customized products.
  • Project Visibility advocates for greater representation of LGBTQ+ people in design and technology.
  • The Civic Design Lab works with marginalized communities to create design solutions that address social and environmental challenges.

Benefits of Inclusive Design

Embracing design is trans has numerous benefits for the design industry and beyond:

  • Increased innovation: Inclusivity fosters a diversity of perspectives, leading to more creative and innovative design solutions.
  • Improved accessibility: Designing with inclusivity in mind ensures that products and spaces are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities.
  • Enhanced representation: When marginalized voices are included in the design process, they bring their unique experiences and perspectives to the table, resulting in more authentic and representative work.
  • Positive social impact: Inclusive design can create transformative experiences that empower marginalized communities and promote equity and social justice.

The Future of Design

The future of design is trans. As the industry embraces inclusivity, it will become more representative, innovative, and accessible than ever before. Designers have a responsibility to challenge the status quo, break down barriers, and create a more equitable and just world through their work.

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