The Experts Weigh In: How Can Small Businesses Contribute to DEI Using Graphic Design?

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, employing more than half of all private sector workers and generating almost two-thirds of net new jobs. With such a large audience, small businesses should seek out every opportunity to contribute to DEI in their marketing efforts by creating inclusive and diverse content.

Marketing is all about storytelling, and small businesses have the unique ability to tell stories that reflect the diversity of their customers and employees. This can help create a more inclusive environment for everyone, and can also attract new customers who appreciate inclusive brands.

We polled graphic designers around the nation to ask them how graphic design can be utilized by small businesses to contribute to DEI:

How can small businesses contribute to DEI – using graphic design?

Showcase Your Personality
“Graphic design reveals the personality and values that the business wishes to embody. It goes from anything to how brick and mortar businesses label their restrooms with a half male, half female icon for unisex restrooms to the kind of photos that are included in your marketing.”
Jed Morales, Owner, Novatus Designs

Normalize Positive Expectations
“The imagery you use on your website and in your marketing materials is essential to your cause. What people see every day can start to normalize the situation, seeing women and minorities as business leaders, professionals, home owners, customers, etc. While it can still be hard to find diversity depicted in stock photos, it’s worth it to take the time to find them. Some of the stock houses are improving their repertoires. It’s also important to consider the rhetoric. Are we automatically eliminating certain populations with the words we use? Make sure the writing is inclusive.”
Maureen Horrigan, Owner, Competitive Edge Marketing & Design

Relate to Your Target Audience
“People respond to images that relate to them and stories that relate to them, the target audience, as well. You usually only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention – that is why a company’s branding needs to be spot on.”
Leslie Guidice, Owner, Energy Energy Design

Implement Diversity in Ads
“Small businesses can contribute to DEI using graphic design by including diverse models in their advertisements.”
Dawn Sheirbon, Owner/Graphic Designer, DMS Graphics

Normalize Inclusion
“Repeated exposure to a concept increases the viewer’s acceptance. Over time, we believe that the concept is true and right. Utilizing imagery that promotes diversity and equity encourages inclusion by normalizing it. The more we are exposed to diverse and equitable graphics, photos, videos, and animations, the more our “automatic” brain accepts them for normal. We are naturally driven to want to include everyone. Science says that if we consistently depict the world we want to live in, we’re more likely to create that world.”
Mike Parkinson, Principal / CPP APMP Fellow / Microsoft MVP, 24 Hour Company

If you’d like to share your answer to our question, we’d love to add your voice to our expert roundup.

Message us today with your answer to this question:

How can small businesses contribute to DEI – using graphic design?

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