Tribute to Cheryl D. Miller, tireless advocate of black graphic designers

Cheryl D. Miller is a designer, author and theologian best known for her advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion of black graphic designers. An accomplished and award-winning designer and businesswoman, she founded one of the first black women-owned design companies in New York City in 1984. Cheryl D. Miller Design Inc. provided corporate communications services to Fortune 500 customers including BET, Chase, American Express, Time, and Illustrated sports, as well as social impact corporate communications defining the civil rights era. For half a century, Miller has tirelessly created lasting relationships, mentorships, and communities while constantly amplifying the voices of the designers she has worked with.

Miller holds a master’s degree in communication design from Pratt Institute and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, with basic studies completed at the Rhode Island School of Design. She also holds a master’s degree in theology from the Union Theological Seminary in New York. His revolutionary graduation thesis Transcending the problems of black graphic designers to succeed in the market led to the 1987 To print article “Black Designers: Missing in Action”, followed by “Embracing Cultural Diversity in Design” in Step by step in 1990 and “Black Designers: Still Missing in Action?” in To print in 2016. In light of current trends, its 2020 To print The article “Black Designers: Forward In Action (Parts I-IV)” shows how little has changed since his thesis. Miller also wrote a dissertation, Black Coral: daughter apologizes to Asian island mother, published in 2013.

His personal work and archives were acquired by Stanford University Libraries to create the Cheryl D. Miller Collection at Stanford University. She is also curator of The History of Black Graphic Design in North America, an open source database, with Stanford Libraries and fellow designers.

Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at the College of Art and Design at Lesley University, where she teaches graphic design. In 2020 and 2021, she held the positions of Designer in Residence and Distinguished Senior Lecturer at University of Texas at Austin School of Design and Creative Technologies and as an emeritus researcher in virtual residency at Roger Williams University.

Honorary doctorates are awarded to individuals who have always represented the bold vision and socially transformative creativity championed by Vermont College of Fine Arts and who have made extraordinary contributions to contemporary arts and culture. Miller’s distinguished career in the service of respectful and responsible design practices over the past fifty years is a truly profound and enduring contribution to the scholarship and culture of the design disciplines. The legacy of his work has pushed the needle of fair practices forward for the design industry and has helped shape a future where the history of black design is recognized alongside existing canons.

CONTACT: Danielle Dahline, [email protected]

THE SOURCE Vermont College of Fine Arts

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