If there’s one thing that all parents can agree on, it’s that all of our children should live in a more peaceful world. Our “The Future Series” is about channeling that future, through a limited-edition collection of designs for our coco go 3-in-1 bouncers, featuring the designs of Black artists (who are also parents!) and benefiting Embrace Race, which fights systemic racism.
Rashida Coleman Hale created her “peace” pattern “when the racial unrest in our country was on going and still so very fresh in my mind.” Find out more about why the dove pattern was so meaningful for this mom of 4, and what she hopes and dreams for her own children.
Tell us about you. Why did you become a graphic designer? What got you excited about this project?
I’ve been drawing ever since I could pick up a pencil, so illustration is my passion. I studied fashion design in college, but I traded in my sewing machine for a computer and taught myself how to use Adobe programs and fell in love. That was 20 years ago! *faints* And I’ve never looked back.
I love that I had the opportunity to design something that has some important meaning behind it and is helping to promote awareness.
How does being a parent impact your work? How does it make you design differently or work differently?
I truly love when my children come into my studio and see me working on my display or my iPad. They’re always interested in my projects and it encourages them to explore their creativity as well. They ALL love to draw very much and are very talented, as my husband is very good at drawing as well, and my brother is an amazing artist. It’s just in their blood.
I feel that being a parent helps me to tap into my inner child and really have fun with my designs. I love to create quirky and colorful art that appeals to children but is also sophisticated enough to appeal to adults as well.
Why is diversity in design so important to you?
As a Black designer, diversity in design is very important to me, is something that I think about often, and would love to see more of in my field. There is SO much creative talent in the Black community! I’m always astounded by the achievements and accomplishments of my people despite the systemic barriers and racial inequalities that we have faced for decades. I’m so happy that many companies are becoming more aware of this problem and are taking action to help change it. It will open so many doors to opportunities that have not been accessible to us. It means options and removes the sameness in the creative space.
How can we work harder to highlight the work of black designers and how can we encourage more young black artists?
Seek Black designers out and give them the opportunity to have a seat at the table. The color of our skin does not define our work or our talent. Design isn’t just for one group, design is for all. Partner with agencies and academic institutions that serve the Black community which would create a pipeline to these types of opportunities, especially for younger designers.
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s hard to be it if you can’t see it”? How do you encourage young black artists if they’re not seeing themselves in these roles.
The Future Project is all about elevating diversity in design, and particularly black designers. Who are 3 black designers we should know about right now?
What’s most important to you when you’re buying products for your children?
Well, safety first naturally. But I’m always in search of modern, clean design, and longevity. I love items that I know will grow with my child and be useful in our household for quite some time.
What do you hope your children understand or remember most about your work?
I hope that they remember that I’m doing what I love and that I put my heart and soul into it. I hope it encourages them to do the same when they find their passion.
The coco go is made for a multi-tasking parent. What advice would you give to a new parent who’s trying to get it all done?
Don’t try to get it all done. lol Seriously, as a new parent you’ll feel so much pressure to do it ALL and do it perfectly and “by the book” (whatever that may be). It’s a process. You just have to take it one day at a time and remember that you’re not going to do it all sometime and that it’s totally okay. You’re little ones will still love you. :)
Tell us about your design for the coco go Future Series. What were you envisioning when you came up with the design concept and how does it signify your vision for the future?
When I was a little girl, I used to think about what life would be like in the 2000’s. Some of the stand out things I remember thinking:
- There will be flying cars! (There aren’t. Oh well.)
- I’ll be really, really old! (I’m not. I’m 44. Lol)
- I’ll be a famous fashion designer. (I’m not. Also, totally fine.)
- The world will be at peace and everyone will be equal. (How did that not happen??)
I’m so sad to know that racial equality is still an issue today and that we really haven’t come as far as we thought we have. I worked on this design when the racial unrest in our country was on going and still so very fresh in my mind. I just hoped and prayed for peace and tranquility. Literally, spiritually. A peace dove seemed like the perfect motif for this project and embodies my hope for our future. As for the actual design, I wanted the colors and the mood of the art itself to be calming and tranquil, keeping in mind that it would be on a product for babies.
What is your own vision for the future for your children, particularly in respect to racial equality?
My hope is that my children can one day feel seen and heard. That they can just live their lives without fear and just…..be.
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