Design Studio Unit 3
Rhode Island School of Design
Section Professor: John Caserta
Unit Three Professor: John Caserta
Prompt: How can we use symbols to communicate who we are?
I began my process of constructing a set of original flags by focusing in on the word that was meant to be the flags’ greatest message: unity/community. I started to think about my own community and what that means to me such as, my family, friends, or wherever I felt must supported. This specialized brainstorm session led me to think of my experience so far at RISD since it has become my community and will be for the next two and half years. RISD is not only my new home but it is where I feel interconnected with a greater group of individuals. However, when I think of RISD as a unified community, there is one aspect that stands out to me and that is the racial diversity and power minority groups have on campus. RISD is quite a diverse community racially and although it may not be perfectly equal; for me it was a unique and foreign concept to have so many international students and people of color studying all in the same place. My previous education had consistently been consumed by white students of a higher socioeconomic class so to be surrounded by people similar to me was an almost crazy, out of this world experience. As a person of color I never felt fully accepted until coming to RISD. However, the existence of diversity is not the only aspect of the RISD community that is so strong, but it is the individuals on campus who have worked and still are continually working on fighting for racial minorities. In no way shape or form had RISD solved racism but the amount of clubs and students who daily stand up to the patriarchy is what makes the community so special and powerful. This idea of protest led me to research various movements that have occurred through history. After analyzing images from Cesar Chavez’s protests and even modern day photographs from the Black Lives Matter movement, I came to the realization that protest posters in many ways act as flags. All my research made me realize that I wanted to make a flag that called to both the RISD and Providence community for its accomplishments in generating racial diversity but also bring awareness to the fact that racism is not solved and we are still fighting. There is no actual flag that exists in promoting racial diversity, so maybe my experimentation with flag design can be a first step to creating an iconic symbol for many.