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Randall Wilson II is the Design Lead in Digital Messaging at Capital One in Chicago and is the co-creator and creative director of Hue Design Summit, a four-day immersive conference and community for designers of color. Randall is a self-taught designer, and on his path to becoming a designer, he explored opportunities in architecture. As an avid Lego enthusiast, Randall likes to use Legos, and other hobbies, to facilitate design and design thinking processes.    

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Pluriverse Publication Chapter: Randall Wilson, II
written by Hannah Moses  

Randall Wilson II, the Design Lead in Digital Messaging at Capital One in Chicago, is a self-taught designer. Because of his lack of formal training, he approaches design with a different mindset and share of experiences. Randall describes his experiences and interests as a spiderweb: everything may be connected in his life, but not everything he does needs to be related. His connection of his experiences and his identity, though, have greatly impacted his career and professional life in design. 

Randall’s identity and experiences has largely shaped his career and interest in the design realm. Above all, he values finding inspiration in all places and contexts and uses this to shape his individuality in design. From his experience in architecture, the initial path he thought for himself to pursue professionally, he came to understand how to design within the fabric of a community one is in, whether this be by fitting in or deliberately contrasting the design within the community. Randall internalizes how designs may be received by different people, and how one must design for people who may consume information and experience it differently.  

As a Black designer, Randall’s identity is deeply integrated into his work. One of his most noteworthy accomplishments that incorporated his identity into his design work was creating the Hue Design Summit, a four-day immersive conference, and community, for designers of color. He aims to give voices to people that are not usually heard or seen. At this conference, he is able to share how he thinks through the lens of his Black identity and considers how other demographics and populations might feel as well. The conference is a space for dialogue and skill growth, enabling participants to build connections that will benefit everyone involved. He and the co-creators founded the conference initially because of the sheer need for designers of color to have a place in design. Within his own identity and community, he pushes designers to build connections with others in ways that they are comfortable, using techniques that are more inquisitive and honest and less transactional. Through his identity, Randall focuses on the genuine aspects of human nature, pushing for connection across both similarity and difference. His passion for equity and community have made him an established designer both in and out of the Black design community.  

To Randall, design thinking is the process that goes into it; the design is the output, and the process is where the value is. One cannot simply design something and claim it valuable without having gone through a process that marks the design’s intentions that offer it value. Furthermore, Randall believes that although a designer may have intentions on what the design will do, people and users may not always see the solution as having the same impact. Because of this, a designer should have an informed opinion and hypothesis that aims to be as objective as possible in favor of the user’s preferences and preconceived notions. In his opinion, when done correctly with proper guidance and context, design thinking can be incredibly valuable.  

Outside of his formal employment as a designer, Randall loves to make Lego structures and facilitates design thinking processes to best create the design itself. As a self-taught visual designer, he is constantly exploring new platforms for design and trying out new things to compensate for his lack of formal industry knowledge. He deeply appreciates the learning process of design thinking and always goes out of his way to research and ask questions.  

Randall’s advice to non-designers largely has to do with empathy, and he emphasized how important it is not to work off of one’s own uninformed opinion and not to steer the conversation in favor of the answer that is thought to be right. He encourages both designers and non-designers to acknowledge that they do not know everything, so to approach each challenge with curiosity and transparency. Randall says to account for the fact that people will take you in all different directions in their preferences and narratives, and the surprises are often where the problem is most deeply rooted. To Randall, design thinking is not abstract, but rather, it is used all of the time to approach nearly any challenge. He reminds us to remain humble and look for ways to disprove our own biases.  

About the Hello from the Pluriverse Podcast

The Hello from the Pluriverse Podcast aims to open up and create a space to have conservations about the pluriversality in design.

This podcast is a project of the Design Thinking for Social Innovation Program at the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane University.

Executive Producer: Lesley-Ann Noel, Ph.D

Sound editing

Hello from the Pluriverse 2020-2021 Student Team

Hello from the Pluriverse 2019-2020 Student Team

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