Spotlight /

August 2021

Diversifying Design with Tré Seals

Tré Seals is the founder and type director of the diversity-driven type foundry, Vocal Type Co. Inspired by the lack of diversity in the graphic design industry, each typeface highlights a piece of history from a different underrepresented race, ethnicity, or gender—from the Women's Suffrage Movement in Argentina to the Civil Rights Movement in America and beyond.

Since Vocal's founding in 2016, VTC fonts have traveled around the world: from street murals and protest signs around the world to census, voting, and brand campaigns from companies large and small. Tré has been recognized as the youngest Ascender by the Type Directors Club, a Black Trailblazer by The Dots, and has been featured in Print, How, and Communication Arts magazines, and more.

Key Takeaways

01 Foster diversity in people in order to diversify unique creations and experiences

Tré discusses how a lack of diversity creates a problem in the design industry: without diverse perspectives and experiences, creations become less unique, making the industry less valuable.

02 Look for inspiration outside of your main focus

When looking for inspiration through his design process, Tré looks at things unrelated to design itself. From unique products to architecture, finding new sources of inspiration gives his work a human element that might otherwise be missing. 

03 Don’t be a wrist

One of the best pieces of advice that Tré received was, “don’t be a wrist.” After experiencing a burnout after graduating college, this advice resonated with him as he wanted to move forward making sure he was able to put thought and creativity into his work, rather than obliging to every task asked of him, to the point of carpal tunnel.

04 Break graphic stereotypes by diversifying design choices

Specific type fonts are often represented and associated in stereotyped groups and categories (for instance, graphic brush scripts are often chosen as Asian fonts) but Tré aims to tear down these types of stereotypes down as a design approach to further diversify design choices.

05 Diversify the design field starting with high schools in underrepresented communities

Tré lends his opinion that one of the best ways to diversity design is to reach underrepresented communities in high schools through lectures and teachings.

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