How Often Should You Rebrand?

Rebranding is a natural part of business evolution. Knowing when to rebrand is less clear. Experts say it’s all about timing and reading the signs for when the time is right for a brand refresh.   

In 2010, global fast-fashion retailer the Gap launched a brand redesign in response to declining sales and a plummeting stock price. The rebrand came without any warning and consisted of little more than a new logo. The backlash was severe. Thousands took to social media to mock the change, and within a week the Gap had reinstated their prior, 40-year-old logo. The blunder is among the shortest-lived rebranding efforts and is estimated to have cost the company $100 million.  

A company’s brand is much more than its name or logo. It is a message about identity and value. It influences action. Geoff Wasserman, CEO of The Brand Leader, writes that a brand is the “promises made between a person or organization and its market(s).” Those markets naturally include customers, but it also factors in vendors, employees, media channels and more. Effective branding helps move people closer to becoming a user of or contributor to a brand. It also can invoke a strong emotional reaction and foster brand loyalty.   

Rebranding is a natural part of business evolution – even for companies with iconic recognition. Apple, for example, has rebranded three times since its founding and Pepsi has made changes eleven times. Knowing when to rebrand is less clear.   

There are no standards or rules for how often a company should rebrand. The timing and frequency will vary depending on industry, existing competition, and how well a brand is already established. That said, branding experts state that most companies will undergo at least a refresh every seven to ten years. But it must be consistent across packaging, signage, social media, multi-channel advertising, and, of course, the company website.  

Regular brand audits and reliable feedback from key stakeholders can help companies know when it might be time for a rebrand. There are a few signs:   

To attract new customers and contributors  

A good brand will clearly let consumers and contributors (vendors, employees, etc.,) know exactly the sort of company with whom they are dealing. And more than ever, people want their work and spending to align with their values. Additionally, a clear brand message can help a company differentiate itself from its competitors to attract new customers and talent.    

The existing brand image is wrong – or negative.   

Overcoming an image problem can include simply refreshing an outdated look to a complete name change and reputation management campaign — particularly after a scandal or bad press. For example, in 2015 Volkswagen underwent a major rebranding effort after the “Dieselgate” scandal, which involved the manipulation of emissions tests. The new branding emphasized transparency and honesty, which helped restore trust in the brand.   

Take note, however: no rebranding effort will overcome a failure to address and correct real operational/product/service issues. Fix the problems first and let the rebranding effort communicate a new and improved company.   

New ownership or management  

Mergers, acquisitions, and even just new management can all drastically change a business such that it necessitates rebranding. 

A business model, offerings, or strategy has evolved.   

Businesses change. The iconic cookware company Pyrex, for example, originally produced glass for railroad lanterns. Product lines grow, services become more specialized and niche. Companies expand to new markets or pivot altogether. These changes and others can be communicated through rebranding efforts or even through the creation of sub brands that are either clearly linked to an established brand or that merit branding of their own.   

Wasserman suggests that branding is best considered the “process of rediscovering a core, authentic personality.” Performing regular brand audits and soliciting feedback from key stakeholders (i.e., customers, employees, etc.) helps companies know whether their image and message still reflects who they are, what they do, and who they serve. If the image or message is at all out of sync, it may be time for rebranding.  

Learn something from The Gap though: make sure the change has substance and purpose — and give your existing customers and contributors a heads up.  

.design Success:

Greeted with an explosion of color when entering their website, creating cool stuff is what does. Based out of Canada, this marketing and design firm has a strong expertise in branding (including corporate identity, product packaging, website and app design, and marketing materials), content creation, and digital marketing.  

Mimo’s mission? To help clients create strong brands and products that are creative, engaging, and fun. 

Having worked with high-exposure brands like Walmart, Volkswagen, and Coca-Cola, it comes as no surprise that Mimo has been in business for over 15 years. Their attention to detail, quality, and craft brings a bold and unique offering to their clients, which keeps them coming back for more.  

“One of the hardest parts of starting a creative business is building new and consistent relationships with clients,” said Michael Kirlew, owner and founder of Mimo. “From getting your first customer, to keeping them coming back, is something that takes time. Our key to success has been quality. Both in the service we provide and the work we produce, quality is always at the top of the list. It impresses your clients. It keeps them coming back. And more importantly, it generates organics referrals. As you grow your business, you start to create a reputation, and that reputation is what starts a snowball effect of new business.” 

As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and has experienced those growing pains alongside the ebbs and flows of global economic struggles throughout the course of their business.  

“After operating our business for almost 15 years, the most challenging part in our journey has been the most recent Covid Pandemic. We initially saw a huge drop-off in business as most of our clients pressed paused on their own companies.  

“As doors began to open back up and companies started to re-engage with the world, we questioned if our business would ever go back to the heights of success we achieved prior. Will our clients still be around? If so, would they continue to see value in what we do? Do we have to start all over again and rebuild a new client base? Those questions were constantly in our minds.  

“But believing in the quality of work we produce and the reputation we have created, we did see our clients come back. And surprisingly, they also brought their friends. Knowing that our clients continued to return and even referred other companies to do so as well, showed just how valuable we were and validated to us that “yeah, we’ve got this”.” 

Having run such a successful design company for so long, we had to know Mimo’s secret. Their advice? Don’t skimp on quality.  

“People pay for quality. Don’t undervalue what you do, but don’t overvalue it either. Find that balance and always produce the best work you can. Your talent will attract clients. The relationships you build will keep them.” 

Our fascination with’s website starts before you even enter the page; with their long-term success and high-exposure clients, what attracts individuals to go to their website to begin with starts with their unique domain name. So we had to know – why .design?  

 “.COM domains are hard to come by these days and usually the only want to get one is to make some long elaborate domain name. Most companies are starting to use different domains which are more personable, and also explain your business – that’s one of the best reasons we transitioned over to a .design domain. Ditch the long complicated .coms and go for a more purpose-driven domain like .design. 

“ is a domain we love. It represents everything we are. It’s purposeful, creative, simple, and easy to understand. Choosing to use .design rather than more traditional methods makes us standout, hints at our ability to creatively think outside the box, and shows a bit of fun while we’re at. I wouldn’t change it for anything else!” 

.design Success:

A jack-of-all-industries, master of design: Becca Smith showcases her talent on her personal portfolio and freelance design website, Becca Smith Design Co ( With experience working in politics, fashion, non-profits, and more, Becca Smith brings a fresh breath of talent to her website with a unique layout and extraordinary use cases.  

“My mission is to create strong and immersive brand experiences for new companies and their clients alike,” says Becca. “I love to look at design as an opportunity to build another world and explore what that means for each unique client of mine.” 

Alongside showcasing her work, Becca uses her website to gain more business opportunities by offering branding packages. By evaluating a client’s challenges, growth goals, community, and unique solutions, Becca will cultivate a complete brand package with guidelines, launch plan for social and advertising, and ongoing consulting which can include marketing insights and even help naming the brand!  

“My proudest moment? I made a client cry during a concept presentation (Tears of joy, of course)! It was such a great full-circle moment where they were able to see their idea come to life and represented in a way that was beyond their expectations. In that moment I immediately knew I was off to a great start.” 

Becca brands herself as not just a graphic and brand designer, but also a digital illustrator, consultant, and “great dinner guest.” Based out of Chicago, she’s currently focusing on brand design and packaging, and loves to look at design as an opportunity to explore what it means to create a world through design. 

With her wide experience in multiple markets, you’d think that Becca has it made in the design industry. She’s not without her struggles, however. Becca tells us that one of the largest obstacles in her world is being taken seriously as a business owner.  

“One of the biggest struggles of being a one woman business is knowing how to represent yourself so others take you seriously and respect your work. This means networking, choosing the right projects (and sometimes saying no), figuring out your rate, and so much more! It’s tough, but fun to explore!” 

For designers looking to get their start at becoming a full-time freelance design, Becca says to intuition is the key to success:  

“Follow your instincts and advocate for your work! Clients will occasionally forget that *you’re* the expert in design, just as they are with their product, and want to have a bigger input in how something looks than they should. Stick to your guns and come with research on why you believe something will work and push it.” 

With such a stunning website and clear success track record, we had to know why Becca chose a dot-design domain for her website.  

“My name is pretty common; I love that the .design tells you more about me and what you’re about to experience. It’s unique, like my work and take on design, and also feels futuristic and modern! In my line of work, it’s important to stay on top of trends, and this definitely feels like the direction in which the internet is moving!” 

“For others looking to set up their website, join the dot-design club! It’s a fun community and feels forward thinking. It gives your portfolio or website a bit of an edge and a unique quality, especially when there’s more options than ever on the web. Plus – it’s more memorable!” 

.design Success:

Your project: their passion. is an award-winning agency specializing in web design and branding based out of Northern Canada, and they’re making a big impact on the way small businesses present themselves online.  

Founded in 2015 by Dave Nighborn, 9 Lives Design won the award for Northern Ontario Company of the Year in 2018.  

“Our mission is to design memorable websites and corporate brands that are beautiful and a joy to use.”  

Since their inception, 9 Lives has done just that. Having developed websites for key clients like the North Bay Police and Remedy Developments, each website is unique, exciting, and user-friendly, truly showing that 9 Lives practices what they preach.  

“Our biggest obstacle was building trust in our community,” said Dave. “Companies want to work with established agencies so it took time to produce enough design for prospective clients to feel comfortable investing in our work.” 

9 Lives Design does more than just web development; they are also masters in logo design and corporate branding, as well as creating branded assets and digital art.  

“We won Northern Ontario Business of the Year in 2018 for the 1-15 employee category—only 3 years after incorporating. We won this award by having a great balance of doing high profile projects while giving back to the community.”  

9 Lives is run and managed by Dave, founder and Creative Director, and his wife Jade. The small-but-mighty team pours their efforts into both educating their clients on marketing technology, as well as making their community a better – and easier – place to live.  

“Doing high-quality work and keeping your promise to clients is all that matters to continue getting more projects. Word of mouth is better than any advertising money can buy.” 

As someone who makes their living off of creating websites for others, it comes as no surprise that 9 Lives needed to make sure their website made a lasting impression. Enter: the dot-design domain.  

“The .design domain is unique, and you’ll stand out from everyone else,” Dave comments. “9 Lives Design is the company name so it’s the shortest possible domain. It is a descriptive and explicit TLD compared to the ambiguous .com or .net.” 

For more information on Dave and 9 Lives Design, check out their website at 9Lives.Design.  

.design Success:

Written By Liz Achanta

If you’re looking for a fun and fresh approach to building your ePortfolio, look no further than JamieSterner.Design.

Jamie Sterner, a recent Communication Design grad from Kutztown University, works as an in-house Graphic Designer for a ballet company – and has worked on projects like website imagery, ads, and merchandise. Jamie also has experience making digital ads, out-of-home ads like billboards and posters, and experience in product and packaging design, as well as logo creation.

“When I got my first job out of college, the one I have now, everyone remembered my logo and would bring it up sometimes because they loved it. I’m only deciding to change it because it sometimes adds confusion to what I actually do.”

While Jamie is new to the design world, she’s not without her obstacles and challenges. Graduating in the middle of the pandemic, alongside learning how to build websites, have been some of her biggest challenges.

“I use JamieSterner.Design as my portfolio website, so it’s to help me show people my work and then eventually get my dream job someday,” said Jamie. “I made this website in my portfolio class in college and I coded it from scratch. Since coding wasn’t my main focus it was difficult for a while, but one night it all just clicked and I finished it. I’m planning on rebranding so I’ll have to do most of those things all over again. We’ll just see how it goes.”

Jamie’s portfolio is creatively categorized by a description of herself: “She’s Educated” focuses on her work while in school, “She’s Professional” shows off her real-work experience, and “She’s Passionate” covers her life outside of design – like acrylic painting and crochet.

Jamie also made a unique ‘visual portfolio’ which she labeled “Designer Pancakes:” a recipe to what Jamie believes are the most important elements she incorporates into her designs.

“Coding your website yourself may be a pain sometimes, but it’s better in the end,” said Jamie. “You’ll know every little detail about your website, it’ll be organized in a way that you understand, and it will be easier to edit in the future. If you do it yourself, it just adds that much more personality to your space.”

What brings Jamie’s ePortfolio all together is her great URL, which is short, memorable, and easy-to-spell; all important elements that can be hard to find with a traditional dot-com, but are widely available with dot-design.

“I am a graphic designer and the dot-design domain was suggested in class. It sounded so much better than just a .com website. It just really puts it out there that I am a designer before anyone even goes to my website. A website that ends in .com could really be anything; there are less surprises with the .design domain.”

As a final piece of advice for other young designers looking to make their mark, Jamie says, “If it makes sense to you and for you, then do it!”

.design Success: PaoloFontana.Design

Written By Liz Achanta

Based in Venice, Italy, Paolo Fontana has developed product designs for companies all over the world.

Paolo Fontana, owner of PaoloFontana.Design, works within the fields of visual identity, product design, and environmental graphics. Paolo’s impressive portfolio ranges from designing hydroponic structures to wine and spirits product design to branding and exhibition design for museums. Holding titles like Creative Director and Art Director, it comes as no surprise that Paolo’s work is clean, crisp, and extremely professional.

“My job is to deal with the aesthetics of things related to their functionality,” said Paolo, when asked about his brand mission. In turn, Paolo’s brand mission has helped him achieve his proudest moments – of which he says that his proudest moment as a designer has been the various projects he’s worked on.

“Designing something few people are lucky enough to work on, like the interior of an airliner, or the recent launch of an item that didn’t exist, like a coffee cup that replaces paper cups!”

Paolo said his work on the ATR 72-500 Airplane included developing functional style and design concepts for the airplane’s cabin. This involved intensive creative research, style design, renderings, and mock-ups, which ultimately led to the finished product which currently retails for over $14.4M USD.

Other work of Paolo’s, like the hydroponic structure, included product design, prototyping, and final digital drawings. Paolo has also worked for companies like Piandimare wines, where he developed the visual identity and label design for their Montepulciano d’Abruzzo lineup.

“My biggest obstacle has been to build a rich and explicative portfolio of my style in order to intercept the right client with whom to build interesting projects.”

While actually building his portfolio may have been a challenge, the completed product is worth exploring: with over 50 different projects showcasing Paolo’s work, all on a dot-design domain.

“Dot Design is more than a .com, it goes beyond a country,” says Paolo. “Today it’s necessary to be very specific in communicating immediately what you love to do – that’s why I chose a .design domain.”

For those designers who are looking to find motivation and inspiration to start their own online design business, or even showcase their work online like, Paolo says that having fun is the most important thing to do.

“Having fun while working is without a doubt the mantra I’ve always repeated to myself, I guess sometimes I should have had just a little less fun so as not to waste some of the effort put in.”

For more information on Paolo Fontana and his work, check out any of the medias below:

Website  |  Behance

Designing a safe space with

Written By Liz Achanta

Historically, racial representation in the design vocation – and in representation of the designs themselves – has been largely homogenous. And while larger corporations like LinkedIn and Google have recently started working to fix the narrative by showcasing a diverse range of individuals in their designs, More can be done to truly showcase the melting pot that makes up design. Enter:

Diversify by Design, or DxD, is a coalition that was launched in New York City in 2021 by stakeholders spanning the corporate, agency, nonprofit, education, and design sectors to catalyze racial equity and justice in the design profession. DxD identifies and scales best practices for cross-sector collaboration for widespread adoption. By diversifying the design ecosystem from the ground up, the resulting impact on the way systems, products, services, experiences, and communications are designed has the potential to change the world. Today, DXD has sixteen individuals on their advisory board and has large partners such as Amazon, Delta Dental, and the Creative Reaction Lab.

DXD works to bring racial equality in design across the board, however the majority of their initiatives focuses on youth initiatives, where they have developed five inter-connected priorities: Youth Exposure, Education, Experience, Employment, and Empowerment. DXD also launched “DXD Intensives,” which connects historically excluded students with industry mentors through a pilot with San Francisco State University (SFSU) and Delta Dental. Future plans for the SFSU x Delta Dental collaboration will include expansion to other industry/education partnerships.

While DXD is young, they are mighty. We asked Andrea, DXD representative what some of their proudest moments have been since inception, and the moments are too many to count:

“There are many – establishing an Advisory Council comprised of 16 subject matter and community experts to set priorities for the coalition; activating working groups with focused efforts across those critical, interconnected priorities; engaging 17 partner organizations in the nonprofit, education, association, agency, and corporate sectors to help the coalition catalyze measurable change are just a few,” commented Andrea. “We also launched Design= with designExplorr and Amazon, which has already delivered workshops introducing design to more than 400 historically excluded middle- and high-school youth since its launch in October 2021 and is expanding this year.”

DXD’s advice to others who are looking to start their own business or nonprofit is “Research, research, research. Talk to the people with the lived experiences or you will never effect measurable social impact. It’s our credo at Impact Collaborative (the managing entity of DxD).”

Starting a coalition in 2021 – at the height of the Covid pandemic – was no easy feat, but the individuals who founded DXD made it work. In order to start their business, they knew they needed a short and savvy URL to help them promote their brand.

“We chose .design for our domain because DXD is entirely focused on equity and justice in the design community and profession.”

Follow Diversify by Design online!

Twitter  |  Instagram  | LinkedIn  |  Website

.design success:

Logging in to is like taking a step back in time: complete with retro font, graphics, and black-and-white tones, serves as Andrew Ashton’s personal online portfolio. In one word, Andrew Ashton describes his designs as “funky.”

Located in Texas, Andrew created his online portfolio as part of his senior project at University of North Texas, which Andrew was able to use to turn around and use to help him score his first design job out of college as a Visual Designer.

“I strive to create memorable and impactful experiences through visual communication design,” says Andrew. “Through a curated mix of branding, photography, illustration, animation and user experience design, I am able to assist others in translating their ideas and messages into a visual medium.”

 Andrew’s work in design won him the Best Senior Portfolio at the 2021 DSVC National Student Show, as well as having been featured in the 2021 edition of the GRAPHIS New Talent Annual. Andrew considers himself an expert in UX/UI, Motion, and Web design, as well as graphics and photography, which can be seen throughout his portfolio through different rebrand concepts, his Tarot Noir product conception, and throughout the website itself.

“As a college graduate in the age of COVID, I’ve had to rely more on social media and internet based tools to get my name out in lieu of real-life interactions,” Andrew said when asked about his biggest obstacles as a designer who’s trying to get his start.

Andrew says winning the Best Senior Portfolio award has been his proudest moment as a designer so far. “It was a really cool moment because it made me realize how much potential I have as a creator and kickstarted my motivation to build my brand.”

When it came time to put Andrew’s portfolio together, he knew he needed to pick a URL that was memorable and relevant to his industry, and his personal goals. With Andrew’s wide skill set, it came as no surprise that chose dot-design for his domain.

“As a graphic designer by trade, I loved how cleanly “” rolled off the tongue. Just short, sweet, and straight to the point. If you’re looking for something with a little more flair than .com, go for it!”

For other students looking to get their start, Andrew says to go ahead and ‘take the leap.’

“Nothing bad will come from taking advantage of new opportunities but you can always regret the leaps you don’t take.”

Interested in learning more about Andrew Ashton? Check out his website and social media channels at any of the links below:

Website  |  Vimeo  |  LinkedIn  |  Instagram

.design success:

Written By Liz Achanta

Nestled in the Bronx borough of New York City, three partners are making a big impact.

Introducing Arcanhex.Design: owned and operated by Wellington Arcangel (web designer), Alan Arcangel (graphic designer), and Joshua Castro (marketing expert), the three individuals make up a trending digital marketing business geared towards helping small businesses get themselves online.

Arcanhex Design offers custom websites, logo creation, Google and Facebook ads creation and management, content marketing and SEO, and custom Shopify ecommerce solutions, all for an affordable price. Having worked with companies like Mora Corp, Weal Marketing, and Hero Company, Arcanhex increases their client’s online engagement results by an average of 50%, and increases sales leads on average by 45%.

“Our mission is to give small businesses an online platform and bring more exposure and visibility to online and offline brands,” says the trio.

“At first, the biggest struggle was getting clients to trust your expertise and prove you are the right person for the job,” says Wellington, when we asked him about the business. “But when past clients approach me and tell me how I’ve helped their brands reach more people and helped their businesses grow, that for me are some of my proudest moments.”

Creating your own design company can be a scary first step. Wellington’s advice to any designer looking to start their own business is, “to discipline yourself. Just focus on learning one thing and be the best on that one thing.”

As masters of online marketing and design, Arcanhex knew they needed a killer domain name to make themselves memorable and relevant in their industry. It comes as no surprise that Arcanhex used dot-design as their domain name.

“I chose .design because my business name ends with “design,” and it fit so well I couldn’t pass the opportunity. I would anyone that if they want an original and creative domain name, they should pick .design.”

To learn more about Arcanhex Design, check out their website or follow them on social media via the links below:

Website  |  Instagram

Celebrating Black History Month with These 10 Famous African-American Designers

Written By Liz Achanta

Hosted throughout the month of February in the United States, Black History month is a time for Americans to remember the important people, events, and contributions African Americans brought to the United States. Often among the notable figures observed are Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks, we are taking the time to note some of those African Americans who contributed to the world of design that we know today.

1. Elizabeth Keckley (1818 – 1907) | Fashion Designer

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Keckley published her memoir Behind the Scenes or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House in 1868. As her memoir title suggests, Lizzy was a Virginia-born slave who purchased her freedom from her owners in 1850 for $1,200. Post-freedom, Lizzy worked as a seamstress in St. Louis to pay off the loans she took to buy her freedom. In 1860, Lizzy moved to Washington D.C. where she worked hard to build up a new list of clientele, eventually working for
Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House. After the death of Willie Lincoln, a letter from Mary to Abraham said, “A day of two since, I had one of my severe attacks, if it had not been for Lizzie Keckley, I do not know what I should have done.”

2. Frank Braxton (1929 – 1969) | Animator

Since his school days, Frank Cavalier Braxton Jr. loved to draw, and his love for drawing was well known by his teachers and peers. In the early 1950s, Braxton was hired by Disney as a trainee, but was let go after just a few months. Not giving up, Braxton restarted his animation career at Warner Bros., where he worked until he left to Barcelona, Spain, to work in a cartoon studio. Before dying of cancer at the young age of 40, Braxton worked on notable projects such as Tom & Jerry, The Bullwinkle Show, Mr. Magoo, and the animated Charlie Brown TV specials.

3. Charles Dawson (1889-1981) | Artist

Best known for his illustrated advertisements, Charles Dawson was an influential Chicago designer and artist through the 1920s and 30’s. Charles would go on to work as the curator of the Museum of Negro Art and Culture, and the George Washington Carver Museum in Tuskegee in the 50s. While there’s no record of his work in the last 30 years of his life, Charles would retire in Pennsylvania where he lived until his death.

4. Leroy Winbush (1915 – 2007) | Graphic Designer

While Leroy Winbush was a graphic designer by trade, he was most widely known for his great window displays. After completing high school, Leroy worked at a sign shop as an apprentice, and would then be commissioned by the Regal Theatre in 1938 to design and paint their theater front. Leroy would continue to design signs and displays as the only African American employee at Goldblatt’s Department Store, where he eventually became their art director. By the 1940s, Leroy became one of America’s top airbrush artists, and founded his own company in 1946, Winbush Designs.

5. George Biddle Kelley (1884 – 1962) | Engineering Design

A founding member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University – America’s oldest Black Greek fraternity – George became the first Black engineer registered in New York State (according the legend, George Kelley was also instrumental in creating the ‘handshake ritual’ that most fraternities utilize today). George would go on to work for the New York Engineering Department, where he worked on notable projects like the Barge Canal.

6. Eugene Winslow (1919 – 2001) | Graphic Designer

An Ohio native, Eugene was an artist, illustrator, and publisher. Having co-founded the Afro-Am Publishing Co. in Chicago, the DuSable Museum of African-American History lists Eugene as one of seven black design pioneers in Chicago – and for good reason. After attending the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology, Eugene created famous works like Great Negroes Past and Present (which Eugene illustrated), and Afro-Americans ’76: Black Americans in the Founding of Our Nation.

7. Willi Smith (1948 – 1987) | Fashion Designer

Willi Smith was considered one of the most successful Black fashion designers in America. After attending Parsons The New School for Design, Willi was mentored by Arnold Scaasi, a famous couturier, until he left to work as the lead designer for Digits in 1969.

The inventor of streetwear, Willi’s label WilliWear Limited (launched in 1976) grossed over $25M in sales in just ten years. Willi’s label worked to help make fashion more accessible and affordable. WilliWear was also the first clothing company to create both men’s and women’s wear under the same label.

8. Georg Olden (1920 – 1975) | Graphic Designer

Born to an escaped slave and opera singing mother, Georg Olden was a revolutionary designer who worked in television and advertising. With famous projects under his belt like Gunsmoke, Lassie, and I Love Lucy, Georg became the first African-American to design a postage stamp, which commemorated the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. An AIGA medal-winning graphic designer, Georg helped pave the way for African Americans in the field of design and in the corporate world.

9. Elijah McCoy (1844-1929) | Engineering Design

Technically a Canadian-American, Elijah McCoy held 57 patents; one of which was the lubrication system for steam engines. Elijah’s engineering was so famous that his name was used to determine authenticity of equipment – which inspectors asking if they were using “the real McCoy.” Near the end of his career, in 1920 Elijah formed the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company. Elijah’s inventions were honored in 2012 by the US Patent and Trademark Office when they named its first regional office the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Patent Office, located in Detroit, Mich.

10. Ann Lowe (1898 – 1981) | Fashion Designer

Ann Lowe was the first African-American to become a famous fashion designer. After graduating from Fashion School, Ann moved to Tampa to open her first dress salon, and would open her second store in New York City in 1950. With her designs being worn primarily by upper-class women, Ann was best known for designing Olivia de Havilland’s Academy Award dress in 1946, and the ivory silk taffeta wedding dress which was worn by Jacqueline (Jackie) Bouvier when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953. In 1961, Ann received the Couturier of the Year award, and today her work is exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.