7 LGBTQ+ Designers You Should Know About
Welcome back to our ongoing series of designers you should know about. For those who just came across this blog, hello!
I had a harsh reality-check last year when I was asked to name 7 influential designers. After naming 7 designers I learned about in a 2017 college history book, I realized just how narrow-minded my view was of the design industry. This series started as a commitment to myself to learn about designers from varying backgrounds and provide a resource to others who are looking to find inspiration outside the Eurocentric textbook definition of influential designers.
So get inspired, and support these incredible LGBTQ+ designers making waves in the creative industry.
If you want to discover more designers you should know about, here is a list of other blogs in the series so far: Asian + Asian-American designers, Black Designers, Native American designers, Non-Binary Designers and Female Designers.
1. Doug Rodas
Doug Rodas, a Salvadorian graphic designer, typographer and illustrator currently residing in Canada, is an artistic force to be reckoned with. His dynamic portfolio revolves around nurturing communities, amplifying empowerment and recognizing queer identity. With notable clients like Coca-Cola, Goodtype, and Waccom, Doug's talent shines through his vibrant creations. His work has gained attention on an international scale, earning him awards in Spain, El Salvador, and Argentina.
See more of Doug’s work over on his instagram.
2. Jeffrey Gibson
Jeffrey Gibson is a Mississippi Choctaw/Cherokee multidisciplinary artist that specializes in both painting and sculpting. He earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995, followed by earning an MFA in 1998 at the prestigious Royal College of Art. Gibson's creations serve as powerful tributes to Indigenous heritage, skillfully navigating social issues surrounding identity and visibility. His talent has garnered recognition in renowned institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of the American Indian.
You can see more of Jeffrey’s work on his instagram.
3. Hannah Jacobs
Hailing from London, animator and illustrator Hannah Jacobs has an innate talent for the art of digital storytelling. Her imaginative vision has earned her widespread recognition, with both her personal and commercial works being celebrated at film festivals such as SXSW, Tribeca, and Annecy. If you didn’t catch her work there, you may have seen it in the viral heartwarming 2020 video, Dinosaurs in Love. Hannah earned an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2014 and continues to captivate audiences with her recognizable textured drawings that prioritize artistic expression.
4. Kingsley Gbadegesin
First-generation Nigerian-American Kingsley Gbadegesin is a trailblazing fashion designer in New York. He is the founder behind K.NGSLEY, a clothing brand that aims to reclaim and redefine the Black, Queer, Femme body and to create the tangible, direct support communities need today. In 2022, Fast Company named him one of the Most Creative People in Business. Kingsley Gbadegesin continues to make a mark on the design industry, inspiring and empowering countless individuals through self-expression.
5. Robyn Kanner
You might not know Robyn Kanner (yet), but you have seen her work. A college dropout-turned-self-taught designer, Robyn believes that good work aligns with a strong sense of purpose. She was the Senior Creative Director behind the 2020 Biden-Harris presidential campaign and the founder of creative agency Studio Gradients. Robyn has an unwavering commitment to community engagement and steadfast dedication to championing equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals.
6. Fio Gonçalves
Born and based in Brazil, Fio Gonçalves is an emerging independent type, environmental and brand identity designer. As a creative, Fio prioritizes learning and growing. He is fluent in 3 languages and has frequented design workshops across the globe. Fio’s type families have cunning attention to detail while his brand work is vibrant and exploratory. In 2020, he was awarded Student Gold and Silver Bornancini Awards (the highest design recognition in Brazil) as well as being a Bornancini Award Finalist last year in the professional category.
7. Sawyer DeVuyst:
Based in the coastal hubs of L.A. and NYC, Sawyer DeVuyst is an agender artist, designer, model, actor and photographer. Sawyer founded Saw in 2010, a furniture and interior design company that has provides pieces to clients including Kate Spade, Wythe Hotel and the Etsy Headquarters. As a multidisciplinary creative, Sawyer is best known for their work in LGBTQ+ advocacy and visibility. Their current project, “Mine” is a daily fine art self-portrait collection that reclaims storytelling around transgender narratives.
You can view and support Sawyer’s project, Mine, on instagram.