BBB Designer Shawnasia Black in Interior Design Magazine

February 22, 2023
Interior Design magazine recently sat down with Shawnasia Black, BBB designer and co-chair of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) New York Equity Council, to discuss her personal career path and the need for greater diversity and equity in design — and how to achieve it. Here is what she had to say:

ID: Where do you feel representation in design falls short today?

SB: The representation in design education is lacking, and the after-effects of that underrepresentation can be found throughout the industry. Had I known this was a viable career, I would have had a much shorter path to this profession. Everything I went through has made me a better designer, but there is most definitely a lack of connection between design education and representation. … With more BIPOC designers in the industry lending themselves to mentorship and supporting others, I feel it will lead to more media representation, feeding back into more diverse design education and ultimately increasing representation in the education of design overall.

ID: Where is more support needed to further equity and inclusion in design?

SB: Education! One of the reasons I was drawn to my current firm is their direct connection to some Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). That connection is important, and I would challenge everyone in this industry to reach even younger audiences, to plant the seeds of architecture and design earlier. In both design-based and traditional high school settings, more support is needed to promote this industry and make young minds aware of their career possibilities.

For more—including Shawnasia’s childhood memories of design, her interest in color theory, the initiatives she’s leading with the IIDA New York Equity Council, and her favorite thing in her apartment—read the full interview in Interior Design.