Entrepreneurship

A Creative Shares Her Approach to Inclusive Creativity

By
Melissa Jasmine
November 30, 2023
With a portfolio that dances across prestigious brands like HSBC and Net-A-Porter, Sandra Adu offers a window into her world, where every hue of talent is celebrated.

It's no surprise that Sandra Adu has become a beacon in the design worldβ€”with a portfolio that dances across prestigious brands like HSBC and Net-A-Porter, and a research focus that's as socially conscious as it is groundbreaking. With that in mind, we asked her to share what it means to be carving out a space for black graphic designers in the UK's design scene. Here, Sandra offers a window into her world, where every hue of talent is celebrated.

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Discovering Design

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From a young age, I was always interested in the arts. I loved drawing, painting, and creating things with my hands, and that led me to explore different avenues in the creative field. As I got older, I realised that design was the perfect outlet to express my ideas and tell stories that resonated with others.

Design helps us navigate the world around us. It touches every aspect of our lives, from the clothes we wear to the spaces we inhabit, and has the power to influence our emotions and behaviours.

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Inclusivity in Design

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As a Black woman in the design industry, I am motivated to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive landscape. My journey in design is driven by a desire to diversify the narrative within an industry that has long been steered by a singular perspective. I believe that diversity is critical for fostering innovation and pushing the boundaries of design, and I am always eager to be a part of that change.

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Ultimately, my passion is fueled by the joy of connectionβ€”using design as a bridge to tell stories, celebrate our differences, and make a tangible, positive imprint. In design, I find an endless avenue for creative challenge, a space to grow, and an opportunity to contribute to a continuous learning culture that celebrates every story and every voice.

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While there have been many obstacles along the way, I've learned that each one presents an opportunity for growth and learning.

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Breaking Barriers

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I've definitely been challenged by the lack of representation and opportunities for people who look like me. The industry has traditionally been dominated by a homogenous group of creatives, and it can be challenging to break through those barriers.

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I've had to be tenacious and persistent in pursuing my goals. I've sought out mentorship and guidance from other creatives who have faced similar challenges, and I've built a supportive network of peers who uplift and empower each other.

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Carving a Unique Voice

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As a designer with a unique voice and perspective, I've had to navigate the tension between staying true to my vision while also meeting the needs of my clients and the industry.

The key has been to trust my creative instincts and hold steadfast to my authenticity. Each project is an opportunity to innovate, to approach with a fresh perspective, and to take calculated risks that might defy convention but resonate more genuinely with the audience.

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Staying Organised

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One of the biggest challenges I've faced is managing my workload and staying organised. The nature of freelance work can be unpredictable, and it's easy to become overwhelmed and overworked.

To overcome this challenge, I've implemented systems and processes to streamline my workflow and manage my time more effectively. I prioritise self-care and work-life balance to ensure that I don't burn out.

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"In every case, I've learned that resilience, determination, and a willingness to learn and grow are essential for overcoming challenges and ultimately achieving success."

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Creativity and Innovation

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Creativity stems from a deep understanding of the audience and their unique needs. As such, I begin every project by immersing myself in research and analysis to better understand the audience I'm designing for. This allows me to identify unique insights and develop solutions that are tailored to their needs.

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"As a designer, stimulating creativity and driving innovation are integral components of my work process and approach."

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I approach every project with an open and curious mindset. I encourage feedback and input from colleagues and clients, which helps to generate fresh perspectives and new ideas. It's important to be receptive to different viewpoints and to constantly evaluate and refine design concepts as needed.

Collaboration is critical for fostering creativity and promoting innovation. I work closely with my clients and colleagues to exchange ideas, test assumptions, and challenge each other's perspectives. A collaborative environment allows for diversity of thought and the development of creative ideas that might not be possible when working alone.

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A Wellspring of Creativity

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My creative well is replenished by the world around me. I find inspiration in nature, art, literature, and cultural experiences. This helps me to explore new possibilities and perspectives, expand my creative horizons, and bring fresh ideas to my work.

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Constant Learning

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I am always pushing myself to learn new tools and techniques, explore emerging technologies, and test new approaches. This helps me to stay ahead of the curve and to bring fresh, cutting-edge ideas to my clients' projects.

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Go-to motivational mantra

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"I am the architect of my life and narrative. Through design, I shape my path and manifest my dreams. With resilience and intention, I craft a future aligned with my passions and values. Together, we empower and uplift, blazing trails in the world of design. I am the author of my story, designing a life of purpose, impact, and fulfilment."

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Follow Sandra on Instagram and @blackgirlsindesign

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